On September 27, 1961 the College Heights Herald announced the $25,000 endowment of the Rodes-Helm Lecture Series. The money was donated by Harold and Mary (Rodes) Helm in honor of two individuals close to them.
John Rodes was a judge in the Warren County circuit court described as “one of the most distinguished jurists in the South.” Judge Rodes was a native of Bowling Green and graduate of Ogden College. He went on to study law at the University of Virginia. He was also the father of Mary Grider Rodes Helm.
Margie Helm, Harold’s sister was born in Auburn, Kentucky and grew in Bowling Green. She attended Randolph Macon Women’s College, Pratt Institute Library School and Chicago Graduate Library School. She returned to Bowling Green in 1920 taking the position of assistant librarian at WKU. In 1923 she was appointed head librarian and held that position for 42 years. Two years after her retirement, WKU rededicated the library building as the Margie Helm Library in her honor.
Kelly Thompson stated that the Rodes-Helm Lecture Series “will be used to bring to the Western campus, personalities, thinkers and speakers whom we might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.” Some of those have included Pearl Buck, William Buckley, Chet Huntley, Buckminster Fuller and Charles Kuralt to name a few.
The record series includes programs, press releases and recordings of some lectures. The initial press conference announcing the gift and establishment of the lecture series was recorded on a 33 1/3 lp which is also part of the collection. The finding aid for the series is available online at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_fin_aid/123/ Researchers can use view and listen to the items in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Building, Monday-Saturday, 9-4.