Filson Launches YouTube Channel!

By Sarah-Jane Poindexter Have you ever wondered if the Filson collections include old film footage?  They do! Have you missed a lecture and wished you could view it later at your convenience?  Now you can! The Filson is pleased to introduce an institutional YouTube channel.  This channel allows visitors to glimpse digitized footage from historical films & home movies, watch select Filson […]

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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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Strange Creatures of The Filson Museum

Halloween may have just passed, but in an archive, it can be Halloween every day!  Two of the more curious items in The Filson collection include a “Fiji Mermaid,” and the supposed mummies of a giantess and her child.  The Fiji Mermaid is the mummified body of a creature that was supposedly half mammal and half fish, a version of […]

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A Day in the Life: The Lewis & Clark Expedition 207 years ago today.

“A Day in the Life” is a phrase we’re all familiar with. Whether it’s in the context of the famous Beatles song, the photojournalism project that documented life in a particular continent, country or city during one day, or the classic Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (not quite a match but too good not […]

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Funeral Home Records…more than just a document of death.

In honor of the month of October, with Halloween approaching I feel it is appropriate to share some information about the Filson Library’s funeral home holdings. Our library has funeral home records for the following 4 funeral homes. Maas Funeral Home from the 1890’s-1920’s.  They are filed by a certificate number and the index is in the File Room where […]

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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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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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