Monthly Archives: December 2013

Kiddies and Confusion

Christmas was a busy time for Martha (Woods) Potter (1868-1963), but as a lifelong diarist, letter writer and journal keeper, the mother of four always found time to record the hubbub of the season in what she called her “Christmas books.”  Today, they offer us a detailed look at the activities of a Bowling Green woman during every holiday season from 1912 to 1954.

Martha usually began each year’s account with a summary of her “family status,” particularly the whereabouts of her children as they grew up, went to school, married and began lives of their own.  She continued with notes on every aspect of the holidays, including the weather, her charitable and church work (she was the longtime choir director and organist of the First Presbyterian Church), gifts given and received, the comings and goings of family and friends, entertainments, decorations and food.

In 1936, with her children grown, Martha reflected on her Christmas record-keeping in a manner familiar to many mothers.  “When I read back over all these busy Christmases,” she wrote, “it makes my head swim and my back ache to think of the work I did . . . .  Now Christmas is so quiet and restful, but I miss the kiddies and the confusion.”  Her subsequent entries betray increasingly quieter times, but when Martha finally ended her last Christmas book, she did not forget that “on its sacred pages is recorded forty-two happy years.”  Nor did she allow the vagaries of winter weather to darken her spirit.  On one of her greeting cards was a summer-like photo and the caption, “Here are roses from my garden / To brighten your Christmas scene / Ice and snow may be holding sway / But roses reign supreme.”

Martha Potter's Christmas photo

Martha Potter’s Christmas photo

Martha (Woods) Potter’s Christmas books are part of the Lissauer Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  For more collections relating to Christmases in Kentucky, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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WKU Libraries Closing Early

Due to inclement weather, WKU Libraries will be closing early today, December, 6th. The Education Resource Center will close at 4:30 pm, the Visual and Performing Arts Library will close at 5:00pm, and the Helm-Cravens library will close at 8:00pm.

Thank you for understanding. Please be cautious if you must travel.

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Keep Bowling Green Dry!

The "drys" added a moral component to their campaign against alcohol sales.

The “drys” added a moral component to their campaign against alcohol sales.

On May 9, 1960 a group of concerned citizens and clergymen, both white and African-American, organized the Warren County Anti-Liquor Association.  Their aim was to fight efforts to legalize the sale of alcohol in Bowling Green, thereby preserving the outcome of a 1957 local option election in which both the city and county had gone “dry.”

In their intense campaign to influence the vote in the upcoming September election, the Association clashed not only with pro-legalization forces (“wets”) but with the Park City Daily News over publicity tactics.  The Association submitted an ad to the Daily News announcing its intention to print the names of citizens who had signed petitions calling for the new vote, but the paper refused to publish it.  While the petitions themselves were public records, the editors argued, the Association’s action constituted intimidation and would expose the paper to lawsuits for invasion of privacy.

Unbowed, the Association heaped disdain on the attempts of its opponents to drape themselves in the mantle of “law and order.”  Both factions despised bootleggers, “whiskey houses” and other manifestations of the illegal liquor trade, but the “wets,” who called themselves the Citizens Committee for Law and Order, favored undermining criminal profits by regulating and taxing legal sales, while the “drys” insisted on enforcement of current laws to keep all sales illegal.  The rhetoric became heated as the Association accused the Citizens Committee of “fraud and deception” and even called for the indictment of its members.  “Don’t be Hoodwinked,” warned its ads, predicting runaway corruption and immorality if Bowling Green went “legal.”

Pro-liquor legalization forces sought to eliminate both bootlegging and prohibition.

Pro-liquor legalization forces sought to eliminate both bootlegging and prohibition.

The election of September 24, however, saw the “wets” prevail by a 2,750-vote margin, decisively ending Bowling Green’s last experiment with prohibition.  “We threw everything we had at them,” a “dry” spokesman told the Daily News the next day, “but it was not enough.”

Minutes, correspondence and other records of the Warren County Anti-Liquor Association and the 1960 local option election are part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For other collections on prohibition and temperance, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Award-winning author Neela Vaswani welcomed at Moss Middle School

DSC_0495Award-winning author Neela Vaswani was eagerly welcomed by more than one hundred students and educators at Moss Middle School on Friday, November 22. Vaswani traveled from New York City to be recognized with co-author Silas House for their book, Same Sun Here. The two authors attended a luncheon later that day to receive the 2013 Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award.

Photo Album

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Evelyn Thurman Award


Evelyn Thurman Award recipients for Fall 2013 are Silas House & Neela Vaswani for their co-written book Same Sun Here.

On November 22, 2013, WKU Libraries hosted an awards luncheon in the Kentucky Building to honor the two winners of the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award for 2013: Silas House and Neela Vashwani, co-authors of Same Sun Here, a novel for middle graders made up of letters exchanged between an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a rural Kentucky coal miner’s son.

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November Out of the Box

Amazing Tones of Joy – student organization

Chi Omega papers – collection inventory

Amazing Tones of Joy

Amazing Tones of Joy

College Heights Herald 11/1929

Henry Cherry – founder and first president

Old Fort Bridge

Postcards – collection holds all kinds of postcards, not just of campus



Warner Brownfield papers – collection inventory

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