Monthly Archives: September 2014

Cynthia Elder’s Talk is Next for KY Live! Speaker Series

fancy_farm (6)

Cynthia Elder, local historian, photographer and editor of “the Catholic settlement” A History of St. Jerome Catholic Church 1836-2011, introduced the Church and the largest Picnic in the world (1984 Guinness Book of World Records) in her hometown Fancy Farm, KY to a Bowling Green and Warren County audience in Barnes & Noble on the evening of October 9, 2014. Her talk was part of the WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live!” speaker series.

Photo Album | Sound File | Podcast RSS


Continue reading

Comments Off on Cynthia Elder’s Talk is Next for KY Live! Speaker Series

Filed under Kentucky Live, Uncategorized

Park City, Dude.

The Park City Dude mastheadThey were some of the rising young men of Bowling Green, the twenty-something sons of bankers, lawyers and merchants.  About 1883, some of these society swells decided to launch a journalistic venture “in the interest of the vast number of dudes of our city.”  The product, the Park City “Dude” (Bowling Green, Ky.: Dude Publishing Co.), sought to entertain its readers with humor, anecdotes and parody, the chief objects of which were the “dudes” themselves.

Park City Dude "published semi-occasionally"Promising regular biographical sketches of the members of its circle, the Dude first profiled Jim Roberts, a native (we are told) of Hong Kong, an escapee from P.T. Barnum’s circus and currently a “knight of the yardstick” at a local clothing establishment.  Next we hear of Solomon “Sol” Cain, a “genial, affable, whole-souled and industrious” young entrepreneur who, having contracted to furnish city businesses with hash and sausages, was in search of “500 fat dogs and 1,000 cats.”  The Dude generously offered advertising space at the rate of 75 cents per inch, but directed all complaints to its Grievance Committee, open “from midnight until daybreak.”

The Park City “Dude” can be found in the Lissauer Collection, part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  For more, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on Park City, Dude.

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

We have been processing and posting meeting minutes of all kinds.  There are University Senate minutes, Congress Debating Club minutes, departmental faculty meeting minutes, Stickles History Club minute books and FCG Classical Club to name a few.

WKU minute takers have done a great job in relaying accurate information to us.  They have also found and recorded humor in their meetings.  Here are a few examples:

Congress Debating Club, Book 4, page 279

Senator Searcy blew his breath at the crowd and at the same time his vocal chords vibrated in an unintelligble manner.

On page 290 of the same book we find a notation that the previous minutes are an “unhealthy bit of propaganda.”

In a memo addressed to the History faculty April 29, 1977, Dr. Richard Troutman outlines a number of meetings as:

The first meeting will involve consideration of two proposals from the Departmental Curriculum Committee . . .

The meeting following the first meeting should be brief and will involve a continuation of our discussion on graduate assistants.

The meeting following the brief meeting which follows the longer meeting will concern my concern about what direction the Department should take as we seek a new teacher for next year.  This meeting should take longer than the brief second meeting, but perhaps not as long as the longer first meeting.  But then again, it may take longer.

History faculty meeting minutes have begun “Once upon a time” and ended “. . . and they all lived happily ever after.”

A belated but slight reminder of things past . . . !

As quickly as was humanly possible, Dr. Crowe adjourned the meeting. Deferentially yielded, crowe the younger

The Sept. 19, 1974 meeting minutes open: “This is the Way it Was . . . !”  and conclude with:

If there are any questions as to particulars mentioned in this monsterpiece, check with the man who keeps a pad in his shirt pocket.  His note-taking ability far surpasses anything done by ‘little old me, honey.’

Stickles History Club

Stickles History Club

[signed] Scarlott O’Crowe

This image from the Arndt Stickles History Club Minute Book 1, page 4  relates the seriousness of manner in which the members organized:

In ancient days students sat at the feet of the old philosophers or followed them about through gardens, in order to get the gleam of life that scholars of the age had or to hear marvelous stories of the universe, or perhaps, just to be near great and noble characters.  Even so, do students of the modern age long for contact with just such noble men as those of old.

These and many more records are available for researchers in WKU Archives.

Comments Off on Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

Filed under University Archives

WKU Libraries participates in Banned Books Week

banned book etown3Several library locations are recognizing Banned Books Week with displays of books that have either been challenged or are currently being challenged.


Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week brings  together reading communities in a shared effort to support the freedom to read, express opinions and ideas, and to generate an awareness of literature being challenged daily. bannedbookwk2

Several locations participated this year, including Owensboro, Elizabethtown, the Educational Resources Center, Helm-Cravens Library, and the Reading Room of the Special Collections Library. bannedbookwk3

Banned Books week began September 21 and will continue until September 27, 2014. Go to for more information about the program.

Comments Off on WKU Libraries participates in Banned Books Week

Filed under Events, Latest News

A Scriptural Divide

Reuben Alexander

Reuben Alexander

From their roots in Henry County, Virginia, the Alexander family migrated to plantations in Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas and elsewhere.  Members kept in touch, but there were two that patriarch Reuben Alexander (1785-1864) might not have wanted to seat next to each other at Thanksgiving.  One was his nephew, Edward Fontaine, of Hinds County, Mississippi.  The other was Reuben’s own son Miller, who caused his family to drop its collective jaw when he freed his slaves and struck out for Iowa to go into business.

In a letter to his father from Keokuk in 1859, Miller acknowledged the damage he had done to his net worth, but the deeply religious man felt compelled to explain himself to his skeptical parent.  “I knew I had not your approbation in moving North–And am sorry for it, but it was my duty to obey the voice of conscience and of God,” he wrote.  Moreover, “if you were possesser of ten thousand slaves and would give them to me to return to Ky. I could not do it.”  While not an activist for abolition, Miller declared that “every feeling of my nature revolts at the idea of owning a fellow creature, when I am but a worm myself.”

Only a month earlier, Reuben had received a letter from nephew Edward, who weighed in on his cousin’s struggles.  “I regret to find from Cousin Miller’s Letter that his fanatical freak, freeing his slaves, and settling among the pious Yankees had led him into difficulties.”  Nevertheless, Edward–a pastor–hoped that Miller’s youth and energy would “enable him to extricate himself from the embarrassments into which his unscriptural views of the question of Slavery have drawn him.”  Edward prayed that Miller, whose former slaves had doubtless been rendered equally unhappy by this unholy state of affairs, might recover from his “fanatical freak” and regain his former prosperity.

Reuben Alexander’s family correspondence is part of the Alexander Family Papers in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For more collections about Kentucky families, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on A Scriptural Divide

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Athletic Photos

Athletic Photos

Athletic Photos

have arrived.  There are approximately 350 cd-roms holding an average of 75 images per cd.

We are working our way through them noting individual athletes who played football, soccer, basketball and baseball.  There are also athletic logos included in the files.

Many of the images are not identified.  These will eventually work there way onto KenCat our online database where we will request assistance in identifying people.

Comments Off on Athletic Photos

Filed under University Archives

Student Assistant Orientation gives student employees overview

student asst orientation1-001

 Library student assistants attended an orientation on Tuesday, September 9 to learn more about university policies, regulations, and good customer service. For students unable to attend, they can contact Crystal Bowling, in Cravenss Library, room 302, to get information.student asst orientation2



Comments Off on Student Assistant Orientation gives student employees overview

Filed under Events, People

The Moon in Your Sky: An Immigrant’s Journey Home (To Uganda)

The Moon in Your Sky

Far Away Places kicked off its fifteenth year on Thursday, September 18 at Barnes & Noble with author Kate Saller of St. Louis, MO discussing her new book, The Moon in Your Sky: An Immigrant’s Journey Home.

Photo Album | Sound File | Podcast Rss

Continue reading

Comments Off on The Moon in Your Sky: An Immigrant’s Journey Home (To Uganda)

Filed under Uncategorized

Ronald Reagan Speaks About Panama Canal

Panama Canal LogoAfter a close, and acrimonious bid to win the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1976, Ronald Reagan lost to the more moderate and sitting President Gerald R. Ford.  In the ensuing Bicentennial election, Ford lost to his charismatic, grinning Democratic opponent Jimmy Carter.  Confident that his future included national service, Reagan never stopped campaigning over the next four years.

In 1977 Reagan was invited to speak at Western Kentucky University’s Free Enterprise Fair.  Prior to his speech on September 22, Reagan participated in a press conference in which he answered questions about issues of national concern.  One of the most heated topics of the day was the Panama Canal Treaty; 80% of Americans believed that the U.S. was giving the  canal away.  When asked about it, Reagan railed against the Carter administration for contemplating the transfer of the canal to “a man [Omar Torrijos] who’s there, not because he had the most votes, but because he had the most guns.”  In his remarks, Reagan basically promotes the chief tenet of the MonroeRonald Reagan Doctrine which acknowledged the United States as the protector of the Americas.   “I think that basically the world is not going to see this [giving away the canal] as a magnanimous gesture on our part, as the White House would have us believe,” noted Reagan.  “They are going to see it as once again American backing away and retreating in the face of trouble.”  When it came to giving the canal away, Reagan strongly stated:  “I’m going to talk as long and as loud as I can against it.”

His press conference remarks were recorded for posterity and are located in the Manuscripts & Folkife Archives unit of the Department of Library Special Collections.

Comments Off on Ronald Reagan Speaks About Panama Canal

Filed under Uncategorized

Poetic Tribute

Panama Canal LogoR.C.P. Thomas, scion of a prominent Bowling Green family and beloved member of the local bar, was appointed the District Judge of the Panama Canal Zone in June 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  As he prepared to leave the U.S., local poet and friend John A. Logan penned a poetic tribute for his departing friend.

“The East is East and West is West/And ne’er the twain shall meet,”/Was prophesied, but Teddy the Great/Performed the wonderful feat.

One stroke of his club, two continents/Majestically sprang apart;/An East met West in a brotherhood/Ne’er dreamed by the great Bret Hart.

Down by the side of this great highway/Kentucky now sends her best,/To cheer the hearts of the sons of men/Where the East now meets the West.

He goes to live by the side of the road,/Where the ships of the earth go by,/Wherever he dwells, in his heart of gold,/There dwells both you and I.

As he sits by the side of this wonderful road/And looks on the tropic scene,/His heart will be with the folks at home/And beautiful Bowling Green.

His thoughts will be of our tiny lakes/And his heart in sweet accord,/With their gentle wave-lips whispering love/As they kiss the soft green sward.

He will dream of the warbled melody/Of Kentucky’s myriad birds,/And the redolence of home grown flowers/Beyond the power of words.

We send him away that the world may know/That hospitality/With justice and mercy go hand in hand/With Kentucky gallantry.

With an aurevoir, just for a day/We send our friend away./Let these flowers with their perfumed breath/Speak the words we cannot say.

Shaker Collectors342Thomas did an admirable job in Panama, but declined reappointment after his four-year term ended in 1937. He returned to Bowling Green, retired from his law practice, and spent time working with a herd of Jersey cows on his farm until he died in 1939.  To research the worldwide contributions of Kentuckians, check out KenCat and TopSCHOLAR.

Comments Off on Poetic Tribute

Filed under Uncategorized