Monthly Archives: January 2011

Her “Great American King and Queen”

Ronald and Nancy Reagan

Ronald and Nancy Reagan

As we approach the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth (February 6), we can be sure that authors and pundits will continue to weigh in on the legacy of the nation’s 40th president.  Thousands of books–from Where’s the Rest of Me?  The Ronald Reagan Story (1965) to dozens of new volumes awaiting release in 2011–offer perspectives, both positive and negative, on Reagan and his political career.

Ronald Reagan has also inspired local authors.  WKU’s Special Collections Library holds a biography of Reagan written by Logan County native Betty Kathleen Hall (1908-1995).  Presented in the form of a narrative poem, the 184-page composition covers Reagan’s life from his youth (He was a lifeguard in the depression days / and he hitchhiked from town to town, / looking for radio work or, just anything–/ honest or honorable that could be found) to his and First Lady Nancy Reagan’s last days in the White House (Then suddenly, a commotion attracts us, / there’s a bustle of vigor and vim, / as we join all Americans and shout / “Good-bye!  Good-bye!” to them.)  Hall takes on the issues, personalities and controversies of the Reagan years, in every instance maintaining a thorough lack of sympathy for the President’s critics.

A finding aid for the Betty Kathleen Hall Collection can be downloaded here.  For other resources on Ronald Reagan at the Special Collections Library, search TopScholar and KenCat.

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Unpacking the ERC

Unpacking at the ERCUnpacking at the ERC

Books and materials have been packed, carted across the street to Gary Ransdell Hall and are being unpacked as WKU Libraries Faculty and Staff move in to the new ERC.  They have hundreds of boxes to go through as they prepare for the Spring semester.

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Filed under ERC, Events, Latest News

SGA Records

SGA Elections 1968

SGA Elections 1968

The Student Advisory Council of 1956 was the first incarnation of WKU’s Student Government Association. A constitution was written in 1963 and a student council was active in February and of March 1965.   In 1966 things finally got underway with a newly written constitution and approval of the Kelly Thompson administration.  Since then the group has been active on campus taking on the issues of the day from discrimination to tuition hikes, ice machines to visitation policies.

University Archives holds the existing records of the SGA and these are being digitized.  The constitution and amendments; meeting minutes 1969; 1976-1979; 1986-1990; 1994-1999; 2002-2003 and 2005-2007 ; legislation and documents are now available for researchers on TopScholar.   These records are also available to researchers in the Kentucky Building’s Harrison-Baird Reading Room, Monday – Saturday 9 – 4.

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Filed under Events, University Archives

Picturing Kentucky and Beyond

Come learn how to research images you can use in your classrooms, publications and work using the KenCat online system and the resources of the Kentucky Library & Museum. Presented by Nancy Richey and Suellyn Lathrop
Date: Jan. 27, 2010
Time: 1:00 – 2:00
Place: VPAL, 2nd Floor Cravens Library
To register: call 745-4793 or email

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“Je suis aviateur americain”

World War II blood chit

World War II blood chit

I am an American aviator.  My plane is destroyed.  I cannot speak your language.  I am an enemy of the Japanese.  Be so kind as to protect me, treat me and take me to the closest allied military office.  The government of my country will reward you.

They were called “escape flags” or “blood chits.”  Made of silk, about the size of a handkerchief, they reproduced the message above in several languages including French, Thai, Korean and Japanese.  During World War II, pilots shot down in foreign territory used the flags to identify themselves and obtain help from the local population.  If the pilot failed to survive, the serial number on the flag could offer a clue as to his fate.

WKU’s Special Collections Library holds two such escape flags in the collection of Warren County native and U. S. Navy veteran Cecil Murray Elrod (1923-2002).  The first is pictured at left, while the second shows the flag of Nationalist China.  Issued to pilots in the China-Burma-India theatre, it included a request in Chinese to shelter and protect the bearer, a “foreign person” who has “come to China to help in the war effort.”

A finding aid for the Cecil Murray Elrod Collection can be downloaded here.

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