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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Browsing in Our Archives: The Society for the Protection of Newsboys and Waifs

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, numerous middle class Americans participated in an array of reform movements, often emphasizing social and moral reform.  To facilitate those reforms, they founded numerous benevolent organizations.  The Filson has a sizable collection of records from those groups, including often used orphanage records.  However, many of the collections go unused as few people […]

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The Filson’s Theater Program Collection

The Filson Historical Society’s theater program collection offers a fascinating look at Louisville’s past via the footlights and curtain calls of the stage.  Such collections of ephemera are valuable records of the city’s lesser-known stories that can easily be lost in the annals of time.  The collection showcases Louisville’s theaters and thespians, and provides a glimpse of the city’s theatergoers […]

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CALL FOR PAPERS for The Filson Institute Public Conference

“Secessions: From the American Revolution to Civil War” October 22-23, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky Conference Conveners: Manisha Sinha (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Departments of Afro-American Studies and History) Kevin Barksdale (Marshall University, Department of History) The Filson Institute for the Advanced Study of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South proposes a two-day academic conference to examine calls for secession or […]

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Four Roses Bus Tour – October 31, 2009

The Filson Historical Society took a bus trip to the Four Roses Distillery on Saturday, October 31st. Yes, Halloween day.  A rainy Halloween morning, but as the day progressed the sky cleared some it turned to a typical brisk fall morning in Kentucky. The bus left the Filson just a few minutes after 9:00 for the hour drive to the […]

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