When I first accepted the position as a student assistant at WKU Archives, I did not expect to go on such a fascinating historical journey. My experiences in the past year have been more invaluable than I ever could have imagined. Having the opportunity to work firsthand with the archived historical documents in WKU Archives has helped to paint a broader picture of the story as to how WKU began and what it has evolved into today. More specifically, my day-to-day tasks have mainly included collecting and scanning a multitude of different types of historical documents to be easily accessed on the TopSCHOLAR research & Creative Activity Database of WKU. The documents that I’ve been able to work on so far date back from the 1900s to the 1990s. The ability to upload these different materials from their physical form to our digital database has helped and will continue to help expose a vastly greater audience to the history of our school than ever before.Continue reading
Author Archives: Suellyn Lathrop
During the fall semester of 2018 three Anthropology majors interested in museum studies worked as interns in WKU Archives to create an exhibit entitled Bowling Green. The students, Jennifer Roberts, Jordan Mansfield and Beth Sutherland were given seven exhibit cases. They each chose two topics to fill six cases and they collaborated on the topic of education for the seventh and largest of the cases. Continue reading
The Kentucky Museum, WKU Library Special Collections & WKU Archives contain thousands of objects, documents and photographs. While the majority Kentucky-centric, many reflect the world outside Kentucky and the United States as experienced by Kentuckians. This online exhibit called Seven Continents created in conjunction with a physical Archives Month exhibit housed in the Western Room, showcases some of the international collections housed in the Kentucky Building. Additional information regarding these collections is available through KenCat the online catalog. Some highlights include:
WKU Archives’ newest acquisition is this 1884-85 catalog for the Southern Normal School & Business College. The front cover looks a bit waterlogged, but the interior is in excellent condition.
The Southern Normal School was created when A.W. Mell and Tom Williams left the Glasgow Normal School and moved to Bowling Green. It was originally called the Southern Normal School & Business College, but in the 1886 charter the name was changed to Southern Normal School. From 1890-1892 the school went through a succession of management changes being overseen by H.A. Evans, W.J. Davis, J.R. Alexander and H. McD. Fletcher. It came into the hands of Henry Cherry and his brother Thomas in 1892 with yet another name change. Continue reading
This is it. This is my last week in the Department of Library and Special Collections, and I am very grateful for the time I have spent here. Since I finished working on the Parking Exhibit, which if you have not checked out yet you should, I have moved on to processing files and photos from the WKU Theatre and Dance program. I have to admit I was a little nervous before I started going through everything. There was so much history and hard work that was being showcased in the photos and programs. I wanted to make sure it was all preserved and documented so people years from now could enjoy it. I enjoyed learning about the Western Players. Continue reading
I get asked all the time what are you majoring in, what are your plans once you graduate, and what kind of career do you want? I used to tell them any other answer than the truth, because for a long time I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no clue what I wanted in the future because it always seemed so far away. Now I am within a year of graduating Western Kentucky University with a degree in Anthropology and I can finally say the truth. I want to work in a museum, or archives setting, and that is exactly what I have been doing for the last few weeks. I have had the extraordinary privilege of interning in the WKU Archives. I cannot tell you how amazing it has been. Continue reading
WKU Archives is located in the Kentucky Building and is open Monday-Friday 9 AM – 4 PM.
Canon, E.H. Oral History, 1977
Cherry, Henry. Lost Sheep in the Army, 1918
Cherry, Henry. Personal Papers
Cherry, Henry & Earl Sullenger. Correspondence, 1918
Diddle, E.A. Interview, nd
Grise, Mary. Oral History, 1977
Orendorf, Jo. Oral History, 1978
Archives Month is a time to focus on the importance of records of enduring value. This year the theme is Education. With the help of the Kentucky Museum, Library Special Collections has created an exhibit in the Western Room of the Kentucky Building. This exhibit highlights items used by students in classrooms and shows some documents created by school administrators and students.
There is an online exhibit component as well where we highlight photographs and documents regarding all sorts of educational endeavors in Kentucky.
Lastly, we will be asking a question a week about your educational experiences. Question 1: Who was your favorite teacher? Take a look at some of the answers we’ve collected.
Alumni often encourage others to attend their alma mater. In 1940, Julius Kany persuaded James Takeichi Oshiro to attend Western Kentucky State Teachers College in Bowling Green, Kentucky, even though it was far away from his home in Hawaii. James Oshiro enrolled at Western in September 1940, but this wasn’t just any time in history, and James Oshiro was distinctive among the student body at the time due to his Japanese ancestry. The attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, prompted the United States to enter World War II. The severity of the attack engendered fear and hatred for Japan, and, by extension, anyone who looked Japanese.
In the official history of WKU, Lowell Harrison described James Oshiro and his situation. “Born in Hawaii of Japanese parents, he lived in Japan for sixteen years before returning to Hawaii. Nine years later he was persuaded by a Western alumnus to go to the Hill. The short, slight, twenty-six-year-old student enrolled in September 1940 to major in history. His financial support from a brother-in-law in Honolulu was suddenly cut off after the Pearl Harbor attack, and no one could predict the reaction of Western students and Bowling Green townspeople. ‘It breaks my little heart even to think of this horrible war between two nations,’ James wrote President Garrett in late December; he would gladly fight for the United States, ‘and I am sure that God will forgive me having fought against my parents’ country.’” (2) Continue reading
Walter Nalbach left Grand Rapids, Michigan, to become a student in the newly established Industrial Arts program at Western Kentucky State Teachers College at the invitation of L.T. Smith. He earned his B.A. from WKSTC in 1933 and went on to be an instructor at WKU for 37 years- and was department head for 16 of those.
Nalbach was also active in Rotary, the Kentucky Industrial Education Association, and the Calendar Club.
To learn more about Walter Nalbach and see examples of his work, visit the Department of Library Special Collections in the Kentucky Building, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Click here to access additional photos, oral histories, and catalog entries associated with Walter Nalbach in our online records.
Post written by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley.