The Secret Art of Fore-edge Painting

I have been on a quest recently to locate hidden artwork in the Filson’s rare book collection.  It all started when I read an article on io9 about fore-edge paintings.  Fore-edge paintings are beautiful works of art created on the edges of book pages; often they are only visible when the pages are fanned in a particular way.  One of […]

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“Greetings” from The Filson

The greeting card industry may be older than you think. The custom of sending a colorful, thoughtful, short message on paper is as old as printing itself. Europeans began exchanging paper greetings in the 1400s, and long before that, the ancient Chinese sent each other New Year’s greetings on small pieces of paper. The man credited with bringing the greeting […]

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“For the Apparel Oft Proclaims the Man” ~ Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Last week a researcher from Colonial Williamsburg came to The Filson to examine our collection of 19th century women’s clothing for a study on the history of millinery shops. Our special collections staff pulled several of those garments for her to examine. Not surprisingly, I and my co-workers excitedly shared pictures of the dresses, fashions, and textiles used by women […]

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Elizabeth Hansbrough: Shelbyville Native in the Philippines

One of the fascinating parts of working with Ohio Valley History collections at the Filson is how extensively people from that part of the country traveled, and how they brought their experiences back to the area. One such individual was Elizabeth Kathleen Hansbrough (1892-1971), who travelled extensively in Asia as part of her career with the United States Army, and […]

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Back to School in Kentucky: Fun Facts for Students and Educators

After many years as a student, my younger sister is beginning her first year as a teacher for Jefferson County Public Schools.  I thought it would be fun to share some stories and images from the Filson’s collections about the early history of education in Kentucky.  The following stories will illustrate how Kentucky’s educational system has changed dramatically over the […]

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Quilting as a means of expression – More quilting in The Filson’s Collections

When I last left off in my quilting adventures, I was working on my Swoon quilt. Sadly, that quilt remains unfinished, silently mocking me whenever I open my craft closet door. Much has happened in my life since I last worked on it. My husband and I bought our first house in March 2012, and in the process of getting […]

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What do all of these images have in common?

By Sarah Strapp What do all of these images have in common? Other than being in The Filson’s collection, all of these images are prints. They are an engraving, an etching, a mezzotint, or a lithograph. These terms tell us how these images were made. Each is a different way to make a printed image on a page and all […]

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Louisville Scenes in ‘Reel’ Trouble

Being a new staff member here at The Filson, I am still acquainting myself with our Photograph and Print Collections, and exploring all the neat materials we have.  Recently, I stumbled across several old, small trunks, tucked away on a bottom shelf among the photograph collections.  Intrigued, I opened them up and discovered thirty-eight 16mm reel-to-reel films.  Overcome with excitement, […]

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The legend of Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd: Welsh Indians at the Falls of the Ohio

One of the more popular legends of colonial America was that of Prince Madoc of Wales. Madoc sailed west from Wales in 1170, perhaps becoming one of the first Europeans to reach the Americas. The story goes that the death Madoc’s father, Prince Owen Gwynedd of Wales, triggered internecine strife among his successors. Desiring no part in the conflict, Madoc […]

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Clara Gibson Through the Eyes of Others

Archival collections are funny things, sometimes.  Some people collect papers about themselves, such as diaries, business records, and news clippings about their accomplishments. Others collect documents about the people and events around them, documenting their own lives largely indirectly, through the words and actions of others. One of the latter types of collections is that of Clara Gibson, a Louisville, […]

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