Tag Archives: History

Bits and Pieces

In addition to the many print and microfilm resources in the WKU libraries’ Special Collections, we have DVD and tape visual resources. A recent find in our collection is a 3 minute 8mm black and white film that showcases former President Harry Truman’s visit to Paducah, Kentucky on October 24th, 1959. Truman’s Vice President, Alben Barkley was from Paducah and served as the 35th Vice President of the United States (1949–1953), under Truman. Barkley spent much of his life in Paducah, and has a lake, an airport and other landmarks named after him in the area. The film shows Truman going to a coffee shop, meeting with Paducah citizens and officials and speaking at a banquet during a fund raising dinner. We have converted the film to DVD and so it is available for inhouse viewing.

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Henry Cherry’s Interest Wide Ranging

President Henry Cherry was a man of many and varied interests and we know this by the scrapbooks he had created during his administration 1906-1937.  These are held in WKU Archives and we are about half way through processing them.  Most of the scrapbooks are in good condition.  While education and Western Kentucky University head the list of topics covered, religion, the Temperance Movement and World War I are well represented.  There are several scrapbooks dedicated to Cherry’s own personal political aspirations, his candidacy for Kentucky governor and his promotion of rural life through chautaquas held in Warren and the surrounding counties.

The collection inventory has been posted on TopScholar and gives more detail regarding these materials.  These and many other records are available for researchers through our online catalog, KenCat and in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Library & Museum Monday – Saturday, 9 – 4.

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Kentucky Library’s Global Collections

Though the Kentucky Library and Museum’s major focus has followed our mission statement, “We Collect Kentucky,” our collections can now be characterized as both local and global. A sample of recently cataloged items illustrate this new focus: Institutes of Hindu Law and the History and Antiquities of Carborough, Viciniti: with Views and Plans, The Northern Campaigns and History of the War, from the Invasion of Russia, in 1812, and Memoirs and Recollections of Count Segur: Ambassador from France to the Courts of Russia and Prussia, and Important Engagements Which Took Place Between His Majesty’s Forces and the Rebels, During the Irish Rebellion, 1798., by John Jones. These primary source materials enable researchers to delve into what it was like to live during the earlier centuries by reading these types of first-hand accounts of everyday people, leaders, revolutionaries and their times. For the last title by John Jones, we are among a few libraries that hold this original book including the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg and the British Library. Additionally, our unique holdings are now more accessible through our “KenCat” catalog which uses the collection management program, PastPefect. The collection is searchable online at http://wku.pastperfect-online.com/35749cgi/mweb.exe?request=ks and covers a wide variety of materials in four areas: objects, archives, photographs and library materials. For more information about these unique collections contact klmref@wku.edu or 270-745-5083.
Irish Rebellion

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Scrapbooks in Special Collections (Kentucky Library)

Today, scrapbooking is a popular pastime but fortunately for historians and genealogists, this activity is not new. Many early scrap bookers were also genealogists and through their scrapbooking activities, they preserved not only a part of their life, but left a legacy of their family’s history. Many of the scrapbooks in our collections contain such diverse items as photographs, correspondence, telegrams, tickets, obituaries, booklets, programs, correspondence and newspaper photographs and clippings, certificates, telegrams, narratives, bills of undertakers, promotional notices, grade and postcards.
One scrapbook donated by Mary Vogel contained a hand written 1851 genealogical chart for Johannes Volpert who was born in Germany in 1795. Though the chart is written in German, there is a note on the chart in English “this was given me by the Priest in my mother’s home, I was in the house where she was born, in the church where my grandparents were married…”
These wonderful time capsules show that with care and consideration genealogy and family history can very easily incorporated into today’s scrapbooking to create lasting legacies.Johannes Volpert Genealogical Chart

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Rodes-Helm Lecture Series

On September 27, 1961 the College Heights Herald announced the $25,000 endowment of the Rodes-Helm Lecture Series.  The money was donated by Harold and Mary (Rodes) Helm in honor of two individuals close to them.

John Rodes was a judge in the Warren County circuit court described as “one of the most distinguished jurists in the South.”  Judge Rodes was a native of Bowling Green and graduate of Ogden College.  He went on to study law at the University of Virginia.  He was also the father of Mary Grider Rodes Helm.

Margie Helm, Harold’s sister was born in Auburn, Kentucky and grew in Bowling Green.  She attended Randolph Macon Women’s College, Pratt Institute Library School and Chicago Graduate Library School.  She returned to Bowling Green in 1920 taking the position of assistant librarian at WKU.   In 1923 she was appointed head librarian and held that position for 42 years.  Two years after her retirement, WKU rededicated the library building as the Margie Helm Library in her honor.

Kelly Thompson stated that the Rodes-Helm Lecture Series “will be used to bring to the Western campus, personalities, thinkers and speakers whom we might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.”  Some of those have included Pearl Buck, William Buckley, Chet Huntley, Buckminster Fuller and Charles Kuralt to name a few.  

The record series includes programs, press releases and recordings of some lectures.  The initial press conference announcing the gift and establishment of the lecture series was recorded on a 33 1/3 lp which is also part of the collection.  The finding aid for the series is available online at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_fin_aid/123/  Researchers can use view and listen to the items in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Building, Monday-Saturday, 9-4.

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