Filson Fridays are back for Summer 2016!

It's baaaaaack! Filson Fridays are back on the calendar for 2016 and we can't wait to share them with you! Join us at Oxmoor Farm every Friday at noon from July 8-August 12 for these exciting lectures:

Friday, July 8 – 12:00 p.m.
The Library at Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Avenue, Louisville

Louise Leland: Kentucky’s First Female Architect

Johna L. Picco, Associate Curator of Special Collections

LelandLouise002_WEBIn 1930 Kentucky registered its first architect, Clarence Julian Oberwarth. Over the next eight years an additional 181 architects sat for exams, passed and became licensed—all were men. On January 4, 1938 Louise Leland became the first—and only, until 1969—woman architect registered and licensed in the state of Kentucky. While studying at Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Design Louise met Louisvillian Anne Bruce Haldeman. The pair would eventually live and work in Louisville, forming the firm Haldeman and Leland.  Please join us and Associate Curator Johna L. Picco as she presents on Louise, Anne Bruce and the women that came after them.

Johna Picco is an Archivist at The Filson Historical Society. She graduated from Ball State University and earned her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Friday, July 15 – 12:00 p.m.
The Library at Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Avenue, Louisville

"Our Country, Right or Wrong": Kentuckians in the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848

Jana Meyer, Associate Curator of Special Collections

pr20700053_Jana Meyer_WEBOn May 11, 1846 President James K. Polk addressed Congress: "Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil."  Although this claim was dubious at best, Congress voted overwhelmingly for war with Mexico, bowing to pressure from a bellicose Polk administration and an American public that clamored for war.  So began a conflict that spanned two years and drastically altered the political boundaries of the North American continent, setting the stage for a bloodier war that would tear the nation in half a mere thirteen years later. This presentation will explore the causes and repercussions of this often forgotten conflict, especially highlighting the role of Kentuckians in America's first war against another republic.

Jana Meyer is an Associate Curator of Special Collections at The Filson Historical Society.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Louisville and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Kentucky.


Friday, July 22 – 12:00 p.m.
The Library at Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Avenue, Louisville

Around the world with R. C. Ballard Thruston
Heather Potter, Associate Curator of Special Collections

TC_4663_HPotter_WEBFormer Filson President Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston was an excellent amateur photographer who traveled the world with his camera.  An engineer by education and vocation, and historian and photographer by avocation; Thruston applied science and a meticulous eye to his photography.  Thruston used his photography as a documentary tool and in doing so created images of historical importance. Come travel around the world and explore the Filson’s largest photograph collection through the 20th century lens of R. C. Ballard Thruston.

Heather Potter is an Associate Curator of Special Collections at The Filson Historical Society. She received her BA in History from Washburn University and her MLS from Indiana University Bloomington.


Friday, July 29 – 12:00 p.m.
The Library at Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Avenue, Louisville

The Terrible Harpes!: Crime and Murder on the Kentucky Frontier
James Prichard, Cataloger

RDS_47_Pritch_WEBIn the aftermath of the Revolution and the long and bloody Indian wars, the Kentucky frontier remained a dangerous land. Throughout 1799 two brothers, Wiley and Micajah Harpe, terrorized the entire state from the Wilderness Trail to the far reaches of the Green River country. Posing as Methodist circuit riders or weary pilgrims bound for the West, these Tory outcasts left a trail of bodies and burned cabins in their wake. Their bloody deeds and violent end are as chilling today as the notorious crimes of modern day serial killers.

James Prichard is a Manuscript Cataloger at The Filson Historical Society. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Wright State University. He is the author of Embattled Capital: Frankfort, Kentucky in the Civil War.


Friday, August 5 – 12:00 p.m.
The Library at Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Avenue, Louisville

Shanty Boat Louisville
Dr. Mark Wetherington, Senior Research Fellow

dsc06182_Mark_WEBDuring the Great Depression, as many as 50,000 people lived on an estimated 30,000 shanty boats in the Ohio and Mississippi River basins. Louisville's floating shanty boat neighborhood was part of a changing waterfront for more than a century as the city evolved from a river town into an industrial city. This program explores shanty boat Louisville at the beginning of the 1900s. Who were the shanty boaters and why did they chose this alternative form of housing? Did the city's tenement "menace" and its threats to the health and wellness of its inner-city population influence their choice to live on the water? Why were city officials determined to rid the waterfront of these "squatty little shanties, half house, half boat"? And what factors combined to bring an end to what one newspaperman called "these picturesque river tramps" at Louisville's "Point" neighborhood?

Dr. Mark Wetherington is a Senior Research Fellow at The Filson Historical Society. He received his B.A. and Master’s degrees in history at Georgia Southern and earned a Ph.D. in history in1985 from the University of Tennessee. He is the author of The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, 1860 and Plain Folk’s Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods, Georgia.


Friday, August 12 – 12:00 p.m.
The Library at Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Avenue, Louisville

Yesterday’s YouTube: Summer Blockbuster Edition
Aaron Rosenblum, Associate Curator of Special Collections

Filson_Friday_Rosenblum_WEBBefore GoPros, before smartphones, and before VHS camcorders, Kentuckians (and Hoosiers) documented their lives and their families on motion picture film. With generous support from our members and the community, The Filson has recently preserved a group of 8mm home movies from the Schwengel, Stevenson, and Lutz family collections. Join us for the public premiere of these films, including summer scenes of boaters on the Ohio, golfers at Shawnee Golf Course, a swim meet at Reservoir Park, and more! The screening will be accompanied by an introduction to the films and to film preservation.

Aaron Rosenblum is an Associate Curator of Special Collections at The Filson Historical Society. He received a Master of Library and Information Science degree, with a specialization in archival studies, from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec , and a Bachelor of Arts in experimental music and cultural studies from Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Filson Friday lectures are free for Filson members and $10 for non-members. To register for these and all of our other events, please visit


Jamie Evans

Jamie Evans is the Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator at The Filson Historical Society. When she isn't working on publications for The Filson, you can find her behind her sewing machine or out on the roads training for her next big race.

2 comments on “Filson Fridays are back for Summer 2016!

  1. Anne & Martin Rockwell

    Hello, Jamie,
    Could you tell us if there are transcriptions and/or podcasts of the programs presented. For example, we had to miss some of the summer Friday lunchtime series at Oxmoor. Specifically we want to know more about Shanty Boats given by Mark Wetherington.
    Thank you,
    Anne Rockwell

    1. Jana Meyer

      Hello Anne, thanks for commenting! There are podcasts from this summer’s Filson Fridays available to our members on the website. You can find them all, including “Shanty Boat Louisville”, under the “Read, Watch, & Listen” tab on the website. Select “podcasts” from the list. You will be prompted to enter your member information. You can get in touch with Laura Kerr, our membership coordinator, if you do not know your username and password.


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