New Kentucky Derby Gallery

On Monday, May 17, 1875, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. decided to rally the crowds for the Derby and opened the infield to the public free of charge, according to one source. The last nail was hammered into the new grandstand moments before the gate opened and the first racing fans entered. Derby Day at Churchill Downs postcard, ca. 1920-1930s. [Postcard Collection, HRA-21]

It’s arguably the biggest week in Louisville, as the town gets geared up for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.  You’ve likely already seen Assistant Curator Johna Picco’s post on the perfect Mint Julep. To continue to help you get in the spirit, whether you are near or far, Associate Curator Heather Stone has compiled a new addition to […]

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Mournful Tunes: Remembering the Death of Abraham Lincoln through Music

150 years ago today, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre.  Lincoln died the following day on April 15, 1865.  The 150th anniversary of such a momentous event requires some sort of acknowledgement of its passing.  (Or so I was informed when I was brainstorming ideas for this week’s blog post!) As I began sifting through the […]

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April is #MintJulepMonth

The 141st Kentucky Derby is less than a month away and in keeping with April’s Kentucky Derby Festival celebrations, this month’s Recipes from the Archives features a classic: The Mint Julep. The “Pendennis Club Mint Julep” is found within How to Make Old Kentucky Famed Drinks (Brown Forman Distillery Co., 1934), which features forty-six classic drink recipes. When I first glanced at this […]

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Encountering Margaret Smith

Margaret Smith’s papers came to The Filson by way of the Heyburn family; after Margaret’s death, the son and daughter in law of her employer, a Mrs. Heyburn, reviewed her personal effects, as she had no other family, and saved her six diaries, along with 18 letters, a scrapbook, various pieces of ephemera, and 22 images.  About 25 years later, […]

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Smitten by Miss Sallie

By James M. Prichard Sixteen-year-old Sallie Rowan of McMinnville, Tennessee was no doubt considered one of the most captivating belles in her community during the Civil War. Her surviving papers, which are housed in the Filson’s Special Collections Department, include several letters and calling cards from young Confederate officers who fell under her spell. She apparently caught the eye of […]

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Chihuahuas, Corlis [Respess], and Crullers: A Blog (sort of) about Doughnuts

It’s Friday, which means a few things here at The Filson–at least for me. First, it means “Chihuahua Shirt Friday”. If you’ve read my bio (see below) you’ll know that I am quite fond of my black, apple-headed Chihuahua, Cricket. So it only seems natural that when I see a t-shirt featuring Cricket look-a-likes, I buy two. Friday also means it’s time […]

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A Quilter’s Tour of Kentucky: The Filson Historical Society

I’ve always wanted to go on a quilter’s tour. I briefly though about going on a tour of England that was offered through a local fabric shop, but when I saw the price, I quit thinking about it. With price being a limiting factor, I started to think about other possibilities. Then it hit me: why not do my own quilter’s […]

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Summoning Spring: Transporting Ourselves to Warmer Weather through the Records of Anne Bruce Haldeman

[Transcription of the above] Notes: The garden has been designed to create a picture as well as to provide a place for cutting. The outer borders form a frame work of perennials, whereas the inner beds (after the tulip display) are intended for annuals, so planned as to give color and flowers for cutting throughout the season. Fill in spaces in […]

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Behind the Scenes of Segregation in Louisville

Protest at 4th & Chestnut Sts., Louisville, KY, 1961 [BLH_028]

WHAS’s Doug Proffitt recently reported a great two-part story on Louisville’s Walnut Street (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard) corridor, its many historical buildings now plowed under, and the vibrant, primarily Black business and social community that once thrived there. With archival photographs and first-person interviews, Proffitt rightly celebrated and mourned a lost part of Louisville’s history and culture. But while the […]

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Valentine’s Day Greetings, the Victorian Way

Valentine’s Day (or National Single’s Awareness Day, if you are so inclined) is coming. Starting on December 26, you can’t ignore it. As soon as the Christmas decorations come down, the pink and red go up, the cards and candy come out, and the blatant consumerism rages on. I admit I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to […]

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