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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John Sneed: Centenarian and Revolutionary War Veteran.

On the third floor landing, just outside the door to the curator’s office, hangs a very unusual portrait: Mr. John Sneed. Nearly all of the Filson visitors who reach the third floor, without fail, pause to marvel at this unusual image of the elderly man. Perhaps it’s his no-nonsense expression that captures the imagination? Sneed was 100 years old when he […]

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Postcards – Summer Pastimes

The Filson recently produced a set of six postcards with the theme of “Summer Pastimes.” These postcards celebrate the season with scenes of enjoyment of the outdoors and relaxation, all set in the Kentucky area, and all from The Filson’s Special Collections. They are available for purchase for $5.oo, either at The Filson or online, at http://www.sagepayments.net/eftcart/product_detail.asp?part=044. This first postcard […]

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The Ferguson Mansion

Whether visiting the Filson Historical Society to do research or just to tour the building, the most frequent remark made by patrons tends to be something along the lines of “wow, you are so lucky to work in such a beautiful place!”  This “beautiful place”, known as the Ferguson Mansion (named for Edwin Hite Ferguson), draws people in with its […]

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