Monthly Archives: December 2011

WKU Libraries Employees and Students Awarded at Holiday Party


WKU Libraries had a luncheon in Montana Grill, Bowling Green on December 15, 2011 to celebrate the Holiday and award its outstanding employees and student workers.

This year’s Margie Helm Award was given to Associate Professor of Library Public Services Katherine Pennavaria, who is the Coordinator of Glasgow Regional Library. The Margie Helm Staff Award went to Senior Catalog Assistant Ann Brown from the Library Technical Services. Three student workers, each from a different department received the Margie Helm Student Award. They were Allison Rahman, Christopher McConnell, and Brittany Crowley. Two teams also won the award: “Where in the World Is Big Red” committee consisting of Crystal Bowling, Tracy Bryant, Eric Fisher, Brent Fisk, Dan Forrest, Kenneth Foushee, Amanda Hardin, Christopher McConnell, and Jennifer Wilson and the ERC Moving team comprising Eric Fisher, Alan Logsdon, Sue Lynn McDaniel, Ellen Micheletti, Josh Mosby, Arthur Petersen, Roxanne Spencer, Sandy Staebell, and Robbie VanValin.

A fun game of “Can You Guess Who” added to the festivity and celebration. The organizers of the event Crystal Bowling, Amanda Drost, Tracy Bryant, Dean Jones, Brenda Woods, and Lynn Pawley did a great job preparing for it. They had gathered questions from Libraries’ employees for the party goers to guess who was behind a particular question such as “I used to play the accordion,” “I’m a vegan,” and “I was classified as a genius in kindergarten.” Retiree Gay Perkins came to the party from Louisville. Coupled with good food, everyone had an enjoyable time.

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WKU Libraries’ Dean’s Office Celebrated Holiday


Interim Dean Connie Foster and employees and students from her Office celebrated Christmas at a luncheon in the Federal Grove Bed & Breakfast Restaurant on December 14, 2011.

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“A Better Person for the Experience”

Dee Carl Perguson, Jr.

Dee Carl Perguson, Jr.

Graduating from high school at age 16, Dee Carl “D.C.” Perguson, Jr. (1921-2010) left his home in Horse Branch (Ohio County) in 1938 to attend Western Kentucky State Teachers College (now WKU).  He earned a bachelor’s degree in history, then entered the U. S. Army.  Perguson served in North Africa and Italy, where he was wounded in January 1944 and sent home to recover.  Earning his master’s degree in 1947, Dee began a life of teaching, travel and volunteerism.

Highlighting the personal papers of Dee Perguson, now part of the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library, are his correspondence and diaries.  Begun while Perguson was a student at WKU, his diaries offer a detailed account of college life in the shadow of World War II.  During his military service, Perguson kept up a faithful correspondence with his parents in Horse Branch. After being wounded in action, he tried to reassure them.  “My injury is not really bad,” he wrote.  “Two bullets hit my arm, one bone is broken in my upper arm.  Done up in my plaster cast I am in fine shape” and, he continued, “probably a better person for the experience.”

Perguson’s post-war correspondence details his political, church and volunteer activities during his career as a high school teacher in Seattle.  He also kept journals documenting his year in England as a Fulbright Scholar (1949-1950) and his travel to the Soviet Union and Central America.  Ever the historian, Perguson also wrote retrospective essays about his youth and family in Horse Branch.

Click here to download a finding aid for the Dee Carl Perguson, Jr. Collection.  For other collections relating to Ohio County, World War II and more, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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December Reference Area Display


As we prepare for winter and its attendant holidays, the Reference area becomes a winter wonderland replete with snowflakes. The book display for the month accentuates the decorations with books on areas of the world that are covered in ice and snow for much more of the year than we are here in Kentucky. Enjoy books on travel, ecology, and much more with our frozen display!

Books on Display

1. Exploring polar frontiers : a historical encyclopedia / William James Mills ; with contributions by David Clammer … [et al.]. (2 volumes.) G587.M55 2003
2. Antarctica and the Arctic : the complete encyclopedia / David McGonigal, Lynn Woodworth ; [foreword by Sir Edmund Hillary] G587.M34x 2001
3. Fabulous Western Canada : capture the excitement of the Great West! / [research and writing, Tracey Arial … et al.]. F1060.4.F3213x 2008
4. A brief history of Canada / Roger Riendeau. F1026.R58 2007
5. Scandinavian Europe / Harding, Paul. Dl4.S356x 2007
6. The Arctic / Deanna Swaney. G608 .A73x 1999
7. Encyclopedia of Antarctica and the southern oceans / edited by B. Stonehouse.G855.E53 2002
8. Tundra / Peter D. Moore ; illustrations by Richard Garratt. QH541.5.T8 M665 2008
9. Historical atlas of the Arctic / Derek Hayes. REF ATLAS G3051.S12 2003 .H39x
10. Atlas of the Polar regions/ National Foreign Assessment Center (U.S.) G1054.N3 1985

As well as 2 paper maps: National Geographic’s Alaska, and a map of Antarctic Research Stations, circa 1990.

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Concluding Panel Discussion on Lincoln Today at KY Museum

dsc_0558The final Lincoln lecture took place Tuesday, December 6, 2011 in the Kentucky Library & Museum. Carol Crowe-Carraco, Nancy Baird, Patricia Minter, and Cecile Garmon discussed Lincoln’s legacy and the effects of his Constitutional decisions and leadership in our own time.

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Christmas in Kentucky Celebrated in Kentucky Museum


Community members joined the KY Museum , WKU Chemistry Club and over 70 Hilltopper Atheletes for this year’s Christmas in Kentucky on the afternoon of December 3, 2011 in the Kentucky Museum. Children of all ages enjoyed the variety of activities and performances such as carolers, magic show, ormanment making, gingerbread sampling, and picture taking with Santa and Mrs. Claus throughout the museum. Admission was free.

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Quilting History Documented


KHQS's logo features the Kentucky Star quilt pattern

        Nothing says comfort like a handmade quilt. These cultural gems are closely associated with Kentuckians; thousands of these pieced, applique, and whole-cloth quilts are safely tucked away in closets or chests, proudly displayed on beds or quilt racks, or exhibited in museums across the Commonwealth. Kentucky’s vintage quilts and their makers are featured in the recently processed Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society (KHQS) Collection found in Manuscripts & Folklife Archives. The 62-box collection houses over 20,000 items. Processing the collection, which started in May, was partially funded by the Society. Click here to see the collection finding aid.

        In December 1980, Katy Christopherson and Melzie Wilson convened a meeting in Louisville to consider the establishment of a state-wide organization for quilters. The group voted to establish the KHQS, with three major functions:  promote the understanding, appreciation and knowledge of the art and craft of quiltmaking; support and expand the collections and preservation of Kentucky quilts and the records of Kentucky’s quiltmakers and their work; and, undertake activities such as shows, contests and workshops. In January 1981, the fledgling group created a set of by-laws and elected officers and committee chairpersons. The organization’s articles of incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State’s office in April 1981, and by July the organization’s membership had grown from 15 to 105.

        KHQS’s first major project was a statewide quilt contest in 1982. This successful effort included a series of seminars on “What Makes a Prize-Winning Quilt.” Since that time, KHQS has offered varied programming, ranging from design seminars, presentations about historical quilts, its popular hands-on workshops at Pleasant Hill, and its annual “Quilter’s Getaway” which has been held in various locations across the state.

        KHQS also undertook a project to interview Kentucky quilters about their craft and their product. The grant-funded project, titled “Quilters on File,” allowed a cadre of women to be trained in interviewing techniques prior to conducting field work. The project resulted in 92 interviews captured on cassette tapes as well as a training manual. Auxiliary information and transcripts are sometimes available with the interview.

        Surely the most daunting, but useful, project undertaken by KHQS has been a comprehensive registry of vintage quilts made in Kentucky. As of 2011, sixty counties have been surveyed. Each quilt was assigned a unique number, and information was captured about the quilt and its maker and owner. In addition the quilts were photographed. In the early years, black and white photographs were made, but since the introduction of digital photography only color images are taken. To see the registry go to

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Henry Cherry’s Interest Wide Ranging

President Henry Cherry was a man of many and varied interests and we know this by the scrapbooks he had created during his administration 1906-1937.  These are held in WKU Archives and we are about half way through processing them.  Most of the scrapbooks are in good condition.  While education and Western Kentucky University head the list of topics covered, religion, the Temperance Movement and World War I are well represented.  There are several scrapbooks dedicated to Cherry’s own personal political aspirations, his candidacy for Kentucky governor and his promotion of rural life through chautaquas held in Warren and the surrounding counties.

The collection inventory has been posted on TopScholar and gives more detail regarding these materials.  These and many other records are available for researchers through our online catalog, KenCat and in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Library & Museum Monday – Saturday, 9 – 4.

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A Journalist’s Life…With a Surprise Ending

Virginia Wood Davis, 1919-1990

Virginia Wood Davis, 1919-1990

After she got a job in 1942 doing war work in an Owensboro factory, Smiths Grove native Virginia Wood Davis was unsure about finishing her degree at Western Kentucky State Teachers College (now WKU).  On one hand, the war wouldn’t last forever, but on the other hand Virginia and her widowed mother had learned to watch their pennies, and her $80-per-month paycheck at least allowed them to stop worrying about food.

But Virginia did return to school and graduated in 1943.  Taking a teacher’s suggestion that she pursue newspaper work, she embarked on a career that lasted more than 40 years and took her to reporting and editorial positions in Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and finally back to Kentucky, where she spent eight years as managing editor of the McCreary County Record.

In a profession where women were still a curiosity, Virginia trod the reporter’s beat, learned to “go toe to toe” with men, and cultivated her resume.  She won an award from the South Carolina Press Association in 1960, became the first woman to run the main copy desk at the Florida Times-Union, and earned numerous press awards for the McCreary County Record.  She covered civil rights marches in Alabama, migrant workers in Florida, and striking miners in Kentucky.  But the hours were long and the pay was low.  From a starting salary of $25 per week in 1943, Virginia retired in 1985 earning $325 per week at the Record.

To colleagues and friends, Virginia’s personal habits, which included an obsessive frugality and a lifestyle that some called “primitive,” were proof of her lifelong poverty.  But they were in for a shock.  When she died in 1990, Virginia left a small house, a beat-up truck, some personal possessions… and investments that, after being rumored to be as much as $2.5 million, were eventually valued at $400,000.  The major beneficiary of her scrimping and saving was her alma mater.  Virginia left 80% of her estate to WKU–the largest bequest ever given up to that time–to be used for the benefit of its journalism department.

WKU was equally honored when a family member donated Virginia Wood Davis’s personal papers to WKU’s Special Collections Library.  This collection, which includes more than 4,000 items of correspondence, diaries, genealogy records, news writing and photos, is now processed and available to researchers.  It provides a full and fascinating picture of the life and times of a daughter of Smiths Grove, a hardworking woman journalist, and a uniquely successful investor.  Click here to download a finding aid.  For more of our collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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