“A day to be forgotten?”

August 4th will be here in less than a month – 23 days to be exact. And why is this date significant? Well, it marks the date Dom Perignon found just the right recipe for that first bottle of champagne in 1693. It was the day in 1862 that the United States government instituted the first income tax – 3 […]

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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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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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Browsing the Filson’s online catalog

People may not realize how interesting the online catalog of The Filson Historical Society can be.  Most people may use the catalog to look up subjects pertaining to whatever research they are conducting at the moment.  Usually that is the way I research, but just the other day I was poking around the online catalog with nothing much to do […]

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Bitten By the History Bug

I was going to do a Lewis and Clark related blog but I changed my mind.  Some of my colleagues noted that since today is my birthday I should do a birthday post on me. They were kidding but upon reflection I decided why not! I’ve often been asked why I got into a history- related career; so why not blog […]

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Repeal Day … it should be a national holiday.

On Monday, November 27, 1933, Kentucky became the 33rd state to pass the 21st Amendment which repealed the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. That week was Thanksgiving week and no other state voted on the issue until Tuesday, December 5th.  First Ohio and then Pennsylvania passed the 21st Amendment, but it fell to Utah later in that day […]

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The Wonders of Portraits – Bringing the Departed Back to Life

This month The Filson is celebrating the publication of a new portrait book by Estill Curtis Pennington, Lessons in Likeness: Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920. This book is a comprehensive overview, encompassing both a cultural chronology and biographies of significant portrait artists. For anyone deeply affected by either art, history, or both, Lessons in Likeness […]

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Archives Month, Part One: What is an Archivist?

The concept of American Archives month began in 2006, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists – since then, archivists around the country have used the month of October to reach out to their communities and constituents to describe the value of archives and archivists. Today’s post will feature thoughts on the value of archivists; check back later in October […]

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The Power of Stories

In Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s first volume of the graphic novel The Unwritten, the protagonist unearths his father’s map, which has been hidden away. The map is rather atypical – in addition to detailing geographical locations, the map has notes describing where stories were created. For example, the Villa Diodati, where Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, and John […]

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“Go West, Young Man”

That famous advice dispensed by 19th century newspaperman Horace Greeley for young Americans to head west as the tide of Manifest Destiny swept across the Great Plains to the Pacific is being followed today by one of our own. After five years and eight months at The Filson, today is Jacob Lee’s last day. Jacob first came to The Filson […]

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