Food is one of the necessities of life. It is no surprise that Library Special
Collections—which documents the Commonwealth’s culture—has quite a few items
related to food. To celebrate this culinary
material, an exhibit titled “Food, Glorious Food!” has been installed in the
Jackson Gallery, on the second floor of the Kentucky Building. The exhibit will run through June 26.
Each case within the exhibit represents different aspects of
Kentucky’s culinary heritage. Chief
amongst the cases is one that highlights the collection’s cookbooks. In 2003 the Kentucky Library was the
beneficiary of a large number of cookbooks from the estate of Jeanne (Leach)
Moore, a Morgantown native. This
collection included over 1,500 titles that were added to the collection. This was expanded significantly with a gift
from Albert Schmid a few years later.
Without a doubt, Library Special Collections boasts one of Kentucky’s most
significant cookbook collections. This case
features the variety of cookbooks found in the collection ranging from an 1823
early-American cookbook to children’s guides to cookery. Because of the depth of this collection, cookbooks
are used throughout the exhibit.
Another focal case features menus from restaurants across
the state, ranging from dime store soda fountain menus to those from fine
Louisville restaurants. These items are
cultural treasures, as they share fares available at various food
establishments, costs of items, logos and trademarks, and colorful
graphics. This case also includes examples
of matchbooks, once a ubiquitous give-away at restaurants, postcards, and
One case includes material related to stoves and ranges. Generally a stove uses coal or wood for a fire source, and a range uses electricity or gas. This case features cookbooks from several appliance companies, photographs of these appliances, and promotional material issued by various manufacturers. Included is a photograph of the showroom of the Louisville Tin & Stove Company which shows many of the company’s wares on display. Also included is a catalog from the same company which indicates the great array of stoves and other items produced by this concern. The last two items were donated by Pam Elrod. The highlight of this case is a miniature toy stove donated by Marjorie Claggett and appears courtesy of the Kentucky Museum.
Other cases feature images and publications from Western Kentucky University food science classes and other campus food related activities; labels and other items of food packaging; material highlighting some Kentucky food specialties such as cream candy, Hot Browns, derby pie, and mint juleps; and large posters and photographs that document certain aspects of food in the Commonwealth.
Holly Tucker, a professor at Vanderbilt University, was the featured speaker at the WKU Libraries’ “Far Away Places” speaker series on the evening of Thursday, November 9, 2017, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. She talked about and signed at the end of the talk her book City of Light, City of Poison–Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris.
Today, obtaining needed medicine is relatively easy, but during the Civil War years and beyond, few medicines were available. Aspirin, which was discovered in 1849, still would not be used medically until the end of the 20th century. Doctors therefore relied on liquor such as brandy or whiskey to ease pain or disinfect a wound. It was many times the only anesthetic available. Whiskey could be purchased in large barrels but as a recent acquisition for the Department of Library Special Collections highlights, the quality of both brandy and whiskey for medical purposes was being questioned. Dr. William Cutter, of Louisville, KY was sent a “Circular to Physicians and Others, (January 1, 1862)” and it was also placed in such journals as the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. The New York physicians were asking for assistance to obtain “pure” bourbon whiskey from Kentucky as they could not find the unadulterated product in their area. Cutter promised to provide a “pure article of copper-distilled bourbon whiskey, which [he] trusts will fully meet the requirements of your letter.”
Bourbon, an American corn-based whiskey, is on the rise in popularity, now not as medicine but as a favored beverage. A recent edition of Restaurant News noted, “Bourbon is one of the fastest-growing categories in the beverage alcohol world. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey exports topped $1 billion in 2015 for the third straight year.” In 2016, the figure had risen to $1.56 billion.
See this latest acquisition and many other interesting bourbon related items in the Kentucky Research Collections. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 270-745-5083.
New to the WKU Libraries collection is the inclusion of several recently acquired books from the “Japan Library” series, published by the Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture in Tokyo, Japan. The Japan Library consists of dozens of Japanese books that have been translated into English for the first time for an international readership. Japan Library books in the collection consist of a diverse range of topics such as economics, folk studies, history, martial arts, political science, religion, science, sociology and more. For example, The Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi is a biography by Shimada Masakazu about Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931) who served in the Ministry of Finance in the Meiji government before venturing into business and investing in hundreds of companies that were the roots of modern corporate Japan. In The Happy Youth of a Desperate Country: The Disconnect between Japan’s Malaise and Its Millennials, sociologist Noritoshi Furuichi examines the millennial generation in Japan, exploring youth theory and ascertaining the defining voice of this demographic. Alexander Bennet’s Bushido and the Art of Living: An Inquiry into Samurai Values addresses Bushido, Budo, the cultural traditions of Japanese samurai and how it is connected to modern martial arts and Japanese society today.
If you are interested in reading these books or learning more about Japan through the Japanese Library series, use our One-Search Library Catalog to search for “Japan Library” to discover what books the WKU Library Catalog holds from this unique publisher.
The Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi by Shimada Masakazu, translated by Paul Narum
The Happy Youth of a Desperate Country: The Disconnect between Japan’s Malaise and Its Millennials by Noritoshi Furuichi, translated by Raj Mahtani
Bushido and the Art of Living: An Inquiry into Samurai Values by Alexander Bennett
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One of Kentucky’s most celebrated writers, Fenton Johnson, was a featured speaker in our Kentucky Live Series on April 20, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. He talked about his newest novel The Man Who Loved Birds set in Nelson county Kentucky.
Historian Ron Fritze, Dean of Arts & Sciences at Athens States University, was the featured speaker in WKU Libraries’ April Far Away Places series on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Bowling Green, KY. Fritze talked about his newest book Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession and Fantasy, which, being the 11th of his books, has been drawing international attention.
Bellarmine historian Eric Roorda was the featured speaker in WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places series on the evening of March 23, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, KY, on the topic The Dominican Republic: The Land Columbus Loved, or the Land that Loathes Columbus. His talk concluded with him signing his eponymous book.
David Bettez, the retired Director of the Office of International Programs at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, spoke in this year’s Kentucky Live! series on March 9, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore (1680 Campbell Lane). He talked about his newest book Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front . The publication of his book and his talk coincide with the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.
212° Academy students Allison Cleaver and Eva Cook have been selected as the winners of the SOKY Book Fest – 212° Academy Young Authors Contest. Cleaver, daughter of Kevin and Terri Cleaver, wrote the historical fiction book My World in Two, and Cook, daughter of Ryan and Amelia Cook, wrote the historical fiction book Dreams Go Down in History #1: Tea for Two. Cleaver is a 6th grader from Jody Richards Elementary School, and Cook is a 6th grader from Alvaton Elementary School.
WKU Libraries Literary Outreach Coordinator and SOKY Book Fest organizer Sara Volpi said there was a wonderful variety of books this year. “We were exceedingly impressed with the imagination and effort put into each book the 212° Academy students wrote,” said Volpi. “The students work diligently for months, drafting their stories, revising, and sourcing illustrations. Picking the winners is always tough,” said Volpi.
One highlight of the 212° Academy experience is participation in SILS (Special Interest Labs), including areas of study such as Inventor’s Workshop, Roller Coaster Physics, and Wild Worlds. Led by teacher Andrea Heming, students in the Lulu Online Book Publishing SIL wrote, illustrated, and published original books which are entered into the Young Writers Contest.
“Students were able to research and write about something they were passionate about,” said Heming. “They were so excited to receive their books and see all their hard work come to fruition.”
The contest is a combined effort between the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partners (Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Warren County Public Library, and WKU Libraries) and the teachers at the 212° Academy. Cleaver and Cook were recognized at their schools and are invited to sign copies of their books at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on April 21-22, along with R.L. Stine and 170 plus authors.
The Southern Kentucky Book Fest Used Book Sale will be held Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5 at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library, 175 Iron Skillet Court, in Bowling Green. The sale will be held from 9 am to 5 pm on Friday, March 3; 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, March 4; and from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday, March 5.
According to Sara Volpi, WKU Libraries Literary Outreach and SOKY Book Fest Coordinator, thousands of books, CDs, records, and DVDs will be available for $1 or less at the event. “Proceeds from the Used Book Sale benefit the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership and area literacy projects,” said Volpi. “We’ll have a huge selection of high-quality materials like cookbooks, popular fiction in hardback and paperback, children’s books, and more.”
Donations of books, videos, CDs, records, DVDs, and audio books are welcome at all Warren County Public Library locations, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and at WKU Libraries Cravens 4th floor (at circulation desk). Magazines and textbooks are not accepted. Donated materials are tax deductible.
SOKY Book Fest is a partnership project of Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Warren County Public Library, and WKU Libraries. The partnership’s mission is to encourage reading and the love of books and to be a positive force in promoting literacy in the region and state.