WKU Libraries Blog

News and events from WKU Libraries

WKU Libraries Blog - News and events from WKU Libraries

WKU Beauty Queens

Jean Amos, Military Queen

Jean Amos, Military Queen

As many know, the current Miss Kentucky Ann Blair Thornton is a WKU student.  What some may not know, she is not the first WKU alum to hold the title.  In addition, WKU coeds have been crowned queens of the Mountain Laurel Festival, Talisman Ball, Miss Black Western, Miss Western, WKU Military Ball, Basketball Ball, Valentine Ball, Homecoming Queen and possibly most interesting Mrs. Western Student Wife.

The WKU Archives is compiling a list of these beauty queens along with photographs.  Check out http://www.wku.edu/library/archive/19.php and help us complete our list.

WKU Cultural Diversity

It’s February and during Black History Month the WKU Archives is inundated with questions regarding Blacks and other minorities at WKU. We have created a website: Cultural Diversity at WKU which is a bibliography of resources regarding minorities on campus.

In addition, we have digitized vertical files regarding Jonesville, the African American community which became part of WKU in the 1960s as well as WKU Cultural Diversity.

There are also digitized records regarding desegregation and minority enrollments from the president’s office and a student paper regarding attitudes of WKU students toward minorities in 1970.

Photographs are being digitized weekly and added to KenCat our online catalog. 

WKU Archives staff will continue to post documents and add to the Cultural Diversity at WKU website.  Additional information may be found in the records of the Board of Regents and University Senate.

Online Exhibits

A new section has been added to TopScholar:  Kentucky Museum / Library Special Collections Online Exhibits.  The site features images of objects, photographs and documents used in exhibits with more background information than is inclued in a typical museum label.  The site includes a blog widgets for user comments which will enhance our knowledge of objects and photographs.  The Google maps / Google Earth widget allows us place objects and photographs in geographical relation to others.

Currently there are two completed online exhibits.  The first is Get on the Bus: 40 Years of Political Activism.  Originally created in 2008 as a traveling exhibit to commemorate the Civil Rights movement, this online exhibit focuses on WKU students’ involvement in political causes through the years.

The second is Playing Our Song: Southern Kentucky Notes which highlights the Kentucky Library’s Southern Kentucky Music Collection as well as WKU faculty, staff, student and alumni musicians. 

Come and learn more about the Kentucky Museum and Library Special Collections collections.

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.

Jump Ball!

Six images and Ed Givens play by play of the WKU – University of Michigan 1966 NCAA game are now available online. Cazzie Russell & Greg Smith go for the ball and in the end the official calls a foul on Smith. With only 11 seconds remaining, Russell sinks both free throws to take Michigan to a heartbreaking 80-79 victory over the Hilltoppers.  Were you at the game?  Do you have a memory to share about it? 

These images and many others are available in WKU Archives and through KenCat

Spirit Masters Turn 30!

The Spirit Masters have been around for awhile and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend.

WKU Archives holds several composite photographs of the group such as this one.  The 1991-92 photos are special as the Spirit Masters signed them with well wishes for Elizabeth Esters and WKU President Thomas Meredith.  This image and and notes are now available for viewing on TopScholar.

WKU Archives also hold UA12/2/16 Spirit Masters records.  Mentions of the group are also found in UA4/2 Academic Budgets & Administration and UA12/2/20 Phi Delta Theta records.  These records are available for researchers to use in the Harrison-Baird Research Room Monday – Saturday 9 – 4.

Phi Delta Theta

Phi Delta ThetaFormed in 1848 at Miami University (Ohio) by six students Phi Delta Theta has grown to over 160 active chapters. The WKU chapter was formed May 7, 1966 when the Phi Delta Chi chapter won their petition to become a Phi Delta Theta chapter. 

Records and photos of both Phi Delta Chi and Phi Delta Theta were donated to WKU Archives this past week.  These records have been processed, described and a collection inventory is now available online at:


These and other records are available for researchers to use in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room.  Selected images have been digitized are now available through KenCat our online catalog. 

We are always looking for documentation of student organizations, fraternities and sororities.  There are gaps in the records regarding these groups.


Jeanetta Bunch

Jeanetta Bunch

What is it?

A small homemade booklet written and illustrated by Mary Helena Callas about her class mates at the WKU Training School in 1936. It includes brief sketches of students Jeanetta Bunch, Junior Caldwell, Ruth Claypool, Florene Durham, Spencer D., Jake Evans, Norman Emmick, Julian Fitzpatrick, Jessie Fleenor, Mary Ford, Mary Graham, George Grise, Patricia Hollan, Willard Howell, Alma Jones, Leonard Kington, Kenneth Mason, David Mathews, Howard Mathews, Francis Mathews, Nancy Mathews, W.L. Mathews Jr., Elizabeth McChesney, Kenneth McChesney, Guilia McGinnis, Craig Middleton, Thelma Myers, Mary Oliver, Pattie Pemberton, Marie Pennington, Annie Phelps, Ray Purvis, Haydn Richards, Hilda Riggs, Alma Runner, Raldon Smith, Joanna Smith, Margaret Thomas, Winifred Wilson, William Whitney, Rodney Whobrey, Frank Yarbrough and Cecele York.

There is no explanation of what the title means, if anything. NERTS is just one of the many one of a kind items in WKU Archives. It is now available online at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/462 

Check out other unique items at KenCat.

A Day in the Life

Were you there when this student laid down on that bed of nails and allowed this man to stand over him with a mallet? What happened after this demonstration? Inquiring minds want to know!  This and thousands of other photographs are available in WKU Archives.  Check us out on KenCat and help us identify some.

Kentucky Library is Well Guarded, Word

That was the headline of an article in the Students Weekly, October 31, 1935.  The reporter goes on to say:

“Shades of the two-headed dog, Cerebus guarding the gates of Hades an the dragon that guarded the golden fleece are recalled when one seeks to enter the treasure house of the Kentucky Library at Western.  Just above the door is an old muzzle-loader and swinging in the doorway is one of the largest hornets’ nest that has been one’s fortune to see.”

This and other articles about the WKU Libraries’ history are now available online in the first two library scrapbooks covering the period 1911 through 1959.  In addition to newspaper clippings, there are photographs of the library, faculty and staff members along with some biographical sketches of early librarians and staff. 

WKU Libraries Scrapbook 1 – http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/295/

WKU Libraries Scrapbook 2 – http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/296/

These and other records regarding the history of Western are available in the University Archives and online through KenCat.