WKU Libraries Blog

News and events from WKU Libraries

WKU Libraries Blog - News and events from WKU Libraries

“Frankly, my dear…”

Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With the Wind

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara

May 19 will mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell’s classic tale of the Civil War South.  Two months after the novel appeared, David O. Selznick bought the film rights, and production of the blockbuster movie began in January 1939.

On the day scheduled to film the “burning of Atlanta” scene, Oscar Payne Cleaver, a native of Hart County, Kentucky, arrived on the set.  His innovative work as an electrical engineer at Westinghouse had attracted the attention of Selznick, who hired him as a lighting consultant.  Cleaver’s experiences left him with vivid impressions and memories.  Vivien Leigh (“Scarlett O’Hara”) was sweet and friendly and played croquet with him, while Clark Gable (“Rhett Butler”) was stand-offish and kept blowing his lines.  Hattie McDaniel (“Mammy”) was well-spoken, without a trace of her character’s thick dialect.  Leslie Howard (“Ashley Wilkes”) struggled to subordinate his English accent to that of a Southern gentleman.  Not only did Cleaver witness many fascinating tricks of cinema production, he came away with a story about the genesis of Rhett’s immortal (and controversial) parting words to Scarlett.  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Cleaver claimed, was less a carefully scripted dramatic moment than a byproduct of Gable’s frustration with his mangled lines.

Oscar Cleaver’s memories of his experiences on the set of Gone With the Wind are part of the collections of the Kentucky Library & Museum.  Click here to download a finding aid.  Also in our collection is an attractive souvenir booklet sold at theatres showing the film — download the finding aid here.  Packed with images, cast and crew lists, and production facts (59 cast members, 2,400 extras, 1,100 horses, 5,500 items of wardrobe design, 90 screen tests of potential “Scarletts”), the booklet attests to the challenge of adapting a thousand-page novel that sold more than 50,000 copies on its first day of issue, 75 years ago this month.

WKU Libraries Faculty Won University Awards

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Rosemary Meszaros, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Government Documents & Law from the Department of Library Public Services, received the 2010 Award for Research and Creativity. Christy Spurlock, Assistant Professor and Education Curator from the Department of Library Special Collection, received the Award for Public Services. They were nominated and selected by their peers. They received their awards at a reception given by the University on the evening of April 26, 2011.

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Undergraduate Research Award Winners Honored in Libraries

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On April 26, 2011, two students from University Experience classes were honored at Cravens Library with the first Undergraduate Research Award. WKU student Andrew Alvey accepted his award for Best Career Essay and faculty representative Paula Trafton accepted the Best Annotated Bibliography award on behalf of WKU student Megan Stohner. These awards were the result of the collaborative effort between WKU Libraries and University Experience.

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Genealogy Question of the Week

Baptizing at Dennison Ferry, Green River

My great-grandfather was Baptist Minister; do you have any church records or minutes in your collections?

Church records are among the best records for genealogists to locate and study. They can provide information that is not recorded in any other source such as births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, and even the burial location of your ancestor. Additionally, you can learn about your ancestor’s participation in the church’s life or separation/transfer from the church rolls. Discipline in churches has changed dramatically over the years but in many cases, members were removed from the church for non-attendance, profanity, drinking or dancing. They can reveal the extent to which your ancestors participated in religious affairs. They are also helpful for tracing family relationships or migration patterns.
For those ancestors who were ministers, priest or rabbis, biographical information may be found in a printed source, obituary listing or in church or synagogue archives.

Finding theses important records can be difficult. Many churches do keep good records but they may have been sent to a central archive, placed in private hands or given to a historical society or special collections library. Fortunately, many churches have microfilmed these records, or at least given copies to local organizations.

The Kentucky Library and Museum’s manuscript collection of church records can be found at
http://www.wku.edu/Library/kylm/collections/inhouse/mss/ChurchRecords/index.html
Other records have been published in book form and may be found by using  TOPCAT.

There are excellent chapters on the information provided by church records and how to locate them in The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, edited by Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny (Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984) and in Val Greenwood’s revised edition of the Researcher’s Guide to American Records (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Md., 1990.

2011 Summer Camps

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Kentucky Museum Summer Camps are held each week in June from 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

After camp care is available from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.   Space is limited so please register early!

For more information call 745-2594 or visit: Summer Camps

Lynne Marrs Hammer Ferguson

Artist In Residence at Kentucky Library & Museum

25th Year of Best Reference Selection by Brian Coutts

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Head of Library Public Services, Dr. Brian Coutts, conducted his annual Best Reference Workshop on Friday, April 22 in Helm-Cravens Library. Coutts’ is the co-author of the annual “Best Reference” article in Library Journal — 2011 marks his 25th year. This year’s selections included some unique titles like The Story of Men’s Underwear, Salamanders of the Southeast, and Weeds of the Midwestern United States and Central Canada. Other important publications include the new The Oxford Companion to the Book, the first Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, the updated classic The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, the Encyclopedia of the Ghettos During the Holocause, and many more.  For the complete review, please see Library Journal‘s Spring 2011 issue, available online at LibraryJournal.com or in print at Helm Library (Periodicals, 2nd Floor). –Amy Slowik

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Intern Works With Architect’s Drawings

Johnson Building, Bowling Green, KY

Johnson Building, Bowling Green, KY

WKU Folk Studies graduate student Katherine Chappell is completing an internship in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of the Kentucky Library & Museum.  Last semester while conducting research to provide information for a National Register of Historic Places nomination of James Ingram-designed home, she discovered how prolific Ingram’s career as a Bowling Green architect truly had been.  He designed well over a thousand homes, schools, and businesses in and around the city from the 1930′s through the mid-1950s.  Thanks to a donation made by his widow, Ruby Stephens Ingram, the Kentucky Library & Museum is home to nearly 1200 sets of his architectural drawings. 

Since January, Chappell has been working to catalog some of these drawings and adding them to a publicly accessible online database.  She has also transcribed a 1982 interview with Ingram’s widow, in which Ruby Stephens Ingram talks about her husband’s career, many of the people he worked with, and how he felt about the buildings he designed.  Chappell has sought out many of the Ingram-designed homes still standing in Bowling Green to match new photographs with the archival drawings and to reveal how influential, long lasting, and popular his designs were in the area.  One of her most exciting moments was contacting Ingram’s grandson to let him know that his grandfather’s work is still known and appreciated.  Thanks to her work in this internship, she was recently awarded one of three Russell M. and Mary Z Yeager Graduate Scholarships.

Chappell is currently designing the content for a new website to honor Ingram and to showcase his prolific local career.  Included will be excerpts from Ruby Stephens Ingram’s interview, some representative samples of his drawings and photographs of the completed buildings, research on Ingram by former WKU students, and more.  Chappell would be interested in hearing from you if you live in an Ingram-designed home or have your own Ingram memories to share.   To see records created for the Ingram drawings search under his name in KenCat.