Category Archives: Acquisitions

Finding a Circus in Your Attic


A drawing from Venable's sketchbook titled "The Politician."

Recently the Special Collections Library in the Kentucky Building received an addtion to one of its finest Kentucky family manuscript collections. The materials revolve around John Wesley Venable, Sr. and his immediate family. Venable was born on 30 March 1823 in Washington, D.C. He made an unusual journey as a 16-year-old to Florida, during which he kept a journal. The travel account, a new addition to the collection, is rather erudite for an adolescent, and it includes several pencil sketches and small watercolor paintings. In the late-1840s, Venable tried to make a living as an itinerant artist, first in Covington and then Danville, Kentucky. In 1847 he moved to St. Louis in hopes of succeeding as an artist. He soon returned to Kentucky, where he began painting and teaching art lessons. The collection contains several account books related to fees Venable charged for artwork as well as for art lessons and supplies. It also includes a magnificent, small sketch book featuring a number of Venable’s pencil and pen/ink studies.

In 1862, John entered the ministry and accepted the rectorship at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Versailles, Kentucky, a position he retained until 1882; simultaneously he had responsibilities for services in Goergetown, Kentucky. In 1882, he became rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where he stayed until his retirement in 1895. He and his family remained in Hopkinsville. His religious career is thorougly documented in 39 small diaries found in the collection, starting in 1862 and ending in 1907. The diaries include some personal observations, but chiefly record religious activities such as marriages, baptisms, funerals, etc.

John first married Sarah E. Farnsworth; she died in 1873 and was buried in Versailles. John and Sarah had three daughters:  Lizzie A., Mary Helm, and Julia. Lonley, John married Ann Frances “Fannie” Peyton Moore (b. 20 July 1849), who was from an old Christian County family, in 1888. The collection contains some interesting and early correspondence from the Moore family. Fannie died on 18 October 1938. She and John, Sr. are buried in Hopkinsville’s Riverside Cemetery. John and Fannie had one son, John Wesley Venable, Jr.

John, Jr. was born in 1888. He lived with his mother until her death. At an early age, his father taught John, Jr. the rudiments of drawing. He spent many hours drawing, reading, and constructing a large circus menagerie that was kept in the garret of the family home. He spent most of his life as a manger of movie theaters in Hopkinsville. He married Alice Lacey in 1942. The story of his circus menagerie was well known in the area, and it was passed on to Todd County native and author Robert Penn Warren by Frank Quarles Cayce of Hopkinsville. Warren used Venable, Jr. and his mother as prototypes for Bolton Lovehart and Mrs. Simon Lovehart in his noevella A Circus in the Attic. John, Jr. is buried with his wife in Hopkinsville’s Riverside Cemetery. The collection contains many of John’s fanciful drawings of circus and adventure scenes. A portion of the circus menagerie is owned by the Pennyroyal Museum in Hopkinsville.

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Good News: BioOne Database Renewed with Additional Mobile Site

Good news! WKU Libraries continues to fund the BioOne database with the following new titles added for 2012:

  • African Invertebrates, published by the Natal Museum, South Africa
  • Annales Botanici Fennici, published by the Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board
  • Annales Zoologici Fennici, published by the Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board
  • Biology of Reproduction, published by the Society for the Study of Reproduction
  • Journal of Resources and Ecology, published by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Not only that, but there is exciting news we are very pleased to share with you: The mobile site of BioOne has been launched, available at When you with a supported device direct your browser to the URL, you will be automatically directed to the mobile site. The supported devices include:

  • iOS 3.1.3 or later
  • Android 2.2 or later
  • BlackBerry OS 6 (the platform’s most current version 7.0 is not yet supported)

BioOne contains full-text research journals in the biosciences. Most of its titles are published by small societies or non-commercial publishers and have not been previously available in electronic format. For more information, please read BioOne’s announcement at or contact Amy Slowik at

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WKU Libraries Users to Get Full-text Search in HathiTrust Collection

A new agreement with HathiTrust will enable library users to carry out full-text searches of the HathiTrust collection via the One-Search Box on the Libraries home page. Users are already able to search the collection’s metadata, which was previously indexed through this system powered by ExLibris.

For more information, following this link:

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Early Journal Content on JSTOR Now Available

Exciting news from JSTOR!

JSTOR materials published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere are now freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.  This “Early Journal Content” includes discourse and scholarship in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, and in mathematics and other sciences.  It includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals. This represents 6% of the content on JSTOR.

You can access the new content through WKU’s JSTOR link on the Database page or directly  If you are off campus, you will need to log in using your NetID and password. In the future, you can access the new early materials from anywhere in the world directly through this link.

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Want to Meet Alexander Hamilton?

Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull

Well, sorry, he’s still dead. But now you can view over 12,500 of his documents and get to know him that way through the “Papers of Alexander Hamilton“. This is thanks to a digital archive newly published by Alexander Street Press.

You can access the database directly through this link if you’re on campus or through our WKU Libraries homepage by going to Databases -> American Founding Era -> Papers of Alexander Hamilton.

If you are off campus, you will be asked to log in using your NetID and Password.


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Ovid Nursing Full Text Plus and Ovid Nursing Database

nursingNew at WKU Libraries! Online full text access to 42 premier Lippincott nursing journals, including AJN, ANS, CIN, JONA, MCN, and many more. Visit the WKU Libraries Database page or the Research Guide for Nursing at to access.

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Biographies, Biographies, Biographies!

WKU Libraries now subscribes to Biography Reference Bank online!

Biography Reference Bank contains biographies or obituaries for over 660,000 individuals, along with over 35,000 images. Many of the biographies are enhanced with feature articles, interviews, essays, book reviews, performance reviews, speeches, obituaries, and biographical content from other Wilson databases. Biographies are searchable by name, profession, title, place of origin, gender, race/ethnicity, date of birth, date of death, and keyword. The database contains selected full text of the articles from more than 100 reference books, plus the full text of the following titles published by H. W. Wilson:

· American Reformers

· Composers series

· Current Biography

· Greek and Latin Authors Series

· Junior Authors & Illustrators

· Nobel Prize Winners

· World Artists

· World Author Series

· World Film Directors

· World Musicians

Biography Reference Bank also contains the complete Biography Index, which indexes biographies published in books, magazines, and journals. Abstracts and full text are included if available. You can access Biography Reference Bank from our Database Page or directly here: Biography Reference Bank.

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Kentucky Library & Museum Builds Architect’s Collection

Ingram's Architectural Class Project, 1925

Ingram's Architecture Class Project, 1925

The Kentucky Library & Museum (KL&M) has owned the drawings of architect James Maurice Ingram (1905-1976) since 1979.  These drawings came rolled in tubes, wrapped with butcher paper, and covered in coal dust.  Over the years, the staff has flattened, cleaned and cataloged each set of drawings. The collection has been used by local historic preservation professionals, architects, local home owners, and dozens of students in Architecture and Manufacturing Sciences, Folk Studies, History, Art, and Interior Design.

Recently Kasey Chappell, a graduate student in Folk Studies, began cataloging the drawings in KenCat, the KL&M’s online database.  She was also charged with gleaning materials from the collection for a forthcoming website related to Mr. Ingram.  Kasey was disappointed to learn that the KL&M didn’t possess a photograph of Ingram.  She did some online searching and found a Dr. James Maurice Ingram in Nebraska and wrote to him inquiring if he was related to our Ingram.  He replied immediately that he was the architect’s grandson.  He put us in contact with his father who was in Florida.  This Mr. Ingram, also an architect, practiced with his father for a number of years under the moniker Ingram & Ingram.

James Maurice Ingram, Jr. recently sent materials related to his father and his career, including his high school diploma, an album of photographs documenting projects done by the Ingrams, a photo of his parents, and a student project done by his father at Notre Dame  in 1925.  The project, seen above, was a drawing executed for a class in which Ingram displayed his learned skills in architectural history, drafting and shading.  Ingram designed dozens of homes, schools, industrial sites, and commercial buildings in Bowling Green and Warren County.  He practiced here from 1929 to the early 1940s, when he moved his office to Louisville.

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New Art in the Java City Café


Above: “About to Explode”

University Libraries has recently acquired seven paintings by Phoenix Latino artist Julio Cesar Rodarte. These are on display in the café’s lower level. New furnishings have also been acquired with support from the SGA.

The oldest of four children, Rodarte was born in Fresnillo, Zacatecas in 1984. Three years later the family immigrated to the United States. He took his first art classes in high school in Arizona after his psychologist and school counselor encouraged him to take a drawing class after a failed suicide attempt.


Above: Julio Cesar Rodarte in front of his painting, “Constructed Chaos”

At the age of 19 he enrolled at Glendale Community College where he discovered his talent for painting. Since then he’s developed his unique style in which he first develops a sculptural form and then paints on the shapes with colorful repetitive patterns, geometric shapes, forms, silhouettes, and numbers. In 2008 he began showing his art in group shows in Phoenix and had his first solo exhibition “Over and Over” at Arizona State University’s Downtown Campus in Phoenix in 2009.  Since then the 26 year old painter has continued to have solo and group shows such as “Shapes”, a March 2010 solo exhibition and “Arte Latino en la Ciudad”, a May 2010 group show at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.

His art has been collected by corporations and private collectors. He says he continues “to paint with determination” in his studio in Phoenix.

Brian Coutts

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Above, left to right: “Is This Real, What Do You Feel?,” “Sound Waves,” “Constructed Chaos”

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Above, left to right: “Sound Waves,” “The Superhero of Color,” “Is This Real, What Do You Feel?”

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Above: “About to Explode,” “Upside Down”

View more photos on Flickr

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Salem Health Online at WKU Libraries

health_cover2Four Salem Health reference encyclopedias are now freely available online on or off campus at WKU. These award-winning titles (Magill’s Medical Guide, Salem Health: Cancer, Salem Health: Psychology & Mental Health, and Salem Health: Genetics & Inherited Diseases) are also in WKU Libraries’ print reference collection.

To search online, go to TOPCAT (, enter the title, then “search;” select “Linked Resources.”
If you are off campus, first click “Off Campus Login;” then login with NetID/password.
Many thanks to Salem Health for WKU’s complimentary online access.

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