“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.

Portland Rose [flour bag]

Portland Rose [flour bag]

Forget Me-Not Enriched Self-Rising Flour [flour bag]

Forget Me-Not Enriched Self-Rising Flour [flour bag]

Advance Flour [flour bag]

Advance Flour [flour bag]

Bolted Corn Meal [bag]

Bolted Corn Meal [bag]

Kanawha Chief [corn meal bag]

Kanawha Chief [corn meal bag]

Belle of Warren [flour bag]

Belle of Warren [flour bag]

Auburn Leader [flour bag]

Auburn Leader [flour bag]

White Rose [flour bag]

White Rose [flour bag]

Marion Maid [flour bag]

Marion Maid [flour bag]

Big Ben [flour bag]

Big Ben [flour bag]

Coleman's Favorite [flour bag]

Coleman's Favorite [flour bag]

Francis Wholesale Company [corn meal bag]

Francis Wholesale Company [corn meal bag]

Baughman's No. 1 [flour bag]

Baughman's No. 1 [flour bag]

New South [flour bag]

New South [flour bag]

Blue Grass [flour bag]

Blue Grass [flour bag]