Monthly Archives: May 2010

Settling Schweizer: Scenes of an Immigrant Community

Oswald Kummer and Fido

Oswald Kummer sits in a haystack with the faithful family dog, Fido.

Schweizer, located in southwest Simpson County, Kentucky, was chiefly settled by German immigrants in the mid-1890s. Christian and Friederike Kummer emigrated from Germany to Minnesota in 1882, and permanently settled in Schweizer in 1889. The families of the area were particularly close, bound by language, religion, and customs.

Oswald Kummer, the son of Christian and Friederike, was two years old when his family immigrated to the United States. Only nine when his family settled in Schweizer, Oswald remained there until his death. In 1906, Oswald, then 24, acquired a camera and unofficially became the community chronicler. His glass plate negatives became part of the Kentucky Library & Museum collection in 1989.

An exhibit of 87 photographs and artifacts from the Kummer collection will be on display in the Kentucky Library and Museum from May 26 through August 31, 2010.

Photo Album


Filed under Events

The Southern Educator

Before there was WKU, there was the Southern Normal. A school that evolved from the Glasgow Normal, which moved to Bowling Green and changed hands several times before the Cherry brothers took over. The Southern Normal existed between 1893 and 1906 when it split into WKU and the Bowling Green Business University.

The Southern Educator serves as a journal of pedagogy, alumni magazine, advertisement for the Southern Normal, course listings and gives an overall look into the daily life of the Southern Normal.  Published more or less quarterly from 1897 to 1906, the newspaper is being digitized and made available online to researchers.  A name index available at:


Filed under Events, University Archives

KHQS Annual Quilt Show Now on View

Community Bookshelf Wall Hanging

Community Bookshelf Wall Hanging

The 2010 Kentucky Heritage Society’s annual quilt show is now on display in the Kentucky Museum & Library’s third floor gallery. Quilts inspired by books is the theme of this year’s show. Quilters have stitched a wide variety of subjects including the popular tween book “Twilight”, the classic children’s story “Where the Wild Things Are” and the “Book of Genesis” from the Bible. The exhibit is on display through June 6th.

Photo album from exhibit.

More information


Filed under Events, Flickr Photos, Java City Concert, New Stuff, People

Finding Family in City and Telephone Directories

The Kentucky Library and Museum (KLM) holdings include many city and telephone directories. There are similarities between the two and if used skillfully, they can reveal a great deal of personal and family history information such as occupational data, relationships, home ownership and locations. They also can help with identifying persons with the same names or initials. City directories in particular list items such as asylums, cemeteries, fraternal organizations, newspapers, railroads and schools. They also have city maps with defined boundaries and can, through the years, include the changes of street names. Even in the addenda, there is pertinent information that was “too late for insertion” or and in some select directories, there were lists of deaths in an epidemic year. City directories were often compiled through door-to-door surveys and so had the benefit of verified information from the householder. The library has city directories from Bowling Green starting in the late 1880s and telephone directories starting in the 1920s.
February, 1958 Telephone Directory


Filed under Events

Mail Call !

Bert J. "Jay" Borrone, WKU Class of 1941

Bert J. “Jay” Borrone, WKU Class of 1941

In the extensive collections of war letters in WKU’s Special Collections Library, no expression is more common than the joy of a soldier who has received mail from home.  In April 1943, Corporal B. J. “Jay” Borrone, stationed in North Africa, wrote to Dorthie Hall, his former classmate at Western Kentucky State College, and vividly described the whirlwind of anticipation, exhilaration, and sometimes disappointment, known as “mail call”:

“The truck driver is pestered all day to go into regimental headquarters for the mail even tho all know that it is not finished being sorted until 4 p.m. . . .  Usually it is about 7 before they get back and no lynching mob in all its fury ever went after a victim like we go after that driver. . . . [F]inally someone grabs the bunch of letters and starts yelling off names.”  Those lucky enough to receive mail, Borrone continued, “go off into a corner and get that beatific look for hours while the other poor guys that didn’t get anything pretend (very poor pretending by the way) that they didn’t expect any anyhow.  Pretty soon the score is tabulated on just how many letter[s] each fellow got and the winner comes in for a lot of kidding.  Then the discarded envelopes are looked at and sniffed at for evidences of female traits and more kidding follows.”

It was 3 a.m. as Borrone wrote these words, but even at such a late hour and so far from home, he was looking forward to “the promise of a grand sunrise and a perfect day” — and, no doubt, the next mail call.

A finding aid for the Dorthie A. Hall collection of World War II letters can be downloaded here.


Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Selden Society Publications

Through our new HeinOnline digital collection, patrons of WKU Libraries now have access to the Selden Society Publications.  Founded in 1887, the Selden Society is one of the premier publishers of research on early English law. The collection also includes publications from the Ames Foundation, a leading provider of early English historical legal documents. Many of the resources found in the Selden Society Publications cannot be found anywhere in print.

From on campus, you can follow the links above or connect through our database page. Go to the HeinOnline collection, then click on the Selden Society Publications link. To access this resource from off campus, don’t forget to log into our proxy server.


Filed under Events

American History in Video

WKU Libraries is proud to announce the acquisition of a new online resource: American History in Video.

American History in Video provides the largest and richest collection of video available online for the study of American history, with 2,000 hours and more than 5,000 titles on completion. The collection allows students and researchers to analyze historical events, and their presentation over time, through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries. This release now provides 4,163 titles, with videos from new partner Media Rich Learning, and much more, equaling approximately 1,027 hours.

American History in Video has just been named a Library Journal 2009 Best Reference, in addition to being named earlier as Booklist Editors’ Choice: Reference Sources 2009 winner. The collection received a starred review in the November 15, 2009, issue of Booklist, which called it “highly recommended for any library that serves students of American history.” Library Journal also gave the collection a rave review in the August 15, 2009, issue, calling it a full 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 with a rating of “resoundingly recommended.”

WKU students, faculty and staff can access the resource directly from on campus, or by first logging into our proxy server when off campus.


Filed under Events

Free AMP Energy drink & food at Helm on Saturday, May 8

Take a break from studying for free AMP Energy drinks and food at Helm Library on Saturday, May 8 from 9 pm-12 am. The AMP Energy team will be on hand with cases of drinks to help you make it through the night!


Filed under Events

Kent State 40 Years Ago

Peace symbol

Peace symbol

Edgar L. McCormick was an English professor at Kent State University when, on May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired into a crowd of students demonstrating against the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine.  A month later, McCormick sent a letter to Julia Neal (1905-1995), then the director of WKU’s Kentucky Library.  “Strangers and lovers of alma mater, miles away, have seen this tragedy more clearly than many of us close enough to see the bayonets and hear the shots,” he wrote, noting the expressions of sympathy that had come from as far away as England.  The university had been closed to students, and McCormick and other faculty, though “permitted to enter the one unchained door to each building,” were “lonesome without them.”  After classes resumed in the summer, McCormick was saddened by the continuing turmoil: campus police “beefed up,” townspeople refusing to rent to students, and rumors that Kent State would be closed permanently.  “So it goes,” he mourned, “this lamentable confusion,” abetted by “little politicians.”  McCormick hoped that summer, with its outdoor concerts, gardening, and family activities, would offer some consolation.  “Meanwhile,” he wrote, closing his letter to Miss Neal, “Peace!”

A finding aid for the (Mary) Julia Neal papers in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives holdings of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections  can be downloaded by clicking here.


Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Education Index Retrospective

Check out another of WKU Libraries’ new resources, Education Index Retrospective.

Education Index Retrospective provides a vast record of important education literature in a format easily searchable, with indexing of more than 800 periodicals and yearbooks. Find information on societal trends affecting education, for example segregation, multiculturalism, feminism, economic developments, and more.

  • Accurate, detailed, cover-to-cover indexing of over 800 periodicals, many of them peer-reviewed.

  • Includes the full text of Wilson Library Bulletin from 1914 to 1983, including PDF page images.

  • Cites some 850,000 articles, including book reviews.

WKU patrons can access the Education Index Retrospective and thousands of other electronic resources via our Database Page.


Filed under Events