Monthly Archives: November 2013

Turkey Time

Virginia Hoskinson's letterhead

Virginia Hoskinson’s letterhead

Her letterhead, dating probably from the 1930s or 1940s, advertised Virginia Hoskinson, a turkey and chicken breeder in Glendale, Kentucky, as a member of the National Bourbon Red Turkey Club.  “These turkeys are direct descendants of a $175.00 trio . . . and we have bred them 11 years,” she explained to a prospective purchaser.  “I believe these turkeys would please you in every way.”

Known for their dark red plumage, Bourbon Red turkeys originated in Kentucky’s Bluegrass region late in the 19th century.  They’re now considered “heritage turkeys”: no longer raised specifically for consumption, they are nevertheless touted by some turkey pundits as being tastier and healthier than today’s dominant Broad Breasted White variety.

Virginia Hoskinson’s letterhead and sales pitch can be found in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For other collections search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Faraway Flix – India: Kahaani

Students, faculty, and staff attended the Faraway Flix movie on Friday, November 15, in the Faculty House. The November film feature was “Kahaani” based on the country of India.  Jack Montgomery and Uma Doraiswamy from Library Tech Services led a discussion following the film. Participants enjoyed bread pudding and samosas. This event was sponsored by WKU Libraries, International Student Office, and Student Activities.

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A Solemn Commemoration

JFK in Bowling Green

JFK riding in the Bowling Green motorcade, 1960. Donated by Gerald Givens.

Over the past two months approximately 100 people have submitted remembrances of John F. Kennedy’s (JFK) visit to Bowling Green in October 1960 or of his 1963 assassination in Dallas to the JFK Memory Project at WKU. Many of them have been quite touching. Eventually all the remembrances will be archived for posterity in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of the Special Collections Library. Besides remembrances, people have also donated memorabilia and photographs such as the one featured here that was given by Gerald Givens. Because of the good response, the deadline for remembrances to be submitted has been extended until Presidents Day, Monday, February 17, 2014.

Here are two brief, but memorable, local remembrances:

“The next day, I traveled to Bowling Green with my Dad and Granddad to see Western play Murray in the last regular season game of the year. Many games were cancelled across the country. Western was undefeated and went on to win that cold day….but what I remember most was that a lone bugler stuck his bugle out a window from the old fieldhouse….and in total silence the crowd stood while he played “Taps” in memory of the President.”  Bill Edwards, Bowling Green

“As I recall the autumn of 1963 was dry but towards the last of November a change in the weather was expected. My raincoat needed replacing so on November 22 I met my mother for lunch at the Dixie Café and then went to Norman’s to shop. Just as I was trying on a coat, a distraught Ruby Norman approached us to say the President had been shot. The three of us stood together, a trio of agonized disbelief. Soon I bought the coat and went in search of more news. As many others did, I saw and heard Walter Cronkite’s announcing Kennedy’s death. And the world was forever changed. As for the raincoat, I never wore it.” Ann Dickey, Bowling Green

To see more about the JFK Memory Project at WKU click here. To send a remembrance, simply type your thoughts in an e-mail to or send it as an attachment to the message.

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WKU Libraries participate in Homecoming Parade

Homecoming parade 2013

Several faculty, staff, and students showed their campus spirit by donning book character costumes and walking the WKU Homecoming Parade last Friday night. Krystin Avakian, graphic designer and student worker for the Dean’s Office, said the parade was a lot of fun. “We had a great time,” said Avakian. “I went as Sherlock Holmes and carried my magnifying glass and pipe.”

Crystal Bowling, organizer of the parade, credits a great team of people that contributed to the evening’s success. “It was a great turnout and I have to thank everyone who was involved,” said Bowling. “A special thanks goes out to Amanda Hardin and Paula Bowles  for rallying student assistants and allowing them to participate.”

 The parade began in the middle of WKU campus and continued down State Street to Fountain Square Park.

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Tate Page Hall

Learn more about Tate Page HallTate Page Hall

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“Closed on Account of Influenza”

It was a disaster rarely spoken of today, yet it killed more Americans than all of our 20th-century wars combined.  Over 10 months alone in 1918, a vicious strain of influenza took the lives of more than half a million in the United States, and some 30 million worldwide.  Today, as many obtain their routine vaccination in anticipation of flu season, it is difficult to imagine such a sudden and destructive plague.

Scottsville teacher Eva Dalton's monthly report during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Scottsville teacher Eva Dalton’s monthly report during the 1918 flu epidemic.

But evidence of influenza’s shadow, especially in the terrible autumn of 1918, is preserved in several collections in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Some Kentuckians seemed to wait in resignation for the illness to strike.  Returning home to Auburn, a correspondent wrote Smiths Grove farmer Carlos Moore of a passenger “on the train last night almost dead with ‘Flu.'”  She was planning another trip the next week, “if I don’t take the ‘Flu.'”  Butler Countian Stella (Phelps) Minton and her family became so ill that her 7-year-old son had to assume all household duties.  Grief-stricken when two other sons died, Stella and her husband kept a small trunk filled with the boys’ belongings for the rest of their lives.

Entire institutions shut down in an attempt to curb the epidemic.  “The flu is on again here pretty badly,” wrote Cumberland County Circuit Court clerk Nevins Hume to a litigant in November 1918; consequently, “we did not have any Court, and will not have any until March.”  Scottsville teacher Eva Dalton recorded lines of zeroes in her attendance register as her school was “closed on account of influenza.”  Naomi Strum reported to her soldier husband that the Webster County schools were closing; nevertheless, she assured him there was “no danger in me taking it for I am not going in a crowd until it is over.”

The flu, of course, gave soldiers and their families additional cause to worry about one another in the closing months of World War I.  Serving overseas in December 1918, James McWherter heard from his father in Monroe County that the “The flu is still here, some are still dying with it.”  Drucilla Short wrote her brother George Harris in October that “influenza has put a ban on all churches, theaters and schools.”  Unfortunately, Drucilla’s letter was returned, for her brother had also lost his life–not to the flu, but to battlefield wounds.

Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections.  For other collections relating to the 1918 influenza epidemic, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Homecoming open house


WKU Libraries welcomed former and current students, faculty, staff and friends to an open house during Homecoming weekend. The reception was held in the newly renovated Commons at Cravens, Fourth Floor. Visitors enjoyed light refreshments, watched a PowerPoint displaying numerous images of Homecoming memories from past decades, and toured the Libraries.  

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Wes Berry at WKU-Glasgow


Wes Berry, Associate Professor & Graduate Adviser, Dept. of English, WKU

Wes Berry spoke about Kentucky Barbecue in an encore presentation of our Kentucky Live series on Thursday, November 7. A reception sponsored by WKU-Glasgow followed.

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Founders Day – November 16th

Founders Day AddressCelebrate Founders Day by reading Alfred Crabb’s “It Sounds So Lovely What Our Fathers Did” address from 1942.

Explore KenCat to read about other Founders Day celebrations.

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A Nautical Keepsake

Front, back and insert, Galveston Deep Water Jubilee invitation, 1891

Front, back and insert, Galveston Deep Water Jubilee invitation, 1891

Bowling Green native Phineas Hampton Coombs (1869-1919), an executive with the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, had distinctive opportunities for leisure during his postings in Texas, Atlanta and New York.  One of the most interesting social invitations he received was a delight for the eyes that promised even more to come.

The intricately colored, multi-sided invitation arrived from “Momus,” the Greek god of satire and jest.  Drawing back its eight triangular flaps, the recipient found another, equally eye-catching insert commanding him to be present in Galveston, Texas on February 7-9, 1891 for the city’s Deep Water Jubilee.  Images of sailing and steam vessels, nautical flags, masked ladies, musical instruments and an idyllic seashore all beckoned those looking for food, fun and spectacle.

The Deep Water Jubilee was an elaborate festival celebrating the oldest, and at that time the busiest port west of New Orleans.  The event featured trade displays, flotillas, seagoing excursions, speeches by visiting dignitaries, parades, banquets and fireworks.  In time, other deepwater ports would lessen Galveston’s economic clout, especially after the Great Hurricane of 1900, but today the port remains an embarkation point for cruise ships as well as for industrial, agricultural and military cargo.

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