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.
A recent purchase by the Department of Library Special Collections bolsters the significant Shaker holdings in Kentucky Library Research Collections. This two-piece timeline map/chart is titled, “Genealogical Chronological and Geographical Chart Embracing Biblical and Profane History of Ancient Times from Adam to Christ.” The map was produced by Jacob Skeen of Louisville, Kentucky in February 1887 as an educational tool to reinforce the traditional Christian validity of Shaker communities and to arrest the decline of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing or as they were more commonly known, the Shakers. Elder Alonzo Hollister of the Mount Lebanon, New York community wished to show that Shaker orthodoxy had continuity with scripture and the traditional church. It was also a grasping attempt to reconcile their beliefs with a fast changing, progressive worldview. Copyrighted 1887, the detailed chart with many sub-charts purports to show locations and relationships of humanity, the Church and the Devil. W.F. Pennebaker of the community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky also participated in the publication of this lithograph. David Rumsey, a world renowned map collector and the founder of the David Rumsey Map Collection notes that “although researched, designed, drawn, and copyrighted by Jacob Skeen, a Presbyterian, the chart is strongly associated with the Shaker Church. Skeen spent 10 years developing it and it was to be used in the biblical instruction of children and adults alike.” Some 204 charts were produced, the KLRC is one of only a few holding libraries in the world. The Manuscripts and Folklife Archives has more extensive documentation of the South Union Shakers’ 115 years of existence than any other repository with many Journals, diaries, account books, hymnals, and business records chronicle the activities of the religious community of Shakers, who gathered at South Union in Logan County, Kentucky, in 1807 and disbanded in 1922.
Call the Reference Assistance desk at 270-745-5083 or search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat<
What was happening in Bowling Green, KY on July 1, 1846 almost 170 years ago? Well, now we know! A wonderful, recent donation lets us learn more about Bowling Green’s early history. This very rare newspaper, with the masthead, The Bowling Green Press, is the only one our Special Collections Library staff have seen, and although it is in poor condition; it is definitely preferable to having no specimen at all. The survival of any periodical is a triumph against many odds. We think of our culture as a throw-away culture but newspapers have always be seen as expendable–meant to be read, passed around and then thrown away, or even used for wrapping paper or other household purposes.
The newspaper noted under its masthead, that it was devoted to “Politics, Agriculture, Literature, Morality and General Intelligence.” Headlines in the issue focus on the Mormon conflict and controversy at Nauvoo, IL, President James K. Polk and his declaration of war with Mexico and the “Awful Calamity” in Quebec as the Theatre Royal burns killing 50 people. “The Theatre Royal, Saint Lewis [street], took fire from the overturning of a camphene lamp, at the close of the exhibition of Mr. Harlean’s Chemical Dioramas, and the whole interior of the building was almost instantly in a blaze. Local news highlights include the deaths of Mrs. Sarah Cox, 87 of this county and Mrs. George (Adelaide) Milliken of Simpson County, KY in her 30th year. There are a few handsomely illustrated advertisements of products or services offered and they portray many aspects of daily life. Butter was selling for 10 cents per pound, coffee at 9 cents and sugar, 7 cents. Books and “tationary” were for sale at Townsend’s store and the most “fashionable style” hats could be had at William Whiteman’s store. The Louisville Steamer packet, “General Warren,” left regularly at 10:00 every Saturday. Also, if you did not feel well, Dr. S. A. Withrs (sic) requests that you stop by the Green River Hotel or his office across the street from the Market House for treatment.
We are so pleased to have this early Bowling Green, KY newspaper and will preserve it for future historians. You may see this and other items in the WKU Department of Library Special Collections by visiting or by searching TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.
100 Years Ago – The Elevator, Vol. VII, No. 2, Nov. 1915
- The Chestnut Hunt
- An Evening with Poe
- The Turkey Trot and much more
75 Years Ago – Le Cercle Francais Club Bulletin No. 3, 1940
- Le Pique Nique du 12 Octobre (Picnic held Oct. 12)
- Reunion D’anciens (Homecoming)
- Calendrier francais (French holidays)
WKU Faculty/Staff 1965
50 Years Ago – Faculty / Staff Group photo, 1965
- See how many people you can recognize
- See how small the administration was
25 Years Ago – Student Honors Research Bulletin, 1990
- Ritalin Controversy
- 1988 Presidential Primaries
- Gay & Lesbian Couples
- Popcorn and Salt or Salt Substitutes and much more
November 16 was designated as Founders Day by the WKU Board of Regents in 1930. In recognition of the 85th Founders Day, please enjoy this public affairs video from Founders Day 1974. This video was digitized and made available earlier this year as part of a WKU Archives Video Digitization Project.
Blog post written by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley
The Department of Library Special Collections at WKU already has an impressive collection of illustrative material related to Mammoth Cave. These items include glass plate negatives, post cards, guide books, etc. A recent acquisition of a complete set Charles L. Waldack’s 1866 stereo views will greatly enhance these materials as Waldack is the first photographer of the cave. The 42 “Magnesium Light Views in Mammoth Cave” were published by E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. and include scenes of the Hotel, guests, the African American cave guides and many interior shots of cave formations. Waldack, originally from Belgium came to the United States in 1857. It was noted that he brought “sunlight” to the interior of the cave by the use of magnesium, so that one of the greatest natural wonders of the world could be seen by many. His biography from a special edition of the “Journal of Speleological History” (2000) notes: “These were the first high quality photographs produced underground in any cave. Waldack was naturalized as an American citizen after his marriage to Mary Tanner (born about 1849) of Kentucky, who was also a photographer. He set up a photography shop at 31 West 3rd Street in Cincinnati and made many excellent views of buildings, streets, and bridges between 1857 and 1873. Most important was his 42 stereo cards of Mammoth Cave. The Anthony series was continuously printed until about 1872, and 12 of the photographs were printed as engravings in the 1870 book, “A Historical and Descriptive Narrative of the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky” by William S. Forwood.
These stereo views can be seen at by visiting WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections or by clicking on the link to access the images at KenCat.
No, Rosa Parks was never in Glasgow, KY but her defiant and freedom loving spirit was there ten years before her own historic act. It is noted she was not the first person to resist bus segregation and this article from the April 27th, 1944 edition of the Glasgow, (KY) Republican highlights this fact. Lucy Franklin and Enna [Emma] Collins, sisters, who were in their early 30s, were visiting their hometown and grandmother, Harriet Allan in Barren County. Little did they realize, they were also a part of the birth of the Civil Rights movement and “mothers” also of the movement. They refused to move to the back of the bus, “We’ll sit just where we are. We paid our fare same as anyone else.” The newspaper report notes their arrest for this defiant act and that they “missed the bus.” Thankfully, their brave act in our local community finally allowed others to never “miss the bus” again. Lucy and Emma’s act, like many others, “strengthened blacks’ resolve and ability to resist their “second-class” status in the United States. Thus, their efforts in the period during and after the Second World War, aided by the international attention to race brought by that war and the Cold War, led to a modern civil rights movement. [This] would dismantle legally sanctioned segregation and discrimination in public accommodations within two decades. (CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA: RACIAL DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, p.31.)
Find materials about this topic and other subjects in the Department of Library Special Collections by searching TopSCHOLAR andKenCat or request more information from email@example.com.
Since the first tourist tract written by Alexander Clark Bullitt in 1844, it seemed everyone wanted to visit the “Mammoth Cave.” He considered such a visit an almost spiritual pilgrimage. “Awe and apprehension soon yield to the influence of the delicious air; and after a time a certain jocund feeling is found mingled with the deepest impressions of sublimity. I recommend all broken-hearted lovers and dyspeptic dandies to carry their complaints to the Mammoth Cave, where they will undoubtedly find themselves ‘translated’ into very buxom and happy persons.”
Mammoth Cave is the country’s 26th national park and contains almost 60,000 acres of land in South Central, KY. But, the entire region, because of our karst topography is riddled with caves. This push for visitors lead to one of the most interesting parts of Mammoth Cave history. It was the period known as the “Kentucky Cave Wars.” It was a time when local cave owners used devious advertising and other illegal means to lure tourists to their underground treasures and away from the “real” cave. They did this impersonating rangers and flagging travelers off the road before they could reach the cave and national park. A recent book by David Kem, The Kentucky Cave Wars: The Century That Shaped Mammoth Cave National Park, delves into this time by “telling the story of Mammoth Cave’s greatest competitors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the death of Dr. Croghan and the first competitors popping up in Cave Country, to the national park’s creation and beyond, more than a century of fighting for tourist dollars shaped the decisions in and around the famous cave.” Kem used several photographs and other illustrative materials from the Kentucky Library Research Collections to illustrate his new book. Find materials about the cave and other subjects in the Department of Library Special Collections by searching TopSCHOLAR and KenCat or request more information from firstname.lastname@example.org.