Category Archives: General

“Picture Perfect” Exhibit Opens in WKU’s Special Collections

Tommy Hughes as a young photographer.

The Department of Library Special Collections (DLSC) opened a new exhibit on July 1 in the Kentucky Building’s Jackson Gallery titled “Picture Perfect:  The Wedding Photography of Thomas W. Hughes.” The exhibit, which will run until December 15, 2019, is built around thirteen enlarged photographs taken by Bowling Green professional photographer Tommy W. Hughes.  These images are part of a larger collection of Hughes’ wedding photography donated to DLSC by his daughter Amy Wood.  “During my father’s years as a professional photographer,” Amy Wood recalls, “he photographed over a 1,000 weddings.  He wore a suit and tie, polished his dress shoes and often judged a wedding on the quality of the reception food.  His equipment was heavy and bulky and in the days of film, each image was essential.”

A unique double wedding documented by local photographer Tommy Hughes.

Hughes, a native of Savannah, grew up in nearby Simpson County.  He attended Western Kentucky University and graduated from the Progressive School of Photography in New Haven, Connecticut and took further classes at the Winona Lake School of Photography.  He opened his Bowling Green studio in 1970 and worked from there until his retirement over 35 years later.  Included in the exhibit is a case documenting Hughes which includes one of his large format cameras, an advertisement declaring that his studio loved wedding photography, photographs of him, and some of the commendations his work received.

Nancy Richey, the Special Collections Images Librarian, tried to select photographs that best represented the overall community.  “Great photographers,” Richey notes, “see not only with a camera but with their eyes and heart. It was in this way that Hughes captured these couples’ special days. Selecting these images among the many that were donated was difficult but we wanted to capture the diversity of his work.”  Photographs of several African American weddings were included as well as themed weddings, a double wedding, and traditional weddings that date back to the early-1970s.  One of the favorites with visitors is a couple in a Pee Wee Herman pose.

To supplement Hughes’ photos, librarians filled exhibition cases with wedding invitations, vintage wedding photos, etiquette books related to weddings, greeting cards, wedding books, and information and images related to weddings in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, including a rare painting by Bowling Green photographer and artist Clement Reeves Edwards showing the Bridal Altar formation and a group of what is speculated to be a wedding party.  Also on exhibit is the Woolsey family Bible which includes a genealogical entry that notes that Sanford Woolsey and  Angie R. Smith were married in Diamond Cave on December 22, 1847.  One exhibit case also includes Prince Charles and Princess Diana dolls elaborately dressed in their wedding attire.

Western Kentucky University’s campus has become a favored spot to hold weddings.  Utilizing social media, DLSC put out a call for campus wedding photographs.  Hoping for seven to ten photographs to fill a case, librarians were overwhelmed when they received over one hundred images.  WKU is a treasured venue for many reasons, one being variety.  People submitted photos from Hilltopper friendly Houchens Stadium to the elegant Van Meter Auditorium and Kentucky Building to the charming green spaces all across campus.  “We chose WKU because the Chapel setting and campus are full of gorgeous simplicity, surrounded by greenery and connected to all we love about Bowling Green,” said Tiffany Isselhardt who married on campus in April 2017.  “The people, downtown proximity (our reception was at 440 Main), and campus spoke to everything we are as a couple and the community we are thrilled to call home.”   Some submitted photographs non-campus weddings that included visits from Big Red both before, during and after the event, Big Red cakes, red towels, and of course Hilltopper pride.

The Dickson-Heinze wedding held at WKU’s chapel. Photographer: Justin Mutter.

“Picture Perfect” is in the Jackson Gallery on the second floor of the Kentucky Building, 1400 Kentucky Street, on WKU’s campus.  The exhibit is free to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

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Coe Campbell, the Delroy & Patricia Hire Intern Recipient

My name is Coe Campbell and I was honored to receive the Hire Memorial Scholarship for 2018. Jonathan Jeffrey, the Department Head of Special Collections describes the internship. He says that “the Dr. Delroy & Patricia Hire Internship was established in 2015 to provide students with professional experience working in a special collections library, specifically with material from Allen and Monroe counties in Kentucky and Macon County in Tennessee.” This scholarship opened the opportunity for me to work in the Department of Library of Special Collections at WKU. This funded internship was more than an academic opportunity; it was a life changing experience. 

While doing research and working here at the Library, I felt like I was discovering myself as well as preserving history. I have learned to value everything while interning here, Christmas cards, letters, old farm signs and even business cards are important. I have found that behind every good textbook and history book there is a plethora of sources that no doubt came from a library. I have heard many say that libraries are boring places, others have stated that libraries as we know them are soon to die-out altogether; but I must beg to differ. A Special Collections library, like WKU’s, is a rich and vibrant source of knowledge and information. I would recommend anyone to come to the Special Collections Library spend even one hour in research; I promise they will find something that will spark their interest on almost any topic.   

This internship has inspired me to put my history major to use by hopefully pursuing a MA in Library Science so one day I can help people reconnect to their past. I also want to help to preserve the history of common folk so future generations will know that everyone regardless of their social or economic status is important in the history of us all. History to me is more than dates and important people. History is web of stories, personalities, and people all interconnected. I am thankful somewhere in that web of life; my own history will be found.  

Take a look at some of the things that I processed at Kentucky Library Research Collections  and through TopSCHOLAR.

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Kentucky Live! presents J.D. Wilkes, artist, musician and author of “The Vine That Ate the South”

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Wilkes read from and discussed his novel on the evening of April 19, 2018, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers as part of WKU Libraries’ Kentucky Live! Southern Culture at Its Best series. Wilkes also signed his books.

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Far Away Places presents Soleiman Kiasatpour on “Morocco At the Crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East”

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Soleiman Kiasatpour, an Associate Professor of International & Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University, talked about “Morocco At the Crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East” in our Far Away Places series sponsored by the Friends of WKU Libraries on the evening of April 12, 2018, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

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Kentucky Live! presents Timothy B. Smith, “Altogether Fitting and Proper: Civil War Battlefield Preservation in History, Memory, and Policy”

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Timothy Smith from the University of Tennessee at Martin was the featured speaker in WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live series” on Thursday, March 8, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green. His topic was “Civil War Battlefield Preservation in History, Memory, and Policy.” The talk concluded with book signing.

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Drakes Creek Middle School receives WKU Libraries School Library Grant

Bowling Green, Kentucky – Drakes Creek Middle School Library was recognized on Thursday, January 25 for being this year’s winner for the School Library Grant sponsored by the Friends of WKU Libraries. This is the fourth year WKU Libraries has offered the grant to schools in the Barren River Area Development District.

The grant is made possible with funds from Friends of WKU Libraries and is given out to one middle or high school annually with different purposes, including improving collections or technology, for professional development funds, to improve students’ research skills, and to offer reading enrichment opportunities.

Renee Hale is the Library Media Specialist who wrote the winning application for the school. According to Hale, the grant money will be used to improve the technology of the library by creating a Green Screen studio for students to create and edit video projects.

“The video projects will encourage hands-on, creative application of thinking,” said Hale. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this to our students.”

WKU Libraries Dean Susann deVries, Library Advisory Council Chair Nancy Priest, and WKU Libraries Communications Coordinator Jennifer Wilson attended the school’s morning meeting to make the announcement to the entire student body and present the check for $500 to Ms. Hale and Principal Daryl Woods. For more information about the grant, contact jennifer.wilson@wku.edu.

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Picturing World War 1


World War 1, this was it, this was going to be the “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, as we all know, this did not happen. The cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany occurred on November 11, 1918 so the 100th anniversary will soon be commemorated. The first’s years commemoration occurred in November 1919 as President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations….” The war however would not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles several months later. The war affected South Central, Kentucky as it did the whole country. In Warren County, the citizens of our area responded quickly with about 1000 serving in the war; four received Distinguished Services Crosses; two were awarded the Croix de Guerre; 49 gave their lives during the war. In the holdings of the Kentucky Library Research Collections are photographs, real photo postcards, and other materials. One of the highlights of the collection is a rare poster featuring Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson with accompanying text: “Washington gave us freedom,” “Lincoln kept us united,” and “Wilson fights for America and all humanity.” These are primary sources, the raw materials of history, and they bring the first great worldwide conflict of the twentieth century to us in direct, unfiltered ways. Photographs from albums documenting World War I era service and stereo cards that were produced by the Keystone View Company show the events and tragedy of World War I. For more visual collections, search TopScholar or KenCat or contact Special Collections at 270-745-5083 or spcol@wku.edu

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Kentucky Live! presents Ann DAngelo, author of ‘Dark Highway: Love, Murder, and Revenge in 1930s Kentucky’

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WKU Libraries’ last of this semester’s “Kentucky Live!” speaker series featured Ann DAngelo, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Transportation Cabinet on the evening of November 16, 2017, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, KY. She talked about and signed her new book Dark Highway about the case of Verna Garr Taylor’s death on the night of November 6, 1936.

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Far Away Places presents Fedja Buric, “Bosnia: More Than Twenty Years Since Dayton”

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With support from an IYO grant, WKU Libraries invited Bellarmine Historian Fedja Buric to be our guest speaker at Barnes & Noble Bookstore on the evening of Thursday, October 26, 2017, to talk about the history and the current situation in Bosnia.

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Kentucky Live! presents Joel Pett, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist

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Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Joel Pett spoke in this year’s WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live” speaker series on the evening of Thursday, October 19, 2017. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, a partner with WKU Libraries for community outreach services.

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