Category Archives: Uncategorized

Goodbye, Old Friend. You served us well.

Back before the Internet, Kentucky librarians feverishly retyped newspaper stories using carbon paper so they could use filing cabinets to provide access to information and save their one newspaper during the Great Depression. Before KenCat, our online presence for the collection management software, Library Special Collections had catalog cards, typewriters and a lovely old cabinet in which to house hundreds of man hours of meticulous indexing of manuscript collections.

Six employees moved the DLSC manuscripts card cabinet to Gatton Academy yesterday.

Six employees moved the DLSC manuscripts card cabinet to Gatton Academy yesterday.

Advancements to that card catalog came with the end of “People, Place, Thing” organization of cards, the alphabetizing by word (not letters, ignoring spaces), the addition of brief title cards for locating unprocessed collections, and the purchase of the electric typewriter with memory. Each improvement decreased the manpower necessary to create the finding aid and increased access, but researchers still had  to use it on-site.  The Ghostbusters movie where the cards flew out of the cabinet truly gave librarians nightmares.
Yesterday Jonathan Jeffrey bid farewell to an old friend, the Manuscripts Card Catalog. Now researchers worldwide can access that information via KenCat.wku.edu and TopSCHOLAR.wku.edu. It is our hope that soon we can digitize our vertical files so that future generations will not have to come to our Harrison-Baird Research Room in the Kentucky Building to utilize all the precious news clippings and other data sources lovingly filed for 60 years in filing cabinets which I teach our researchers are the “internet of the 1930s.”

For those  of you who love antique furniture, you will be please know that the six men it  took to remove it (with catalog drawers already removed) from the building said it would  be re-purposed in the Gatton Academy.

Comments Off on Goodbye, Old Friend. You served us well.

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, Past Events, Uncategorized

Early 19th-Century Mental Health Pamphlet Acquired

Title page of newly acquired pamphlet.

Title page of newly acquired pamphlet.

The Kentucky Library Research Collections in the Department of Library Special Collections recently acquired a rare pamphlet about the status of the Kentucky Lunatic Asylum (Lexington) published in 1841 by Prentice and Weissinger of Louisville. The pamphlet, Insanity and Insane Asylums, by Edward Jarvis discusses asylums throughout the United States with particular emphasis on the four mental health institutions at:  Lexington, Kentucky, Charleston and Worcester, Massachusetts, and Columbus, Ohio.  Jarvis mentions the physical plants of each facility as well as their methodologies.  He is particularly interested in statistical information collected from the various institutions, including total number of cases, patients that were discharged, duration of stay, percentage of cures, percentage of deaths, etc.  Jarvis, a young physician who moved from Massachusetts to Kentucky, used statistical information from the pamphlet to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly to convert the Lexington asylum from a purely custodial institution to a modern mental hospital using the “moral treatment.” This treatment attempted to inculcate self-control in patients rather than impose violent coercion.  Proponents of the moral treatment envisioned the asylum as a curative milieu that would instill discipline through the gentle influence of a carefully regulated, meticulously sane environment. They expected the insane to benefit from the order of a daily routine, the satisfaction of meaningful employment, the intellectual stimulation of diversions, an identity in the asylum community, and above all the guidance of the asylum personnel.

Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum at Lexington

Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum at Lexington

In the course of his work, Jarvis befriended perhaps the most important citizen advocate for the humane treatment of the insane, Dorothea Dix.  During the 1840s, Dix, also a native of Massachusetts, no doubt, corresponded frequently with Jarvis. During that decade, she visited the Commonwealth more than once petitioning the General Assembly to open an additional mental health facility west of the Green River.  The legislative heeded her entreaties as well as those from mental health professionals and approved funds to construct Western State Hospital in Hopkinsville in 1848. Jarvis returned to Massachusetts in 1843. His interest in vital statistics resulted in his gaining a notable reputation as a statistician.  His library on the topic was eventually donated to the American Statistical Association.

WKU is one of twelve libraries in the country that own this title, and the only repository in Kentucky.  It’s uniqueness includes the fact that the author signed this copy and inscribed it to Luther V. Bell, the superintendent of the McLean Hospital for the Insane which was located in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

 

Comments Off on Early 19th-Century Mental Health Pamphlet Acquired

Filed under New Stuff, Uncategorized

Architectural Acquisition Fund Built

"The Small House for a Moderate Income"

“The Small House for a Moderate Income”

The Department of Library Special Collections is pleased to add the first acquisition using funds from the Jonathan Jeffrey Architectural Endowment Fund. It is a slim volume titled The Small House for A Moderate Income by Ekin Wallick. The book printed in 1915 by Hearst’s International Library Company features lovely, pastel illustrations of home exteriors and interiors, as well as floor plans, for seventeen homes of varying sizes and styles. Wallick is no wall flower author; he has definite opinions about design, building materials, subdivision planning, color palettes, etc. He saves particular disgust for the multiple architectural styles that ran rampant in the late-nineteenth century, “the Early Victorian Era, a period of abortions both in the building and decorating of houses. We can now look back on this period with a keen sense of disgust and fully realize that we are on the threshold of great achievement in the matter of house building,” Ekin wrote. He goes on to call the Era “one of mediocre architectural achievement. There may be many excuses put forth for the unitelligence of the time, but the fact still remains that it was most decidedly an architectural blot on our national escutcheon.”

"The House with the Green Shutters"

“The House with the Green Shutters”

Nearly ten years ago, I began pondering what I could leave, a legacy if you will, at WKU once I had completed my career. With the help of our then development officer Carrie Barnette, I concluded that one of the best enduring legacies would be an endowed acquisition account that would funded by my estate upon my demise. That sounded a little grim, but it fulfilled my purpose and represented one of my passions, as I decided that the endowment would be dedicated to purchasing books, printed material, or architectural drawings for the Kentucky Library Research Collections and the Manuscripts units of the Department of Library Special Collections and/or the housing and exhibition of the same. Although we have very fine collections, limited acquisition funds sometimes hamper us for purchasing significant items for the collection when they become available on the market. I really didn’t want to wait until my death to establish the account, so Carrie mentioned that we could begin a fund and I could add to it rather painlessly by having a payroll deduction go directly into it. I could also use that as a gift to the university and thus have a tax deduction each year. Two years ago I reached the minimum amount of $10,000 in the endowed account. I could not have done this in a single lump sum gift.

small house144

I am so pleased to select this book to begin the legacy. It is a perfect example of the evolution of architectural styles, steering away from the old, tried examples of the Victorian Era and defining the Colonial Revival as America’s new style of choice. This book, geared toward families with moderate incomes eliminates the excessive ornamentation and asymmetrical massing found in many Victorian Era homes. The slightly self-righteous Wallick declares the new American style “free from affectation, a concrete crystallization of common sense. The American architect…strives for unbroken lines in his exterior designs, for he knows by experience that they add decidedly to the dignity and charm of the house.”

To search other architectural related items in the Department of Library Special Collections, search KenCat.

Comments Off on Architectural Acquisition Fund Built

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, Uncategorized

What I Learned in Summer School…

Gabe

Gabe Sudbeck, summer intern in Manuscripts.

“Everyone has a story and I want to know what it is.” These words were spoken by the late WKU history Professor Carlton Jackson. This notion has formed a phrase that has stuck with me since I read them. My name is Gabe Sudbeck and during my time as an intern in WKU’s Library Special Collections Manuscripts unit, I spent a lot of time reading his work and looking over his research about the HMS Rohna and the 1918 flu epidemic. When I was home one night talking with my mother about my internship, and I found out that she (a WKU Alumna) had actually been a research assistant with Jackson during her time at WKU. She said that he was a wonderful man. While I personally never had the honor to meet him in person, I do believe that he was a fine man full of energy and passion for his field.

The stories that I read about in the collection concerned regular people dealing with survival and tragedy in world events. The sinking of the Rohna for example was a tragedy in which over 1000 American men lost their lives. Many were left adrift for three days. Many men began to think of their loved ones. One story featured a man lost at sea who could hear his wife telling him that he could pull though. Another consisted of a priest recalling the story of a member of his church who refused to be baptized due to fear of being submerged under water which reminded him of being adrift at sea for three days.

One thing I learned from the internship is the personal connections that the researcher makes with his subject when he begins to study a historical event or person. I have heard stories that David McCullough, when researching John Adams intended for it to be about both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. But McCullough found Adams to be more interesting and under appreciated, despite his significant contributions. McCullough truly enjoyed his discovery and his research; in the same spirit Carlton Jackson relished each of his writing projects. If I have learned anything from studying his work, it’s that we all have our own story to tell from the greatest of tragedies to the minutiae of everyday life.

Comments Off on What I Learned in Summer School…

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, Uncategorized

Rare Shaker Timeline/Chart

A recent purchase by the Department of Library Special Collections bolsters the significant Shaker holdings in Kentucky Library Research Collections. This two-piece timeline map/chart is titled, “Genealogical Chronological and Geographical Chart Embracing Biblical and Profane History of Ancient Times from Adam to Christ.” The map was produced by Jacob Skeen of Louisville, Kentucky in February 1887 as an educational tool to reinforce the traditional Christian validity of Shaker communities and to arrest the decline of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing or as they were more commonly known, the Shakers. Elder Alonzo Hollister of the Mount Lebanon, New York community wished to show that Shaker orthodoxy had continuity with scripture and the traditional church. It was also a grasping attempt to reconcile their beliefs with a fast changing, progressive worldview. Copyrighted 1887, the detailed chart with many sub-charts purports to show locations and relationships of humanity, the Church and the Devil. W.F. Pennebaker of the community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky also participated in the publication of this lithograph. David Rumsey, a world renowned map collector and the founder of the David Rumsey Map Collection notes that “although researched, designed, drawn, and copyrighted by Jacob Skeen, a Presbyterian, the chart is strongly associated with the Shaker Church. Skeen spent 10 years developing it and it was to be used in the biblical instruction of children and adults alike.” Some 204 charts were produced, the KLRC is one of only a few holding libraries in the world. The Manuscripts and Folklife Archives has more extensive documentation of the South Union Shakers’ 115 years of existence than any other repository with many Journals, diaries, account books, hymnals, and business records chronicle the activities of the religious community of Shakers, who gathered at South Union in Logan County, Kentucky, in 1807 and disbanded in 1922.
Call the Reference Assistance desk at 270-745-5083 or search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat<BRM2482-Skeen-Geographical-Chart-1887_lowres-3000x1921

Comments Off on Rare Shaker Timeline/Chart

Filed under Latest News, Uncategorized

A Tribute to a former Kentucky Librarian: Jeanette Farley

Jeanette Farley (Nov. 5, 1920 – June 13, 2016) always had a welcoming smile for everyone! That message was the “take-away” theme from her memorial service today. No one that knew her did not know Jeanette’s smile lit up the room.Jeanette Wilson Farley (1920-2016)

I first met Mrs. Farley when I was an undergraduate student using the Kentucky Library. Her desk was in the middle of the research room. She was so approachable by a student new to the use of Library Special Collections. My respect for her grew when I became a student worker; she was never too busy to help me. She was a role model of how librarians should work with researchers and mentor historians and future librarians. In 1982, she retired from WKU Libraries.

Always a life lesson teacher, Mrs. Farley gave her sons the following poem as she approached her senior years.

Given to her sons as Mrs. Farley began her 70s.I

We will miss you, Mrs. Farley, you serve the Kentucky Building well.

 

Comments Off on A Tribute to a former Kentucky Librarian: Jeanette Farley

Filed under Past Events, People, Uncategorized

An American Odyssey: Photos from the Detroit Photographic Company, 1888-1924

An American Odyssey: Photos From the Detroit Photographic Company 1888-1924

An American Odyssey: Photos From the Detroit Photographic Company 1888-1924 cover

A child asleep in a cotton field. Jupiter and Minerva Terrace, Yellowstone.  A Pike’s Peak prospector. The Battery, Charleston. Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. Emancipation Day in Richmond, Virginia.  The glorious azaleas at the Magnolia Plantation.  Weighing sugar cane in Havana. Dinner hour on the docks, Jacksonville. Unloading bananas in Mobile.  The Liberty Bell. Child coal miners. All these remarkable historical images, and hundreds more, are collected in this new Reference acquisition (FOLIO REF TR 820.5 .A44x 2014).  “The archive of the Detroit Photographic Company (DPC) is probably the most important ever created on the subject of North America between 1888 and 1924…”  so begins the brief history of the company that produced the images in this extraordinary work.  Many of these were colorized with an early process known as Photochrom; therefore you can see a color image of the Grand Canyon 10 years before the invention of color photography.  The images of Kentucky show the tobacco markets and warehouses in Louisville.  Page 100 depicts White Sulphur Spring, Saratoga Lake, New York, and shows people drinking the “miraculous” sulphur water. Grab this weighty and wonderful tome, find yourself an afternoon, and dive in.

Blog entry by Lisa Miller

The Statue of Liberty in photochrom

The Statue of Liberty in photochrom

The Sagamore dock, Green Island, Lake George

The Sagamore dock, Green Island, Lake George

In the surf at Old Orchard, Maine (photochrom)

In the surf at Old Orchard, Maine (photochrom)

Gardens by the lake on the Magnolia Plantation, South Carolina (photochrom)

Gardens by the lake on the Magnolia Plantation, South Carolina (photochrom)

Arrowmaker, Ojibwa Brave, photochrom

Arrowmaker, Ojibwa Brave, photochrom

“Out for a good time” Long Beach, California

“Out for a good time” Long Beach, California

Hotel Green (top) and the Colorado Street Bridge over Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, California

Hotel Green (top) and the Colorado Street Bridge over Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, California

Comments Off on An American Odyssey: Photos from the Detroit Photographic Company, 1888-1924

Filed under Acquisitions, General, Latest News, Reference, Stuff, Uncategorized

Little Nemo comes to WKU Libraries

littlenemo

Front cover of “The Complete Little Nemo” two volume collection, recently added to the WKU Libraries collection

Spanning more than 20 years and three different newspapers, “Little Nemo” is the story of a boy, Nemo, and his journey through Slumberland. Creator Winsor McCay’s use of bright colors, imaginary figures and anthropomorphic animals combine to create a fantasy world that still often mirrors the “real” world. Nemo’s dream world, where he plays many roles and wears elaborate dress, is in sharp contrast to his reality. The last panel of each cartoon is repetitive and simple, showing Nemo waking in his bed, wearing his nightshirt and often being scolded by his parents. While first published over 100 years ago, “Little Nemo” has cultural relevance today. It has influenced authors from Europe and Asia as well as being referenced on the American television show “The Simpsons” in 2011, at least two music videos, and in 2012, Google featured the strip in its homepage (v2, 140).

Those interested in reading Nemo’s adventures can see WKU Libraries’ copy of The Complete Little Nemo by Winsor McCay, compiled by Alexander Braun (Folio PN6728 .L49 M33 2014) and its companion volume The Complete Little Nemo: Winsor McCay A Life of Imaginative Genius (Folio PN6728 .L49 M33 2014 v. 2).

— Blog post by Kathy Foushee

Comments Off on Little Nemo comes to WKU Libraries

Filed under Acquisitions, General, Latest News, Stuff, Uncategorized

Renovations Underway at WKU Libraries

IMG_0290
Today a crane was brought on site to remove one of two air handling units in Helm Library that will be replaced this summer. The renovations began on May 16th and will continue through mid-August, replacing the two air handlers, both of which are over fifty years old, with newer, more efficient models. Helm Library is closed to the public during this time but materials are available upon request. Departments normally found in Helm – Government Documents, Interlibrary Loan, Reference, and Periodicals – have been relocated to Cravens Library for the summer.

IMG_0284

Comments Off on Renovations Underway at WKU Libraries

Filed under Uncategorized

Brian Coutts gave Best Reference 2015 seminar

Dr. Coutts Best Reference 2015

Brian Coutts delivering Best Reference 2015 seminar

Brian Coutts gave his “Best Reference” seminar on Friday, May 13 at 10:00 a.m. in Helm 5. Best Reference is an annual selection he makes for Library Journal,  the nation’s oldest and leading library trade journals.  The article appears in the March 1, 2016 issue in both print and online.  This year’s list included 31  titles from 20 different publishers, including 10 university presses and some small publishing houses.  This is the 30th consecutive year Brian has been involved with this project either as a consultant, coauthor or author.  A reception followed with cake and coffee.

Best Reference 2015 seminar

Best Reference 2015 seminar

 

Cake at the reception

Cake and Coffee Served at the Reception

Best Reference 2015 flyer

Best Reference 2015 flyer

Photo Album

Best Reference Article

Comments Off on Brian Coutts gave Best Reference 2015 seminar

Filed under Acquisitions, AskUs!, General, Past Events, People, Reference, Stuff, Uncategorized