Monthly Archives: October 2012

WKU Libraries’ Halloween Party


Thanks to Glenda, Jan, Jennifer, student Christine, and many others in the Libraries, it held another successful and fun Halloween Party this year. As usual the party featured potluck meals, costume contest, and door prizes.

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Hallowe’en at WKU

Phi Delta Theta Halloween Party

A quick search of KenCat for Halloween revealed several entries for photographs including this one of Jerry Wolf dressed as Zorro and Justin Mylor dressed as Forrest Gump at a Phi Delta Theta party. There are also images from a West Hall celebration in 1945 and president Thomas Meredith celebrating in the 1990’s.

Henry Cherry put a clipping and the program for the Training School’s 1915 Hallowe’en Carnival in one of his scrapbooks. The three part program, Oct. 28th was open to the public for a 5 cent admission fee.  The first hour was held in Vanmeter Hall where Grades 1 & 2 entertained with Rhythm & Games, Grade 3 performed folk dances, Grade 4 presented characters from story-book land and the seventh graders presented “Moving Pictures.”

Part 2 consisted of an “intermission” and guests were “given an opportunity to patronize the refreshment stands in Cabell Hall and the Fort.”  The sixth graders had an autumn booth in the old fort and a Japanese Tea in Cabell Hall.  Grade 5 provided a county booth and the first graders sold candy in Cabell Hall.

The carnival reconvened in the Training School Chapel at 8:15 where the 8th grade performed a circus.  There was also a fish pond where fish were sold for a nickel a piece.

Do you remember a special Halloween on the Hill?  Share your memories with us.

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It’s Debatable

Todd County Courthouse (built 1835)

Todd County Courthouse (built 1835)

The recent presidential debates remind us that Americans have long enjoyed sharpening their wits through verbal combat.  Such was the case in September, 1836, in tiny Elkton (Todd County) Kentucky, when a group of young men formed the Union Club to engage in “polemic exercise” and “to reap from it the fruit it affords when properly conducted.”

The club’s minute book, now part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library, recorded the outcome of debates on topics that had been selected at the previous meeting.  Should the United States acknowledge the independence of Texas?  Should a man falsify his word under any circumstances?  Are men happier in private life, as opposed to public?  The winning sides, respectively, were yes, no and yes.

The minute book also laid down some ground rules for the debates.  For example, no member could interrupt another without the club president’s permission, and everyone had to observe the “rules of decorum and respect as due from one gentleman to another.”  Members were also bound by a “no spin” policy forbidding them to “retail upon the streets or elsewhere what passes during the meetings of the club.”

Despite reconstituting itself as the “Elkton Debating Society,” the group appeared to enjoy only three years of existence.  As its minutes show, however, members tackled both political and philosophical questions with relish.

Click here to download a finding aid for the minutes of the Union Club/Elkton Debating Society.  For more collections on debating and clubs, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Henry Winkler to Headline 15th Annual SOKY Book Fest

Winkler_Henry_NEWWell-known actor, author, producer, and director, Henry Winkler will headline the 15th annual Southern Kentucky Book Fest scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2013. Best known for his portrayal of “The Fonz” for 10 seasons on Happy Days (1974-1984), Winkler is one of the most recognized actors in the world. In 2003, he began writing a series of children’s novels with his partner Lin Oliver entitled, Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Under-Achiever. Inspired by Winkler’s struggle throughout his education due to his learning challenges, the books have appeared on several bestseller lists including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. In 2011, Winkler published I Never Met an Idiot on the River, a collection of anecdotes and heartfelt observations he gathered while fly fishing in Montana. Earlier this year, he released the first installment of a new children’s Ghost Buddy series.

“We couldn’t be happier to have the talented Henry Winkler be a part of our upcoming SOKY Book Fest,” said Kristie Lowry, Literary Outreach Coordinator. “From his long running TV series and cinema exposure to his highly successful children’s book series, Winkler will attract a large fan base from a wide range of ages.”

Bestselling children’s author Obert Skye will headline Children’s Day on Friday, April 19. Best known for the Leven Thumps and Pillagy series, Skye is also the author of the comic novels The Creature from My Closet. Other children and youth authors attending include Amy Ignatow with The Popularity Papers series and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady series. Krosoczka will also lead a writing workshop on the afternoon of Book Fest for children in upper elementary and middle school grades.

Mary McDonough, the actress best known for her role as Erin Walton from The Waltons, will be in attendance with her book Lessons from the Mountain, What I Learned from Erin Walton. Mary is a public speaker and workshop leader who focuses on personal change, creating a balanced life, and returning to a sense of self. McDonough will give a presentation on body image during a breakfast on Saturday, April 20.

More than 125 authors for adults and children will be in attendance at the 2013 SOKY Book Fest, one of the largest, most successful book festivals in the state. All Book Fest events, including the Kentucky Writers Conference, will take place at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Friday’s Kentucky Writers Conference will appeal to new and experienced writers, educators, and high school and college students. At the conference, a dozen authors attending the Book Fest will offer workshops on various writing topics from 9am to 3:30pm. Children’s Day will also be on Friday, April 19 from 9 am to 2 pm and is a day devoted to children in kindergarten through middle school, teachers, and librarians. The main Book Fest event with all participating authors will be from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday. All events are free and open to the public except for the breakfast with Mary McDonough and Friday night’s “Meet the Authors” reception.

SOKY Book Fest is a partnership project of WKU Libraries, Warren County Public Library, and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. For more information, visit the website at or contact Book Fest organizer Kristie Lowry at WKU Libraries at (270) 745-4502 or

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Images of America: Butler County


This month’s encore presentation in our Kentucky Live! series, taking place in Morgantown Public Library, Kentucky on October 25, 2012, focused on the history of neighboring Butler County published in the Images of America series in September by Arcadia Press. The speakers were Roger Givens and Nancy Richey, co-authors of the book in the series.

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A Day in the Archives – Reference

Every day is something a bit different than the day before in WKU Archives.  I may find myself processing photographs, blueprints or president’s papers.  October 2nd was definitely a reference day.

Request 1 – WKU maternity leave policies, when were they first instituted and how have they changed over time.  After a couple false starts in the Board of Regents and University Senate records, information was found in the faculty/staff handbooks created by Human Resources.

Request 2 – Topographic maps of WKU campus. Unfortunately we do not have any in WKU Archives.  It may be that none have been created.

Request 3 – WKU vs Russian football team, all information available.  Film footage was pulled and transferred from tape to dvd.  The poster above was digitized for the researcher as well.

Request 4 – Information and photos of the Rock House for an upcoming exhibit.  A search of KenCat revealed that there is a single photograph, 3 floor plans and Rock House Reunion records created by alumni who once used the building as a dormitory.  Records were pulled for the researcher to use.  The photograph and floor plans were digitized for inclusion in the exhibit.

Request 5 – Photographs to be used in celebration of Gary Ransdell’s 15th anniversary as WKU president.  Luckily the request included a list of events the researcher wanted images of.  A search of KenCat found most of them quickly.  These were forwarded to the researcher to make selections.  Then I went through unprocessed photographs and pulled relevant images for digitization.  Records for these images were created in  KenCat and thumbnails attached.  Now they are available to all researchers.

Request 6 – A request was made for a copy of a SITE committee report.  The researcher had already checked the Board of Regents and University Senate records online.  A search was made of the President’s Office papers and some University Senate records that have not been digitized.  The report was not found and in talking with the researcher, it was decided that it probably never existed.

Research can be quite time consuming.  WKU Library Special Collections & Kentucky Museum Research Strategies is available to help researchers use the online resources before making a trip to the Kentucky Building.  Processing and digitization of WKU Archives collections is user driven.  All requests are answered in the order received.  We are working daily to process additional records, add entries to the database and make more records available more quickly to our patrons.

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Talk on “A Tour of Historic Royal Places” by Taryn Rice


WKU Libraries featured Taryn Rice from its Special Collections Library in its monthly “We’ve Been Everywhere” program in Helm Library room 100 on the morning of October 24, 2012. Taryn talked about her visit to the historic sites of royal palaces and towers in Britain in light of its history.

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Dr. Patrick Pranke Speaking for Far Away Places


Dr. Patrick Pranke was our speaker for Far Away Places with Strange Sounding Names Series on October 18, 2012 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Bowling Green, KY. He spoke about “Paths to Liberation in Burmese Buddhism.”

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Case Dismissed

Separated at birth? Judge John B. Rodes and Confederate general Robert E. Lee

Separated at birth? Judge John B. Rodes and Confederate general Robert E. Lee

As we have previously reported, the 1957 renovation of Bowling Green’s Warren County Courthouse gave rise to some interesting discoveries.  Here’s another:

While dismantling the interior, workmen discovered some old file cabinets stowed in a forgotten corner.  Inside was a bundle of Warren Circuit Court criminal indictments dating from the Civil War, and in particular from the period following the six-month occupation of Bowling Green by Confederate troops in 1861-1862.

The persons charged in the indictments included not only local citizens who had aided and abetted the Southern cause, but three Confederate heavyweights: Generals John C. Breckinridge, Simon Bolivar Buckner, and John Hunt Morgan.  Their offense was to “wilfully, feloniously, and traitorously and with force levy war” against the Commonwealth of Kentucky by “uniting and assembling themselves into and with an army . . . of the so called Confederate States of America.”

Since these indictments had been handed down, however, the three men had redeemed themselves in the eyes of most Kentuckians.  Breckinridge was pardoned in 1868 and welcomed home from exile in Canada, Morgan became legendary for his audacious raids on Union forces, and Buckner went on to serve as governor of the same state he was charged with betraying.  Accordingly, early in January 1958, at the Warren Circuit Court’s opening session, Judge John B. Rodes quickly granted Commonwealth Attorney J. David Francis’s request to erase “the stain of indictments from the names of valiant Confederate generals and their followers” and dismiss all charges.  Newsweek magazine reported the decision in its January 20 issue, noting Bowling Green’s “warm, unanimous agreement” with the outcome — and Judge Rodes’s coincidental resemblance to General Robert E. Lee.

The Warren Circuit Court’s Civil War indictments are now part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to download a finding aid.  For more collections relating to the Civil War and to Warren County courts, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Photograph Collection

WKU vs Youngstown, 2002

If anyone had told me when I was in school that one day I would get paid  to identify college logos on football helmets I would have laughed.   Some days that’s exactly what I do.

Processing photographs involves evaluation of quality in relation to other similar images in the collection.

WKU vs WIU, 2002, long focus

Identification of people, places and events and even athletic teams. Rehousing in mylar sleeves and acid free folders. And occasionally discarding images due to blurriness or poor composition.

WKU Archives holds approximately 50,000 photographs, slides, negatives and drawings. Photographs are described in bulk by topic in KenCat, our online catalog.  Broad topics include campus buildings, portraits, organizations, athletics and events.  As researchers request images for projects, they are digitized.  At that time a thumbnail image and corresponding description are entered into KenCat.  To date, a little over 9,000 have been digitized. Check out WKU Archives – Photograph Collection for more detailed information regarding the collection.

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