Thursday evening at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Dr. James Nicholson shared with his audience the history of the Kentucky Derby and what makes “America’s Premier Sporting Event”. He spoke and also shared a collage of photos revealing the highs and lows of what is none other than the tradition and culture surrounding Kentucky’s famous Derby!
In 1976 WKU students observed Earth Week April 11th – 17th. A group sprang up calling themselves Energy for Student Awareness. They were concerned and printed a 12 page newsletter. The group screened films, had a food drive for Guatemalans and staged the Earth Awareness Festival outside Downing University Center. The newsletter includes articles regarding The Farm a commune in Summerton, Tennessee, nuclear energy, alternative energy sources, healthy eating, Native American rights and ecological legislation.
Do you remember Earth Awareness Festival? How did you participate? What will you be doing for Earth Day, April 22nd?
This 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.
Set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, The Kentucky Building song composed by Mrs. H.R. Matthews during the fund raising campaign appeared in the March 1929 College Heights Herald.
Though we may wander from the Hill
In wider fields to roam
We’ll treasure o’er our college days
And call her portals “Home”
Then may our hands and may our hearts
Be joined to build a great
Kentucky monument to save
The history of our state
The Indian lore and pioneer
Shall never pass away;
Our relics we shall now preserve
And in our state they’ll stay
Check out other College Heights Heralds in TopScholar. 1925-1929, Jan. 1930, 1961-1963, 1968-1969 are up. More coming soon.
The 2012-13 women’s basketball team is a roll. Led by Coach Michelle Clark-Heard—herself a former Lady Topper—they join a long line of great basketball teams here on the hill. But where did that tradition begin?
98 years ago, on this day in 1915, the women of Western Kentucky State Normal School played their very first game against another school. This team was an unusual group. In the fall of 1914, each literary society in the school organized a girls’ basketball team. That’s right—the athletes came from the literary set. They learned the rules, practiced diligently, and then played each other.
The Senior team handily won every game they played, but all of the teams came in for compliments in the school magazine, The Elevator. Even the Kit-Kats and the Loyals, who only won three games between them, were praised, “because they have improved so much since they began. They have nerve, courage and ‘that other thing’ that has strengthened them against the attacks of a stronger force.”
When their intermural season was over, a varsity team was chosen from the best players of all the society teams. They challenged Logan College in Russellville to a game for the first day of March, 1915. The Elevator reporters reveled in the game: “On that great and memorable day the chosen ten from the Western set forth to seek renown for our dear old Normal by completely vanquishing and utterly subduing the basketball Amazons of Logan College.” Vanquish, they did. The newly formed varsity team “played with all the vim and determination and ‘that other thing’ that Normalites are famous for,” and won the game, 12 to 8.
When that game ended, that was it. One game and the “season” was over. Regular games didn’t start again until 1921. However, the legacy of this plucky team was on-going. In fact, one of those winning varsity players, guard Josephine Cherry, became the coach of the 1921-22 team and supported the teams that followed.
The Elevator said at the time, “The whole school joins in congratulations to these valiant girls in whose hearts are ever burning the bright fire of zeal and interest in every phase of our athletic work.” 98 years later, we join them in congratulations and appreciation to the 1915 Women’s Basketball varsity team for laying down a lasting foundation.
To learn more about this team, check out the February and April Elevators.
Search our online catalog, KenCat or visit the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Library & Museum (Monday – Saturday, 9 – 4) for more information on women’s intramural basketball or any of the teams that have played since.
[*Photo Identification, first row, l-r: Zona Lee Searce, Mary Brown, Anna McClusky. Second row: Pearl Jordan, Josephine Cherry, Lucy Booth, Laura Phelps. Third row: Coach J. L. Arthur, Mary Holton, Martha Holton, Louise Jordan.]
Blog post written by WKU Archives Assistant Katherine Chappell.
In 1943, World War II was in full swing. U-boats were sinking, London was being bombed, the Trident Conference was taking place, Italy was being liberated by the Allies—and military squadrons were heading to Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Why did so many squadrons come to town? They were using Bowling Green as a part of their troop training. We know that our airport was used for training beginning in 1943. The 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was deployed to the Bowling Green Airport for about four months in 1943 and 1944 and some of the other divisions were probably doing air training as well, though the reasons for a tank division to be deployed here is less clear.
Five military broadsides found in the WKU Archives were apparently made by different squadrons as thank you cards to the citizens of Bowling Green for their hospitality. These broadsides offer some interesting information about soldiers who were about to head off to war. They reveal a sense of humor that underscores the stereotype of the happy-go-lucky, charming, confident American soldier boy. Nicknames like “SNAFU,” “Tough Boy,” and “Toothless” pepper the signatures. Corporal Martin “Snooks” Schnall Jr. is called “Headquarters (Brains of the Outfit)” on one poster. Some posters include references to the battalion’s purpose, like a tank or the outfit’s insignia or a plane, piloted by “Jim,” whose picture has been cut out and pasted into the airplane’s window. [Click on images to enlarge].
One broadside is a complete mystery, though. Why does it have two ships from different eras passing or a sketch of a dog? Instead of including the signatures of the men in the outfit, there is an illegible inscription at the top and a lot of shorthand at the bottom.
There are a few other unanswered questions. What brought the tank battalion to town? It was the only part of its division to see engagement; did their training here help them get there and get through? Were hand-drawn posters a typical thank you to towns they visited? And what on earth does this shorthand say?
If you have the answer to these questions or know someone who was attached to any of these squadrons, we would love to hear from you! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. Use the links below to take a closer look at the broadsides in TopScholar.
- 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron poster
- 27th Tank Battalion, Co. A poster
- 559th AAA (AW) BN ship poster
- 559th AAA (AW) BN signature poster
- 835th Chemical Co. poster
These and other university records are available for researchers to use in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Building, Monday-Saturday, 9 to 4.
Blog post written by WKU Archives Assistant Katherine Chappell.
1917 saw the creation of the Army ROTC program at Western under the National Defense Act of 1916. In 1918, the Board of Regents allowed for the formation of the Student’s Army Training Corps. Barracks were provided for participating students. In January 1919, this group became the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
During World War II the 321st Army Air Force Cadet Training Detachment took up residence on campus. From 1943 through 1944 the group published a newsletter The Open Post, which has been digitized and is now available TopScholar.
A Military Bibliography of primary and secondary sources in WKU Archives has been created. It documents WKU student military units such as the Pershing Rifles and Scabbard & Blade. There is information regarding veterans, World War II, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War as well.
Come see our display case on the 5th floor of Cravens commemorating our currently employed & student Veterans at WKU! Thank you all for fighting for our freedom!!!
A quick search of KenCat for Halloween revealed several entries for photographs including this one of Jerry Wolf dressed as Zorro and Justin Mylor dressed as Forrest Gump at a Phi Delta Theta party. There are also images from a West Hall celebration in 1945 and president Thomas Meredith celebrating in the 1990’s.
Henry Cherry put a clipping and the program for the Training School’s 1915 Hallowe’en Carnival in one of his scrapbooks. The three part program, Oct. 28th was open to the public for a 5 cent admission fee. The first hour was held in Vanmeter Hall where Grades 1 & 2 entertained with Rhythm & Games, Grade 3 performed folk dances, Grade 4 presented characters from story-book land and the seventh graders presented “Moving Pictures.”
Part 2 consisted of an “intermission” and guests were “given an opportunity to patronize the refreshment stands in Cabell Hall and the Fort.” The sixth graders had an autumn booth in the old fort and a Japanese Tea in Cabell Hall. Grade 5 provided a county booth and the first graders sold candy in Cabell Hall.
The carnival reconvened in the Training School Chapel at 8:15 where the 8th grade performed a circus. There was also a fish pond where fish were sold for a nickel a piece.
Do you remember a special Halloween on the Hill? Share your memories with us.
Every day is something a bit different than the day before in WKU Archives. I may find myself processing photographs, blueprints or president’s papers. October 2nd was definitely a reference day.
Request 1 – WKU maternity leave policies, when were they first instituted and how have they changed over time. After a couple false starts in the Board of Regents and University Senate records, information was found in the faculty/staff handbooks created by Human Resources.
Request 2 – Topographic maps of WKU campus. Unfortunately we do not have any in WKU Archives. It may be that none have been created.
Request 3 – WKU vs Russian football team, all information available. Film footage was pulled and transferred from tape to dvd. The poster above was digitized for the researcher as well.
Request 4 – Information and photos of the Rock House for an upcoming exhibit. A search of KenCat revealed that there is a single photograph, 3 floor plans and Rock House Reunion records created by alumni who once used the building as a dormitory. Records were pulled for the researcher to use. The photograph and floor plans were digitized for inclusion in the exhibit.
Request 5 – Photographs to be used in celebration of Gary Ransdell’s 15th anniversary as WKU president. Luckily the request included a list of events the researcher wanted images of. A search of KenCat found most of them quickly. These were forwarded to the researcher to make selections. Then I went through unprocessed photographs and pulled relevant images for digitization. Records for these images were created in KenCat and thumbnails attached. Now they are available to all researchers.
Request 6 – A request was made for a copy of a SITE committee report. The researcher had already checked the Board of Regents and University Senate records online. A search was made of the President’s Office papers and some University Senate records that have not been digitized. The report was not found and in talking with the researcher, it was decided that it probably never existed.
Research can be quite time consuming. WKU Library Special Collections & Kentucky Museum Research Strategies is available to help researchers use the online resources before making a trip to the Kentucky Building. Processing and digitization of WKU Archives collections is user driven. All requests are answered in the order received. We are working daily to process additional records, add entries to the database and make more records available more quickly to our patrons.
If anyone had told me when I was in school that one day I would get paid to identify college logos on football helmets I would have laughed. Some days that’s exactly what I do.
Processing photographs involves evaluation of quality in relation to other similar images in the collection.
Identification of people, places and events and even athletic teams. Rehousing in mylar sleeves and acid free folders. And occasionally discarding images due to blurriness or poor composition.
WKU Archives holds approximately 50,000 photographs, slides, negatives and drawings. Photographs are described in bulk by topic in KenCat, our online catalog. Broad topics include campus buildings, portraits, organizations, athletics and events. As researchers request images for projects, they are digitized. At that time a thumbnail image and corresponding description are entered into KenCat. To date, a little over 9,000 have been digitized. Check out WKU Archives – Photograph Collection for more detailed information regarding the collection.