Jeanette Farley (Nov. 5, 1920 – June 13, 2016) always had a welcoming smile for everyone! That message was the “take-away” theme from her memorial service today. No one that knew her did not know Jeanette’s smile lit up the room.
I first met Mrs. Farley when I was an undergraduate student using the Kentucky Library. Her desk was in the middle of the research room. She was so approachable by a student new to the use of Library Special Collections. My respect for her grew when I became a student worker; she was never too busy to help me. She was a role model of how librarians should work with researchers and mentor historians and future librarians. In 1982, she retired from WKU Libraries.
Always a life lesson teacher, Mrs. Farley gave her sons the following poem as she approached her senior years.
We will miss you, Mrs. Farley, you serve the Kentucky Building well.
From the 1930’s through the 1960’s Bowling Green Kentucky was home to one of the longest operating brothels in the history of the United States. Initially located in a small colonial-style house on Smallhouse Road, the business was opened in 1933 by Pauline Tabor, a divorced mother of two, who had been struggling to make ends meet during the Depression. In the 1940’s, the brothel was moved to a red brick house located at 627 Clay Street, where it managed to stay in business until 1968. Pauline Tabor is regarded by historians as an adroit businesswoman who was generous with her workers and who gave generously to charities and the local community.
In 1971, Tabor published her autobiography, Pauline’s: Memoirs of the Madam on Clay Street, which details her life story and experiences as a madam of the longest running brothel in the United States. The memoir also features photographs, portraits, and illustrations by jazz album cover artist David Stone Martin.
WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections recently acquired a limited edition copy of Pauline’s, which is numbered and signed by the author. This deluxe copy was gifted by Lillian Levy of Prospect, Kentucky, and is bound in red plush velvet with gold edges and has a gold locket clasp. Special Collections also has an additional velvet copy bound with blank pages, which was likely intended to be used as a diary or journal. Both are accompanied by their own keys.
Click here to access the catalog record for this unique limited edition copy. Special Collections also has other editions of Pauline’s which can be located by searching TOPCAT.
WKU is known for ghosts and those who hunt them. The Folklife Archives houses many collected stories and legends about ghosts and other kinds of monsters, start with Supernatural Experiences.
WKU Libraries has many books related to the supernatural as well.
Ghosts have been known to appear in the Kentucky Library collections.
WKU Archives contains images and writings of John Carpenter, a local boy whose name has become synonymous with Halloween.
View a Kentucky Museum Pecha Kucha talk about the origins of Halloween.
Resources rounded up by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley.
CHH Feb. 1929 Headline
Set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, The Kentucky Building song composed by Mrs. H.R. Matthews during the fund raising campaign appeared in the March 1929 College Heights Herald.
Though we may wander from the Hill
In wider fields to roam
We’ll treasure o’er our college days
And call her portals “Home”
Then may our hands and may our hearts
Be joined to build a great
Kentucky monument to save
The history of our state
The Indian lore and pioneer
Shall never pass away;
Our relics we shall now preserve
And in our state they’ll stay
Check out other College Heights Heralds in TopScholar. 1925-1929, Jan. 1930, 1961-1963, 1968-1969 are up. More coming soon.
Library Special Collections has numerous leap year postcards.
In the Jackson Gallery at the Kentucky Building, an exhibit of leap year postcards, comic valentines, dance cards, photographs, correspondence and ephemera focuses on American interpretation of leap year customs between 1850 and 1950. Invitations and newspaper accounts depict the concept’s use in 1888 as a focal point for social events. Curator Sue Lynn McDaniel’s interest in American courtship customs first prompted her to collect and then donate many of the early-twentieth century postcards which evince the humorous way single females and males enjoyed the suggestion that usual courtship etiquette was suspended during leap years. The exhibit runs through June 2012. For more information on Library Special Collections’ holdings, see: http://wku.pastperfect-online.com/35749cgi/mweb.exe?request=keyword;keyword=leap%20year;dtype=d
My great-grandfather was Baptist Minister; do you have any church records or minutes in your collections?
Church records are among the best records for genealogists to locate and study. They can provide information that is not recorded in any other source such as births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, and even the burial location of your ancestor. Additionally, you can learn about your ancestor’s participation in the church’s life or separation/transfer from the church rolls. Discipline in churches has changed dramatically over the years but in many cases, members were removed from the church for non-attendance, profanity, drinking or dancing. They can reveal the extent to which your ancestors participated in religious affairs. They are also helpful for tracing family relationships or migration patterns.
For those ancestors who were ministers, priest or rabbis, biographical information may be found in a printed source, obituary listing or in church or synagogue archives.
Finding theses important records can be difficult. Many churches do keep good records but they may have been sent to a central archive, placed in private hands or given to a historical society or special collections library. Fortunately, many churches have microfilmed these records, or at least given copies to local organizations.
The Kentucky Library and Museum’s manuscript collection of church records can be found at
Other records have been published in book form and may be found by using TOPCAT.
There are excellent chapters on the information provided by church records and how to locate them in The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, edited by Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny (Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984) and in Val Greenwood’s revised edition of the Researcher’s Guide to American Records (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Md., 1990.
Though the Kentucky Library and Museum’s major focus has followed our mission statement, “We Collect Kentucky,” our collections can now be characterized as both local and global. A sample of recently cataloged items illustrate this new focus: Institutes of Hindu Law and the History and Antiquities of Carborough, Viciniti: with Views and Plans, The Northern Campaigns and History of the War, from the Invasion of Russia, in 1812, and Memoirs and Recollections of Count Segur: Ambassador from France to the Courts of Russia and Prussia, and Important Engagements Which Took Place Between His Majesty’s Forces and the Rebels, During the Irish Rebellion, 1798., by John Jones. These primary source materials enable researchers to delve into what it was like to live during the earlier centuries by reading these types of first-hand accounts of everyday people, leaders, revolutionaries and their times. For the last title by John Jones, we are among a few libraries that hold this original book including the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg and the British Library. Additionally, our unique holdings are now more accessible through our “KenCat” catalog which uses the collection management program, PastPefect. The collection is searchable online at http://wku.pastperfect-online.com/35749cgi/mweb.exe?request=ks and covers a wide variety of materials in four areas: objects, archives, photographs and library materials. For more information about these unique collections contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-745-5083.
Photographer Kate Seston Matthews (1870-1956) was born in New Albany, Indiana, but she lived most of her life in rural Pewee Valley, Kentucky, a small community near Louisville. Matthews used this community and her friends and family as her subjects, but she is most well known today for her photographs depicting characters in the children’s book series, The Little Colonel. These stories were written by her neighbor, Annie Fellows Johnston. Matthews also loved to pose living pictures or tableaux vivants, whereby she captured on film a “water colored” view of her community and life in rural Kentucky. A patron has donated some of these original model prints depicting characters from the series to the Kentucky Library’s Photographic Archives. These materials are available for research Monday through Saturday (9-4) and may also be viewed at our online catalog, KenCAT.