Alison Davis Lyne’s portrait of Robert Penn Warren will be housed in the Kentucky Building’s RPW Library.
The Department of Library Special Collections recently acquired a portrait of Kentucky literary giant Robert Penn Warren. Painted by freelance illustrator Alison Davis Lyne of Adairville, Kentucky, the portrait will be housed in the Robert Penn Warren Library. Lyne was approached by Historic Todd County, Inc. about painting several well known figures from Todd County for inclusion in a book titled T is for Todd County. Besides Warren, Lyne painted Dorothy Dix, an early 20th century advice columnist, and Natachee Momaday, a 20th century Native American author. After volunteering to paint Warren, Lyne contacted WKU’s Library Special Collections about obtaining a photograph of Warren in a relaxed pose. With several thousand photographs to choose from in the Warren Collection, the curator chose one that met her parameters. In the color photo, Warren wears a tan sports jacket with a rust colored polo shirt. He stands at ease, with his hands in his pockets and with a slight grin on his face. As Lyne said upon seeing it: “This photo would be just perfect!” In the portrait, Warren stands tall in the foreground juxtaposed against the undulating Todd County landscape with a red tailed hawk gliding overhead. Warren was always known as Red to his closest associates. In one corner of the portrait, the artist has created an obelisk of sorts from Warren’s books. Warren published over fifty books ranging from poetry to textbooks and remains the only author to win Pulitzer Prizes for both poetry and fiction.
The Robert Penn Warren Library in the Department of Library Special Collections houses Mr. and Mrs. Warren’s private libraries which they maintained at their Fairfield, Connecticut home. It includes over 2,000 volumes of classical and modern Western literature and history. It also houses the collections of Mr. Warren’s biographer Joseph Blotner and his bibliographer James Grimshaw. The library also boasts several thousand Warren family photographs, which are cataloged and can be found in KenCat. All the books in the library are cataloged and can be found in the library’s online catalog. The Manuscripts & Folklife Archives houses several Warren-related collections. Search TopSCHOLAR for those entries.
Alison Davis Lyne is best know as a children’s book illustrator. To see more of her work, go to Lyneart. Her husband, Frank, is a sculptor.
An early edition of ATKM with dust jacket.
For its 75th anniversary, the editors at Parade Magazine asked author and Nashville bookstore owner Ann Patchett to compile a list of the 75 best books from the past 75 years. One of the books she recommended from the 1940s-era was Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. Published in 1946, ATKM chronicles demagogue Willie Stark’s election and subsequent governorship in the deep south; Warren always minimized comparisons to Louisiana’s own Huey Long, but the similarities are strong. The story is told through Jack Burden, a political reporter who becomes Governor Stark’s assistant. Burden, a man of ethical and moral scruples, must wrestle in the mire of politics throughout the novel. Response from the public and critics was positive. George Mayberry, in the New Republic, compared the book to such classics as Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby. He ended his review with high praise: “All together it is the finest American novel in more years than one would like to have to remember.” Warren received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for ATKM. Hollywood adapted the book into film in 1949 and 2006. The 1949 version won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The novel is rated the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century by Modern Library and Time magazine chose it as one of the best 100 novels since 1923.
The Robert Penn Warren Library housed in the WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections includes Warren’s own personal copies of ATKM as well as numerous editions, printings, and foreign language editions collected by Warren’s bibliographer Dr. James A. “Bo” Grimshaw, Jr. The bibliographer’s collection contains 94 copies of ATKM, including copies of the first edition and many printings of paperbacks that have been used by high school and college students in literature classes for decades. Bibliographers of literary figures are often engrossed with locating every edition and printing of an author’s works.
Numerous copies of ATKM found in the RPW Library.
Ann Patchett’s novels include Bel Canto, The Magician’s Assistant and Commonwealth (due out in September). She is the co-owner of Parnasus Books in Nashville with Karen Hayes.
This is just one of the many 2-inch quadruplex videotapes housed in WKU Archives. These tapes were first created for use in television production in 1956. Quads were phased out in the early-1980s and replaced by smaller videotapes. WKU no longer owns playback equipment for these tapes.
WKYU-TV recorded many programs using quad tapes that are being digitized through a $7500.00 WKU Libraries grant. In September 59 quad tapes were shipped to Transfer Media in Indianapolis for digitization to DVD. The second shipment of DVDs arrived at the Kentucky Building last week.
Theses titles are now available to researchers, some are now available on YouTube:
BRADD Legislative Report Senator Walter “Dee” Huddleston, 4/15/1977, CD884, Senator Huddleston reporting on legislative activities impacting the Barren River Area Development District
B-Roll of Chemistry Department & Various Campus Locations, 2/24/1971, CD894, a student conducting experiments in a chemistry lab and video of campus showing buildings on campus including Downing University Center
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