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Learning by Doing

My name is Hannah Hudson, and this fall, I have had the privilege of being the fourth Dr. Delroy and Patricia Hire intern in the Department of Library Special Collections. I am a sophomore at WKU, majoring in Cultural Anthropology and minoring in Folk Studies. I have always enjoyed learning about local history and the importance of rural communities in the development of the southeastern United States. When the head of my department mentioned this internship to me, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to develop my professional skills. Throughout my time as an intern in Special Collections, I have worked on projects from Monroe County, Kentucky, Allen County, Kentucky and Macon County, Tennessee.

Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn presents the Commonwealth’s first personalized congressional license plate to Congressman Tim Lee Carter, March 1969.

One project I have worked on this semester involves sorting, scanning, and categorizing photographs from the Tim Lee Carter Collection. Dr. Tim Lee Carter was from Monroe County, Kentucky, and he served eight terms (1965-1981) as a U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District. Due to my interest in visual anthropology, it has been very interesting for me to see how Carter’s work as a public servant was documented through these photos. I also gained practical experience while working with this collection as I learned about the process of cataloging in Past Perfect, a widely-used collections archiving database. The work that I have done on this collection will aid in the curation of an exhibit celebrating Monroe County’s Bicentennial in 2020.

Another project I completed was transcribing the 1850 and 1860 slave censuses from Monroe County, Kentucky to make them accessible on TopScholar. This was a particularly significant project to me because I feel that a lot of valuable information is contained in these records. The slave census gives insight into the early history of Monroe County and the significance of enslaved people in its development. I learned a great deal from this project, and it sparked many questions that led me to look deeper into the county’s history. Not only do the records give information on slave owners, but they also give information on the age-sex distribution of slaves and the ways in which they were classified in that time period.

I also researched my hometown of Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee and wrote a historical overview that is available on TopScholar. Red Boiling Springs borders the Tennessee-Kentucky line and is known for the several types of mineral waters that flow throughout the city. The medicinal properties of the springs once attracted visitors from all over the country and created a booming resort industry in the small town. I am passionate about preserving the history of Red Boiling Springs, and I have done independent research on it for over a year now. I am grateful that I had the opportunity and support from Library Special Collections to publish information on this small but significant community.

Dr. Delroy Hire, WKU Alumni from Pensacola, FL, visiting with Hannah Hudson, 2019 Hire Intern.

Throughout my time as an intern with Special Collections, I have gained experiences that will be valuable in my future such as scanning, writing, and cataloging in Past Perfect. Most importantly, I have learned how to use library and archival resources for research. I also learned so much about myself and the Kentucky and Tennessee counties that have influenced my life. I am grateful for the sponsorship of Dr. Delroy Hire and the opportunities that this internship has opened up for me. Any student who is interested in the Hire Internship can contact Department Head Jonathan Jeffrey by phone at (270) 745-5265 or by email at jonathan.jeffrey@wku.edu.

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Hudson Is Hire Intern for Fall 2019

Hannah Hudson, the youngest daughter of Mark and Scarlett Hudson, has been named the Dr. Delroy & Patricia Hire Special Collections Intern for 2019.

Hannah is a lifelong resident of Macon County, Tennessee, and a 2018 graduate of Red Boiling Springs High School. She is currently a sophomore at WKU pursuing a degree in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Folk Studies.

Hannah Hudson is the 2019 Dr. Delroy & Patricia Hire Library Special Collections Intern.

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. Hudson is the fourth Hire Intern to date.

Hudson states that growing up listening to stories and folktales about the history of Red Boiling Springs led her to pursue a career in anthropology and folk studies. From a young age, she enjoyed studying the history and folklife of different cultures and was especially interested in stories from the southeastern United States. Studying cultural anthropology and folklore at WKU seemed like the perfect fit for her interests.

“I hope to pursue a career in applied anthropology, doing museum and archival research, because I find it important to preserve diverse cultures and sub-cultures,” said Hudson. “I am grateful for this opportunity to intern with the Special Collections Library and be a part of the preservation of my county and the surrounding Kentucky counties that have shaped my life.”

Dr. Delroy Hire, the son of Osby Lee Hire and Lillian K. Garrison, was born and raised in Monroe County. He graduated from Tompkinsville High School in 1959.  Dr. Hire is a 1962 WKU graduate and a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is board certified in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology. After furthering his education, Dr. Hire went on duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and served for more than 20 years. He retired as the Deputy Armed Forces Medical Examiner based out of Washington, D.C., and now lives in Pensacola, Fla.

“In the Department of Library Special Collections, we have unique collections that allow students to literally touch history,” said Jonathan Jeffrey, Department Head for the unit. “This is more than a magnanimous gesture from Dr. Hire, it is an investment both in our collections and future curators of similar collections. Hannah Hudson is a fine example of Dr. Hire’s investment, and we are thrilled to offer her and other WKU students this opportunity.” 

Hudson will work with a number of items related to the three counties in which Dr. Hire is interested. She will scan and log photographs from the Tim Lee Carter collection to aid in the curation of an exhibit honoring the Congressman for Monroe County’s Bicentennial. In addition, Hudson will transcribe the 1850 slave census from Monroe County and Allen County, and write a historical summary for Macon County with an annotated bibliography.  The slave census data and the Macon County paper will be accessible on TOPScholar, WKU’s digital repository (digitalcommons.wku.edu)

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