Monthly Archives: October 2014

Electronic Records Day

emediaSmack in the middle of Archives Month is Electronic Records Day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

We generally think of electronic records as new, now, of the moment and not particularly permanent.

  • email
  • reports
  • blog posts
  • photos on your cellphone

The permanency of records is determined not by format (paper or electronic) but by content.  So while most email is not considered permanent there are emails that should be saved and printed out in total and sent to the archives.

WKU Records Management program provides guidelines for the care and preservation of all university records regardless of format. Contact us at 5-4793 if you have questions regarding the maintenance of electronic records or any other questions.

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Filed under University Archives

Ebola Resources for the Public

The U. S. Government Printing Office has posted a list of resources on Ebola – much in the news right now. Carol Watwood has put a link on her Health Research Guides  I will also link it to my Government pages shortly. Meanwhile I wanted you to have this important resource:

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Ecuador Exhibit Educates

Ecuadorian Rug & Photos

Ecuadorian Rug & Photos

“Ecuador in Library Special Collections” features colorful contemporary artifacts from Ecuador which accent research items from the Department of Library Special Collections, including two letters from the U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, Rumsey Wing, and his Kentuckian wife, Louise (Green) Wing.  One letter written by Rumsey describes in detail an 1870 earthquake.  Louise’s letter is lengthier and describes a mule ride across a mountain pass and colorfully depicts the people she meets.  Heavily clothed for the frigid mountain air, one native mistook her for the devil and called her “El Diablo.”

Letter from Ambassador Rumsey Wing to his in-laws in Grayson County, Kentucky

Letter from Ambassador Rumsey Wing to his in-laws in Grayson County, Kentucky

The exhibit also features twelve 1920s-era Ecuadorian photos selected from the Ewing Galloway Collection.  Mr. Galloway, a native of Henderson, Kentucky, operated one of America’s largest photographic syndicates of the early- twentieth century.  Library Special Collections owns approximately 1200 photos from the Galloway syndicate.  The exhibit also includes a map of South America from the 1856 Colton’s Atlas and one of the Smithsonian Institution’s ethnographic studies featuring a native Ecuadorian tribe.  The exhibit will remain on display in the Jackson Gallery outside the Harrison-Baird Reading Room on the second floor of the Kentucky Building until December 15, 2014.

Alpaca wool coat from Ecuador

Alpaca wool coat from Ecuador

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Josie Underwood’s Civil War: A Tale of Two Diaries

Josie Underwood's two diaries (Nancy Baird, editor) have now been published

Josie Underwood’s two diaries (Nancy Baird, editor) have now been published

It’s a dramatic story of a young Bowling Green woman’s life during the Civil War, both at home and abroad in Scotland, but it also has some contemporary elements of mystery and surprise.  Come hear retired WKU professor Nancy D. Baird talk about Josie Underwood’s diaries at the Kentucky Building on Sunday, October 12, 2014.

In her will, Johanna Louisa “Josie” Underwood (1840-1923) bequeathed her two-volume journal “kept during the Civil War” to her granddaughter.  No one knew the fate of the two diaries until, in 1976, an envelope containing a typed copy of the first volume, together with a copy of Josie’s marriage certificate from Christ Episcopal Church, landed in the Postal Service’s dead letter office.  For lack of a better idea, the Postal Service forwarded the package to Episcopal Rector Howard Surface, who then gave it to WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  The original sender, as well as the whereabouts of the original diary, remain unknown.

After years of research and editing by Nancy Baird, the University Press of Kentucky published this fascinating record in 2009 as Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary.  Then, as luck would have it, a Louisville woman purchased a copy of the book because her late husband was an Underwood descendant.  Remembering the box of old family papers she had stored at home, she discovered the second volume of the diary!  This small, leather-bound book begins in September, 1862 as Josie travels with her father, Warner Underwood, to Scotland where he takes up his duties as U.S. Consul in Glasgow.  During her year-long stay, Josie sampled the culture and society of Britain and the continent, hobnobbed with ambassadors and diplomats, and wrote perceptively about Scottish life and people.

Cover of Register of the Ky Historical SocietyJosie’s second diary containing “the rest of the story,” as editor Nancy Baird puts it, has now been published as a special issue of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, giving us an even fuller picture of her experience of the Civil War and the war’s impact on Great Britain and the rest of Europe.

Nancy Baird’s presentation about Josie Underwood will be on Sunday, October 12 at the Kentucky Building from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. (remarks begin at 3:00) and is free and open to the public.  For directions, click here (parking is easy on the weekend).  Copies of the Register will also be available for purchase.

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Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

The Path to Archives

A month or so ago a student asked me how to go about becoming an archivist.  In constructing my response to him I mentally reviewed my 25+ years in the profession and the changes that have impacted the profession.

Kentucky Archives Month

Time was most archivists were historians by training.  Specialists might also have a degree in another discipline, but by and large we were historians.  These days most have a degree in information science with coursework in public history.

What does that mean?  Information Science is the new library science and is defined as an interdisciplinary field concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination and protection of information. While Public History is usually defined as history beyond the walls of the traditional classroom or applied history.  It is most often found in the preservation of historic buildings, creation of museum exhibits and care of public and private records housed in archives. Continue reading

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Family Bibles

Each year the Kentucky Library Research Collection receives many valuable donations. Recently, we received a Woolsey Family Bible. The bible was an 1887 “Peerless” Edition of the Parallel Bible: containing the Authorized and Revised versions of the Old and New Testaments, arranged in parallel columns; a complete concordance; with a comprehensive Bible dictionary. Since one of our collecting strengths is genealogical, we greatly appreciated the marriages, births and deaths that were included starting with Sanford C. Woolsey and Angie Smith and their children. This genealogical information about this specified family also included photographs which made the bible even more unique. One of the marriages noted was also performed at Historic Diamond Cave in Park City, KY.Woolsey Family

Family bibles were very important before the advent of official government records. Even many non-religious families chose to use a family Bible as a record keeper. These bibles were sold in stores, by mail order and by door-to-door salesmen. The selling factor was not the holy scriptures but the blank pages between the Old and New Testaments that were waiting to be filled in with names, dates of births, marriages and deaths. This may have been the only record of such important dates in the lives of our ancestors and may give us that elusive maiden name and include other information such as baptismal information or names of godparents. The bibles also became the repository for numerous keepsakes such as newspaper clippings, funeral cards, pressed flowers, and other items that were valuable or meaningful to the owner.  Please see KenCat for a listing of our family bible holdings.

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Filed under General, New Stuff, People

First Faraway Flix film welcomed a full faculty house.

Sixty students, faculty, and staff poured into the Faculty House on Friday, September 26 for the first film of the 2014-15 Faraway Flix series, featuring international films. Ecuador, the featured country for WKU this year, was the first country highlighted in the movie Que Tan Lejos. Participants received a free t-shirt, a sample of Ecuadorian food, and great scholar-led discussion with Dr. Sonia Lenk from Modern Languages.
“We were very pleased with the turn out for the first film of the year,” said Shaden Melky, chair of the Faraway Flix committee and organizer of the event. “There were several conflicting events so it was great to see so many attend for our kick off to a great line up of films.”

Other countries or cultures featured this year in the film series include Japan, Native America, France, Thailand, and Lebanon. For more information on each film, go to

Photo Album

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Filed under Faraway Flix, Flickr Photos, Uncategorized

WKU Libraries announces winner of 8th Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award

Western Kentucky UnAdamsiversity Libraries has selected Jilli, That’s Silly! –A Story About Being a Girl, written by Christa Carpenter and illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams, as the winner of the eighth Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award. The national award was created to honor the memory of former WKU librarian Evelyn Thurman, who made significant contributions to children’s librarianship and literacy during her 25 years of service to the university and community. Books eligible for the award must be written or illustrated by a Kentucky author or illustrator or have a significant Kentucky-related connection.

“The committee reviewed several great books; however, this particular book stood out,” said Deana Groves, selection committee member and department head for Library Technical Services at WKU. “It has a very positive message to be true to who you are, and the whimsical illustrations are very colorful and eye catching.”

Christa Carpenter is a mother, a teacher, and a writer. Since childhood she has enjoyed writing plays, poetry, and stories. She lives in Maitland, Florida, with her two children, Nicholas and Jillian, and their funny dog Eddie.

Mark Wayne Adams was born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Murray State University where he received a BFA in drawing. Adams has illustrated over forty books, including The Belly Button Fairy and Polly and Her Pigtails. He has worked for Walt Disney World Company, Sea World Orlando, GSI Architectural Sign Company and is now the CEO of his own business. He currently serves as President for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

Both the author and illustrator will be honored at an awards luncheon in November where they will receive monetary awards from Ms. Thurman’s endowment and commemorative plaques. While in the area, Carpenter and Adams will visit local schools as part of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest’s “Fall into Books” program. For more information about the Evelyn Thurman award, visit

This program is made possible by the Evelyn Thurman Children’s Author Fund, the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership, and WKU Libraries.

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Filed under Events, New Stuff

WKU Library Faculty Nancy Richey receives KLA Innovation Award

Nancy with awardNancy Richey, WKU Associate Professor, received the  Innovation Award from the Special Libraries section of the Kentucky Library Association (KLA) at their annual meeting September 19 in Louisville, Kentucky. The award recognizes the contributions of an individual who has applied creative ideas or innovative thinking in his/her library which has resulted in significantly changed or enhanced service to constituents.

Richey, a lifelong book enthusiast, was surprised and humbled by the honor. “To be personally recognized by the Kentucky Library Association and/or anything to do with books, is very gratifying,” said Richey. “Books were my best friends while I was growing up in a very rural community, and the love of libraries set my career life path.”

Ms. Richey is an Associate Professor at Western Kentucky University Libraries, where she serves as the Reading Room Coordinator and Visual Resources Librarian for the Department of Library Special Collections. Ms. Richey is a native of Mt. Hermon, Kentucky, and has been a faculty member at WKU since July 2008. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University where she received degrees in Information Science and Southern History. Richey has served on various historical boards, including Giles Historical Society, Morrison Park Camp Meeting Site Restoration Board  and the Daughters of the American Revolution, and has authored two local history books in the Images of America book series published by Arcadia Press. Richey has cleaned up forgotten cemeteries, presented local historical information at regional events, and assisted in the restoration of historical grounds in Barren County. She is responsible for collection development for the Kentucky Library for Genealogy and Local History, and for providing research assistance and library research instruction.

A member of the board of directors for the Kentucky Library Association stated, “(Richey) has reached beyond the walls of the library to offer some amazing support to her community through service on historical boards and in support of historical renovation…(her work) makes her quite a role model to others wanting to provide innovative, valuable outreach and expertise to their communities.”

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Out of the Box – September

Board of Regents – Special Meeting 9/16/1939 re: Kentucky Building

Kentucky Building

Kentucky Building

Bookstore – department history

BUWKY 9/1939 – student publication


Cherry Political Papers – collection inventory

Craig Alumni House – everything you wanted to know . . .

Darwin Newton Papers – student papers collection inventory

Downing University Center – building history

Fact Book 1989 – a statistical snapshot from 25 years ago

Franklin Photos – some of the best vintage images of WKU campus

Morehead State 9/30/1939 – football program

ROTC – photograph collection inventory

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