Monthly Archives: April 2010

1855 Letter Ends Chapter of Family’s History

"I became sad and melancholly" - Winford G. Bailey

“I became sad and melancholly” – Winford G. Bailey

By the time old Elijah Bailey died in 1853 at his farm just north of Stanford, Kentucky, all but one of his children had dispersed to homes elsewhere.  It was left to 52-year-old Winford Green Bailey to settle his father’s affairs.  Elijah’s farm had been in the family for more than 50 years and the son had resolved to keep it going, but maintaining it along with his own property soon became too burdensome.  After two years, he regretfully decided to sell.

In a letter to his brother recently added to the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library, Bailey expressed his anguish at leaving the farm for the last time.  “I lingered a while alone in the yard,” he wrote, “and surveyed with my eye the old house, yard, garden, orchard and fields.”  He thought of “fond parents now no more, and beloved brothers and sisters, some of whom gone to the world of spirits, others alive but scattered in the world.”  Departing down the “old familiar lane,” Bailey turned once more to gaze on the family homestead, “soon to be occupied by strangers,” and reflected on the simple truth that “this is a changing world at best — it ever has been and ever will be so.”

A finding aid and typescript of Winford G. Bailey’s moving letter can be downloaded here.


Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

North American Women’s Letters and Diaries

“My pen is always freer than my tongue. I have written many things to you that I suppose I never could have talked.” — Abigail Adams, 1775

North American Women’s Letters and Diaries is the largest collection of women’s diaries and correspondence ever assembled. Spanning more than 300 years, brings the personal experiences of some 1,325 women to researchers, students, and general readers.

The uses for the collection will be many and varied. For historians, sociologists, students of literature, researchers in genealogy, and others, North American Women’s Letters and Diaries will prove a dramatic new resource. These diaries bring us much more than the personal. They provide a detailed record of what women wore, the conditions under which they worked, what they ate, what they read, and how they amused themselves. We can see how frequently they attended church, how they viewed their connection to God, and how they prayed. We can explore their relationships with lovers and family and friends. William Matthews, an early scholar in this field, observed:

“I believe the diary to be a unique kind of writing; all other forms of writing envisage readers, and so are adapted to readers, by interpretation, order, simplification, rationalization, omission, addition, and the endless devices of exposition . . . [diaries] are in general the most immediate, truthful, and revealing documents available. . .”

The collection includes some 150,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from Colonial times to 1950, including more than 6,000 pages of previously unpublished materials. Drawn from more than 600 sources, including journal articles, pamphlets, newsletters, monographs, and conference proceedings, much of the material is in copyright. Represented are all age groups and life stages, all ethnicities, many geographical regions, the famous and the not so famous. It includes some 300 biographies to enhance the use of the database.North American Women’s Letters and Diaries aims to cover all published material and as large a number of unpublished materials as copyright and cost will allow. The contents have been selected from the bibliographies listed below as well as other sources.

~Alexander Street Press

North American Women’s Letters and Diaries is a new database available from WKU Libraries. This database adds enormous material to the WKU Libraries sources for women’s studies, history, and related fields. The database can be accessed from on campus or from off campus, once you log into our proxy server.


Filed under Events

The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries

WKU Libraries is happy to announce the acquisition of a new online database: The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries. This resource contains material from over two thousand authors with 100,000 pages of letters, memoirs, and diaries. Many of the sources have not been published anywhere else.

The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries knits together more than 1,000 sources of diaries, letters, and memoirs to provide fast access to thousands of views on almost every aspect of the war, including what was happening at home. The writings of politicians, generals, slaves, landowners, farmers, seaman, wives, and even spies are included. The letters and diaries are by the famous and the unknown, giving not only both the Northern and Southern perspectives, but those of foreign observers also. The materials originate from all regions of the country and are from people who played a variety of roles.

Using a thesaurus of Civil War terms we’ve built specifically for the task, researchers can quickly find references to individuals, battles, theaters of war, and activities. A chronology of key events allows the user to see multiple perspectives surrounding a particular event. This level of indexing is unprecedented. Questions such as “Give me all accounts of letters written about hospital conditions by Union soldiers in the Western Theater” can be answered in seconds.

The collection includes approximately 100,000 pages of published memoirs, letters and diaries from individuals plus 4,000 pages of previously unpublished materials. Drawn from more than 1,000 sources, the collection provides in-depth coverage of all aspects of the war. More than 1,000 biographies will enhance the use of the database.

The collection includes one of the most comprehensive bibliographies of Civil War letters and diaries yet published. It lists over 1,000 published and unpublished items from a variety of sources, including online resources and microform. Subscribers to the collection are encouraged to participate in the maintenance of this bibliography by calling our attention to omissions, suggesting additions, and notifying us of newly discovered materials.

~Alexander Street Press

To access the resource from on campus, click here. From off campus, you can log into our proxy server and access the resource on our database page.


Filed under Acquisitions, Events

Canadian Library Grant 2009-2010


WKU Libraries has recently received a 2009-2010 Canadian Studies Library Support Program Grant in the amount of $2,411. The funds support acquisition of library materials (books, films, CD’s) published by Canadian publishers which expand our knowledge of Canada and Canadian culture. This is our 14th grant. The grant was announced by Dennis Moore, Public Affairs Officer at the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit.

WKU Canadian Orders


Filed under Acquisitions, General, Latest News

Last Concert of the semster at Java City this week

Stickman Another successful Noon concert season at Java City in Helm comes to an end this Wednesday with a performance by Nashville rock and roll trio Stickman.  Lead singer/songwriter Stickman’s diverse and heartfelt sound combines with a grounded, honest sound that allows him to connect easily with listeners.  Take a little time out before the end of the semester to catch this last concert.  As always, thanks to Independence Bank for their sponsorship.  More info about the group and their music can be found here.


Filed under Events

“Mountains and Valleys”

"Mountains and Valleys" - AuthorsThe WKU Bookstore sponsored a gathering of local authors at WKU Libraries on Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Helm Reading Room.  Arranged by Sarah Fricks and entitled “Mountains and Valleys” it included selected readings on themes of struggle and hope, friendship and endurance.  Tom Hunley, poet and Associate Professor of English at WKU read  poems from his books My Life is a Minor Character, Still There’s a Glimmer and his newest book Octopus and even shared a new poem recently accepted for publication by The Louisville Review.  Craig Dehut, who joined WKYU-PBS in April of 2009, read from his autobiography Her Little Soldier which chronicles the struggles he faced after he found out he had Juvenile Diabetes at age 10.  Dehut has also worked on several feature and short films and is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta. Mark Shine is a former Army journalist whose writings have appeared in Back Home in Kentucky and Kentucky Afield.  He lives near Nolin River Lake, Kentucky.  He read from his first novel Shine about the friendship between a middle class fisherman and an old moonshine man. David J. Bell, who teaches English and creative writing at WKU read from his newest novel, a thriller A Girl in the Woods.  A large crowd enjoyed the evening.  A book signing followed.


Filed under Events, General, Latest News, Past Events

DLPS Presented Brian Coutts’ Best Reference Books 2009

Dr. Brian Coutts presenting Best Reference BooksBrian Coutts, Department Head of Library Public Services, WKU gave his annual presentation on the best reference books in the U.S. to the Libraries faculty and staff this morning in Room 5 of Helm Library.

Photo Album


Filed under Events

“Hidden Waters: Dragons in the Deep” Exhibit in Helm Library

Karst landscape of Yunnan, ChinaCome to see gorgeous photos of South China displayed in Room 100, Helm Library. Turn right as you come in from the Java City.

An introduction to the exhibit says it all: “The vast yet inaccessible underground waters in southeast Yunnan Province represent the front lines of China’s fresh water crisis. Two openings in the earth, the Shi Dong and Nan Dong caves, where the Yang Liu River slips into and out of the shadows, mark the point where a fluvial region rich with surface streams meets an unusual geologic formation of soluble rock layers known as karst landscape. It is also a fateful human dividing line, a place where China’s challenges with water scarcity, land management, and pollution come into clear focus.”

The photographs are taken by J. Carl Ganter, and the exhibit is made possible by the support of USAID, the ENVIRON Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Photographs and Multimedia


Filed under Latest News

Screen Door Porch at Java City

Screen Door Porch plays out side Java City in Helm LibraryWell, I’m a little behind because of all the fun we had at The Writer’s Conference and Book Fest.  What a great concert on Wednesday by Screen Door Porch.  The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the lively mix of modern and traditional folk.  And yes, another beautiful day so they were on the patio outside of  Java City in Helm library.


Filed under Events

Benyaro at Java City

Brooklyn based duo Benyaro performas at Java CityUnder beautiful skies in Bowling Green on Wednesday, New York folk band Benyaro entertained a large crowd at Java City with their hard driving sound.  What a Spring we’ve had, great music and beautiful days.  All good things must come to an end though, the Spring 2010 concert series is no exception.  Join us next week for the final concert of the semester featuring Nashville rock & rollers Stickman.  More about their music can be found at


Filed under Java City Concert, Latest News