Daily Archives: May 14, 2010

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