Exhibits of Kentucky source materials found in WKU Library Special Collections, WKU Archives and the Kentucky Museum.
“Milling Around: Kentucky Flour Bags” features a representative sampling of the nearly two hundred bags held by WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections. The bags with bold and bright iconography document an industry that was once local but is now consolidated into huge conglomerates. At one time almost every hamlet of any consequence boasted one or more water- or steam-powered mills that produced flour and/or corn meal. This exhibit features both paper and cloth bags. After consuming the flour, customers used the bleached cotton bags for towels, cleaning rags, backing for quilts and even clothing. As a marketing ploy, many flour mills eventually sold their flour in printed cotton fabric bags of varied colors and designs. These bags were specifically made to be converted into fabric for clothing, quilting and other household uses. Paper bags began the standard by the mid-1950s. The Werthan Bag Company of Nashville, one of the largest companies of its type in the country, converted from cloth to paper bags exclusively in 1955.
Archives Month is a time to focus on the importance of records of enduring value. This year the theme is Education, so in this space, we've highlighted documents and objects created by and used in educational institutions in Kentucky. Most of these institutions are defunct or have morphed into something else. They include female academies, Rosenwald schools, missionary institutes and trade schools.
In the summer of 2017, WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections planned to collect information from south central Kentuckians about the Great Eclipse that took place on 21 August 2017 for a project called “Tell Us About Your Eclipse Day.” Immediately after the eclipse, the Department issued a call via social media, e-mail, and press releases asking individuals to provide eclipse-related information, photos, ephemera and artifacts for posterity’s sake. The photographs in this gallery document the response to that project. Items that were donated included photographs, viewing glasses, first day stamp covers, artwork, stickers, poetry, and narratives about the experience. A compilation of the narratives and images can be found here: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_mss_fin_aid/4378/ In many cases additional information about the photographs in this gallery can be found in the linked document.
All items in the this gallery are in the Rather-Westerman Political Collection in Library Special Collections and the Kentucky Museum on the campus of Western Kentucky University. More than 15,000 items have been donated by citizens, alumni, faculty, collectors, and WKU friends. The collection name honors Julius E. Rather, alumnus and major donor since 1983, and Robert V. Westerman, alumnus and major donor since 1998.
This Corridor Gallery exhibition illustrates a partnership between PCAL, the Kentucky Museum, the University Libraries, and the extended Bowling Green community. The show consists of 11 individual exhibits, each curated, designed and installed by a member of the Fall 2015 Museum and Gallery Studies Class. This project was produced in conjunction with the Kentucky Museum, WKU Library Special Collections and the WKU Archives.Students in the course chose exhibit topics after conducting research on the collections held by the Kentucky Museum and WKU Library Special Collections. They selected and borrowed specific objects from the Museum and Library with which to develop their exhibit themes, and researched and wrote label copy interpreting each piece’s significance. In many cases, student-curators conducted outside interviews with community experts as a part of their research process. All worked with Kentucky Museum exhibits staff to create mounts for and safely install their objects.Our class would like to thank the faculty and staff of the Kentucky Museum and Library Special Collections, without whom this project would not have been possible. Specifically, we extend thanks to Sandy Staebell, Kentucky Museum Collections Curator; Jonathan Jeffrey, Library Special Collections Department Head; and Charles Hurst, Kentucky Museum Preparator, for their many hours of hands-on assistance.Students included are: Angela Arvizu, Kirstyn Capshaw, Hannah Davis, Rachel Haberman, Karen Hogg, Roy D. Lewis Jr., Terrence Lightfoot, Will Phelps, Nick Schaedig, Sydney Varajon, Abby Zibart
Maps begin with a physical survey of the area to be mapped. In centuries past data was collected using surveying equipment such as a compass, chains, telescopes, levels, paper and pencil. The information was then drawn on paper using protractors, parallel rulers, pen and ink. Later came drafting stencils. As each map was refined and improved it became a base map for the next region to to be mapped.In the 21st century surveyors use hand held GNSS units and communicate with satellites to update geographical information. Benchmarks are placed on the ground. Cartographers have become computer programmers.Here is some of the equipment employed to survey land and create maps.
This section of the exhibit focuses on artistic details often found on maps. It features the following maps from the Kentucky Library Collections:Berg, Carl. County Map of Kentucky and Tennessee, 1867 SB2-22476Blaeu, Willem. New Netherlands & New England, 1635, S27375.Buell, Abel. New and Correct Map of the United States of America, 1784, S27378Desceliers, Pierre. A Mariner's Guide to the New World, 1600, S27374.Homann, J.B. Regni Mexicani seu Novae Hispanie, Ludovicianae, N. Angliae, Carolinae, Virginiae, et Pensylvania, 1763, M28366John Thomson & Co. United States of America, 1828 S34805John Thomson & Co. United States, nd, SB2-34806Johnson & Browning. The City of Louisville, Kentucky & the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, 1855, S18677Johnson & Ward. Johnson's Kentucky and Tennessee, 1865, S22413Kentucky Historical Society. The Great Settlement Area 1750-1800, 1975.Popple, Henry. Map of the British Empire in North America, 1733, M24925.Smith, John. Virginia, 1606, M25536Smith, Karl. An Historical and Geographical Map of the State of Kentucky, the Dark and Bloody Ground, 1933, S8072Tatton, Gabriel. The New World, 1600, S27376.
Maps can help us get from one place to another. They can also take us back in time as these maps do. These maps show us where significant events happened, where frontiersmen settled and converted Indian trails to roads. The Battle of Mill Springs map shows gives a glimpse into military strategies employed during the Civil War as well as the sophistication and precision necessary in military cartography. And an 1841 trip down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers on foot or steamboat comes to life with the Traveler's Guide.Conclin, George. Traveler's Guide: A Map of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Extending from Pittsburgh to the Gulf of Mexico, 1841, S18957Gardiner, Florence. Early Trails Through Barren, Metcalfe and Hart Counties, Kentucky, 1941, SB2-18923Julius Bien & Company, Sketch of the Enemy's Fortified Position at and opposite Mill Springs, Kentucky, to which he retreated after his defeat at Logan's Cross-Roads; Sketch of the Battle-Field of Logan's Cross-Roads, Kentucky, 1862, S18980Kentucky Historical Society. The Great Settlement Area 1750-1800, 1975, S27446Oakes, John Warren. A Map of the Settlement Bowling Green, Kentucky 1860, nd, S19200Smith, Karl. An Historical and Geographical Map of the State of Kentucky, the Dark and Bloody Ground, 1933, S8072Washington, Kentucky, nd, SB2-19751
Maps can be very beneficial to genealogists in locating the homes, farms and property of ancestors. D.G. Beers & Company of Philadelphia made many county and town maps in the 19th century. These locate individual homes and provide statistical data on county and town populations. The South Carrollton map was created by a family historian to identify homes of family members and how ownership changed over time.Maps also show how political boundaries such as counties, states and territories have changed over time. It is possible for a person to have lived in multiple counties over time and never moved at all. Abel Buell's map shows how eastern shore states once claimed interior lands now held be Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee.Barkley Dam Project. Cumberland Matheny Cemetery, 1967, X45528Beers & Lanagan. Map of Barren County, 1879, L36799Buell, Abel. New and Correct Map of the United States of North America, 1784, S27378D.G. Beers & Company. Map of Boyle and Mercer Counties, Kentucky, 1876, M34915D.G. Beers & Company. Map of Madison County, Kentucky, 1876, M48550Hiett, Jo. Farm Map of Western Warren County, 1920, S18958John Thomson & Company. United States, 1800, SB2-34806John Thomson & Company. United States of America, 1828, S34805Johnson & Ward. Johnson's Kentucky and Tennessee, 1865, S22413Woodburn, David. Genealogical Map of South Carrollton, Kentucky, 1956, S19243
All maps have a theme generally about a geographical place. Some maps are less about place and more about a subject such as an political partisanship or economic development. The maps in this section tell us about Kentucky industry, agriculture and weather.
Maps can be about what is underground as much as what is on the surface or above ground. Men have been mining for minerals for centuries. The map of Edmonson County shows where coal and iron reserves are to be found. The Geologic Map of Kentucky shows gas producing formations according to their geologic ages. Much of Kentucky has caves such as Mammoth and Lost River that have been partially mapped. A lot is happening under Kentucky.
Urban planning has been part of people's lives since the creation of the first town. As any advertising executive can tell you location is important.This section of the exhibit highlights WKU's efforts in designing the physical university on the Hill in 1909 and the recreation of it in the years since. There are spaces designed for learning and those designed for living and recreation. As the student body has increased the physical plant has extended down the Hill.Also included are plans of real and mythical Kentucky towns. The utopian Hygeia and its contemporaries Lystra and Franklinville were pie in the sky real estate schemes to make land owners wealthy. There are maps of Louisville, one of which indicates building a city in the bend of the Ohio River might not be the best idea. And plats of the smaller towns of Glasgow and Smiths Grove used to document land sales.Berg, Carl. Flood Map, 1937, SB2-19238Bird's Eye View of Frankfort, Kentucky, 1871, S23749Bird's Eye View of the City of Paris, Kentucky, 1870, S23745Historic Urban Plans. Plan of a Proposed Rural Town, to be Called Hygeia, the Property of W. Bullock on the River Ohio, Kentucky, in the United States of America, 1965, M24397Johnson & Browning. The City of Louisville, Kentucky & the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, 1855, S18677Johnson, Johnson & Roy, Inc. Long Range Development Plan for Western Kentucky University, 1965, WKU ArchivesLineberger, Brady. Western Kentucky State Teachers College, 1930, WKU ArchivesPlat of Glasgow, Kentucky, nd, S37255ARyan Associated Architects. WKU Master Plan, 1973, WKU ArchivesTanner, Henry Schenck. Plan of Franklinville, in Mason County, Kentucky, 1796, XS18915Tanner, Henry Schenck. Plan of Lystra in Nelson County, Kentucky, nd, S18982Western Kentucky University. Cherryton, 1920, WKU ArchivesW.H. Cooke Town Lots, Sale, 1911, S29567Wright, Henry. Plan for the Campus of the State Normal School in the Western District for Kentucky, 1909, WKU Archives
The Kentucky Library and Kentucky Museum seek to have a “living collection” of music in a variety of formats. We collect the nationally renown but also those with only a local following. The collection consists of books, some periodicals, sheet music, photographs, posters, flyers, sound and video recordings and ephemera that highlight the importance of music to this region. In Folklife Archives, there are a significant number of oral history interviews as well as theses that cover all aspects of music. Highlights of the local musicians/collectors include Mary Clyde Huntsman’s Merry Makers, Duke Allen and the Kentucky Ramblers, WKU faculty musicians, Hawaiian steel guitar instructor Freddie Joe Lewis, local DJ Tommy Starr, New Grass Revival, and Kentucky Headhunters. Select Gospel musicians include Hillvue Heights Music Group and John Edmonds’ Gospel Truth, and country musicians, including Jordan Pendley, Cousin Emmy, and the Mighty Jeremiahs. At WKU, Nappy Roots, Government Cheese and the Hilltoppers/Billy Vaughn show the Hill’s influence on the world of music. All of these provide evidence of the enduring popularity of all forms of music in South Central Kentucky.
Country music was introduced with the first white settlers and yet its roots and influences are diverse. The founder of “modern” country music is considered to be Jimmie Rodgers and his influence is still felt today. New country formats and styles are continually evolving but for many people, country music is a sound that represents simplicity and authenticity. Kentucky has been home to many of the top country music stars and many of them have contributed new styles that have influenced the world of music. Additionally, the love of country music has been fostered in many families and passed along generational lines and is performed in large and small venues thus ensuring its continued popularity and growth.It has been said that Bluegrass is the official state music of Kentucky. The music can be both plaintiff and lonesome and also infectiously energetic. Kentucky native, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, are credited with the creation of this new form of country music. Another pioneer, Sam Bush, a Bowling Green native is a mandolin player and has popularized the “newgrass” style of bluegrass music. Bluegrass music remains very popular as it is performed both locally and internationally. The Kentucky Library seeks to collect the local and lesser known artists of our area, in both these genres, in order to continue to preserve this wonderful cultural heritage.~ Nancy Richey