Covering more than 150 years, the Meador, Richards, and Johnson Family Papers at WKU’s Special Collections Library document the history of three Simpson and Logan County, Kentucky families and their kin, the Garrett and King families of Tennessee and Texas.
As one might expect, material accumulated over such a long period covers a variety of topics. A letter to Caroline (King) Garrett sent from Havana, Cuba in 1842 vividly describes the illness and death of her brother George and the writer’s efforts to circumvent prejudice against non-Catholics in order to secure him a decent burial. That same year, Caroline’s brother John wrote from Texas, where tensions were high between Mexico and the breakaway republic, still three years from becoming a U.S. state. The previous month, invading Mexican troops had produced “grate excitement through the country” before being driven from San Antonio. John was confident that Texans could stand up to the saber rattling of Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. “I think I am as much for peace as any man where it can be had upon laudable turmes,” he wrote, “but I do think candidly Old Sant Ana’s pride wants takeing down a little.”
Jump ahead more than a century to a lighter note: the collection also contains items relating to the notorious fan dancer, Sally Rand. In 1975, at the age of 71, Miss Rand was still making appearances and autographing photo cards showing her famous form strategically concealed behind ostrich feathers.
A finding aid for the Meador, Richards, and Johnson Family Papers can be downloaded here.