Daily Archives: September 6, 2013

Hello from Kawanishi

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From Left to Right: Keiko Fujii, Connie Foster, and Dr. Brian Coutts

This friendly email from Keiko Fujii, Project Manager for Cultural & International Exchanges for the City of Kawanishi,  Hyogo Prefecture, announces the continuation of this three decades old Sister City Exchange Program which dates from 1995.  The exchange has involved visits of municipal officials to Japan including former Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker and Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanan and visits of the Mayor of Kawanishi and Japanese business officials to Bowling Green.  It has also brought Japanese students to Bowling Green for two week school experiences and stays with host families. 

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Dr. Brian Coutts and Keiko Fujii


Book given as a gift from the City of Kawanishi to WKU Libraries

WKU Libraries have exchanged library materials including books, magazines, CD’s and DVD’s with the City of Kawanishi and their public library.  This year’s gift included 27 books and videos on Japanese language and conversation.  Ms Fujii accompanied students to Bowing Green this August and was a lunchtime guest of Dean of Libraries Connie Foster and Department of Library Public Services Head Brian Coutts on August 23.  She also toured the new Augenstein Alumni Center.  The exchange was featured in the Bowling Green Daily News on Tuesday, August 27.

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View of WKU campus from the Augenstein Alumni Center


Keiko Fujii with Big Red

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Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

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Dr. Coutts with speaker Mike Veach at the book signing of
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

At 7:00 p.m. last Thursday, September 12, Mike Veach, the Associate Curator of Special Collections at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, KY discussed his latest book at Barnes & Noble about the the real story of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

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Filed under Events, Kentucky Live, New Stuff, Uncategorized

Ground Control to Major Tom

Apollo 8 stamp; Apollo 11 Congressional resolution

Apollo 8 stamp; Apollo 11 Congressional resolution

On this day (September 6) in 1969, David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity” hit the U.K. music charts.  Although the song debuted only six weeks after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, it didn’t make the U.S. charts until its re-release in 1973.

Reactions, artistic and otherwise, to a half-century of space exploration can be found in some of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Like many Americans, Franklin, Kentucky native Tom Moody was shaken when the Russians launched Sputnik II and its passenger, a dog named Laika, in November 1957.  “It is an alarming situation,” he wrote his aunts from college in Memphis.  “We have always been first at everything, and now that we aren’t, maybe it will wake us up.”

Soon, America awakened.  In 1968, WKU faculty member Marvin Russell penned a poem, “Apollo Six,” his “first serious effort in this realm of expression,” and presented it to his colleague and muse, English professor Gordon Wilson.  The next year, Paducah native John Scopes, who had earned notoriety in more down-to-earth pursuits–specifically, the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools–obtained a first issue cover of a stamp commemorating the Christmas message delivered by the Apollo 8 astronauts as they orbited the moon.

Bowling Green native Mary (Rodes) Helm witnessed the launch of the greatest manned mission to date, Apollo 11’s journey to the moon.  Writing to her father, Judge John Rodes, she confessed her reluctance to brave the July heat in order to watch the spacecraft lift off from Cape Kennedy.  But she quickly found it “a very moving and emotional experience which I did not expect.”  As the rocket rose, a man behind her whispered “God speed,” and “I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks.”  At a dinner attended by prominent members of the space program, she met astronauts Jim Lovell and Wally Schirra.  She was struck, however, by a McDonnell-Douglas executive’s prescient question: “Where do we go from here?”  Already fearing a loss of public interest after the great feat was accomplished, he nevertheless insisted that “we need space–for man’s knowledge & for the use of his creative imagination & talents.”  Those sentiments were echoed by Congressman Tim Lee Carter, a Monroe County native and WKU graduate, who co-sponsored a resolution calling for international efforts “to conquer the frontiers of space exploration for the benefit of all mankind.”

When it comes to space travel, the question “Where do we go from here?” has a way of moving from the technical to the philosophical.  As Marvin Russell phrased it (though perhaps not as memorably as Major Tom), Each stage, each generation, propels the next. / How much?  What direction?  The questions vex. / Help and hindrance combine to perplex / Actions and factions around orbiting specks.

Click on the links to access finding aids for the relevant collections.  For more of our collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives