Don’t Hate 1908

Chicago Cubs player, 1908The last year the Chicago Cubs won the World Series is a distant age for most, but for those browsing the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections, it’s a time easily recalled.  During that year, for example:

Architect Brinton B. Davis was overseeing completion of Bowling Green’s new City Hall at 10th and College Streets.  The cost:  a little over $25,000.

John Marion Robertson, manager of the Bowling Green Opera House, issued a complimentary ticket to Confederate veteran John W. Stark for a performance of “On Parole,” a play about the Civil War that included “scenes in which you,” he wrote Stark, “no doubt, took part.”

A friend wrote Hopkinsville’s Charles Hisgen about the state of the train station. “If we can get that railroad lot cleaned off . . . also coal yard & a new modern passenger depot, when a stranger arrives in Hopkinsville he will think the town amounts to something.”

Phineas Hampton “Hamp” Coombs (evidently not thinking about baseball at all) sent a Valentine by telegram to his wife Lattie.  “I send my love to you by wire,” he crooned.  “Sweetheart, for you my heart’s on fire.”

Butler County physician Dr. William Westerfield recorded in his diary that late October winds were aggravating “forest fires in Muhlenberg Co. causing considerable damage burning over corn fields, fencing etc.”

John Blakey Helm wrote his father from Princeton University about returning to Bowling Green at the school year’s end.  “I expect you had better send me about thirty dollars, which I think will bring me home.  I haven’t anything else here to pay for but have only a dollar and a half.”

And here’s an anecdote about President Lyndon B. Johnson (born in 1908) who, many agree, understood and wielded political power better than any modern chief executive.  At the conclusion of an event at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a military officer informed the President that “your helicopter is ready.”  LBJ, stone-faced, replied “Son, they’re all my helicopters.”

Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections harking back to 1908, and search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat for more.  Then sit back and wonder if the “last time the Cubs won” clock will be reset to 2016. . .

Hamp Coombs's 1908 telegram

Hamp Coombs’s 1908 telegram

Leave a Comment

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Kentucky Live! presents Maggie Green and “Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes From the Bluegass State”


Event Flyer

Maggie Green is a seasonal cooking expert who specializes in culinary nutrition.  A native of Lexington, Kentucky she’s a food and nutrition graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Culinary Arts Management program at Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies in Louisville as well as licensed dietician in Kentucky and Ohio.

Maggie Green

Maggie Green

She’s served as a personal chef for over 100 clients in the Greater Cincinnati area and as a director of a food service department for a retirement center.  Following that she spent seven years working with the “Joy of Cooking” Kitchen on recipe development and testing and served as writer, editor and editorial liaison for the 75th anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking.

She owns The Green Apron Company, a consulting firm specializing in culinary nutrition and cookbook development.  She also serves on the Medical Advisory Board for Humana’s Active Outlook Program where she writes food and nutrition content for their award winning magazines.

The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook

The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook by Maggie Green

In her first book the Kentucky Fresh Cookbook, published in 2011 by the University Press of Kentucky, she organized more than 200 recipes by season, incorporating Kentucky-grown and produced-food and gave helpful buying tips on everything from produce to wine and even discussed the pros and cons of organic food.  Reviewers commented that she wrote simple, clear, seasonally appropriate recipes “that were guaranteed crowd-pleasers.” Many of her recipes incorporated Kentucky’s most famous beverage.   Her “Banana Bourbon Walnut French Toast,” and “Bourbon Mint Slushies” are but two examples.  She even gave you tips on how to grill fish or butterfly and split a whole chicken.  In between there were lots of good home tales and sage advice.

Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from the Bluegrass State

Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from the Bluegrass State by Maggie Green

In here newest book Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from the Bluegrass State she includes 102 recipes “both simple and sumptuous” from some of the finest restaurants, inns, cafes, and bed-and-breakfasts across the state.  It’s the fourth state-inspired cookbook from publisher Farcountry Press and the first to cover a state east of the Mississippi River.  The recipes selected showcase the flavors, tastes, and ingredients of Kentucky.  The mouthwatering photographs are the work of Sarah Jane Sanders, a food and editorial photographer based out of Lexington.  Here’s just a sampling: Jack’s Lounge Mint Julep from Louisville, Bar Manager Joy Perrine, the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Beans from the Bosley Family’s legendary restaurant in Owensboro, Country Boy Hash from Brie and Brad Golliher’s Boyce General Store in Alvaton and for dessert Jackson’s Orchard Apple Strudel from the Home Café & Marketplace in Bowling Green where Joshua Poling is the Executive Chef.

Summer Tacos, in Tasting Kentucky

Summer Tacos, in Tasting Kentucky

West Sixth Amber Beer Cheese

West Sixth Amber Beer Cheese, in Tasting Kentucky

We hope you’ll join us at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, on Thursday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. for her presentation with a book signing to follow.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kentucky Live! presents Sean Kinder and his new book “Una Merkel: The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm”

Una Merkel The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm (3)

Sean Kinder, Associate Professor from the Department of Library Public Services at WKU Libraries, talked on his new book Una Merkel: The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm, on the evening of Thursday, October 13, 2016 at Barnes & Noble (1680 Campbell Lane).

Photo Album | Sound File | Podcast RSS

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Far Away Places presents Christine Ehrick and “Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Women and Broadcasting in Argentina and Uruguay, 1930-1950”

Radio-and-the-Gendered-Soundscape (10)

Christine Ehrick, Associate Professor of History at the University Louisville, talked about “Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Women and Broadcasting in Argentina and Uruguay, 1930-1950” on the evening of Thursday, October 20, 2016 at Barnes & Noble (1680 Campbell Lane).

Photo Album

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kentucky Library Associate Professor Nancy Talks on Her New Book about a Kentucky Guitarist

Mose Rager Kentuckys Incomparable Guitarist (7)

Nancy Richey, Associate Professor of WKU Libraries’ Department of Library Special Collections, spoke at WKU’s Owensboro Regional Campus on the evening of Monday, October 17, 2016 on her new book  Mose Rager: Kentucky’s Incomparable Guitarist, which she had coauthored with the late retired WKU history professor Carlton Jackson. Mose Rager was a guitarist famed for his unique thumbing style.

Photo Album | Audio File | Podcast RSS

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The “Comforts” of Home

Funerals home and away

Funerals home and away

October 31, 1934 marked the closing of the second and final season of Chicago’s A Century of Progress International Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair.  In Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Times-Journal newspaper had arranged three-day tours for local residents, with discounted railroad and hotel rates, admission tickets, and local sightseeing trips.  The total cost per person was a mere $18.45–about $350 today, but still a bargain.

The 38 million people who attended the Fair found a spectacular attraction, but when so much humanity converged on one place, there was bound to be a darker side–accidents, illnesses and even deaths.  Indeed, an outbreak of dysentery, traced to contaminated drinking water at a local hotel, sickened more than 1,700 and killed almost 100 tourists.

On Sheridan Road, however, the Coombs-McCready Funeral Home was alert to the possibility of an uptick in what was, after all, their business, and sought to assure funeral directors across the country of its willingness to act as liaison in the event that a member of their community did not survive the Fair.

“It is more comforting to a bereaved family to feel they are dealing direct with you, whom they know, and not with a stranger,” wrote the firm’s president to Bowling Green’s Gerard Funeral Home.  Accordingly, for $40, “we will represent you and adhere strictly to your instructions”–from intake to providing a casket (another $40) to transferring the remains to the train station for the journey home.  Gerard’s funeral director was invited to forward contact information to Chicago “which will simplify matters at the time we are called to serve you”–and allow those who had suffered loss to connect with home for the necessary rituals.

The Coombs-McCready Funeral Home letter is part of the Gerard Family Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  For more information, contact  For other collections of funeral home records and information about the Gerard family, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

“In Reply to Your Ad”

So many replies.....

So many replies…..

In the internet age, those looking for matrimony have many venues in which to market their charms, but at the turn of the 20th century, answering a personal ad in a newspaper or magazine was the principal way to cast a wide net into the sea of eligible bachelors and spinsters.

In January 1907, 21-year-old Lillie Rasdall of Bowling Green, Kentucky replied to 28-year-old Seldon Mantz’s ad for a suitable companion to share his home in Webster, Iowa.  Predictably, her letter touched on those traits that might interest her correspondent.  “I am very tall weight 125 have Blue eyes fair complexion and dark hair,” she wrote. She had moved from the country to Bowling Green three years previously, but hinted that city life had not spoiled her.  “I am a Kentucky girl can do [any] kind of house work.”

A few years later, 52-year-old “John” replied from his Missouri home to Lucy Boucher of Settle, Kentucky.  After reading her ad, he had concluded that “you are all I should be looking for.”  Like Lillie Rasdall, he inventoried the qualities he thought might interest his 50-something correspondent.  A five-foot-ten-inch widower with salt-and-pepper hair, no children, a moderate lover of tobacco but not of strong drink, he described his pleasant home, which needed only “a good loving wife” to complete it.  He did “not want a cent of the money my future wife shall have” but at the same time seemed interested in an honest accounting of what he would forgo: “I do not want one that will misrepresent anything.”

In each case, the letter-writers then broached the next step in the encounter: the exchange of photographs.  You go first, they both seemed to say, then I will send you mine.  Perhaps there was follow-up, but these exchanges did not succeed in lighting the flame of matrimony.  Lillie, sadly, died the following year, Seldon was still a bachelor at 61, and Lucy remained single all her life.

These letters are part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click on the links to access finding aids.  For more courtship letters from generations of Kentuckians, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on “In Reply to Your Ad”

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Serafina and the Black Cloak bestselling author Robert Beatty to visit BG

Bestselling author Robert Beatty will visit Bowling Green on Thursday, October 20 at 6pm at the Warren County Public Library’s Bob Kirby Branch as part of the annual SOKY Reads one book, one community reading program. serafina-and-the-black-cloakjpegBeatty will read from and sign both Serafina and the sequel, Serafina and the Twisted Staff. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase on site.

Serafina and the Black Cloak, part one in a three-part series, is a mystery-thriller published by Disney Hyperion. The book is set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina and features the energetic, intelligent heroine Serafina as she solves the mystery of the sinister Man in the Black Cloak. A compelling mix of historical fiction, excellent characterization, and high-energy adventure, the book has excited audiences since its release and more than 25 weeks on the NYT bestseller list. It won the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and received outstanding reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and more. 300 copies of the book were distributed to schools throughout Bowling Green, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Graves Gilbert Clinic. Funding from Friends of the Warren County Public Library provided more than 100 additional books given away during various community events during September. As part of his visit to Kentucky, Beatty will also speak at local schools in the area as well.

SOKY Reads is an outreach program of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest, a partnership of the Warren County Public Library, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and WKU Libraries. To learn more about getting involved in the SOKY Reads program next year, contact Sara Volpi, Literary Outreach Coordinator for WKU Libraries, at

Comments Off on Serafina and the Black Cloak bestselling author Robert Beatty to visit BG

Filed under Uncategorized

Oil and Spirits

John G. Jackson

John G. Jackson

Similar to the practice of dowsing or water witching–the use of an implement such as an L-shaped rod or a Y-shaped tree branch to divine the location of underground water sources–is “doodlebugging,” which uses the same mysterious technology to locate petroleum or mineral deposits.  In September 1894, John G. Jackson, a New Jersey surveyor, railroad engineer, astronomer and former state senator, was confident that this supernatural aid would vindicate his as-yet unsuccessful search for oil in Kentucky.

Writing to a stockholder in his struggling company, Jackson reported that “various Psychic influences” had urged him not to give up.  Previous drilling efforts had come close, but fate had not been with him: “We have been told by mediums experienced in Petroleum oil matters,” he explained, “that we missed the location of the first well, through mischievous spirit influences, but a short distance.”  Now, however, “different mediums many miles asunder have united in pointing out the places wherein success will be certain.”  All that was needed was courage, perseverance–and yes, a new infusion of cash for the project.  “If the sanguine promises of the psychics prove genuine,” Jackson assured his correspondent, “that will yield very handsomely.”

John G. Jackson’s letter is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here for a finding aid. For other collections about petroleum exploration in Kentucky, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on Oil and Spirits

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Catalogue of Short Horn Bulls, Cows and Heifers

A recent and rare acquisition for the Department for Library Special Collections, with only 16 pages total, is a Catalog of Short Horn Bulls, Cows and Heifers (1864) that offers 12 bulls and 48 cows for sale by William & Benjamin Warfield of Lexington, KY. The Warfields, as observed in the Cyclopedia of American Agriculture must be included in any history of Shorthorns. They were prominent and quite well known during the years in which Kentucky supplied much of the Shorthorn blood to the breeding herds of this famous breed throughout the United States. William was the son of Benjamin Warfield and also a breeder of the shorthorn cattle in Kentucky. William Warfield was one of the best informed men on Shorthorn history and Shorthorn pedigrees. He contributed much to live stock and especially to Shorthorn literature, writing the “History of Improved Shorthorn Cattle” and “The Theory and Practice of Cattle Breeding.” The Warfield’s most active period was during the 1870s and 1880s, when the farmers of Kentucky, Ohio, and westward began extensively to improve their stock by the use of purebred cattle.
Short-horn cattle were developed in England to serve as both dairy and beef animals and were brought to America in 1783. Exciting auctions of livestock were common in the 1800s and catalogues such as this one, were produced. This catalog offered details of the animals such as color, date calved and lineage for each with an example being: “Young Duke, the sire of a number of animals in this catalogue, was bred by R.A. Alexander, was by Duke of Airdrie (12730) out of imp. Rosabille, by Bridegroom (11203) &c.” The Kentucky Encyclopedia notes that many of the prize winning shorthorns of the era enjoyed as much prestige as some of the governors and perhaps contributed as much or more to the national recognition of the commonwealth! The Kentucky Library Research Collection is the only known repository of this catalog. To see other books and illustrative materials in Special Collections search our catalog, KenCat or WKU Library One Search.

Comments Off on Catalogue of Short Horn Bulls, Cows and Heifers

Filed under New Stuff