Bowling Green residents and their grandchildren from Oregon enjoy a chance to play dress up in the Photographers Studio in our Civil War exhibit. Besides learning more about the unique role Kentucky and Kentuckians played in this conflict, visitors this summer can uncover the past of the man behind the cake box, national food icon Duncan Hines, see early twentieth century photographs of a German immigrant community in South Central Kentucky, view some of the fabulous pieces of furniture from the KYLM decorative arts collection, and discover what makes Western Kentucky University so special.
Monthly Archives: June 2010
Sixty years ago today, on June 25, 1950, North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. Two days later, President Harry Truman ordered U. S. military aid to the South Koreans and the United Nations Security Council recommended that its members do the same. The ensuing conflict did not end until the signing of an armistice on July 27, 1953. The war cost approximately 54,000 American lives.
Though sometimes called the “forgotten war,” the Korean War is well remembered in the manuscript collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library. Oral history projects conducted by WKU and Bowling Green’s Presbyterian Church include interviews with Korean War vets. Other interviews feature Martin B. Schenck and General Barksdale Hamlett talking about their Korean War-era military service. Letters from soldiers written during the conflict include those of Joe Stephens to WKU professor George V. Page, and those of Wayne Runner. An honors thesis tells the story, with the aid of his letters, of Ernest Robertson, a young Russell County man killed in the war.
Among the holdings of WKU’s Special Collections Library are records relating to scores of churches in Kentucky and even a few in other states. These records typically include church constitutions and articles of faith, minutes of church meetings, and lists of pastors and members. Membership lists can be helpful to genealogists because they may reveal the names of other family members, and sometimes include notations about baptism, marriage and death. Lucky researchers might even discover extra tidbits of information about an ancestor–for example, a reprimand (or worse, expulsion from the flock) for poor attendance, fighting, gambling, profanity or adultery.
A new web page now allows researchers to gain easy access to information about our church records, and to download a finding aid from TopScholar, WKU’s digital repository, that describes the records in more detail. The page will be updated whenever more records are donated or acquired. Click here for a look.
Edgar Bryant Stansbury, son of Emmet and Mable Stansbury was born 1906 in Corbin, Kentucky. He attended Shepherdsville high school and came to WKU in 1926 where he played basketball and football. Upon graduation in 1930 he became assistant coach to E.A. Diddle. After World War II he returned briefly as athletic director in 1946-1947. Stansbury returned to the air force in 1947 and later worked for Rockwell. A lifelong WKU supporter, he died in Largo, Florida in 2009 at the age of 103.
A collection of his personal papers have recently come into University Archives and are being processed. They include 10 scrapbooks compiled over the course of Stansbury’s life regarding WKU athletics and his military career and a photograph collection. Three of the scrapbook have been digitized so far and are available online at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/stu_alum_papers/
The collection is available for researchers to use in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Building, Monday-Saturday, 9 to 4.
Installation of a new compact shelving unit on Cravens fifth floor has been completed. The unit is manually operated using hand cranks, and provides space for an additional 3000 volumes on that floor. The unit was funded through a Classroom Improvement Grant from the Provost’s office. The additional shelf space will help alleviate overcrowding on that floor. Allison Sircy and Jessica Simpson (pictured) oversaw the shelving of volumes on the new unit and will work with student assistants and staff this summer shifting volumes throughout the fifth floor.
As another anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy passes, here are some memories of Kentuckians who fought on that historic day, and whose reminiscences are preserved at WKU’s Special Collections Library:
We were anchored 12 miles off shore . . . The sound was deafening. It looked like a tornado from all the dust and smoke in the sky. — Ralph J. Glaser
I had land mines, supplies and men loaded on my truck . . . As I prepared to drive off the boat ramp, my truck stalled just before I got to shore and I had to be towed . . . I was deeply saddened as I looked upon the many American soldiers lying dead in shallow water on the beach . . . it was a shocking sight for a country farm boy who had grown up in the serene countryside of Daviess County. — Beverly Gilmore
It did not dawn on me until we were nearly on the sand that it was not raining. What I had assumed to be rain hitting the water all around us was actually bullets fired from shore . . . Later I was taken along with the other wounded out to a hospital boat anchored off shore . . . they insisted upon putting me on a stretcher and strapping my arms to my sides. They they . . . began to hoist me to the ship high above. The rough seas caused the stretcher to swing out 10 to 15 feet from the ship’s sides. I screamed awful things on the way up. — Bradley M. Green
We arrived at Utah Beach a little before dawn . . . Off shore with a rough sea running and in darkness, the assault waves climbed down landing nets into the bouncing landing crafts . . . Soon after hitting the beach, my foxhole buddy said, “Man, this is the real thing, isn’t it?” . . . He and I were approximately 20 yards apart at the time, and when I turned to respond, he was hit and killed by a large shell. — Russell C. Goddard
What do containers that advertise Duncan Hines’ yellow cake mix, double-fudge brownie mix, and chocolate ice cream have in common with a “Recommended by Duncan Hines/Adventures in Good Eating” sign from 1951? Selected from the Duncan Hines Collection at the Kentucky Library & Museum, they are part of the “Inventive Eats: Incredible Food Innovations” exhibit mounted by the National Inventors Hall of Fame.From what it takes to fry an egg, have a bowl of breakfast cereal, or enjoy a bag of potato chips, innovations abound in the food world, and Inventive Eats presents the fascinating stories behind many of these food innovations.
Interested in knowing more about Duncan Hines? Come visit the “Recommended by Duncan Hines” exhibit at the Kentucky Library & Museum which features photographs and postcards as well as pots and pans, barbecue tools, canned goods, china, and other objects associated with this nationally recognized food icon. The “Inventive Eats: Incredible Food Innovations” exhibit is currently running at the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Alexandria, Virginia and will move to its sister institution in Akron, Ohio in 2011.
The Henry Clay Presentation Quilt is featured in the exhibit, “Cherished Ornaments of our House: Important Personal Artifacts of Henry Clay” at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate. One of more than 165 quilts in the KYLM collection, this unique textile features a needlework portrait of our most famous Kentucky statesman as well as pastoral scenes done in crewelwork. The quilt is attributed to Clay’s wife, Lucretia.
Mounted to commemorate the completion of the book, “Henry Clay: The Essential American” by David and Jeanne Heidler, the exhibit includes numerous artifacts never before displayed at Ashland. The Henry Clay Quilt will be on exhibit at this historic Lexington home until July 9, 2010. Exhibit hours are 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday-Saturday and 1 pm-4 pm on Friday with tours occurring on the hour. More information.
Though it may seem quiet in the WKU libraries now that most of the students are gone for the summer, exciting work is still going on. As evidence, TopSCHOLAR® the University-wide, centralized digital repository dedicated to scholarly research, creative activity and other full-text learning resources that merit enduring and archival value and permanent access crossed a significant milestone. As of June 1st, 2010, there had been 100,247 full text downloads from the site. There are over 3,000 items housed there. WKU faculty, staff, and faculty-sponsored students are encouraged to publish in TopSCHOLAR®.
Bevie Cain was only sixteen when the Civil War broke out. Over the next few years, however, the Breckinridge County, Kentucky schoolgirl took time from her studies and social life to express her increasingly partisan opinions about the conflict.
In a remarkable series of letters to her friend James M. Davis, Bevie warned him not to be too open about his Unionist sympathies. “Not one word would I write to an abolitionist knowingly. I would consider it an everlasting disgrace to myself,” warned the self-described rebel. After the Emancipation Proclamation freed Southern slaves, Bevie asked James “how you can still be for Lincoln.” The President’s acts as commander-in-chief drew further scorn. “Lincoln does a great deal of mischief under cover of ‘military necessity,'” she observed.
But Bevie Cain could also turn an unsentimental eye on herself and her society. She thought marriage a rather curious institution, often contracted for convenience above all else, and sometimes found the courtship strategies of her male friends tiresome. In one of her more petulant moments, Bevie expected “to be a school marm, if my education is ever sufficient — if not I will live and die a happy ‘old maid’ hated by all and loving none in return.” Clearly, Bevie was a rebel in other matters besides the Civil War.