Kany Stickles Letter – Click to see entire image
Alumni often encourage others to attend their alma mater. In 1940, Julius Kany persuaded James Takeichi Oshiro to attend Western Kentucky State Teachers College in Bowling Green, Kentucky, even though it was far away from his home in Hawaii. James Oshiro enrolled at Western in September 1940, but this wasn’t just any time in history, and James Oshiro was distinctive among the student body at the time due to his Japanese ancestry. The attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, prompted the United States to enter World War II. The severity of the attack engendered fear and hatred for Japan, and, by extension, anyone who looked Japanese.
In the official history of WKU, Lowell Harrison described James Oshiro and his situation. “Born in Hawaii of Japanese parents, he lived in Japan for sixteen years before returning to Hawaii. Nine years later he was persuaded by a Western alumnus to go to the Hill. The short, slight, twenty-six-year-old student enrolled in September 1940 to major in history. His financial support from a brother-in-law in Honolulu was suddenly cut off after the Pearl Harbor attack, and no one could predict the reaction of Western students and Bowling Green townspeople. ‘It breaks my little heart even to think of this horrible war between two nations,’ James wrote President Garrett in late December; he would gladly fight for the United States, ‘and I am sure that God will forgive me having fought against my parents’ country.’” (2) Continue reading
Gemini jazz bands were a fixture in the WKU Music Department from 1966 through 1979. Originally organized as an all girls jazz band a few good men (Larnelle Harris & John Carpenter) soon became members. The band leader David “Doc” Livingston partnered with the USO to give his students real band touring experiences in the Caribbean, Europe and through the Pacific command.
WKU Archives has digitized two videotapes regarding the band; recently received donations of Gemini materials from former members and had a reunion for the former members. You can see this material at our new online exhibit Gemini Jazz Bands or visit the small exhibit housed in the Western Room of the Kentucky Building.
WKU Reports: Gemini 15 – 15 minute video
All Systems Go: Gemini 75 Concert – 30 minute concert video
David “Doc” Livingston HODA Induction – 15 minute video
Videos were digitized through an internal WKU Libraries grant.
Former Geminis David Dorris, Bobbi Battle, Michael Frye, Jeff Jones, Nancy Pollard, Jamie Daly, Nancy Cron and Jane Tichenor.
G.G. Craig Jr.
This is G.G. Craig, Jr., son of Gavin Craig the WKU penmanship instructor from 1922 to 1965. G.G. graduated from WKU in 1943 and soon enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served with the 405th Infantry Regiment in Europe where he was killed in action on March 1, 1945. Craig is interred in the American War Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands. The Dutch are in the process of adopting the graves of the 10,000 Americans who died during the war. They have created the Fields of Honor Database and are creating records for each serviceman’s grave. WKU Archives was contacted this morning to supply a photo of G.G. Craig for this project. We are proud of his and countless other WKU alums who have served their country and given their lives in battle.
For more information on this project check out the Faces of Margraten.
November 16 was designated as Founders Day by the WKU Board of Regents in 1930. In recognition of the 85th Founders Day, please enjoy this public affairs video from Founders Day 1974. This video was digitized and made available earlier this year as part of a WKU Archives Video Digitization Project.
Blog post written by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley
As the memory of WKU, WKU Archives maintains records of past employees. Often, this information can be found as part of the records of various departments or committees, in university publications, and other places where the imprint of their presence can be found on the historical record. In particular, past employees generally have a personnel file. Personnel files have been designated as record group UA1D and become available to researchers after the employee has been separated from the university for 30 years or upon his or her death.
During 2015, record group UA1D has undergone significant expansion. Catalog entries for UA1D have also been revised so researchers can find information more easily.
Biographical Vertical Files Integrated
Before computer cataloging, newspaper clippings and other items regarding employees of the university were maintained in “vertical files.” Over time, these files grew to over six cubic feet. These were stored in the closed stacks and not catalogued in KenCat because they were not considered part of the collections, but rather as a reference tool. These materials have now been integrated into UA1D files so researchers can find them using KenCat. In some cases, this means a file exists for an employee who is still alive and is still employed by the university. The personnel file materials will be added to these files and become available to researchers in the future once they meet the criteria, above. Continue reading
WKU Archives is staffed by a full time archivist (Suellyn Lathrop) a full time archives assistant (April McCauley) and a 10-hour per week student worker (Jack). We work Monday through Friday 8 to 4:30 and a couple Saturdays each semester.
Suellyn and April spend most of their time processing collections and doing reference work for patrons who come in or contact us by telephone or email. Jack spends his ten hours a week digitizing the stuff that Suellyn and April pile up for him to do.
Processing refers to the act of arranging and describing records so researchers can find what they want and need quickly. Processing can be very time consuming. Continue reading
100 years ago – Henry Cherry accepted the chairmanship of the Kentucky
Democratic Convention. Read his speech in this election season.
25 years ago – the Kentucky Museum published the Fanlight which highlighted an Eastlake style music cabinet, an old fashioned 4th of July celebration and instructions for barkin’ a chair.
75 years ago – the students at the Bowling Green Business University were talking about football and lamenting chemistry class in the BUWKY.
50 years ago – the College Heights Herald welcomed students back to campus and caught everyone up on summer happenings.
At the end of September we received the last shipment of 2-inch quadruplex
2 Inch Quad Videotape
videotapes back to WKU Archives and along with the originals came DVDs of the converted tapes. We have completed uploading the videos to YouTube and the following are now available:
Kentucky Constitution Revision Debate – a town hall meeting to discuss the pros and cons of revising the Kentucky constitution with Lt. Governor Thelma Stovall and Richard Lewis debating the issue.
Installation of WKU President Donald Zacharias Part I & Part II, 1979 Continue reading
We’re changing up the format a bit due to the website audit. We will be highlighting documents, photos and events which took place 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago.
25 years ago – Student Activities & Organizations 1989-90 Annual Report
50 years ago – Photos of students moving into the dorms in 1965.
75 years ago – Nina Hammer Oral History. William Jenkins interviewed the former Bowling Green Business University Registrar about her time as a student and working at the BU.
100 years ago – Photo of the WKU student body in 1915
Library Special Collections has created a new website where our users can give us feedback on the cool things they are finding in our collections.
Library Special Collections is made up of three units:
All our units acquire and preserve materials primarily related to Kentucky and Kentuckians. Here it may be possible for you to find your ancestors’ marriage record, family and community photographs, oral histories and everything you ever wanted to know about Western Kentucky University.
Come visit us in the Kentucky Building, Monday – Friday 9 – 4 and Saturdays during the semester 10 – 3. And tell us what you discover or have already discovered here.