Monthly Archives: March 2016

Hopper Receives First Mills Scholarship

Jessica Hopper

Jessica Hopper

My name is Jessica Hopper and my major is History with a minor in Library Media Education. During the spring 2016 semester I began an internship at WKU’s Library Special Collections. My internship has given me new insights into how different departments within the library operate and what I might expect in my future library career.  I would absolutely recommend a similar internship to any WKU student; it has given me plenty of hands-on experience that I can use in future classes and employment. Not only does a student get to work in an environment similar to a potential library position, they are also acquiring skills essential for future employment such as use of the collections management software Past Perfect. In addition to gaining work experience, I received a $500 scholarship which is named for long-time Special Collections professor Connie Mills.

During my internship I worked in Library Special Collections’ three units: Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, WKU Archives, and Kentucky Library Research Collections (KLRC). While in Manuscripts I worked on a collection of World War II letters that were written by a sergeant stationed at Fort Knox to his beloved fiancé and future wife. I read each letter and jotted down important information that the letter contained in order to describe the collection in Past Perfect. In the WKU Archives I worked on a collection that contained documents that were still unorganized. I arranged, foldered, and boxed the material by date for permanent storage. The last department that I worked in was the KLRC, in which I focused on newspapers. I organized boxes of newspapers published in the Bowling Green area in order to provide better access for the library’s staff and patrons.  I created a spreadsheet listing the titles and dates, which can eventually be used to complete the processing of that collection.

While working in the different units, I learned how each type of document is preserved. Most of the smaller documents are kept in acid-free folders to prevent further damage. Once a collection has multiple folders it is then placed in boxes that will keep the collection together. Bigger items, such as posters, are kept in mapcases so that they can be laid flat in order to keep their shape and prevent creases and tears. Newspapers are also kept flat and in oversized boxes for the same reasons. I was not aware of these preservation techniques prior to my internship. I value the information I have learned as it will be a very important when seeking future employment.  As far as future classes, my internship has increased my skills in researching and utilizing primary source material.

Connie Mills

Connie Mills

The Connie Mills Special Collections Internship allows an undergraduate student to have a working, hands-on experience in the Department of Library Special Collections (DLSC) at Western Kentucky University. Emphasis is placed on processing projects within the department. Interns are given an orientation to all three departmental units. The fund honors Constance Ann Mills (1944-2013), who spent twenty-five years employed in WKU’s Library Special Collections. Information about the internship can be provided to students by contacting Jonathan Jeffrey, the Department Head for Special Collections at 270-745-5265 or


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Sociology Professor to speak on Left Wing Populism in Latin America

Western Kentucky University is pleased to bring Dr. Carlos De La Torre, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kentucky, to present “Assessing Left Wing Populism in Latin America” as part of the Tracing the Unexplored: Populism in the Americas series. Dr. De La Torre will be speaking at the Faculty House on the Bowling Green campus, Monday, April 11 at 4:30 pm.

Dr. Del La Torre is the former director of the International Studies at the University of Kentucky and former director of Political Students and Ph.D. program at FLACSO-Ecuador. His presentation examines why Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador were elected, the similarities and differences in their regimes, and the challenges of personalism.

In its ninth year, Tracing the Unexsplored series was born in the Department of Modern Languages and brings important issues of the Hispanic world to Bowling Green and the WKU campus community.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. De La Torre on campus,” said Dr. Sonia Lenk, WKU associate professor of Spanish. “His knowledge about populism will inform WKU and the community about a predominant political strategy seen in Latin America and to a lesser extent in the US.”

This series is sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages, WKU Libraries, the Department of Political Science, the Department of Sociology, the School of Journalism & Broadcasting & the Office of International Programs.

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Reception in Cravens to thank supporters and inform others about iamWKU

DSC_0017WKU Libraries was part of a university-wide effort to thank its employees for giving back to WKU. Heather McWhorter, director of Leadership Annual Giving, organized the multi-campus effort to thank employees who are giving financially to WKU as well as answer any questions for others who might be interested in learning more about the iamWKU program. According to McWhorter, the program is simple in concept; anyone who gives financially at any amount becomes a part of the iamWKU program. It’s a way to show support of WKU and to thank those who are showing support. The Ambassadors for WKU Libraries are Amanda Drost and Jennifer Wilson. For more information, contact the Ambassadors or Heather McWhorter at 270-745-3257.  

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Gemini Jazz Bands

Gemini 77

Gemini 77

Gemini jazz bands were a fixture in the WKU Music Department from 1966 through 1979.  Originally organized as an all girls jazz band a few good men (Larnelle Harris & John Carpenter) soon became members.  The band leader David “Doc” Livingston partnered with the USO to give his students real band touring experiences in the Caribbean, Europe and through the Pacific command.

WKU Archives has digitized two videotapes regarding the band; recently received donations of Gemini materials from former members and had a reunion for the former members.  You can see this material at our new online exhibit Gemini Jazz Bands or visit the small exhibit housed in the Western Room of the Kentucky Building.

WKU Reports: Gemini 15 – 15 minute video

All Systems Go: Gemini 75 Concert – 30 minute concert video

David “Doc” Livingston HODA Induction – 15 minute video

Videos were digitized through an internal WKU Libraries grant.

Gemini Reunion

Former Geminis David Dorris, Bobbi Battle, Michael Frye, Jeff Jones, Nancy Pollard, Jamie Daly, Nancy Cron and Jane Tichenor.


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The Apple and the Core

Smiths Grove College was established in 1875 and operated as such until 1901, when it became the Vanderbilt Training School and then Warren Baptist Academy.  Today, North Warren Elementary School is located on the site.

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, let’s look at some notes, probably from the 1890s, of a debate at Smiths Grove College on “a question that is agitating the whole nation,” namely whether “it is right to give to women the same right[s] as we do to men.”

Listing the arguments in favor, our anonymous scribe was both principled and practical.  Times had changed, and as the barriers to women’s property ownership and entry into the professions were disappearing, so too should their political disabilities.  “Suppose some woman owns a farm and she would have a hired hand.  This hired hand would be allowed to elect the officers of the country and she would have no voice whatever although she is paying taxes,” observed our proponent.  Contrary to fears that politics would corrupt the female sex, the grant of suffrage would allow women to “purify politics.”

"Should Women Vote?" wonders a harried husband (from a 1903 postcard, WKU Library Special Collections)

“Should Women Vote?” wonders a harried husband (from a 1903 postcard, WKU Library Special Collections)

But no consideration of the issue was complete without addressing Biblical notions of women’s roles, to which our writer responded wryly and dismissively.  When the Apostle Paul called upon women to be obedient and “keep silence in the churches,” his admonition came at a time when “there were about a dozen women in the country and all they knew was to have some fried meat & bread ready when the men got hungry.”  True, it was Eve who gave Adam the apple to eat, “but I’ll venture to say,” concluded our debater, “that he helped her up in the tree and then gave her the core.”

Click here to access a finding aid for the collection of Smiths Grove College materials containing these righteous feminist arguments, housed in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  For more collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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G.G. Craig, Jr.

G.G. Craig, Jr.

G.G. Craig Jr.

This is G.G. Craig, Jr., son of Gavin Craig the WKU penmanship instructor from 1922 to 1965.  G.G. graduated from WKU in 1943 and soon enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served with the 405th Infantry Regiment in Europe where he was killed in action on March 1, 1945.  Craig is interred in the American War Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands.  The Dutch are in the process of adopting the graves of the 10,000 Americans who died during the war.  They have created the Fields of Honor Database and are creating records for each serviceman’s grave.  WKU Archives was contacted this morning to supply a photo of G.G. Craig for this project. We are proud of his and countless other WKU alums who have served their country and given their lives in battle.

For more information on this project check out the Faces of Margraten.

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Politics. . . As Usual

American Party of Kentucky documents

American Party of Kentucky documents

Since existing political parties do not offer valid choices to the voters, a new party is urgently needed.  The two existing parties, Democrat and Republican,. . . have deserted the principles and traditions of our nation’s Founding Fathers.

A clip from last night’s cable news?  Au contraire, as we look back almost 50 years to the policy declaration of the American Party of Kentucky, a copy of which is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.

First convened in 1968 to “provide the vehicle through which responsible conservative candidates can be offered to the voters,” the American Party stood for allegiance to God, limited government, free enterprise, private property, and traditional morality.  It stood against totalitarianism of all stripes, foreign aid, the United Nations, and government-sponsored charity.  By early 1969, the Party was incorporated and tutoring prospective candidates on how to file for local, state and national offices.

For its presidential candidate, the American Party selected former Alabama governor George C. Wallace, who, despite his segregationist resume, electrified supporters with his fiery rhetoric.  “Yes, they’ve looked down their nose at you and me a long time,” he said on the campaign trail.  “They’ve called us rednecks — the Republicans and the Democrats.  Well, we’re going to show, there sure are a lot of rednecks in this country.”

After the 1968 election, the Kentucky American Party’s Richard H. Treitz wrote to the faithful on letterhead of the Wallace campaign to thank them for their efforts.  The best was yet to come, he declared, asking for support in turning a grassroots movement into a truly national political party.  While not victorious in ’68, the soldiers of God and country had “scared the two-alike parties like never before and . . . THEY HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET!”

Click here to download a finding aid for the American Party collection.  For more of our political collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Diane King’s “Kurdistan on the Global Stage: Kinship, Land and Community in Iraq”

Kurdistan-on-the-Global-Stage (2)

WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places series featured Dr. Diane King, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. Dr. King spoke on her recent book Kurdistan on the Global State: Kinship, Land and Community in Iraq, published in 2014 by Rutgers University Press. The book explores how people in Kurdistan connect socially through patron-client relationships, patrilineage and citizenship. King offers a sensitive interpretation of the challenges occurring between tradition and modernity in a land where honor killings and female genital mutilation coexist with mobile phones and increasing education of women.

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The Meijer Used Book Sale produced high traffic to benefit SOKY Book Fest

Meijer Used Book Sale Meijer Used Book Sale held on Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5 had a great turn out at the Bob Kirby Branch. Hundreds of people showed up for the three-day sale, leaving with heavy bags and big smiles. Meijer sponsored the annual event offered to raise money for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest scheduled on April 22 & 23 at the Knicely Conference Center. For more details on the event, go to

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Answering the Call: Nurses, Couriers and the Frontier Nursing Service

Answering the Call Nurses, Couriers and the Frontier Nursing Service (20)

WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live!” speaker series event featured Dr. Anne Cockerham at Barnes & Nobles Booksellers, Bowling Green, KY on the evening of March 17, 2016. Dr. Cockerham is Assoc. Dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health at the Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, KY and author of Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World: Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky’s Frontier School, 1939-1989 published in 2012 and Unbridled Service: Growing Up and Giving Back as a Frontier Nursing Service Courier, 1928-2010 published in 2014.

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