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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The Christmas Cards of Carrie Douglas Dudley Ewen

Carrie Douglas Dudley Ewen, one of Kentucky’s most talented artists, was born on March 31, 1894 in Flemingsburg.  She attended the Art Institute of Chicago and lived in New York, Italy, and California before moving to Louisville in 1963 to be with her dying brother. Ewen painted stunning portraits and still lifes, but primarily supported herself as a commercial artist, illustrating […]

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The Filson and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans

Last week, the New York Times reported that New York University’s Hall of Fame for Great Americans (now affiliated with Bronx Community College) had fallen into disrepair: When it was founded in 1900, it was the first Hall of Fame in the nation, local historians say, and the elections to induct members were covered by the national press. Some stalwart […]

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High School Essay Writing Contest! Win $1,000!

The Filson is conducting its first ever essay writing contest, exclusively for regional high school students. The contest is open to all high school students in public, private, alternative, parochial, and home-study programs located in the Louisville Metro area, including Southern Indiana. The topic for this contest is to demonstrate and explain the thought that the history of Kentucky and […]

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