Daily Archives: September 8, 2015

1866 Stereoviews of Mammoth Cave

mc28The Department of Library Special Collections at WKU recently acquired a complete set of Charles L. Waldack’s 1866 stereoviews of Mammoth Cave. The collection of 42  stereoviews are magnesium light views about Mammoth Cave, and include scenes of the Hotel, guests, the African American cave guides, and many interior shots of cave formations. Stereoviews, also known as stereoscopic photographs or stereographs, were introduced in the early 19th century for viewing two almost identical images through a stereoscope to offer a 3D illusion.

Originally from Belgium, Waldack came to the United States in 1857, and is the first photographer of the cave. Waldack was noted for bringing “sunlight” to the interior of the cave by the use of magnesium to create images of the cave and the surrounding area.  The 42 views of Mammoth Cave were published by E. & H.T. Anthony & Co.

According to the Journal of Speleological History, “These were the first high quality photographs produced underground in any cave.” Waldack had a photography shop at 31West 3rd Street in Cincinnati and made many excellent views between 1857 and 1873. His most significant were his 42 stereoviews of Mammoth Cave. Twelve of his photographs were printed as engravings in the 1870 book A Historical and Descriptive Narrative of the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky by William S. Forwood.

“WKU has long been a premier research institution for speleology and karst studies, and we have a particular interest and emphasis on Mammoth Cave due to its proximity and its long history as a tourist destination,” said Jonathan Jeffrey, Department head for WKU’s Library Special Collections.  “The Waldack stereograph collection is a major and unique acquisition for WKU; we are thrilled to make them available to our researchers.”

These stereoviews can be seen by visiting http://www.wku.edu/library/dlsc/index.php or by viewing it on the KenCat collection at http://wku.pastperfect-online.com/35749cgi/mweb.exe?request=keyword;keyword=waldack;dtype=d

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WKU Librarians teach genealogy and local sources

On August 22, 2015 at the Cave City Convention Center, Katherine Pennavaria and Sue Lynn McDaniel presented a total of four of the ten sessions aimed assisting genealogists in their research at “Finding Your Family Story: Genealogy Symposium.” In the morning, McDaniel presented Beginning Genealogy 101-Part I and Beginning Genealogy 101-Part II, while that afternoon Pennavaria presented “Dancing with your skeltons” and “What else does the census say?” All four sessions were well attended and received positive feedback from participants.

Informing local historians and genealogists about Library Special Collections is a constant goal.

Informing local historians and genealogists about Library Special Collections is a constant goal.

Library Special Collections also had a table informing the public about one of the best genealogical libraries in the state of Kentucky. Available for pickup were Special Collections rack cards, WKU Libraries: Your Research Partner, McDaniel’s business card, WKU Libraries pens and candy. McDaniel plans to have a table at the upcoming Louisville Genealogical Society’s Annual Seminar on October 17th. Working with the LGS Seminar Chairman 2014 and 2015 Donald C. Howell, McDaniel will plan a Louisville Genealogical Society field trip to Library Special Collections to learn more about unique resources in our collection.

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