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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Colonel Sanders

The front Great Room at the Filson Historical Society boasts one of the most recognized faces in the world with a connection to Kentucky. No, not Henry Clay, his portrait is in the dining room. It is not Abraham Lincoln, although we do have a portrait of him also. Situated amongst the busts of Generals and Senators and the paintings […]

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Mr. Skygak, From Mars.

It is always interesting to note what people collected in their scrapbooks. While cataloging the Charles Brandenburg Scrapbook, I found it interesting that he collected a series of one panel comics from newspapers between 1907 and 1909. This comic was titled “Mr. Skygak, From Mars”, done by A. D. Condo. This strip is often referred to as the first “Science […]

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What did the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy” carry in his pocket?

A tiny bible! This small pocket Bible, signed on the title page by John Hunt Morgan, was carried by him during the Civil War.  It became a part of the Filson’s rare collection in 1955 as a gift from John Wilson Townsend. Born June 1, 1825 in Huntsville, Alabama, John Hunt Morgan was the eldest of Calvin and Henrietta Hunt […]

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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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Pronunciation Conundrum Solved

Returning to Louisville to rejoin the Filson staff, I found it both fitting and appealing that my initial cataloguing work was on a collection of Filson Club letters – what better way to re-immerse myself into the history of Louisville and Filsoniana?  Little did I know that within these letters I would discover the Filson’s definitive answer to that age-old […]

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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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Reflections on Gettysburg

My family and I recently returned from a visit to Pennsylvania. While there we took the opportunity to revisit the Gettysburg National Military Park (having last been there in 1996). Anyone who has ever been there knows what a moving experience it is. Touring the museum, viewing the restored Cyclorama, and of course driving and walking over the field (with […]

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The Secrets of Houses

I recently read a compelling graphic novel, Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft. In it, three children are subjected to the trauma of their father’s violent death and journey across the country with their mother to start over with their lives. The destination: their father’s childhood home, Keyhouse, a rambling manse with secrets. If you turn a special key and […]

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Norman Kohlhepp, Renaissance Man

Currently being processed in Special Collections are the papers and photographs of Louisvillian Norman Kohlhepp (1892 – 1986).  Kohlhepp was a multi-talented individual who excelled in the fields of science, art  and education.  A graduate of Louisville’s Manual Training High School, he went on to obtain a degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Cincinnati.   After graduating, he […]

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