Monthly Archives: April 2014

Fading Away: How to Preserve Your Treasures

ManWithCatIn conjunction with National Preservation Week, WKU Library Special Collections faculty Nancy Richey and Allison Day will be holding a workshop titled “Fading Away: How to Preserve Your Treasures” on Monday, April 28 from 5-7 pm in the Western Room of the Kentucky Building on Western Kentucky University’s campus.

According to Nancy Richey, WKU Visual Resources Librarian, several topics will be covered, including storage supplies, best locations for storage, dealing with damaged materials, how to prevent deterioration, and simple scanning and digitization steps.

“This workshop caters to anyone in the community interested in preserving old pictures and keepsakes,” said Richey. “Individuals are welcome to bring samples of materials that they may have concerns or questions about.”

The Department of Library Special Collections houses and archives primary research materials containing pertinent historical, cultural, university, and general materials from local, national, and international resources.

“We are happy to bring our faculty’s preservation expertise to the community,” said Jack Montgomery, Interim Department Head for Library Special Collections. “This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in maintaining family or an organization’s materials for future generations.”

For more information on the workshop, contact Nancy Richey at 270-745-6092.

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Thoughts of Battercakes

Cadet Thomas Woods

Cadet Thomas Woods

Born in Wahalak, Mississippi, Thomas Rawlings Woods was only a year old when his mother and three young sisters died in 1863 of diphtheria.  His father, John Dysart Woods, remarried and in 1871 moved his family, which now included another son and three daughters, to Glasgow, Kentucky.

Nineteen-year-old Thomas entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in summer 1881.  His first letter home was full of news about his preliminary exams, his temporary lodgings with “Mother Stewart,” an elderly woman who taught the Bible to cadets and still railed against “Jeff Davis, the traitor,” and the mild hazing he witnessed, especially toward the “stuck up or smart chap that comes here.”

Thomas was struck by the attrition rate among his classmates.  “Of 145 candidates that have applied with me only 87 have remained this long,” he noted a few months into his term.  But overall, he was happy with his circumstances.  His demerit count was respectable, he was keeping warm with the help of a shawl sent from home, and was adjusting to Academy life–including the martial atmosphere in church, where there “were no old ladies who come half an hour early” and “no young folks who come in after the services are half over.”

Nevertheless, Thomas waxed nostalgic for the comforts of home.  “I never really knew how happy we were,” he wrote his half-sister Elizabeth.  Mother Stewart reminded him of his grandmother, and Sunday evening leisure time brought memories of his family’s “Mississippi talks,” when they would “get after Papa to tell some of his recollections of ‘when he was a boy.'”  His roommate’s breakfast choice made him think of visits to an uncle, where “[we] used to pile our plates with battercakes and have them almost floating in molasses.”

Thomas’s life after West Point, sadly, was short.  In 1883, John Woods moved the family to Bowling Green, where he became editor of the Bowling Green Gazette.  Thomas appeared ready to follow his father into journalism, but died that same year of typhoid fever.

The letters of Thomas Rawlings Woods from West Point are available to researchers as part of the Lissauer Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  For other collections relating to military life and service academies, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Out of the Box – March

Bill 1985-5-F – SGA Grade Point

Carlton Jackson

Carlton Jackson


College Heights Herald 3/19/1954

Donald Zacharias Installation File

Fifteeners Dance Card

Green & Gold 3/1904

President’s Home Completed

Red Barn

Student Teacher Placement Cards

W Club Meeting 10/2012


WKU Favorite Professor(s) – Carlton Jackson 1933-2014

WKU Hilltopper 11/1978

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Filed under University Archives