Daily Archives: May 26, 2015

Southern Kentucky Book Fest delivers record numbers

With record numbers in sales, enthusiasts came in masses to hear, meet, and buy books from their favorite authors and illustrators at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest held April 18 at the Knicely Conference Center. Bestselling author Diana Gabaldon, known for her popular Outlander series, filled a room with more than 500 fans, some who waited for hours at the entrance, eager to get seats close to the author. Other well-known authors such as Jamie Ford, Terry Brooks, Mary McDonough, and Doreen Cronin brought in their own fan clubs.

“Book Fest was a tremendous success,” said Kristie Lowry, SOKY Book Fest organizer. “We are getting such positive remarks on social media, in-person, and through surveys given to participants.”

More than 1,200 attended the Friday prior to the main Book Fest event for Children’s Day and the Kentucky Writers Conference. According to Lowry, a new writing workshop for teens was also well attended. “We wanted to offer something specifically for those in grades 9-12 and the response was terrific. We definitely would like to continue this program next year.”

Bowling Green resident Crystal Bowling has attended the Writers Conference more than once. “I enjoy attending for the discussions and ideas, not only for the authors presenting, but for the writers in the audience. It’s a wonderful event with a sense of community,” said Bowling.

Noted as one of the largest book festivals in the state, SOKY Book Fest has been named by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) to the Top 10 Festivals & Events for Spring for the third consecutive year.

In addition to sales from the event, Book Fest is funded with grants and donations by companies and individuals. Corporate donors included: Platinum Level – Dollar General; Gold Level – Daily News, Jim Johnson; Silver Level – WKU Conferencing & Catering, West Sixth Brewing, WKU PBS; Bronze Level – Fruit of the Loom, Meijer, Smuckers; Patron Level – Bell Orr Ayers & Moore, WKU Department of English, Logan Aluminum and Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau.

SOKY Book Fest 2015

Kentucky Writers’ Conference

Book Fest Children’s Day 2015

Meet the Authors Reception



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WKU Libraries Derby Hat Day

WKU Libraries celebrated Derby Day by wearing hats to work the day before the Derby.Derby Hat Day 3rd

Photo Album

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Memorial Civil War Sheet Music

U. S. Park Ranger explains that this is the true grave of the boy honored by the song.

U. S. Park Ranger explains that this is the true grave of the boy honored by the song, Memorial Day 2015.

By Associate Professor Sue Lynn McDaniel, Library Special Collections

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the Shiloh National Cemetery located on the Shiloh Battlefield within our national park. Our ranger took us to the grave of the young boy commemorated in a rare piece of sheet music which we hold in Library Special Collections. The title is “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  She told us that immediately following the Civil War, another boy was mistakenly named as the soldier about whom the song had been written and he did not correct the general public, but instead enjoyed the publicity. The lyrics tell that the drummer boy died on the battlefield.  Later, historians researching Shiloh identified J. D. Holmes to be its true soldier hero.

WKU’s Library Special Collections has over one hundred war songs in its 4228 pieces of sheet music.  In our collection of Civil War ballads, WKU has nine titles by Will S. Hays of Louisville, Kentucky, including “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  Although a Unionist who was publishing titles like “The Union forever, for me!” and “Sherman and his gallant boys in blue” through a Louisville publishing house during the Civil War, Hays wrote many lyrics between 1861 and 1865 which stirred the heart strings of Yankees and Rebels.  A good example is “I am dying, Mother, dying.”  During the two day battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, more Americans died in combat than the total of all wars to that date.  It was the first of many Civil War battles with unthinkable numbers of casualties.

J. D. Holmes, the Drummer Boy of Shiloh

J. D. Holmes, the Drummer Boy of Shiloh

This beautiful ballad, dedicated to Miss Annie Cannon of Louisville, reads:

“On Shiloh’s dark and bloody ground, The dead and wounded lay;  Amongst them was a drummer boy, Who beat the drum that day.  A wounded soldier held him up His drum was by his side; He clasp’d his hands,  then rais’d his eyes, And prayed before he died.

Look down upon the battle field, ‘Oh, Thou our Heavenly Friend!  Have mercy on our sinful souls!’ The soldier’s cried ‘Amen!’ For gathered ’round a little group, Each brave man knelt and cried; They listened to the drummer boy, Who prayed before he died.

‘Oh, mother,” said the dying boy, ‘Look down from heavn on me, Receive me to thy fond embrace — Oh, take me home to thee.  I’ve loved my country as my God; To serve them both I’ve tried.’ He smiled, shook hands — death seized the boy Who prayed before he died.

Each solder wept, then, like a child —

Kentuckian Will S. Hays wrote numerous Civil War songs.

Kentuckian Will S. Hays wrote numerous Civil War songs.

Stout hearts were they, and brave; The flag his winding — sheet — God’s Book The key unto his grave.  They wrote upon a simple board These words; ‘This is a guide To thoses who’d mourn the drummer boy Who prayed before he died.’

Ye angels ’round the Throne of Grace, Look down upon the braves, Who fought and died on Shiloh’s plain, Now slumb’ring in their graves!  How many homes made desolate — How many hearts have sighed — How many, like that drummer boy Who prayer before they died!

Our sheet music collection includes more than 118 pieces of music published by composer & lyricist William Shakespeare Hays; many of them from Louisville, Kentucky publishing companies.  To learn more about historic sheet music at WKU, please visit kencat.wku.edu


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