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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Chew on This…

I loved chewing gum as a child. Big League Chew was a favorite, as well as Bubble Yum (watermelon – especially if it had the green outer ring and pink center). I patiently put up with Trident and Dentyne when they were the only sticks around (typically grandparent-provided). For a few years, my parents kept me supplied with boxes of […]

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The Civil War Begins

Today, April 12th, marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, America’s bloodiest and costliest war. The cannon that opened up on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor early that morning would not fall silent for four years.  When the war ended over 600,000 Americans had died and the South faced years of rebuilding and recovery. As we […]

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Resources not found in the Online Catalog: Family Files, Historical Files, and Newspaper clippings

Often when patrons visit the Filson Library there are a few resources outside of the catalog that I like to introduce to them. For those doing genealogical research, family files can be an excellent resource. Family files are a collection of vertical files that contain information relating to a particular surname. The information in each file typically relates to research […]

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Finding the “Cave” in Cave Hill Cemetery

While perusing the records of Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery for a recent reference inquiry, I was suddenly struck by the cemetery’s name – Cave Hill, and wondered, “Is there actually a cave at Cave Hill?” Caves have always been a source of minor fascination for me – not an allure that led me into geology or serious study of them, […]

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