Edison’s Home Phonograph

Written by Kate Breitenstein: While going through the Special Collections Storage at the Filson, I came across this odd looking box. It had the name “Edison” written on the outside. On the inside, there was a plate, saying that this was an Edison home phonograph. For clarity, a phonograph refers to a machine that plays sounds using wax cylinders. A […]

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Out of the Pencils of Babes: Children’s Letters to Mayor Armstrong

Last week we brought you writing and illustration for children and this week we follow up with writing and illustration by children. At some point your grade school education, perhaps you were obliged to write a letter to a Very Important Person. This modest assignment simultaneously cultivates many skills and competencies such as penmanship, conventions of correspondence, and civic involvement. In the […]

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What’s on your Derby Menu?

If you are a local Louisvillian or a transplant like myself, you know that this is Derby Week here in our great city. This Friday and Saturday marks the 144th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. While many people think of the horses, hats, and bourbon what about the culinary side of things that are equally apart of this local  holiday? […]

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Unearthing the Fashion Collection at the Filson

Image: Dress and cape made by Louisville modiste, Madame Grunder (1846-1920), circa 1897 worn by Laura Jeannette Graham Husbands (1857-1950. This week’s blog post is by Brooks Vessels, University of Louisville Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society Intern: I was not sure what to expect when I arrived for my first day interning at the Filson Historical Society, but I […]

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Cracksmen, Counterfeiters, and Fancy Women: A Glimpse of the Late Victorian Underworld

By James Prichard The criminal underworld of late Victorian Louisville was populated by a colorful mixture of safe crackers, house breakers, counterfeiters, and ruthless killers. The old “Red Light District” centered on Lafayette Street, which disappeared during the construction of Interstate 65. Known locally as “The Chute,” the area featured the establishments of notorious madams, including one with the alluring […]

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“Excursion to the Sun via Kentucky”: Kentucky Solar Eclipses Then and Now

This weekend, an estimated 100,00 to 200,000 visitors will pour into Kentucky from around the globe, their pilgrimage motivated by a once in a lifetime opportunity: witnessing a total eclipse of the sun. While the entire United States will experience some form of partial eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon’s complete obscuration of the sun will occur along a […]

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Cucumbers & Cream Cheese, oh my!

Spring has sprung! Not only are the flowers in full bloom and the weather is warm, but it is Derby week here in Louisville. Those who work with me know that while I am not a native Kentuckian I have fallen in love with this wonderful Kentucky tradition. The fanciful hats; the glorious golden elixir, Bourbon, mixed with a sprig […]

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Filson Finds: the Bullitt Family Papers

Unlikely Squatter: The intimate exchanges of Anne Christian, 1770 to 1787 by Melissah J. Pawlikowski Anne Christian exchanged letters with an intimate circle made up mostly of women. A Jane Austen cast of childhood acquaintances, the group persisted into adulthood as each married into a network of brothers and associates commissioned in Virginia’s military. I pulled Anne’s personal correspondence for […]

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Filson Finds: Three Letters

Hidden Historical Treasures at The Filson By Brian Craig Miller The Filson Historical Society has had a profound impact on my career as a researcher and writer for more than a decade.  When I was in graduate school at the University of Mississippi, I made the nearly six hour drive from Oxford to Louisville and spent several blissful days astonished […]

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Filson Finds: the Johnston Family Papers

On the Personal Effects of an Old Soldier By Dr. Barton A. Myers At the bottom of a large stack of acid-free folders, the very last folder in the Johnston Family Papers that I expected to examine at The Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky that afternoon, was a file labeled simply “Correspondence, 10 May 1862, Ed Munford to Jefferson […]

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