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.”
“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.