Reading Between the Lines…

A few days ago, I stumbled across a group of letters in the Marshall Family Papers written to and from John H. Marshall, a Kentuckian involved in William Walker’s brief rule of Nicaragua in 1856-1857.  Marshall’s letter home from Nicaragua, rich in detail about Walker’s government and conditions in Latin America, inspired an article that will appear in the next […]

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183 and Counting

The Filson’s volunteers find their way to us through a variety of ways. It might be a lecture they attended, a book they read, or an interest in Kentucky history. But whatever the reason, they bring a set of experiences and talent with them to us that can be used to help The Filson fulfill its mission. Professor Laurence A. […]

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Fashion Icon Mona Bismarck

As New York’s Fashion Week draws to a close, The Filson pays homage to style icon Countess Mona Bismarck.  Mona Bismarck, née Strader, was born in Louisville in 1897 and raised in Lexington.  She married five times but it was her third marriage to multi-millionaire utilities executive Harrison Williams in 1926 that propelled Mona to the highest social circles, and […]

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Roses are red, violets are blue…

This post marks the beginning of a new, exciting series on our blog: “Courtship, Love, & Lust.” This series will explore items in The Filson’s collections concerning all matters of the heart.  Check back for future posts on romance, heartache, and the occasional perversion. Second only to Christmas, Valentines is the largest card sending day of the year. The custom […]

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Tree Thoughts

I’ve been lucky enough to live in a few different states, each with their own particular beauty. Rhode Island, the smallest state we have, has 400 miles of coastline. You don’t have to travel very far in any direction to find a glittering ocean vista or tranquil bay. The Bay Area in California is a cornucopia of natural delights, including […]

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The Library & Archives Community Responds to the Haitian Earthquake: Help Save Haitian Cultural Heritage!

First and foremost, the immediate concern in Haiti is to save people’s lives.  Eventually though, as Haitians begin to reconstruct their cities, they will need access to their cultural heritage and public history documented and preserved by their libraries and archives. What happens when records crucial to the identity of an individual (think like our American our social security, vital […]

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History Mystery: The case of the oddly-shaped document

I recently encountered this mysterious item in The Filson’s manuscript collection and was utterly stumped as to what it could be.  This beguiling manuscript serves a specific function and was deliberately created.  Without reading the text of the manuscript, do you have any idea what the function of this item may be?  Why is the parchment oddly shaped? The first person […]

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President Taft inducted to the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame

On Thursday, December 17, 2009 President William Howard Taft was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame at the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort. It was decided to induct Taft in a special ceremony in December in order to pay homage to the centennial of his famous “Taft Decision on Whiskey” which defines whiskey as we know it today. The […]

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Folk Artist Depicts County’s History of Violence

“The Feud Series” by David Lucas is based on historical events in Letcher County, Ky.  As a boy growing up, Lucas  accompanied his grandfather to the post office where he listened to old timers talk about local feuds and “bad men.”  After visiting the site of the violent Mullins Massacre several times, Lucas mind began to fill with images of […]

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