A family visiting the original Mammoth Cave Hotel in 1895.
Many researchers over the years have asked to examine the Mammoth Cave Hotel registers housed in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives division of WKU’s Special Collections Library. The folio-sized, bound volumes contain tangible evidence of the popularity of Kentucky’s biggest tourist destination: Mammoth Cave. These original registers capture the signatures of visitors to the attraction from 1858-1866. The original Mammoth Cave Hotel was built in 1835 and housed visitors from around the world, including Great Britain, France, Germany, India, Peru, and Canada. Within the United States, visitors came from every state. The registers detail the visitor’s name, arrival date, residence, and destination. The majority of the visitors list their destination as “the cave,” but a few unique comments include: “hole in the ground”, “I don’t know”, “all parts of the U.S.A.”, “Dixie”, or “heaven.” Occasionally, the hotel clerk would comment on the weather for that day, or provide additional information about particular groups at the hotel. Some interesting groups that passed through the cave and stayed at the hotel included the Associated Press, Orpheus Members, and Union soldiers during the Civil War. One brave wag actually signed in as Abraham Lincoln on March 12, 1863. The 1835 hotel was replaced in 1925; the current Mammoth Cave Hotel was erected in 1965 and the 1925-era structure was razed in 1979 after a vociferous effort was made to preserve the venerable building.
A small poem found in the register, memorializes the cave’s dark beauty, stating that “caverns dig as deep as Hell…and from his boat old Charon kicks And builds a bridge on river Styx.”
A finding aid to this collection can be found by clicking here. To see other matericals related to Mammoth Cave or the Mammoth Cave National Park, search TopSCHOLAR or KenCat.
WKU Libraries Interim Dean Connie Foster (front and center) holds the Certificate of Commendation surrounded by members of the WKU Library Advisory Council. Front row L to R: Pat Porter Miller, Nancy English, Nancy Baird, Connie Foster, Laura Eason, and Christine Sowders; Middle row L to R: Nancy Priest, Howard Margolis, John Fitts, Pam Kielty, Joann Jones; Third row L to R: Carl Dobson, Cindy Gaffney, Kristie Lowry, Gretchen Niva.
On Monday, September 24, Tara Griffith presented Lisa Rice, Director of Warren County Public Libraries, Connie Foster, Interim Dean of WKU Libraries, and Kristie Lowry, WKU Libraries Literary Outreach Coordinator, with a Certificate of Commendation for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest for an event that empowers school librarians as knowledgeable educators.
This formal commendation from the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association, was offered by Griffith from the Kentucky School Media Association and librarian at McNeil Elementary School. “The Book Fest has an impact on the lives of children throughout the region and provides a shared responsibility among educators to promote the love of learning,” says Connie Foster, Interim Dean of WKU Libraries.
The Southern Kentucky Book Fest, a two-day community event, is one of the largest in the Commonwealth and represents a key partnership by WKU Libraries, Warren County Public Library and Barnes and Noble Booksellers for promoting reading, writing, and lifelong learning. The Kentucky Writers Conference is a project of the Book Fest partners and provides free workshops as part of the overall event. The next Book Fest is April 19-20, 2013.
Left to Right (scroll down to see picture): Amy Hardin, Development Director for Libraries; Kristie Lowry, WKU Libraries Literary Outreach Coordinator; Ashley Fowlkes, Assistant Director of Warren County Public Library; Steve Marcum, WCPL Board member; Lisa Rice, Director of WCPL; Jim and Darlene Johnson; Jessica Carver, granddaughter of Jim and Darlene Johnson; Abraham and Mildred Williams, WCPL Board member; Holly Hedden, WCPL; Jayne Pelaski, WCPL and Connie Foster, Interim Dean of WKU Libraries
At the annual Kentucky Library Association Conference held at the Galt House in Louisville on Thursday, September 20, Jim and Darlene Johnson were awarded the prestigious William H. Natcher Award for their contributions to Western Kentucky University Libraries and the Warren County Public Library.
Each year the Kentucky Library Association gives the award to an individual, organization, or corporation who has made a significant philanthropic contribution to Kentucky libraries. The contribution may be monetary, materials, or equipment. The Johnson’s are the first to be recognized from Bowling Green, Kentucky.
“Jim and Darlene have been longtime supporters of WKU Libraries,” says WKU Libraries Interim Dean Connie Foster. “They have been a main supporter of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest for numerous years and other literary outreach events. We can’t thank them enough for their immeasurable support to library programs in South Central Kentucky.”
WKU Libraries professor and Coordinator of Glasgow Regional Center Library Katherine Pennavaria talked about her trip to Tangier Island. It turned out to be “the strangest place you’ve never heard of,” as we learned from her presentation. Kath said she had been attracted to the island by the quaint accent the island people spoke. A crowd of her colleagues were her fascinated and amused audience in Helm Library Room 100 today, September 25, 2012. Her presentation was part of the Libraries’ “We’ve Been Everywhere” talk series, where library employees share with their own their experience outside the United States.
Photo Album | Audio | Podcast
While construction doesn’t start in the Circulation area until the 1st of October, Circulation will begin operations in the Reference Room tomorrow, Wednesday, September 26. This is to allow a couple of days to work out the bugs.
I’m sure there will be a few bumps, but we hope it will go smoothly overall. Please let someone know if you’re seeing any problems.
John Goffried, Coordinator
Reference Services, WKU Libraries
Circulation Services will begin operations in the Helm Reference Room tomorrow, Wednesday 9/26. Ceiling tiles are already disappearing from 4th floor Cravens. The renovation has begun. Most furniture has been removed.
Leisure Reading Books are in Helm 100; audio books are permanently located in VPAL, Cravens 2nd floor.
There will be limited access to the 4th floor lobby for the ATM but as construction progresses that entrance may not always be available. Please check our blog and website for updates.
The VPAL second floor entrance is accessible for that floor.
Access to Cravens 5-9 will be through Helm 2nd floor to Cravens 5th floor elevators. Some access will be available from Reference to 4th floor elevator unless flooring is involved.
Please check signs or ask! Thank you for your patience.
Patrons needing accommodation for mobility issues, please call 270-745-3951 for assistance.
Connie Foster, Interim Dean