“I Quilt for a Contented Heart” – Quilting in The Filson’s Collections

“I quilt for a contented heart.”* No truer words have been spoken. Whether I’m feeling angry, nervous, or excited, I can go to my sewing space and feel at peace. I am by no means a professional quilter; I just love to create handmade things for friends and family, and quilts are practical as well as beautiful. The art of […]

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Kentucky in the Great War

By Robin Wallace The television series “Downton Abbey” and the film “War Horse” are vividly bringing the horrors and heroics of World War I to life this year.  Louisville was, of course, very actively involved in the Great War with the construction of the army training facility Camp Zachary Taylor in 1917, and over 10,000 local soldiers serving in the […]

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Theatre Memorabilia Recently Cataloged in the Filson Archives

Have you ever wondered what movies were popular with your grandparents or great-grandparents?  The Filson recently acquired two film distribution cards from RKO pictures that showcase what movies were being shown at two local theatres from 1928-1930. The Empire and the East Broadway Theatres were two of numerous theatres that were dotted across the city in the early 20th century.  […]

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Found in the stacks: “The Filson Club and It’s Activities 1884-1922”

Here at The Filson, the majority of my day-to-day responsibilities – on paper at least – revolve around increasing membership and growing the annual fund. But while searching through the stacks for a replacement issue of a past copy of Ohio Valley History, I stumbled upon a book that caught my attention. There sitting next to the back issues of […]

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Louisville Bridges: Some Things Never Change

Back in the 1920s the city of Louisville was looking toward the river and a connection with Southern Indiana in order to promote economic growth. This political cartoon by Van Leshout ran in the Louisville Daily Herald back then, but could easily be adapted for today.  Substitute “2nd Street Bridge” for “East End Bridge” and it would strike a chord […]

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Bulldog in the Bluegrass: J. Stoddard Johnston’s 1853 Yale Class Book

Earlier this year, the Special Collections Department received J. Stoddard Johnston’s 1853 Class Book from Yale College as a transfer from The Filson’s Library.  The Class Book provides an interesting glimpse into Johnston’s life and surroundings at Yale.  Colonel Josiah Stoddard Johnston (1833-1913) served as a staff officer in the Civil War, and was the editor of the Frankfort Kentucky […]

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The Pleasure Ridge Park Distillery

In the years before National Prohibition, there was a distillery in southwest Jefferson County called the Pleasure Ridge Park Distillery. This distillery was put out of business by prohibition and faded from the local memory. All that remains of the distillery is the street named “Railroad Avenue” that runs where the railroad spur that connected to the distillery was located. […]

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Hope His Premium Was Paid Up!

I’m a student of western history. One of my favorite areas of reading growing up was the long conflict between Native Americans and Euro-Americans as the tide of white settlement moved ever westward. A particular fascination was the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. It was one of the Indians’ greatest victories over the U. […]

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Fletcher Forage Ration manufactured in Louisville, Ky

Of all the major business enterprises and manufacturing companies existing in Louisville in the 19th century, perhaps one of the most unique was The Fletcher Forage Ration Company. Matthew Fletcher, a native of Louisville, was issued two separate patents. In December of 1863 he was issued a patent for his forage ration, a compressed mixture of hay and grain used […]

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