Daily Archives: October 17, 2014

Mistaken for the Devil

ecuador

WKU is celebrating the International Year of Ecuador during the 2014-2015 academic year.  All types of events including film presentations, lectures, exhibits, and foodways demonstrations have been planned across campus.  Interestingly in researching for an exhibit titled “Ecuador in Library Special Collections” at the Kentucky Building, curators found several letters written by the U.S. consul to Ecuador and his wife, Edward Rumsey Wing and Louise (Green) Wing.  They both write back to her Kentucky parents telling them about their exciting adventures, longing for home, intellectual pursuits, family affairs, and adjustment to a new culture.  Wing served in Quito from 1870 to 1874.

In a June 1870 letter Louise writes her parents back in Grayson County, Kentucky, about an experience traveling through the Ecuadorian mountains.

Imagine me in a mask, goggles, veil, man’s hat, green yarn gloves, the thickest of clothing, trotting on a mule past a snow clad mountain—grand, threatening, and awe inspiring. I thought I should never see the last of it, and I pray that I may never behold it again while I live.  By the by I was taken for the Devil in the costume by a little crosseyed Indian girl who insisted I was le diablo.  Our eyes & faces are still afflicted from the sands & wind.  Rumsey looked as if he had been on a royal spree for [the] last forty years and I am not quite a beauty myself.

Toward the end of the letter, Louise summarizes her feelings about the mountain trip:

Language fails me when I attempt to tell you what I have endured and seen in this delectable Republic of Ecuador.  I do not wish to recall it.  Indeed I should like to blot the whole journey thus far, until all of its extentuating and beautiful surroundings, entirely from my memory.  Much to my amazement I reached this spot alive, and today am almost myself— again, though stiff & burnt to a crisp.

To search for other letters and diaries written from distant lands search our finding aids in TopSCHOLAR.

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Two Scottish Duchesses in the Age of Men

Dr. Kathy Callahan from Murray State University talked about Scottish duchesses to WKU Libraries' Far Away Places audience at Barnes and Noble, Bowling Green, KY.

WKU Libraries hosted its second Far Away Places event on October 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble bookstore titled “Two Scottish Duchesses in the Age of Men” featuring Kathy Callahan. Dr. Callahan is currently Head of the Department of History at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Her talk focused on the lives and work of two Scottish duchesses, Anne Hamilton, duchess of Hamilton, and Anna Scott, duchess of Buccleuch. The two duchesses were contemporaries in the 17th century Scotland and governed their estates during a time when men customarily handled such affairs.

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Encased Treasures (Clement Reeves Edwards)

In the photographic holdings of the Kentucky Library Research Collections are several early photographic images by C. R. (Clement Reeves) Edwards. He was a photographer, portrait and landscape artist originally from Woodston, New Jersey. He came to Bowling Green in 1857 and opened a photography studio and also offered his services as a portrait painter. This ambrotype is
an example of his fine photography work. Although, the image is not identified, it may be Edwards’s farm and his third wife, Margaret Lewis, whom he married in 1858. He died on February 4, 1898.

Edwards Ambrotype

 The fragility of these one-of-a-kind photographs mandated that they be cased. In 1842, Samuel Peck patented a more durable case than the previous leather or wooden ones. These “Union” cases were composed of gutta-percha, an early plastic. They could be molded to hold any surface design and dyed. This Edwards ambrotypes has a “Union” case embossed with an elk and woods scene.  Additionally, the Kentucky Museum has 14 oil paintings by Edwards. Ten are portraits including two self-portraits and four are landscapes. For more information about early photographs and their identification and care email spcol@wku.edu  Other photographic and illustrative holdings of the Department of Special Collections may be viewed at KenCat at kencat.wku.edu

Case

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