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Over Here and Over There: World War I Songs

Patriotic recruitment song published in Louisville, KY.

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.”

Popular WWI songs often spoke of the gaiety of Paris.

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.

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50 Years Ago (or so) Today

“Set the Night on Fire” by Tom Poole. Located on Cravens 4th floor.

 

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.

The Doors self-titled debut album from 1967 features the full length version of “Light My Fire” at track 6.

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.

       

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Making 1797-1850 Marriage Records Available Online

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.

Marriage bond.

An original Warren County marriage document from 1797.

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.

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The Japan Library at WKU Libraries

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 Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi

The Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi by Shimada Masakazu, translated by Paul Narum

The Happy Youth of a Desperate Country: The Disconnect between Japan's Malaise and Its Millennials

The Happy Youth of a Desperate Country: The Disconnect between Japan’s Malaise and Its Millennials by Noritoshi Furuichi, translated by Raj Mahtani

Bushido and the Art of Living: An Inquiry into Samurai Values

Bushido and the Art of Living: An Inquiry into Samurai Values by Alexander Bennett

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A Hairy Experience

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,

Petition acknowledging the mysterious hair growth on the fingers of Penelope Stout.

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.

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Chinese artist Liu Shuling visits WKU Libraries

Liu and class in the Confucius Institute in WKU Libraries

In the Confucius Institute in WKU Libraries (from left to right): Dr. Wei-Ping Pan, Selina Langford, Carol Watwood, Shaden Melky, WKU students, Bryan Carson, artist Liu Shuling, Daniel Peach, Haiwang Yuan, WKU student, Dr. Bryan Coutts, and Liu’s daughter Liu Jiamei

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.

Liu Shuling teaches Chinese calligraphy

Liu Shuling teaches Chinese calligraphy, demonstrating one-on-one with librarian Bryan Carson

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.

Liu's work in progress

Liu’s work in progress

Liu's work in progress

Liu’s work in progress, depicting an eagle

Liu's recent work featuring azaleas

Dr. Pan, artist Liu Shuling and his daughter Liu Jiamei, looking at Liu’s recent work featuring azaleas.

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Reconstructing History: Allen and Monroe Counties

Spring intern Brookelyn Smith of Sumner County, Tennessee.

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

Ebenezer Church of Christ near Tompkinsville, Monroe County, Kentucky.

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:

Allen County, Kentucky

Monroe County, Kentucky

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 jonathan.jeffrey@wku.edu.

 

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“True Stories Artfully Told” at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest, 2017

(From Left to Right) David Gann, Fenton Johnson, Sean Kinder, and Holly Tucker

(From Left to Right) David Grann, Fenton Johnson, Sean Kinder, and Holly Tucker

The 10 a.m. session on Saturday, April 22 drew a crowd to hear the latest about new books from: David Grann, currently the nation’s hottest literary property, according to the Chicago Tribune; Fenton Johnson, one of Kentucky’s most acclaimed writers; Sean Kinder, one of this year’s nominees for the Kentucky Literary Award; and Holly Tucker, whose last book was on many people’s “best of the year” lists.  Brian Coutts served as moderator.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Gann

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

David Grann, whose new book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, is moving up the best seller lists, talked about the years of investigative research he conducted into the murders of members of the Osage Indians in the early decades of the twentieth century.  It involved combing through FBI files and interviews with descendants. When oil discoveries made the Osage among the wealthiest citizens in America they were targeted by local white residents leading to murders, poisonings, explosions, etc.  Movie rights for this new book were recently auctioned off for $5 million.  A movie adaptation of his 2009 novel The Lost City of Z opened last week nationwide.  Two other movies based on his short stories True Crime and The Old Man and the Gun are in production.

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays by Fenton Johnson

Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays by Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson talked about newest novel The Man Who Loved Birds and a new collection of essays Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays published this week.  The idea for the novel, which is set in Kentucky, he said, had been germinating for a very long time and had been prompted by the murder of a marijuana grower with drug connections in the early 1970s.  The novel involves the relationships between a monk in the Trappist Monastery of Gethsemane, a “marijuana” farmer, and a Hindu woman doctor who’s recruited to provide medical services for the county. Johnson’s next book, based on a 2015 front page article in Harper’s, is due out from Norton in 2018.

Una Merkel: The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm by Sean Kinder

Una Merkel: The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm by Sean Kinder

Sean Kinder’s wonderful biography of Covington, Kentucky film star Una Merkel was a finalist for this year’s Kentucky Literary Award.  Una Merkel: The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm describes her roles in more than a hundred movies, and countless radio and TV shows and memorable appearances on Broadway where she won a Tony for her appearance in the Ponder Heart.  The book was selected by the Huffington Post as one of the “Best Film Books of 2016”.  Sean was a guest at Covington’s summer festival where a new mural of Una Merkel was unveiled.  Kinder told the story of getting out of a cab on the Hollywood “walk of stars” (there are more than 2,600) almost exactly in front of the star for Una—taking this as some kind of sign!

City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris by Holly Tucker

City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris by Holly Tucker

Holly Tucker explained that while doing research for her earlier book Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution she discovered the hand written notes of the Paris Chief of Police during his investigation of the sordid affairs of poisonings, black magic, illegal abortions and much more, which involved not only the upper crust of Parisian nobility but even some of Louis XIV’s mistresses as well.  Talking about her new book, City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris, she answered questions about how Paris became the “city of light” (it was because they began to provide candle illuminations in the late 17th century), the various techniques used to poison unfaithful husbands, and various tortures used to extract information from those involved.  Suffice to say waterboarding is nothing new.

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The Days of My Life

It seems like I just started yesterday. I’m Sean Feole and I’m taking a major in History and a minor in Anthropology. Before signing up for the internship in Library Special Collections at WKU, my previous experience with

Sean Feole

Library Special Collections Intern – Sean Feole

museum work consisted of volunteering at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort in Summer 2016. However, my duties predominately consisted of filing donations from institutions and individuals. There were a few other tasks I fulfilled, such as recycling boxes, data entry, cleaning the kitchen, and spot varnishing vases and frames! That sounds like one of the least exciting summaries to put on a resume. But at the end of my volunteer shift, I had my first taste of museum life; before long, I thought working in a museum was something I could take on in life. So when I was told that I would have to take an internship to fulfill 3 academic hours, I signed up right away.

Quite honestly, it’s most likely the best choice I’ve made in college thus far. Why? Well, for one it was a full hands-on experience. Predominately, I numbered/catalogued materials from past lives. The main individual of my prognosis was Hugh Oliver Potter, one of the more well-known figures from Daviess County, Kentucky. His resume consisted of building WOMI, one of Owensboro’s oldest radio stations, increasing awareness of Kentucky radio broadcasting, and fostering support for educational television. But his presence at the Special Collections, based on my research, was due to his pursuit of Kentucky history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Daviess County local history. Words cannot describe how much effort he spent writing at least three book manuscripts on Abraham Lincoln alone. There were numerous other duties as well, such as ironing (!) court documents, transcribing written histories, copying damaged materials, and more.

I have to say, I will miss working with Mr. Jeffrey, the Department head, because he was great in teaching me the ropes about archival caretaking. However, the experience I’ve had working in Library Special Collections is one that will advantageous in my search for a job related to a museum. Lastly, I believe that Library Special Collections is a great starting for anybody wanting to get into public history.

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Kentucky Live! presents Fenton Johnson and “The Man Who Loved Birds: A Novel”

The-Man-Who-Loved-Birds (3)

One of Kentucky’s most celebrated writers, Fenton Johnson, was a featured speaker in our Kentucky Live Series on April 20, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. He talked about his newest novel The Man Who Loved Birds set in Nelson county Kentucky.

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