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One of the prized holdings in the Department of Library Special Collections is the 1951 Mustang, the yearbook of the State Street High School. The State Street School served this area’s African-American students starting in 1883; High Street school took its place in 1955.
Edward Tipton Buford, known as E.T. Buford, was the principal of the school and is featured in this yearbook. He made a tremendous impact on many students in this region and state. He was born in 1894 in Giles County, TN and earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and a Master’s degree from Indiana University. He served as principal of State Street and High Street schools from 1924 to 1964. Like many other African American educators, during the time of segregation and limited resources, it was said that “Buford developed an advanced curriculum, got the school accredited, recruited highly educated teachers and secured needed resources.”
Some other African American teachers in Warren County were Robert Barlow, Christine Barlow, Ethel Buford, Virginia Cabell, Lula Carpenter, Clara Cole, Addie J. Edmonds, Lutisha Frierson, Willie Gossom, Lena Hudson, C. A. Hutcherson, Latter Huston Cox, Eva Kuykendall, Lila Bell Lee, Frances Luvalle, Charity McCrutchen, Emma Milligan, Mabel Moore, Frank Moxley, Claude Nichols, Alroma Nichols, Mattie Patticord, A. L. Poole, Ethel Ray, A. P. Williams, Delorese Williams, Clara Bell Yarbrough, and Henry Yost.
The Department of Library Special Collections invites you to view an exhibition titled “Kentucky and the Great War” through January 28 in the Jackson Gallery found on the second floor of the Kentucky Building. The exhibit highlights several themes including military service, the costs of war, life on the home front, and the effects of war on the family. Over 150 artifacts, documents, photographs, posters and sheet music specimens are used to document Kentucky’s involvement in the war effort.
World War I (July 1914 – November 1918) was a global and devastating conflict that attracted the attention of the world’s leading powers. Shortly into the war, the death toll crescendoed for all nations involved in the hostilities. German submarines began sinking passenger ships traveling across the Atlantic resulting in the deaths of many American civilians. In response, American forces entered into the war in April of 1917 with support from most United States citizens.
This exhibit highlights the lives of a few Kentucky soldiers and their contributions to the war effort. We are able to follow our soldiers from the U.S. to France via correspondence and photos. In addition, we take a look at the home front and how civilians on U.S. soil, particularly Kentuckians, aided the troops from home. The ‘Great War’ resulted in millions of lives lost on all fronts. This exhibit aims to honor their memory and celebrate their lives.
One of the exhibit cases features letters, photographs, and other memorabilia documenting the supreme sacrifice made by George Dewitt Harris of Simpson County, Kentucky. The Harris Family Collection contains well over 50 letters written by George, a lawyer from St. Louis, to his family back in their hometown of Franklin. They brim with confidence and are filled with detailed insights into military life from an educated professional. George was wounded near Epionville, France when a piece of shrapnel broke his jaw as he aided a wounded commanding officer off the field on October 7, 1918. George died a week later and was buried in France. Later letters document how the family handled the grieving process as they continued to search for answers surrounding George’s death. The collection also documents the eventual return of George’s body to the U.S. and internment in Franklin’s Greenlawn Cemetery.
Another case documents the construction of Camp Zachary Taylor, the largest of the sixteen cantonments built in the continental U.S. Camp Taylor, located near downtown Louisville, consisted of nearly 2,000 chiefly frame buildings which hosted nearly 40,000 troops at a time. Despite its vast size the cantonment was built in a mere 90 days. It closed in 1920 and only one of its buildings still stands today.
The main purpose of the exhibit is to demonstrate how international events trickle down to the local stage. It all boils down to one person at a time being engaged in the event, whether that person served in the military or participated in the war efforts on the home front.
In The Piano in America, 1890-1940, Craig Roell states that by 1915 the majority of white middle-class urban families had pianos. With such a large market, it is not surprising that author Bernard Parker located over 9500 patriotic songs published in the United States between 1914 and 1920.
WKU Library Special Collections currently has a total of 4,438 pieces of sheet music. Our World War I holdings include titles that show the many facets of the war experience. Probably the best known hit patriotic song written for troop recruitment was George M. Cohan’s “Over There.” Louisville, Kentucky, musicians did their part with Clarence Zollinger and Billy Smythe’s rallying recruitment song, “Fight for the Flag We Love.”
Tucked among many love songs is the title “I Wish I had Someone to Say Goodbye To.” Children of soldiers are represented by “Don’t Leave Me Daddy,” “I Miss Daddy’s Goodnight Kiss,” and “Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There).” Loved ones left stateside were admonished not to let their tears add to the soldiers’ hardship in “Keep the Home-Fires Burning (‘Till the Boys Come Home).”
Soldiers’ experiences vary from “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” to “When Yankee Doodle Learns to ‘Parlez Vous Francais’.” A lyric that also speaks to the world experience gained in France appears within “Johnny’s In Town:” “he’s been aroun’, He knows French and ev’rything, You should hear him when he goes ‘Ooo-la-la-la.’” A father’s concern about the Paris exposure is expressed in the well known “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm.”
Due to the generosity of numerous donors, including Mary Clyde Huntsman, Drucilla Jones, and Bob and Carol Crowe Carraco, WKU is fortunate to have a good representation of the songs of World War I.
For additional reading, see: Bernard Parker, World War I Sheet Music: 9,670 Patriotic Songs Published in the United States, 1914-1920, with More Than 600 Covers Illustrated. Jefferson, N. C.: McFarland, 2007; Vogel, Frederick G., World War I Songs: A History and Dictionary of Popular American Patriotic Times with over 300 Complete Lyrics. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland and Company, Inc., 1995; Watkins, Glenn.. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2003.
Written and recorded in 1966, The Doors’ classic “Light My Fire” is both eternal and a singular moment in time, a whirling, seemingly incongruous vortex of Bach, Coltrane, William Blake, psychedelia, Latin music, and the Lizard King. On paper, it shouldn’t have worked. But on July 29th 1967 it exploded onto the Billboard charts, landing at #1 and staying there for three weeks. The vortex struck a nerve.
And 50 years later, it still does.
The time to hesitate is through; no time to wallow in the mire. Try now.
Jim Morrison sang those words in the bright and tumultuous 1960s, but they could have been written this morning.
–Michael Franklin, Aug. 1 2017
If you want to hear The Doors (and you do), come see us at the Visual And Performing Arts Library (VPAL) on the 2nd floor of Cravens.
This week a patron from St. Louis came into the Library Special Collections Reading Room looking for documentation relating to his ancestors’ 1809 marriage in Warren County. He had already been to the courthouse, where he was told that Special Collections had many of the original Warren County marriage bonds from 1797 to around 1850. I was thrilled to be able to help him, because he was our first in-house patron to use the scanned Warren County Marriage Records online in TopSCHOLAR. Rather than pulling out the vulnerable originals, I was able to guide him through the search process of finding the record online. The marriage records have been scanned in the same order they appear in the collection, which is first arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically by the gro0m’s last name. If you don’t know the groom’s name, then you can do a keyword search by the bride’s maiden name by using the search box that appears in the top left corner of the page. At this time, we only have the first fifteen years online. We are adding new records incrementally as we complete the scanning and encoding.
Scanning these records and making them accessible is a time consuming and expensive process. Personnel in Manuscripts & Folklife Archives will make tremendous progress on the project this summer, as we have a student and one part-time employee committed almost exclusively to the project. The funding for their wages was made possible through a challenge grant made by Marilyn Forney, a friend of Special Collections from Pennsylvania but with local family ties. Her grant was matched by members of the XV Club, Ray Buckberry, Tad Donnelly, Dean Connie Foster, and Jonathan Jeffrey.
The marriage records are our most requested resource both in-house and online. This digitization project will not only make the items accessible to the public in the comfort of their homes, it will help save the documents by decreasing human handling. To peruse the records scanned thus far click here.
New to the WKU Libraries collection is the inclusion of several recently acquired books from the “Japan Library” series, published by the Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture in Tokyo, Japan. The Japan Library consists of dozens of Japanese books that have been translated into English for the first time for an international readership. Japan Library books in the collection consist of a diverse range of topics such as economics, folk studies, history, martial arts, political science, religion, science, sociology and more. For example, The Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi is a biography by Shimada Masakazu about Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931) who served in the Ministry of Finance in the Meiji government before venturing into business and investing in hundreds of companies that were the roots of modern corporate Japan. In The Happy Youth of a Desperate Country: The Disconnect between Japan’s Malaise and Its Millennials, sociologist Noritoshi Furuichi examines the millennial generation in Japan, exploring youth theory and ascertaining the defining voice of this demographic. Alexander Bennet’s Bushido and the Art of Living: An Inquiry into Samurai Values addresses Bushido, Budo, the cultural traditions of Japanese samurai and how it is connected to modern martial arts and Japanese society today.
If you are interested in reading these books or learning more about Japan through the Japanese Library series, use our One-Search Library Catalog to search for “Japan Library” to discover what books the WKU Library Catalog holds from this unique publisher.
The Manuscripts & Folklife Archives unit of Library Special Collections has acquired an unusual 1842 petition signed by 17 Harrison County citizens attesting to an unusual growth of hair on thumb and fingers of fourteen-year-old Penelope Stout and confirming that they knew the character of Penelope’s family. Seven of the petitioners had actually seen the hair growth, ten others “never saw any hair But believe it upon the Confidence and Judgement I place in others.” Questioning a family’s character in this sense, typically meant they suspected her of devil worship or witchcraft.
The unusual phenomenon merited a full paragraph in Richard H. Collins’ History of Kentucky published in 1871. “Dr. Carson Gibney,” Collins noted, “a graduate of Transylvania medical school, practicing at Leesburg,
Harrison County, Ky., was called, Nov. 1, 1841, to see Miss Penelope Stout, daughter of Thos. H. Stout, of that place, a young girl of 13 years of age. He was informed that for some days past, Miss Penelope had been giving off from the thumb of her right hand quantities of hair, varying in hue and thickness–portions of it occasionally appearing thick and harsh, and constructed precisely like hog-bristles; and again it would come long and soft and silky and beautiful as the hair on her head. It would emanate most frequently from the end about the nail, but often about the thumb joints, leaving not a single trace on the surface of the skin to tell whence it had come. When grown to a certain length the hair would drop off, creating at times no sensation at all, at others producing a numbness about the arm, such as is produced by the foot sleeping. Some four or five inches in length. This singular action or disease had been going on constantly for six weeks, when the account was published. She was taken to Lexington, and other physicians were consulted to learn the cause of the phenomenon, but unsuccessfully. Hundreds of citizens visited the wonder little stranger. No charge was made for admission.”
The growth persisted for at least two years on Penelope’s right thumb. The unwanted hair, did not hurt her marriage prospects nor result in exile. In 1845 she married a merchant and county surveyor ten years her senior named Amelius Eggleston Ames. She gave birth to her first daughter at age 16 and a second when she was 18. She did not live beyond her youngest child’s second birthday and died in 1849.
To search other finding aids click here.
On Wednesday morning, May 3, WKU Libraries faculty, staff, and students received a lesson in Chinese calligraphy from famous Gongbi artist Liu Shuling in the Helm Library. Gongi is a careful realist technique in Chinese painting using highly detailed brushstrokes that delimits details very precisely and without independent or expressive variation. Hosted by the Confucius Institute at WKU, Liu Shuling, with assistance from his daughter Liu Jiamei and WKU Librarian Haiwang Yuan who served as translator, discussed his art on display in Helm library and taught library personnel and WKU students the history and art of Chinese calligraphy.
The exhibit received media coverage in China.
For more information about the exhibit, see an article from WKU news. See below for example’s of Liu’s recent artwork.
My name is Brookelyn Smith and I am a student at Western Kentucky University, majoring in History and Social Studies. During the fall semester of my third year on the Hill, my adviser made mention of an internship that I could possibly procure for the following semester. When the spring 2017 semester began, I applied for and received an internship with the WKU Department of Library Special Collections, working in the Manuscripts unit. The primary project I worked on during my time as an intern consisted of composing an online gallery of images for two Kentucky counties (Allen and Monroe) from a collection about historic structures, taken from a geographic survey done by Albert Petersen during the 1970’s and 1980’s. This included selecting images from slides that were good representatives of the collection, scanning the
slides into the computer, collecting the pertinent information for each slide, and uploading all of this onto an informational site on the department’s website. In addition, information was gleaned from the collection and sources in the Kentucky Library Research Collections to upload historical overviews of the respective counties to the site. An overview was included in the collection for Monroe County, but I compiled sources and wrote the overview for the history of Allen County. Here are links to the informational sites for each county, including the image galleries, historical overviews, and bibliographies of sources in the library:
In working on this project, I learned a great many things. First, I learned that the Library Special Collections contains and has access to an absolute wealth of information. All kinds of records, genealogy, maps, posters, artifacts, histories, etc. are held in this library. Beyond that, I learned that there is constant work in documenting this information, organizing it, and making available for the public to see. My internship gave me a glimpse into the formulation of a website and my first encounter with publishing work online. There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from making local history and information available to the public. In addition, I became interested in looking at the local history of each of these counties. Allen County was particularly interesting to me because my grandparents hail from Scottsville. So throughout the process, I gained insight into the structures within that county. Also, I learned a great deal about the history of that county through reading books to write the historical overview. As a history major, I appreciate this focus on local history, as it is the foundation of our present society. Finally, I had enough time to begin gathering information for a project that will eventually involve creating a biography for Douglas Keen, who was an alumni and member of the Board of Regents at WKU. Beginning this project gave me exposure to some of the history of WKU, which, of course, is very interesting to me as a student of that university.
The experience of interning with the Manuscripts unit is certainly one that I will value and remember. I have gained knowledge, skills, and insight from working on the Albert Petersen collection and creating a site for the information, and I am grateful to have done so. I am also very grateful to Dr. Delroy Hire who sponsored my internship. As a graduate of WKU and a forensic pathologist, he continues to support the University in various ways. Under his sponsorship, I was able to gain a wonderful experience, and provide Dr. Hire and others with insight into some of Kentucky’s local history. If a student wishes to obtain information about this internship, they can contact the Department Head, Jonathan Jeffrey, by phone at (270) 745-5265 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.