Monthly Archives: March 2013

Kentucky Building Song

CHH Feb. 1929 Headline

CHH Feb. 1929 Headline

Set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, The Kentucky Building song composed by Mrs. H.R. Matthews during the fund raising campaign appeared in the March 1929 College Heights Herald.

Though we may wander from the Hill
In wider fields to roam
We’ll treasure o’er our college days
And call her portals “Home”

Then may our hands and may our hearts
Be joined to build a great
Kentucky monument to save
The history of our state

The Indian lore and pioneer
Shall never pass away;
Our relics we shall now preserve
And in our state they’ll stay

Check out other College Heights Heralds in TopScholar.  1925-1929, Jan. 1930, 1961-1963, 1968-1969 are up.  More coming soon.

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“We wish once more to be as a human”

Aina Raits and family in 1949; and her notes on their clothing sizes

Aina Raits and family in 1949; and her notes on their clothing sizes

In 1949, WKU foreign languages professor Sibyl Stonecipher received a request from the Kentucky Division of the American Association of University Women.  Post-World War II Europe was still struggling with a massive refugee problem, and the Kentucky AAUW had resolved to send food, clothing and other assistance to university women who had become displaced persons as a result of the war.  Could Miss Stonecipher and the Bowling Green AAUW “adopt” a 35-year-old Latvian teacher and musician named Aina Raits and her family, then living in a refugee camp in Germany?

Within two months, Miss Stonecipher had established a correspondence with Aina.  Once happy in Latvia, with a husband, house and garden, Aina, a graduate of the Latvian State Conservatory of Riga, had seen her siblings sent to Siberia and “my man . . . fallen in the war.”  Now, she was passing time in the refugee camp giving concerts, teaching music, and hoping that either the U. S. or Canada would allow her, her new husband, mother, and young children to emigrate.  We wish once more to be as a human and to work and live as the other people in the world, she declared in her careful English script.

Over the next two years, Aina wrote to “My dear, lovely Sibyl” of her life, past and present, and responded gratefully to the packages of food and clothing sent from America, including one from Miss Stonecipher’s colleague, Frances Richards.  But still, she sighed, her family could only “wait, and wait” for a promise of work that would allow them to leave Germany.  She yearned to begin life again.

Finally, late in 1951, Aina and her family emigrated to Jackson, Michigan.  Miss Stonecipher not only kept in touch, but visited them twice before Aina’s death in 1977.  “They are really wonderful people,” she reflected, glad for the opportunity given to her and Bowling Green’s other university women to help a fellow teacher.

Aina Raits’s letters to Sibyl Stonecipher are part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to download a finding aid.  For other collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Dr. Charles Smith lectures in Mexico City

Charles Smith has just returned from a three-day conference in Mexico City at which he gave an invited lecture on the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace.  The host institution was UNAM, the most prominent Mexican university.  Smith will also be speaking at three other international conferences later this year, one in New York, and two in England.


Main Library at UNAM



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Southern Kentucky Book Fest hits KTIA’s Top 10 Festivals for Spring 2013


     The Southern Kentucky Book Fest was recently announced as one of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association’s Top 10 Festivals for Spring 2013 in the state of Kentucky. In the company of other noted festivals such as Keeneland and the Kentucky Derby, the SOKY Book Fest will be held on Saturday, April 20 in Bowling Green at the Knicely Conference Center.

     “We were very happy to hear the news from the Bowling Green Area Visitors Bureau,” said Kristie Lowry, Literary Outreach Coordinator for WKU Libraries and Coordinator of the SOKY Book Fest. “We feel the SOKY Book Fest is an important event for our region and part of what makes Southern Kentucky such a special place to live and visit. We appreciate the recognition from KTIA.”

     More than 140 authors for adults and children will be in attendance including the well-known actor, author, producer, and director Henry Winkler, most recognized for his portrayal of “The Fonz” for 10 seasons on Happy Days (1974-1984).  Mary McDonough, well-known 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, and she will be the presenter at a breakfast on Saturday aimed at girls and a healthy body image. Included among many other panels and presentations, Jarrett Krosoczka, creator of the Lunch Lady book series, will give writing tips for kids in 4th-8th grades on Saturday afternoon.

     In addition to the main Saturday event, children’s authors and illustrators will be the focus at Children’s Day on Friday, April 19. The Kentucky Writers Conference will also take place that Friday featuring writing workshops presented by authors who will be participating in the Book Fest on Saturday.

     SOKY Book Fest is a partnership project of WKU Libraries, Warren County Public Library, and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. For more detailed information about the SOKY Book Fest, go to or contact Kristie Lowry, coordinator of the Book Fest, at or 745-4502.

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First Lady Beshear Visited WKU Libraries’ ERC


On March 4, First Lady Beshear Visited WKU Libraries’ Educational Resources Center (ERC) and sat in a literacy class taught by Roxanne Spencer, Professor and Coordinator of ERC. Present during Mrs. Beshear’s visit were President Gary Ransdell, WKU Libraries Dean Connie Foster, and Head of Library Public Services Brian Coutts.

Photo Album

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Mistress of All She Surveys

Cedar Bluff College; Mollie Robinson's diploma

Cedar Bluff College; Mollie Robinson’s diploma

In 1864, Simpson County, Kentucky farmer William F. Whitesides established a “strictly select” school in his home to educate his two daughters.  Other girls soon joined them, and in 1867 the school was chartered as Cedar Bluff Female College.

Housing as many as 80 boarders, the school’s two-story, frame building near Woodburn hardly resembled today’s college campuses.  In fact, the proprietors of 19th-century female schools regarded it as essential to the safety and morals of their charges to maintain as domestic an atmosphere as possible–to provide, Cedar Bluff College’s catalog explained, “that care and solicitude of which young ladies should not be deprived while absent from the paternal roof.”  Students could stroll at will over the ten-acre campus, but could go no farther unless chaperoned.  Cedar Bluff was, declared its catalog, a “perfect Arcadia of quiet beauty,” undisturbed by townspeople or curious young men.

The gendered education of Cedar Bluff’s students extended to their academic certification.  Through various combinations of courses in the arts, classics, languages and natural sciences, together with “ornamental” electives such as music, drawing and French, the young ladies could earn one of three degrees: Mistress of Arts, Mistress of the English Language, or, like 16-year-old Mollie Robinson, Mistress of Science.  Mollie’s diploma, awarded in 1876 and signed by William F. Whitesides (who happened also to be her uncle), was an attractive piece of parchment from which dangled a 6-inch-long silk ribbon impressed with the seal of the college–an “MS” degree, but with a less-than-modern connotation.

Mollie Robinson’s diploma is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to download a finding aid.  For additional collections relating to Cedar Bluff College and other female schools (including Bowling Green’s Potter College for Young Ladies, begun in 1889 by ex-Cedar Bluff president Benjamin F. Cabell and the first school to occupy WKU’s “Hill,” search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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March Reference Area Book Display


The month of March is all about the Irish in the Reference area. This month’s book display features books on Celtic culture and folklore, as well as information on modern Ireland.


Books on Display

  1. Encyclopedia of Irish history and culture / James S. Donnelly Jr., editor in chief ; Karl S. Bottigheimer … [et al.], associate editors.  DA912 .E53 2004 (Vol. 1 of 2)
  2. Celtic culture : a historical encyclopedia / John T. Koch, editor. CB206 .C45 2006 (Vol. 1 of 5)
  3. Medieval Ireland : an encyclopedia / Seán Duffy, editor ; associate editors, Ailbhe MacShamhráin, James Moynes. DA933 .M43 2005
  4. A dictionary of Irish mythology / Peter Berresford Ellis. BL980 .I7 E45 1989
  5. Lane’s English-Irish dictionary / compiled from the most authentic sources by T. O’Neill Lane. PB1289 .L3 2010x
  6. An atlas of Irish history / Ruth Dudley Edwards ; with Bridget Hourican. G1831.S1 E3 2005
  7. The encyclopedia of Celtic mythology and folklore / Patricia Monaghan. BL900 .M66 2004
  8. Ireland : a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present / John P. McCarthy. DA911 .M34 2006
  9. The Blackwell companion to modern Irish culture / edited by W.J. McCormack. DA925 .B47 1999
  10. Irish America : the historical travel guide / Richard Demeter. E184 .I6 D46 1997x

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