WKU Archives’ newest acquisition is this 1884-85 catalog for the Southern Normal School & Business College. The front cover looks a bit waterlogged, but the interior is in excellent condition.
The Southern Normal School was created when A.W. Mell and Tom Williams left the Glasgow Normal School and moved to Bowling Green. It was originally called the Southern Normal School & Business College, but in the 1886 charter the name was changed to Southern Normal School. From 1890-1892 the school went through a succession of management changes being overseen by H.A. Evans, W.J. Davis, J.R. Alexander and H. McD. Fletcher. It came into the hands of Henry Cherry and his brother Thomas in 1892 with yet another name change. Continue reading
Cherry Statue Unveiling, 11/16/1937
As archivists we evaluate our collections and process them in order of importance. That importance can be calculated in terms of rarity, pressing preservation issues or research value. We also process collections as researchers use them. This past week we spent time processing the Cherry Statue Committee records for a student working on a capstone project. This is a small collection just 31 folders of documents and one oversize drawing of the statue base. In archives speak a mere .25 cu. ft. or a single box measuring 15 1/2″ x 7″ x 10″.
In using the collection the researcher found information regarding the time capsule placed beneath the statue on November 10, 1937. There were two lists of items that had been placed in a bronze box and sealed inside the base. There was also documentation that indicated a second box had been purchased for duplicates to be placed in the Kentucky Museum. The museum curator brought the box out for the student to see.
Before the box went back to the Kentucky Museum, we digitized everything in it. We also were able to identify a few items that had not been duplicated and created the Cherry Statue Time Capsule online exhibit.
Here you will see most of the items that the Cherry Statue Committee felt important enough to store for posterity. Most of the items reflect Henry Cherry himself and include his two books, several speeches showing his interest in education, agriculture and politics; photographs and program of his memorial service. The Glasgow Normal and Southern Normal Schools are represented in commencement programs and publications. Also included are representations of what Cherry meant to the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community in the lists of donors to the statue fund, resolutions of respect and other tributes. Lastly there are many representations of how WKU had grown and flourished in the 31 years since its founding in 1906 until November 16, 1937 when the statue was unveiled.
A recent donation of 11 stereographic cards opens up a view of early Bowling Green, KY. These images are from 1886 and show downtown Bowling Green, the Barren River, an early school, the Fairview Cemetery, Southern Normal School, Main and State Streets and two bridges. Many of these albumen images have not been seen before. Stereographs like these were a vehicle for popular education and entertainment in the latter part of the nineteenth century. These images were mounted on cardboard with two almost identical photographs, side by side, and they had to be viewed with a stereoscope. Viewing them in this way created a three-dimensional effect. These images gave an opportunity for many to see views of far-away lands in a way that was not available to the general population. Their affordability and easy availability also made stereography a popular pastime that lasted over six decades. See other images of Bowling Green, KY by using KENCAT at kencat.wku.edu
In doing research related to the opening of Ransdell Hall we’ve come across several Founders Day speeches. These are primarily from the 1960’s, but there is an especially interesting one that highlights the earliest years of WKU. A.L. Crabb’s Founders Day Address “It Sounds So Lovely What Our Fathers Did,” reprinted in April 1943 was delivered the previous November 16th. In it he relates his earliest memories as a student in the Southern Normal School in 1904. He introduces the listeners to a host of early faculty including J.S. Dickey, the Cherry Brothers, J.M. Guilliams, J.H. Clagett, M.A. Leiper and Laura Frazee to name a few. It is a great eyewitness account of the early years of WKU.
This and additonal records are available for researchers through our online catalog, KenCat and in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Library & Museum Monday – Saturday, 9 – 4. Selected digitized records can be found on TopScholar as well.
Before there was WKU, there was the Southern Normal. A school that evolved from the Glasgow Normal, which moved to Bowling Green and changed hands several times before the Cherry brothers took over. The Southern Normal existed between 1893 and 1906 when it split into WKU and the Bowling Green Business University.
The Southern Educator serves as a journal of pedagogy, alumni magazine, advertisement for the Southern Normal, course listings and gives an overall look into the daily life of the Southern Normal. Published more or less quarterly from 1897 to 1906, the newspaper is being digitized and made available online to researchers. A name index available at: http://www.wku.edu/Library/dlsc/ua/bgbu-a.htm.
One of WKU’s five founding institutions was the Southern Normal School and Business College, generally referred to as the Southern Normal. The teacher training school was founded by A.W. Mell and Tom Williams when they moved the Glasgow Normal School to Bowling Green in 1884. The University Archives holds some administrative records, publications, class lists and photographs for the school. An outline of sources and a finding aid are available online. These are available to researchers in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room Monday – Saturday 9 – 4.
Beulah Collins Ellis attended the Southern Normal School and kept two autograph books. The first book has a padded cover of brown cloth and is in fragile condition. The majority of the autographs date to 1902 and 1903. Mrs. Ellis’ daughter Lena wrote in the book in 1922. Of special note is an inscription by Edgar Cayce:
“To thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the day. That you will be true to others. Your friend, Edgar Cayce, BG, September 17, 1902”
The Kentucky Library & Museum also holds papers regarding Edgar Cayce and his activities in Bowling Green.
The second autograph album dates from 1904-1907 and is autographed by natives of Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Tennessee.
Both books have been scanned and are available on TopScholar. These and other records are available for researchers in the Kentucky Library & Museum.
Donnie Love's Autograph Book
Miss Donnie Love, a native of Horse Cave, Kentucky attended Southern Normal School about 1890. She received a teaching certificate and began teaching in Edmonson County by the age of 16. Her autograph book is now in University Archives and has been scanned for viewing online. There are 53 pages of autographs including this notation by Donnie Love herself inviting friends to write in her book.
The book is available online through TopScholar.