Monthly Archives: August 2012

Burned Out

Reformed Church Minute Book

Reformed Church Minute Book

The Reformed Church/First Christian Church in Danville, Kentucky began meeting in 1843, under the leadership of Reverend Curtis Smith, who presided over the congregation from 1843-1847.  During the 1840s, the church had an average enrollment of 125 members.  The church’s first brick structure was completed in 1847.  Unfortunately, this building was destroyed on February 22, 1860 in the infamous Washington’s Birthday fire.  This tragedy almost decimated the town, demolishing 64 buildings and incurring more than $300,000 in damages.

Manuscripts Small Collection 477, found in the Special Collections Library, documents an organization in crisis mode.  The collection contains the minute book of the Building Committee of the Reformed Church [Christian] in Danville, Kentucky.  The minutes detail the transactions, contributions, and expenses incurred in rebuilding the church after the 1860 fire, planning to erect a new Church edifice as speedily as possible.”  To see a finding aid to this collection click here.  Use TopSCHOLAR to search for other church records in the Manuscripts Collection.

Construction began on the new church building in 1860, located at 4th and Walnut Street.  This structure would not be complete until 1865, after the Civil War.  The new building was dedicated in 1867.  Dr. Samuel Ayers was the main minister from the 1860s up until 1891.  The 1865 was razed after a new building was erected in 1914 at 462 West Main Street.  Interestingly, that building burned in 1965.

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WKU Libraries Receives Grant for “America’s Music” Program!

     WKU Libraries has just been awarded a grant for, “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway.”  WKU is one of only 50 locations that will offer this program to the public and 1 of 8 educational institutions nationwide to receive the grant.
     America’s Music is a six-week series of public programs created by Tribeca Film Institute in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in consultation with the Society for American Music.
     These programs feature documentary screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th century American popular music. Six sessions will focus on uniquely American musical genres: blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, rock ‘n’ roll, and mambo and hip hop.
WKU will host the series of six viewing and discussion programs between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013.

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Grand Opening for New Quilt Gallery at Kentucky Museum

Information:  Monday, February 6, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Wilson, 745.6977 or

Friday, February 24 will mark the grand opening for the Richardson Quilt Gallery–WKU’s latest permanent exhibition. The gallery will include two dozen quilts and historic textile samples collected by Elizabeth Richardson and donated by her daughter June McGuyer. “The acquisition of the Richardson Collection enhances the stature of the Museum as a leading Kentucky institution for the study of quilts and quilt making,” said Sandy Staebell, Museum Collections Curator.

Assembled over two decades, the Elizabeth Richardson Collection is a case study of American quilt collecting from the late 1930s through the late 1950s. In addition to the Richardson Collection, the gallery will also feature sixteen Star pattern quilts that were selected from other donors of the Kentucky Museum Quilt Collection. Dedicated to Richardson’s memory, this permanent gallery will offer a rotating selection of quilts and historic textiles.

Vicki Fitch, Executive Director for the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, says there is a large following for the quilt industry. “Supporters will drive many miles to view a new collection of quilts. It’s their passion,” said Fitch “We are very pleased that Bowling Green can now offer the Richardson Quilt Gallery as an attraction to the state.”

The grand opening will open with a Chamber Ribbon Cutting on Friday, February 24 at 2 pm. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend this event. For more information regarding the quilt gallery, go to

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The Scopes Monkey Trial

Homemade collage with thoughts on evolution, John Scopes scrapbook

Homemade collage with thoughts on evolution, John Scopes scrapbook

It was a lawsuit to test the constitutionality of Tennessee’s Butler Act, a 1925 statute making it a misdemeanor for teachers in state-supported schools “to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.”  But when State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes caught the satirical eye of anti-fundamentalist editor H. L. Mencken, he came up with a catchier name: the Scopes “Monkey Trial.”

The defendant was John Scopes, a Dayton, Tennessee high school coach, substitute biology teacher and Paducah, Kentucky native.  The attorney “dream teams” included Clarence Darrow for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution.  After 12 days of testimony, in July 1925 a Dayton court upheld the law and convicted Scopes of violating its provisions.  Although the conviction was later overturned on a technicality, the Butler Act was not repealed until 1967.

Part of a scrapbook kept by John Scopes and his wife Mildred containing material relating to the Scopes Trial has been recently donated to the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Included in its pages are letters from international divorce lawyer Dudley Field Malone offering his services as co-counsel, and from Clarence and Ruby Darrow commenting on press reaction to the trial in the South.

Much of the material documents the years after the trial during which Scopes, who left teaching for a career as a geologist, found himself a reluctant celebrity.  When Inherit the Wind, a movie based on the trial, was released in 1960, however, he appeared at its premiere in Dayton and at the accompanying “Scopes Trial Day” festivities.  Other correspondence relates to his 1967 memoir, Center of the Storm.  Also included are hand-crafted anti-evolution religious tracts and letters from both friends and strangers offering thoughts and reflections on the “Monkey Trial.”

Click here to download a finding aid for the John T. Scopes Collection.  For more of our collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Educational Resources Center Explodes with Patrons!

Patron number count in the Educational Resources Center has almost doubled with an 87% increase since it’s relocation to the first floor of Gary Ransdell Hall. “The move to Gary A. Ransdell Hall has made the ERC much more visible and accessible to the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the larger WKU community. We have seen a tremendous increase in library use. Our circulation figures have risen dramatically, as have our reference and research assistance services. It’s a pleasure to have students, staff, and faculty come into the ERC, wanting to use our facility for study sessions, computer use, meetings, and other group activities. This is what a library should be–a vibrant center of any community. We are absolutely delighted with the response,” said Roxanne Spencer, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the ERC.

The Educational Resources Center offers more than 45,000 practical materials to check out for classroom, special projects, or home use. The collection includes books for youth, titles for teacher education, K-12 textbooks, as well as hundreds of family friendly and instructional videos, and other multimedia resources. Several computer workstations are also available to access WKU Libraries’ research databases, WKU online accounts, the Internet, and for general coursework.

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August Reference Book Display

It may seem early to think about it, with summer session classes not ending until August 9th, but the academic year of 2012-2013 will soon be upon us. M.A.S.T.E.R  Plan will begin August 19th,  with class sessions beginning the following week. To that end, Helm Library’s Reference display for August focuses on information about campus, community, and county, for all the new students attending our university, and any who might have forgotten us over the break!

Books On Display

1. Architecture of Warren County, Kentucky, 1790-1940 / Alice Colvard and Kevin Hunter.

F457.W2 C64x 1984

2. Bowling Green / Jonathan Jeffrey and the Kentucky Library. F459.B7 J35x 2003

3. Western Kentucky University : the first 100 years, 1906-2006 / by Nancy Disher Baird, Carol Crowe Carraco, Sue Lynn Stone McDaniel.  LD5941.W5 B34x 2006

4. 2011 Western Kentucky University Fact Book/ Western Kentucky University. LD5941.W5 A2

5. Faces & places : Warren County.  F457 .W2 F32x 1996

6. Bowling Green, a pictorial history / Nancy Disher Baird, Carol Crowe-Carraco, and Michael L. Morse. F459 .B7 B34x 1983

7. 60 hikes within 60 miles, Nashville / by Johnny Molloy.  GV199.42.T22 N376 2002

8. A FalconGuide to Mammoth Cave National Park : a guide to exploring the caves, trails, roads, and rivers / Johnny Molloy. GV200.655.K42 M256 2006

9. Robert Penn Warren : a documentary volume / James A. Grimshaw, Jr. PS221 .D55x v.320


From the Maps Collection:

Bowling Green City Map

Bowling Green Visitor’s Guide and Map

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Join SOKY Reads!

Join us for our community wide reading program SOKY Reads! featuring the book “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts” by Neil White. Get your free copy of the book at our area book giveaways:
Thursday, August 9th-Warren County Public Library at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 16th– Bowling Green Technical College from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
(Free books are made possible by the generous support of the Alive Center)
To view the complete SOKY Reads! program guide please visit .

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