Daily Archives: June 28, 2012

July Reference Book Display

This month, the reference area is celebrating Claire Donahue, the WKU alumna who qualified for the 2012 US Olympic swim team. Please stop by the reference area for books on swimming, sports, and the Olympics, as well as the 2010 Talisman, featuring an article on Ms. Donahue from her junior year at Western, entitled “Olympic Bound.”

Books on Display

1.         Historical dictionary of the modern Olympic movement / edited by John E. Findling and Kimberly D. Pelle. GV721.5.H546

2.         Great athletes / edited by the editors of Salem Press ; special consultant Rafer Johnson.  GV697.A1 G68 2010

3.         Encyclopedia of women and sports / Victoria Sherrow. GV709 .S44 1996

4.         Encyclopedia of international games / Daniel Bell. GV721 .B45 2003

5.         United States Olympic Book/ United States Olympic Committee. V721.5 .U6

6.         Historical dictionary of competitive swimming / John Lohn. GV836.3 .L65 2010

7.         The women’s sports encyclopedia / Robert Markel, executive editor. GV709 .W589 1997

8.         The Olympic record book / Bill Mallon. GV721.8 .M34 1988

9.         2010 Talisman

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“My chin was sticking in my nose”

Herman & Mary Volkerding

Herman & Mary Volkerding

On June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints and translator of the Book of Mormon, was killed by a mob for his controversial beliefs.  A little over a half-century later, 31-year-old Kentucky businessman Herman Volkerding witnessed Smith’s legacy in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Volkerding was on a 3,000-mile marketing trip through the western United States on behalf of his employer, a distillery headquartered in Louisville.  Although he was unlikely to have any sales success with the Mormons, while in Salt Lake City Volkerding did not miss a visit to the magnificent tabernacle where they worshipped.  Writing his wife Mary in July 1901, he “could not help but wonder at the ingenuity of the Mormon people.”  He described standing in a gallery at one end of the 200-foot-long, 8,000-seat temple as a Mormon elder at the other end “dropped a pin held not higher than 10 inches and it could be plainly heard.”

The next day, Volkerding attended a special musical service at the tabernacle and called it “the grandest thing by far that I have ever seen.”  He admitted to Mary “that I had to fight to keep from crying and to save me I could not keep some tears back.”  He listened with rapture to “the sweetest tenor you ever heard” and exclaimed of the 5,500-pipe organ that “you would hardly believe it but a human voice at any pitch can be reproduced so naturally and sweetly.”  Volkerding left his wife with an image of her husband, his lip quivering, overcome by the power of music.  “It was too much and I know my chin was sticking in my nose a good part of the time.”

Herman Volkerding’s travels and his affectionate letters to his wife can be found in the Volkerding Family Papers at WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to download a finding aid.  Find out about other collections by searching TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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