An Englishwoman visits Mammoth Cave: The Travel Narrative of Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley

In preparation for my upcoming Filson Friday presentation, I have been reading some travel narratives written by early visitors to Kentucky. The predominance of early travel accounts are written by men, so I was delighted to come across a woman’s account of her travels in antebellum Kentucky. Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley was an English writer and poet.  She was a […]

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Quilting in The Filson’s Collections: The Political and Campaign Quilt

In the past, I have written about quilting as a means of expression for women, but I never thought that it would lead to politics. I suppose it’s because I’ve grown up in an era where women have the right to vote and where people proclaim their political leanings quite publically (I’m looking at you, Facebook). I’ve got elections on […]

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“This Hateful War”: A Kentucky Mother and the Mexican War

Although a Whig stronghold, Kentucky proudly sent many of her sons off to fight in Mexico in 1846. In fact so many volunteers rallied to the flag that many companies were turned away by Gov. William Owsley. Yet, the war with Mexico was far from being a widely popular conflict. A young Illinois congressman named Abraham Lincoln was among those […]

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Bicycling in 1896: Good, Clean Fun or Dangerous Fad?

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With a nationwide surge in the popularity of bicycles for use in leisure and transportation, the city of Louisville, along with cities across the nation, has in recent years turned more attention to bicycles and bicyclists when planning our urban infrastructure. But this is not the first time the city, or the nation, has planned around bicycles. The first great […]

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Quilting in The Filson’s Collection – The Irish Chain Quilt

In my last several blog posts relating to quilts, I’ve mainly focused on our library holdings on the subject and my own adventures in quilting. However, what The Filson has in the library is only the tip of the iceberg. While I was perusing PastPerfect, I stumbled upon several listings of quilts held in our museum collection. In the coming […]

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Spring is in the Air?

The weather has been doing a particularly poor job of conforming to my expectations lately.  On a cold, blustery day like today—and with yet another dusting of snow on the ground! —I found myself in desperate need of some springtime imagery.  Fortunately, I came across just the needed morale boost in the Filson library’s Madison Cawein poetry collection.  Perhaps Cawein’s […]

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March is Women’s History Month, and we have women’s history at The Filson!

During summer 2011, several of my colleagues and I delivered a two-part lecture entitled “‘Her’story: Encountering Women in The Filson’s Special Collections.”  Robin Wallace, Sarah-Jane Poindexter, Lydelle Abbott, and I presented a theme-based overview of women found within our department’s collections.  While we talked about different themes and different women, I believe our audience also gleaned some over-arching messages from […]

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Words of a Forgotten Poet: The Musings of Ben H. Hardin

The Filson Library recently acquired a small, rare book of poetry entitled A Progressive Age.  It was published in 1922 by Johnstown native Ben H. Hardin, who also went by the name of “Bennie” when he was young.  Hardin was born in Logan County on July 20, 1888, the oldest son of Henry Hardin & his wife Emma.  In addition […]

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The Games People Played

With the coldest days of winter (hopefully) behind us and Spring rapidly approaching, The Filson offers this glimpse into our collections showing how people entertained themselves in the nineteenth century, well before there was a television in every home and video games in most of them. Much as you might expect, a great deal of people’s (especially children’s) entertainment occurred […]

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