Monthly Archives: June 2015

Ladies Literary Soiree of 1914

One of the programs handed to guests attending the meeting.

One of the programs handed to guests attending the meeting.

Manuscripts & Folklife Archives staff recently processed the records of the Current Events Club, a ladies literary club in Bowling Green founded in 1902. For their motto they chose lines from English poet Edward Young (1683-1765):  “Thoughts shut up want air, and spoil like bales unopened to the sun.” Tucked within the club’s records, processors found several beautiful programs printed on textured rice paper documenting an evening of Japanese music and dance. Each program featured its own unique cover illustration; the interiors announced the program and listed the members of the Currents Events Club. Fortunately an old newspaper clipping was included that explains the significance of these unique paper items. The newspaper title and date are not recorded on the clipping.

Under the title “The Current Events Club’s Entertainment,” the article reads: What was said to be the prettiest and most unique social event of the season was the Japanese entertainment given on Friday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock in Neale’s Hall (also known as the Davenport Building, which was at the corner of State Street and 10th Avenue. It was razed in the mid-1990s.) by the members of the Current Events Club for the six literary clubs of the city. This was in keeping with the annual custom for one club to entertain the other clubs every year. Each guest was presented at the door with a Japanese program with “Current Events Club, 1914” on the face of the program. The interior contained the list of the members, the second page contained the program which consisted of selections from the Japanese musical sketch given at New Vanmeter Hall (the current Van Meter Hall which was completed and opened in 1911; the old Vanmeter was located in the old Southern Normal School Building which located where Bowling Green Towers is today.) on Friday evening by Mr. and Mrs. Michitaro Ongawa.”

“The hall was artistically decorated in the club colors, green and yellow. The chandeliers were wrapped with yellow crepe papers with festoon of twisted yellow crepe paper draped from the large chandeliers to the small ones. In the hall were tables decorated with jonquils, each table having a large bouquet of jonquils.”

Promotional brochure about the artists performing at the meeting.

Promotional brochure about the artists performing at the meeting.

“One end of the hall where Mrs. Ongawa, of Japan, rendered her program, was in Japanese decorations, consisting of cherry blossoms, fans, parasols and screens. She was attired in a handsome Japanese costume, and the program was rendered very entertainingly.”

“The ices which were served were beautiful, consisting of individual ices shaped with Japanese figures holding fans and parasols. At each plate was a Japanese souvenir. In the receiving line were the officers of the club and Mrs. R.H. Lacey of Franklin, president of the Kentucky Federation of Woman’s Clubs.”

“The members of the Current Events Club were highly praised by the various clubs, on the preparation of the delightful entertainment.”

To see the finding aid for the club’s records click here.  To view finding aids for other literary clubs in Bowling Green, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat, the catalog for the Department of Library Special Collections.

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WKU Archives Video Digitization Project Update

filmYesterday we received 9 more videos from our digitization vendor. Some of these are finished products of earlier digitized b-roll. The new titles are:

Student Recruit Master, ca. 1980, a small clip of an interview with WKU president Donald Zacharias is available on YouTube.

There are several segments from the WKU Magazine show:

Fashion Merchandising, nd includes interviews with Vickie Driver, Sallye Clark, Julia Kirk, Donna Lanehart, Virginia Atkins, Diana Youngblood and Karen Massel regarding their experiences at the Atlanta Fashion Market. Continue reading

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Cherry Statue Time Capsule

Cherry Statue Unveiling

Cherry Statue Unveiling, 11/16/1937

As archivists we evaluate our collections and process them in order of importance.  That importance can be calculated in terms of rarity, pressing preservation issues or research value.  We also process collections as researchers use them.  This past week we spent time processing the Cherry Statue Committee records for a student working on a capstone project.  This is a small collection just 31 folders of documents and one oversize drawing of the statue base. In archives speak a mere .25 cu. ft. or a single box measuring 15 1/2″ x 7″ x 10″.

In using the collection the researcher found information regarding the time capsule placed beneath the statue on November 10, 1937.  There were two lists of items that had been placed in a bronze box and sealed inside the base.  There was also documentation that indicated a second box had been purchased for duplicates to be placed in the Kentucky Museum. The museum curator brought the box out for the student to see. Cherry Statue Time Capsule

Before the box went back to the Kentucky Museum, we digitized everything in it.  We also were able to identify a few items that had not been duplicated and created the Cherry Statue Time Capsule online exhibit.

Here you will see most of the items that the Cherry Statue Committee felt important enough to store for posterity.  Most of the items reflect Henry Cherry himself and include his two books, several speeches showing his interest in education, agriculture and politics; photographs and program of his memorial service.  The Glasgow Normal and Southern Normal Schools are represented in commencement programs and publications.  Also included are representations of what Cherry meant to the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community in the lists of donors to the statue fundWKU Postcards, resolutions of respect and other tributes.  Lastly there are many representations of how WKU had grown and flourished in the 31 years since its founding in 1906 until November 16, 1937 when the statue was unveiled.

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Two Picnics

Picnic at the old fairgrounds in Bowling Green, 1886 (Library Special Collections)

Picnic at the old fairgrounds in Bowling Green, 1886 (Library Special Collections)

Seeking always to present himself as a proper and gentlemanly correspondent, Luther Carpenter of Smiths Grove, Kentucky weighed his words carefully when he wrote in July, 1861 to his future wife Sallie Duncan about attending a picnic in Chalybeate Springs.

“We had a very genteel company,” he assured her, before which young ladies “with their delicate hands spread the snow white cloths under the tall and spreading oaks, and poured thereon basketfuls of dainty luxuries.”  When someone brought out a fiddle, he declined to dance, preferring instead “a nice promenade with the ladies.  I enjoyed myself hugely,” he confessed, even though he had thought of Sallie often and wished she was there.

Fast forward to July, 1890, when Luther and Sallie’s 20-year-old daughter Annie May received a free-wheeling account from her friend Jennie Amos of a “selfish picnic” on a creek near Erin, Tennessee.  Why selfish?  Because, Jennie slyly noted, it was “just the women folks, understand.”  Although her group dressed primly in shirtwaists, upon arriving at the picnic site “we took off our corsets.  We had everything to make us comfortable,” Jennie sighed, “and old dresses to go in bathing.”

Unfortunately, their paradise was soon invaded by “two town dudes just to play a joke on us.”  The girls were angry at first, but well enough acquainted with them not to care “if we did look like the devil,” and at the end of the day even rode with them back to town sans corsets.  Nevertheless, Jennie observed, “we would have had a better time without them.”

These letters describing two generations of picnicking are part of the Carpenter Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For other collections about Kentucky families, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Out of the Box – May

Baseball  Baseball

Charles Patterson Scrapbook

College Heights Herald 5/9/1940

Commencement 1915

Elevator 5/1915

Lillie Mason

Longrifle in Revival

President’s Homes

Preston Center

Students Activities Report


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Friends of Peggy


Peggy Wright

Peggy Wright

Gathered together to celebrate her 90th Birthday at Federal Grove in Auburn, Kentucky and reflect on her long career at WKU.   Nancy Baird described her “travels with Peggy” in Europe and Russia while Helen Crocker spoke of the friendship established among their group of former history professors from 1978  (Nancy Baird, Helen Crocker, Carol Crowe-Carraco, and Peggy plus Sally Ann Strickler, former Department Head of Library Public Services) which has lasted almost four decades, with gatherings to celebrate each of their birthdays every year.  Elaine Moore, former Coordinator of Electronic Resources, now retired in Arizona, sent along greetings, pictures and stories from their trips to the International Reading Association in Norway and Sweden.  Father Andy Garner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church described Peggy’s many contributions to the church including her counseling of death row inmates at Eddyville and her work with the Detention Center in Bowling Green.  Brian Coutts shared a story of their ill-fated trip to the Toledo District of Belize in 1993 and the “curse of the crystal skull” of Lubaantun.

(From left to right) Sally Ann Strickler, Father Any Garner, Helen Crocker, Peggy Wright, and Nancy Baird

(From left to right) Sally Ann Strickler (Former Head, Dept. of Library Public Services), Father Andy Garner, Helen Crocker, Peggy Wright, and Nancy Baird

(Left to right) Brian Coutts and Helen Crocker

(Left to right) Brian Coutts and Helen Crocker

(Left to Right) Mary Lou Simmons and Brian Coutts

(Left to Right) Mary Lou Simmons and Brian Coutts

Father Andy Garner, St. Joseph's Catholic Church

(Left to right) John Gottfried, Brian Coutts, Mary Lou Simmons, and Father Andy Garner, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

Photo Album

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Potter College turns Fifty!

Potter Turns FiftyYou are invited to enjoy the Library Special Collections presentation of materials produced by Potter College of Arts & Letters during its first fifty years. This exhibit contains a small- but hopefully representative- sample of the PCAL materials available in WKU Archives. The collections contain many more records of the type on display and also many photographs, administrative records, audio-visual materials, posters, and more.


To see more:

  • search KenCat which serves as a catalog of collectionsPotter Turns Fifty
  • search TopScholar for scans of full documents from creative writing to scrapbooks and speeches to posters
  • visit our channel on YouTube
  • visit the Harrison-Baird Reference Room in the Kentucky Building
  • contact WKU Archives at 270-745-4793 or 270-745-5830
  • visit us on the web

The exhibit is located on the 2nd floor of the Kentucky Building and will be up through the summer.

Post written by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley.

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Muster notice to Andrew Kellis, 1847 (SC 98)

Muster notice to Andrew Kellis, 1847 (SC 98)

In 1849, 26-year-old David Barclay Campbell and some other young Warren County, Kentucky men were out west trying to strike it rich in the gold fields of California.  David’s family and friends wrote from Bowling Green to update him on all the local gossip, but one of his pals (the torn letter has obliterated his name) was particularly chatty and irreverent.  He even found something to snicker about when recounting the city’s cholera outbreak of 1850, which “swept away several of our inhabitants to that last resting place in which there is no return.”

Writing jauntily of efforts to avoid the scourge, he declared that “Never in my life did I witness such confusion [as] a great many of our citizens vamosed or absquatulated to parts unknown.”  Unfortunately, the contagion occurred at the same time as a scheduled drill of the county militia, and David’s correspondent mirthfully described the outcome: “[A]s the military gentlemen armed and equipped as the law directs, would come riding in squads & sections and approach the main plaza or square of the city & hear of cholera, they would wheel to the right about face in double quick time, and homewards antelope without waiting [for] orders.”  And so, he concluded, “the glittering steels and toploftical plumages” of the citizen-soldiers “remained unsheathed,” and gone were the “conspicuous field officers parading up and down the streets on their high headed war nags.”  But no matter.  The gloomy summer plague soon passed, business and social life revived, and our correspondent resumed his youthful pursuits.

Letters to David Campbell during his sojourn in California are part of the Garvin Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For more collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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