Monthly Archives: August 2013

New Faculty Orientation & Information Fair


Faculty Orientation Agenda 2013

The faculty and staff of University Libraries participated in this year’s 2013 New Faculty Orientation on Friday, August 16.  Jack Montgomery, John Gottfried, and Jennifer Wilson answered questions at the lunch time Information Fair.


(From Left to Right) John Gottfried, Jennifer Wilson, and Jack Montgomery at the Information Fair.


John Gottfried and Jack Montgomery answering questions from new faculty members.







The afternoon presentation included a welcome from Dean Connie Foster and then presentations on reference services, LibGuides and databases from John 2013-08-28 16_07_17-New Faculty Orientation & Information Fair _ WKU Libraries BlogGottfried, catalogs and TopScholar from Deana Groves and Research Instruction from Bryan Carson.  Jack Montgomery explained collection development and our desire to partner with teaching faculty.  He also introduced our new Patron Driven Acquisition program which will launch this fall.  A collection of selected resources will be added to our TOPCAT online catalog and become part of our permanent collection the second time they are selected by patrons.  Katie King introduced the libraries’ social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blog and our newest Pinterest).  The latter features pages on 2013-08-29 11_01_42-Greenshot capture formprograms and recent library acquisitions.  Brian Coutts talked about this year’s Literary Outreach programs including the Faraway Places and Kentucky Live series, the Kentucky Writer’s Conference, the Southern Kentucky Bookfest, One Book One Community reads program and Faraway Flix, a new series of foreign film nights.  He also discussed STACKMAP our new newest technical application which allows patrons to click on MAPIT in the public catalog to determine exact locations of circulating materials. Timothy Mullin talked about Library Specials Collections.  The New faculty received a copy of the libraries’ Centennial History.


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Link to the New Faculty Orientation Powerpoint:

New Faculty Orientation PowerPoint

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Filed under Acquisitions, Events, Far Away Places, General, Kentucky Live, Latest News, New Stuff, Past Events, Reference, Stuff, Uncategorized

Libraries kicks off the 2013-14 academic year


Last Wednesday, WKU Libraries faculty and staff assembled in Helm 100 for the annual employee kick off led by Dean Connie Foster. The group welcomed Huda Melky, Equal Opportunity Director and ADA Coordinator for WKU, who gave a presentation focusing on disability issues and Corie Martin, Manager of WKU Creative Web Services for Public Affairs, who discussed Marketing, Social Media and topics relevant to promotion for the library. Connie gave a brief overview of the year and introduced new faculty and staff for the Libraries.

Photo Album

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“Extra Ordinary” Worship in 1802

Camp Meeting

No building could accommodate the crowds that swarmed to these religious meetings.

The Reverend John Steele was in the right place at the right time to observe the natal days of America’s Second Great Awakening, a great religious revival that spawned novel methods of worship and new Christian denominations. Reverend Steele (b. 1772) was a minister within the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 1801, he was serving as pastor of a congregation in Bourbon County, Kentucky, when the tremendously influential religious camp meetings took place at Cane Ridge. His religious background provided a unique perspective when he witnessed the events occurring at Cane Ridge.

A Steele letter from February 1802, recently added to the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives unit of the Special Collections Library, contains some of the cleric’s observations to another minister, John Hemphill of Chester County, South Carolina. He begins his missive by asking Hemphill if he has “heard about the news of our Country…I mean that concerning religion?” He then describes the “extra ordinary” modes of worship exhibited at these peculiar outdoor services. “They fall down some as in swooning fits,” declares Steele, and are “quite motionless” while “others are affected when they fall as if in a convulsive fit. Usually after they recover they address those around them in declaring what comfort they have had with God & their surety of salvation & exhort all around them to come to Christ. When they fall a number usually encompass them & sing hymns around them and they also pray over them — Generally I understand more fall under the singing than under that of preaching.”

Not fitting his decorous style of worship, Steele called the meetings ones “of confusion and disorder” where “in the same house & in the same assembly you may hear & see people engaged in preaching, praying, exhorting, singing, falling, rising, running, walking, talking, sitting, lying.  See people in all positions–in all situations, all exercises at the same time–their united sounds of different voices” making “the Sylvan plain to reecho from afar.” Steele doubted the sincerity and veracity of the erratic worship, telling Hemphill:  “I cannot find on what principles I can call it the Religion of Jesus.” After leaving Kentucky in the early-1830s, Steele continued to pastor Associate Reformed churches in southern Ohio.

To see other religious related collections in Manuscripts & Folklife Archives search TopSCHOLAR. To see a finding aid for the Steele small collection or view a full-text typescript of the letter click here.

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Filed under Acquisitions

New Student Orientation Fair 2013

New Student Orientation Fair 2013

WKU Libraries participated in the New Student Orientation fair on Thursday, August 22. Marketing Coordinator Jennifer Wilson and Student Worker Krystin Avakian answered questions about the library hours, community outreach initiatives, services available for the students.

2013 New Student Orientation Fair

2013 New Student Orientation Fair

2013 New Student Orientation Fair


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Love & Marriage

Ryan Monroe Robertson; Lattie (Robertson) Coombs

Ryan Monroe Robertson; Lattie (Robertson) Coombs

Through the mid-19th century, Ryan Monroe Robertson (1827-1883), a young merchant in Bowling Green and Woodburn, kept in touch with his friends and extended family in Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.  Cousins, siblings and their spouses wrote to him of births, deaths, life on the farm, and other everyday matters.  But a recurring topic was matrimony: who was achieving it, where they were finding it, and how the still-single might join the club.  The gossips, however, were not stereotypical husband-hungry women; rather, it was Robertson and the young men of his circle who were preoccupied with their chances of finding a mate.

It might have started on the day a phrenologist examined Robertson’s skull for clues to his personality and declared him to be “very fond of the Ladies.”  As he entered his mid-20s, he made no secret of his yearning for a wife.  “[Y]ou stat[e] in your letter that you wanted to mar[r]y and if I cou[l]d find any yo[u]ng lady that wanted to mar[r]y to send you,” wrote cousin Martha McWilliams from Alabama.  From Louisiana, his sister Ellen Skaggs encouraged him to come “down here to catch yo[u]ng girls fore there are as many girls as frogs.”

Robertson’s buddies were no less circumspect about their designs.  One was ready to try marriage to cure his health problems “provided that I can git some gally to believe the same way.”  “You may tell the young ladies of your acquaintance,” drooled Simpson County neighbor and friend Berry Whitesides, “that if any of them wishes to marry. . . I will be prepared to say to them in the language of the poet, ‘Pretty girl I want a wife.'”  In the meantime, there were always opportunities to dish about the romances of others.  Robertson heard from his cousin Sarah Malone that “Thomas [Hargroves] is still leaning up to cousin Adaline like a kitten to a hot rock.”  (Mr. Kitten and Miss Rock wed in 1852).

In 1858, Ryan Monroe Robertson finally tied the knot with Jane Elizabeth Potter of Bowling Green.  Soon, it was their children’s turn to contemplate matrimony.  But when their daughter Lattie married Phineas Hampton Coombs in 1892, one of her former beaus advised her to retire whatever lovey-dovey tactics she had used to bring “Hamp” to the altar.  “Please don’t act like newly married people,” he implored her.  She shouldn’t drop by her husband’s office three times a day, or cry if he missed dinner.  Above all, she shouldn’t be spooney.  Perhaps he was simply jealous as he watched one more “frog” leap out of the pond.

The Robertson letters are part of the Coombs Family Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.   Click here to access a finding aid.  For other collections involving courtship and marriage, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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A Summer of Anxiety

On May 20, 1861, the Commonwealth of Kentucky officially declared itself neutral in the growing Civil War.  Neutral?  In the words of “Aunt Jane,” the fictional elderly storyteller created decades later by Bowling Green author Eliza Calvert Hall, “You might as well put two game-roosters in the same pen and tell ’em not to fight as to start up a war between the North and the South and tell Kentucky to keep out of it.”

Robert Rodes and his warning letter

Robert Rodes and his warning letter

Indeed, by August 1861, with armies on both sides recruiting volunteers, Kentucky’s neutrality was in danger of collapse.  In Bowling Green, lawyer and Union supporter Robert Rodes (1824-1913) wrote two letters to his colleague, Joseph Rogers Underwood, then serving in the state legislature, setting out his fears of invasion.  “We are growing a little feverish here just now,” he admitted.  He was particularly agitated over the news of thousands of Southern troops camped just across the Tennessee state line.  Were they to acquire sufficient arms, he insisted to a skeptical Underwood, “you would see my predictions verified to the letter and all the territory south of Green River, in the Confederate power before the end of a week.”  Enemy occupation, he reminded Underwood, would result in “the necessary scattering of families; foraging of scouts & quartering of troops will follow and we will be at the mercy of one of the most merciless & audacious Rebellions on Record.”

A few days later, Rodes believed that the threat was serious enough to justify bringing Federal troops into the region to pre-empt a rebel attack.  The time for negotiation and petty arguing about “who first violated Kys Neutrality” was past.  Rodes saw infrastructure–roads, bridges, railroads–in peril, but he also saw a “moral danger” in the form of economic opportunism.  Demoralized by their government’s inaction, some Unionists had become content to buy up cattle and provisions, smuggle contraband, and sell their services to the Confederates.  Soon, Rodes warned, “we will find ourselves. . . seized, held & bound by an army of traitors.”  Four days after he wrote this letter, Confederate troops arrived to begin a five-month occupation of Bowling Green.

Robert Rodes’s letters are part of the Rodes Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For other collections relating to the Rodes and Underwood families, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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A Writer’s Life

American Rural Home letterheadShe was one of those “scribbling women” famously derided by Nathaniel Hawthorne–lady authors who, through idleness, creative yearnings, or economic necessity, inundated 19th-century publishers and popular magazine editors with their prose, poetry and articles.

Cornelia Stanley (Allen) Smith (b. 1839?) was a native of western New York who could trace her ancestry back to the Mayflower Pilgrims.  The wife of Philadelphia banker Alfred Smith, she was the mother of two young children by the mid-1860s.  For the next three decades, both personally and through literary agents, she submitted her poems, stories, and articles under the pen name “Clio Stanley” to publications such as the New York Weekly, The American Rural Home, the Chicago Ledger and the children’s magazine The Nursery.

Like authors everywhere, Smith endured a steady stream of rejections.  “The third installment of your story is just received, and is herewith respectfully returned, together with the portions preceding,” advised Moore’s Rural New Yorker.  “We regret to have to return your manuscript but it is quite unsuitable for our columns,” wrote another prospect.  While some of the rejections were fairly brusque, others offered an apology common to the trade.  “We are really so overstocked with manuscripts of all kinds that we have to decline everything that is sent in just now,” explained Saturday Night to Smith, by 1873 one of its longtime contributors.

Sometimes, however, “Clio Stanley” hit pay dirt.  “The two little poems sent to us are accepted for publication,” wrote Arthur’s Home Magazine, although the publication date was uncertain as there was “so much matter already in our hands.”  Moore’s Rural New Yorker paid $6 for her story “Linnet,” and The People’s Literary Companion remitted $15 for two stories, “Making Believe” and “Behind the Door.”  Sometimes her assignments were unsolicited.  A children’s publisher asked for an article to accompany a photo of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, and Saturday Night requested “one of your prettiest pieces of poetry” for its Valentine’s Day issue, an assignment that likely earned Smith about three dollars.

Editors’ letters to Cornelia Stanley (Allen) Smith are part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For other collections about authors, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Saturday Night letterhead

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

HARRASSOWITZ Announces 2013 Charleston Conference Scholarship Winner

Laura DeLanceyAugust 5, 2013, Wiesbaden, Germany – HARRASSOWITZ, international booksellers and subscription agents, is pleased to award the 2013 Charleston Conference Scholarship to Laura DeLancey, Electronic Resources Librarian at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Ms. DeLancey was awarded the $1,000 scholarship to attend the Conference, which takes place November 6 – 9 in Charleston, South Carolina.

In support of the 2013 conference theme of “Too Much Is Not Enough!”, applicants for this year’s scholarship were asked to submit a short essay on the topic “What does ‘Too Much Is Not Enough’ mean to libraries and vendors?”

In her winning essay, Ms. DeLancey notes that “patrons don’t want to be overwhelmed by information choices. They want just ‘enough’”, and concludes that

“… librarians are ideally positioned to get direct feedback on our users’ search experiences, and vendors are ideally positioned to respond to this feedback.  We already provide “enough”: the information equivalent of a glass slipper, but we need to ensure it is not obscured by a sea of irrelevant results, passwords, incompatible devices, and deeply nested webpages. If our users are confused and overwhelmed, we have failed our mission.”

Judging the submissions were: Clint Chamberlain, Coordinator for Information Resources, University of Texas at Arlington; Lynda Fuller Clendenning, Head of the Acquisitions Division at Indiana University in Bloomington; and Tina Feick, HARRASSOWITZ’s Director of Sales and Marketing for North America.

“Again this year the objective was to provide this travel scholarship to someone who has never been to the Charleston Conference”, Tina Feick said. “The judges were impressed with Ms. DeLancey’s well-researched essay and congratulate her on her achievement. We hope she finds the Charleston Conference to be a rewarding experience.”

The complete essay can be viewed here.

For more information on the Charleston Conference, registration and this year’s program, please visit the conference website.

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“Every Foot of Southern Soil”

It was an appeal to the voters of Kentucky’s Seventh Congressional District for the opportunity to represent them.  If elected, the candidate promised, “you shall have in Congress my most zealous and constant attention to your business,” the first priority being defence.  But the candidate was not asking to be sent to the nation’s capital, nor was he sounding the call to arms on behalf of the U.S.A.  Rather, Horatio   Washington Bruce (1830-1903) was seeking election to the first Congress of the Confederate States of America.

H. W. Bruce, candidate for Confederate Congress

H. W. Bruce, candidate for Confederate Congress

Bruce, a Louisville attorney and former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, had run unsuccessfully for the U. S. Congress before casting his lot with the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War.  He attended two conventions held at Russellville in October and November 1861, where delegates drew up a resolution of secession and formed a provisional Confederate state government.  In the campaign for the first elected Congress, Bruce pledged himself to the “defence of our young, but glorious and gigantic Confederation of Southern States” and to making “final and eternal” its separation from “the Northern Abolition Despotism.”  His work, he promised, would focus on securing appropriate terms for peace and on establishing a boundary line between the resulting two governments–a demarcation in which, he promised, “I shall claim every foot of Southern soil.”

With an endorsement from the Louisville Courier, Bruce was elected in January, 1862 and reelected two years later.  Serving until the end of the war, he returned to Louisville, pardon in hand, to a life of law practice, teaching and judgeship.

A handbill setting out Horatio Washington Bruce’s appeal to the voters of Confederate Kentucky is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For more collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

July Cool Stuff

Baseball Media GuideBaseball – Objects, photographs and documents related to WKU and College High baseball teams.

Board of Regents Special Meeting 11/7/1938 – 75 years ago – construction of the Kentucky Building

Cardinal Yearbook – Ogden College yearbook is 100 years old

College Heights Herald 7/22/1968 – summer theater, ETV Network & Shaker pageant

Eleavator 7/1913 – WKU’s bimonthly publication

Fanlight, 1988 – Kentucky Museum happenings from 25 years ago

Forensic Story – transcript of audiotape regarding the establishment of the William Biven Forensic Society

John Minton – 5th president of WKU

Marion Humphrey – alumni papers

Recitation Hall – building history and documentation

Resolution 88-10-S – Unicorn Pizza & Theater open on weekends

Southern Normal School – collection inventory

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