Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lynwood Montell, Jay Anderson, Burt Feintuch

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The history of the Bowling Green, Kentucky, Fire Department is presented through the use of two methodologies. Traditional historical methodology has been applied to compile the first ninety years of history while traditional folklore fieldwork--the collection of personal narratives through interviews--has been applied to compile the last fifty-six years, concluding with 1970. Six years, from 1914 to 1920, reflect the blending of the two methodologies.

The personal narratives used in this study are those of Assistant Chief Harold Hazelip, who joined the fire department in 1952. Recognized informally as the department's historian, Hazelip's recollections include his own personal experiences as well as second-hand experiences told to him by retired firefighters during the early part of his career.

The juxtaposition of the methodologies permits some comparisons and contrasts concerning their strengths and weaknesses. It is demonstrated that neither methodology can be used alone to construct a complete history. Historical records are often incomplete while personal narratives focus only on those events which are significant to the narrator.

A discussion of the methodologies leads to the conclusion that since history does not take place in a vacuum it is best portrayed through a blending of traditional historical method and folklore fieldwork. The former can provide information about statistics and events that have occurred while the latter provides information about the persons who shaped history.


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | History | Oral History | Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social History | United States History | Urban Studies