WKU Library Special Collections often commemorates leap year with an exhibit. This year, our efforts to educate our viewers about the legend of the 5th century agreement between St. Brigid and St. Patrick that allowed women the right to propose for 366 days every four years and subsequent beliefs about laws, have broadened.
Sue Lynn McDaniel published an article “Leap Year: Chance, Chase or Curse?” in the January 2016 issue of The Ephemera Journal. See http://works.bepress.com/sue_lynn_mcdaniel/ Last week, she was the “Talk of the Town” in our local Bowling Green Daily News for her research on leap year and has curated an exhibit that closes March 31st in Library Special Collections entitled: “Time to Leap!” displays a portion of our collection.
A case exhibit provides a hint of all the sources now in the Selected Works Gallery.
But most exciting for us this year is our new opportunity to go beyond our doors by opening the Library Special Collections’ Worth A Thousand Words gallery “Leap Year Postcards and Ephemera.” This site functions as searchable permanent sources for users not necessarily OPAC friendly. Enjoying exhibit cases are limited by schedules and the viewers’ ability to travel to the destination. Nancy Richey will continue to add all our postcards to KenCat, while Sue Lynn McDaniel adds ephemera to this online catalog, but we anticipate wider usage and visibility of our primary sources through this TopScholar gateway. Please explore the Leap Year Postcards and Ephemera, via http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ly_pe/ Once you have reviewed the materials, come hear Sue Lynn McDaniel’s presentation: “Time to Leap” on Leap Day, February 29, 2016 at 4 p.m. in the Western Room of the Kentucky Building. For students, this is a swipeable event.
On August 22, 2015 at the Cave City Convention Center, Katherine Pennavaria and Sue Lynn McDaniel presented a total of four of the ten sessions aimed assisting genealogists in their research at “Finding Your Family Story: Genealogy Symposium.” In the morning, McDaniel presented Beginning Genealogy 101-Part I and Beginning Genealogy 101-Part II, while that afternoon Pennavaria presented “Dancing with your skeltons” and “What else does the census say?” All four sessions were well attended and received positive feedback from participants.
Informing local historians and genealogists about Library Special Collections is a constant goal.
Library Special Collections also had a table informing the public about one of the best genealogical libraries in the state of Kentucky. Available for pickup were Special Collections rack cards, WKU Libraries: Your Research Partner, McDaniel’s business card, WKU Libraries pens and candy. McDaniel plans to have a table at the upcoming Louisville Genealogical Society’s Annual Seminar on October 17th. Working with the LGS Seminar Chairman 2014 and 2015 Donald C. Howell, McDaniel will plan a Louisville Genealogical Society field trip to Library Special Collections to learn more about unique resources in our collection.
Filed under Events, People
From the 1930’s through the 1960’s Bowling Green Kentucky was home to one of the longest operating brothels in the history of the United States. Initially located in a small colonial-style house on Smallhouse Road, the business was opened in 1933 by Pauline Tabor, a divorced mother of two, who had been struggling to make ends meet during the Depression. In the 1940’s, the brothel was moved to a red brick house located at 627 Clay Street, where it managed to stay in business until 1968. Pauline Tabor is regarded by historians as an adroit businesswoman who was generous with her workers and who gave generously to charities and the local community.
In 1971, Tabor published her autobiography, Pauline’s: Memoirs of the Madam on Clay Street, which details her life story and experiences as a madam of the longest running brothel in the United States. The memoir also features photographs, portraits, and illustrations by jazz album cover artist David Stone Martin.
WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections recently acquired a limited edition copy of Pauline’s, which is numbered and signed by the author. This deluxe copy was gifted by Lillian Levy of Prospect, Kentucky, and is bound in red plush velvet with gold edges and has a gold locket clasp. Special Collections also has an additional velvet copy bound with blank pages, which was likely intended to be used as a diary or journal. Both are accompanied by their own keys.
Click here to access the catalog record for this unique limited edition copy. Special Collections also has other editions of Pauline’s which can be located by searching TOPCAT.
Kentucky Ancestors is a publication of the Kentucky Historical Society which features article topics appealing to family historians of all levels. They have ‘How-To’, Case Studies, and individual family histories as well as Book Notes, stories and commentary. They focus on content related to Kentucky families and locations, as well as those areas from which many Kentuckians migrated. The resource is no longer issued in print but is freely available online. A new feature for the magazine is “Repository Roundup.” They note that “Kentucky has a great reputation for being ‘Records Rich’ – but we want to know WHERE the records are located throughout the state.” We were pleased that the Special Collections Library was chosen as the first library to be featured for this new series. Family historians and other patrons from around the United States and the world visit to see and use the many “books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, audio, video, and other material documenting the history, politics, culture, literature, daily life and folkways” of the families of the Commonwealth and beyond. The article featuring the Special Collections library is available at http://kentuckyancestors.org/repository-roundup-western-kentucky-university/
Special Collections are often referred to as hidden collections. They require a special environment, careful handling and labor intensive description work to make them available. In the time it takes to process a small collection of photographs I suspect a book cataloger could catalog about 250 books.
WKU’s Special Collections are over 75 years old and we are just now beginning to gain ground in opening our hidden collections with the help computer technology. KenCat is your portal into our world of special collections. Since purchasing this software in 2005 we have created descriptions of over 56,000 items housed in the Kentucky Building. There are rare books on all sorts of topics, books about Kentucky, maps, photographs, documents, oral histories, blueprints, postcards, newspapers, memorabilia, letters, diaries and much more.
KenCat went live late in 2007 and searches have been steadily increasing since that first year from 2 to 21,566 so far this year. We will continue to reveal more and more of our treasures in the years to come.
I want an obituary or a death certificate for my grandmother who died January 7th 1903. Can you help me?
This is a very frequent request as obituary information is very helpful to family historians/genealogists as they are conducting research and creating and verifying family ties. Unfortunately, it is a request that is many times difficult to fulfill. Kentucky did not require its counties to register births and deaths until 1911 and did not require marriage registrations until 1958. There was a short period in 1852 when statewide registration was first enacted but Kentucky’s compliance was sporadic. This early requirement lasted only ten years with some births and deaths being recorded for 1852-1862, 1874-79, 1892–1910. Some larger cities such as Louisville, Covington, Lexington and Newport maintained registered births and deaths for the years 1890–1911 in their respective health departments. See Jeffery M. Duff’s Inventory of Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1852–1910 for county holdings. At the Kentucky Library and Museum, we hold microfilmed copies of death certificates from 1911 to 1959. These certificates become public records after 50 years.
Local newspapers are a great source for obituary information if one has a pinpointed date of death. However, there are not always extant papers for the years sought. The Kentucky Library and Museum has an extensive collection of microfilmed newspapers for this area and surrounding counties. The KLM also has death registers from various funeral homes and select Bowling Green, Kentucky – Death Records, 1877-1913 that are “physician’s death certificates and undertaker’s certificates relating to permits for burials within the city of Bowling Green. [These certificates] include information on the deceased’s date and cause of death, age, race, and marital status, place of birth, residence, and date and place of intended interment. [And they] may include other documentation if a death occurred outside Warren County.” See http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_mss_fin_aid/1246/ for an index. Other indexes for 1911 and after include: Kentucky Vital Records Index (University of Kentucky) http://ukcc.uky.edu/vitalrec/, the Kentucky Vital Records Project http://kyvitals.com/index.php and http://vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ky/death/search.cgi
Sources for online newspapers with obituaries include Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. This site allows you to search and view select newspaper pages from 1860-1922 at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ The Kentucky Library and Museum also has access to the Historical New York Times (1851-2006), the Historical Los Angeles Times (1811-1986), the Times Digital Archives (1785–1985) and for the local area, the Park City Daily News archive (1999-to present). Please contact email@example.com for further information.
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.