Monthly Archives: November 2012

University Libraries Welcomes New Dean

Connie Foster, Dean of University Libraries at WKU

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Constance “Connie” Foster will take the interim off of her title at Western Kentucky University starting Dec. 1.

After a comprehensive national search, Foster has been selected as Dean of the University Libraries at WKU. She has been the Interim Dean since March 2011.

“As Interim Dean, Professor Foster has amply demonstrated her ability to lead the WKU Libraries during a period of substantial and significant change, including the formation of the Library Systems Office and the imminent opening of the Information Commons,” Provost Gordon Emslie said. “I am confident that she will continue to move the Libraries forward in this era of ongoing transformational change in the way that a university library serves both internal and external constituents.”

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DLPS Faculty Meet in Owensboro Regional Center Library


On November 28, 2012, faculty members of WKU Libraries’ Department of Public Services met in Owensboro Regional Campus Library. The department has a tradition of meeting in one of its regional center libraries once a year.

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Edison, Marconi . . . and Stubblefield

Nathan B. Stubblefield (1860-1928)

Nathan B. Stubblefield (1860-1928)

In January 1907, in the middle of a small ledger he used to keep track of his sales, farmer, grocer and inventor Nathan B. Stubblefield (1860-1928) made some highly unusual entries.  Between the accounts for sugar, molasses, peaches and melons was a brief record of the capital and expenses of the “Stubblefield Wireless Telephone Company.”  Stubblefield’s ventures into the wireless transmission of sound would, in fact, give him a claim to the title “father of broadcasting,” and some have even gone so far as to call his home of Murray, Kentucky, the “birthplace of radio.”

According to his biographer Bob Lochte, Stubblefield developed an “electromagnetic induction wireless telephone” independently of better-known inventors like Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi.  After initial acclaim for his invention, Stubblefield sold the rights and began work on a different design, for which he received a patent in 1908.  Indeed, his ledger recorded his trip to Washington, D.C. and his payment of a “first patent fee” of $60.

Despite Stubblefield’s attempts to show that his device improved on earlier inventions, better technology soon rendered it obsolete.  After losing his financial backing and suffering personal reverses, the disillusioned Stubblefield became a recluse.  Upon his death, however, The New York Times remembered his triumphant claim that “I can now telephone a mile without wires” and that his system would “be developed until messages can be sent and heard all over the country, to Europe, all over the world.”

Nathan Stubblefield’s ledger is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to download a finding aid.  For more of our collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Cravens 4 Closed until Wednesday, November 28

The Cravens 4 lobby on the restroom side including the elevator wall pass-through door will be closed from now until Wednesday of the week.  Access between Cravens 1-3 and the rest of the facility will only be possible from outside or with an elevator key for the Cravens 4-9 elevator.  If you need to move a person or some other material immediately call 5-3951 and a supervisor with an elevator key will operate the elevator to assist you.  We will alert you when the floor is traversable again, expected to be Wednesday.

Please feel free to email  Douglas Wiles, Library Security Coordinator, at or call his cell at 791-0104 if you have questions or need assistance.

Watch our videos to follow the progress in the project of the Commons on the 4th floor of Cravens Library.

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Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award Winners Visited BG Schools


The Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award winners visited several elementary schools during their visit to Bowling Green. Illustrator Lynne Avril talked to students at Plano, Alvaton, and Dishman-McGinnis elementary schools and asked them to assist with drawing one of the characters from the winning book. Author George Ella Lyon visited Lost River Elementary School and told the children how reading and writing played a role in her  life growing up and how her experiences impacted her career. Both ladies completed their visit with a luncheon in their honor.

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WKU Libraries Honors Winner of 6th Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award


On November 16, 2012, WKU Libraries honored this year’s winners of “Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award” George Ella Lyon and Lynne Avril, author and illustrator respectively of the book The Pirate of Kindergarten, with a reception at the Kentucky Building. One of the highlights of the reception was a speech in honor of Thurman given by Linda, a student of hers from Tennessee. The reception concluded with a book-signing ceremony.

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Don’t Mess With His Mule

Reward Poster for Stolen Mule

Recently while cleaning and organizing Commonwealth Court Cases in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives unit of the Special Collections Library, workers came across an 1876 indictment from the Warren County Grand Jury in which Burwell Jackson was accused of “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously” stealing a mule, the property of Frank W. Jackson.  Included with the file is a carefully worded, but terse, broadside describing the mule.  Jackson presents the animal’s appearance in great detail, providing color, age, height, and other defining features:  “low carriage, heavy head, quick motioned, and marked by the harness; barefooted, and main (mane) and tail considerably grown out.”

The animal was apparently taken right from Jackson’s own stable, ten miles west of Bowling Green on the Gasper River.  Jackson proffered $25 for return of the animal and an additional $25 for “capture and conviction of the thief or thieves.”  To insure that all passersby would see the broadside, Jackson had the printer place at the bottom of the piece:  “Please post in a conspicuous place.” 

In testimony included in the jury’s deliberations, William Tisdale said that he did see “an advertisement of [a] stolen mule” and recognized the description as  being one held by Burrell Jackson of Logan County.  Mr. Jackson was indicted and charged with grand larceny.  Whether he was tried and convicted is still a mystery.  To see other court records held by the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, search TopSCHOLAR

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Military Resources in WKU Archives

1917 saw the creation of the Army ROTC program at Western under the National Defense Act of 1916.  In 1918, the Board of Regents allowed for the formation of the Student’s Army Training Corps.  Barracks were provided for participating students.  In January 1919, this group became the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

During World War II the 321st Army Air Force Cadet Training Detachment took up residence on campus. From 1943 through 1944 the group published a newsletter The Open Post, which has been digitized and is now available TopScholar.

A Military Bibliography of primary and secondary sources in WKU Archives has been created.  It documents WKU student military units such as the Pershing Rifles and Scabbard & Blade.  There is information regarding veterans, World War II, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War as well.

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Recognizing Our Veterans for Veteran’s Day

Come see our display case on the 5th floor of Cravens commemorating our currently employed & student Veterans at WKU!  Thank you all for fighting for our freedom!!!


Display case for Veteran’s Day
Set up by: Paula Bowles, Amanda Hardin, and Debbie Lamastus.

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The Still Cemetery

The Still Cemetery, by Larry D. Montgomery

The Still Cemetery, by Larry D. Montgomery

Created out of a gift of land from the Still family of Warren County, Kentucky, the Still Cemetery became the final resting place for many residents of the Blue Level community of Bowling Green.  A descendant of the Still family, Larry D. Montgomery, has recently completed an inventory of the cemetery and donated a copy to WKU’s Special Collections Library.  The grave listings will be useful to genealogists as they provide names, dates and epitaphs for the farmers, quarrymen, railroad workers and their families who are buried there.  In addition, Montgomery’s research supplies other data such as family relationships and cause of death.

Making use of records held in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of the Special Collections Library, Montgomery also outlines the role of the Still family in the establishment of two local churches, Providence Knob Baptist Church and White Stone Quarry Baptist Church.  Combining documentary research and hands-on field work, the book is the author’s tribute to his own family and the history of a community.

Click on the church names to download finding aids for records held in WKU’s  Manuscripts & Folklife Archives.  For other collections of church and cemetery records, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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