Featured Audio and Video

Featured Audio and Video

The Filson’s staff have selected audio recordings and video lectures from the past 6 years to be featured for their relevancy to current events and historical anniversaries. Most programs run from about 45-60 minutes. Our media requires updated software to work properly; please ensure that your browser is up to date. More video of recent lectures can be found on our YouTube channel. If you are interested in hearing the audio from other events, please review our index of past event audio and contact gro.l1675008213aciro1675008213tsihn1675008213oslif1675008213@ofni1675008213.

1918 Influenza Epidemic

Louisville Nurses during the 1918 Pandemic

“We felt like true soldiers”: Kentucky Catholic Sister-Nurses in the 1918 Flu Pandemic

MaryAnn Thompson and Sara Bolton, June 22, 2017  

Text Transcript (PDF)

The 1918/19 “Spanish Flu” took millions of lives worldwide and remains the worse influenza pandemic in history. The transmission of the flu, as well as the morbidity and mortality, were increased due to the conditions of World War I. In September 1918, the first cases of flu appeared at Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, which at the time was one of the largest US Army training camps. Within one week of the first cases being diagnosed, over 1700 soldiers were stricken, and the base hospital was quickly overwhelmed. Urgent appeals for nurses were printed in the Louisville papers, but the response was poor as the state was already suffering from a shortage of health care professionals due to the war. A Roman Catholic chaplain at the base requested help from several orders of Kentucky nuns, and they quickly responded despite considerable personal risk, and the fact that few of them were trained nurses. Camp Taylor was one of the few military bases where Catholic sisters were used as “nurses”. It is likely that the care and vigilant observation provided by the sisters contributed to saving many lives.

Sara Bolten, MSN, RN, CNE has taught in the nursing program at McKendree University for the past 20 years. Mary Ann Thompson, DrPH, RN is a retired nurse educator and independent researcher. The authors have previously completed research on the work of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth as “nurses” in the converted hospitals in Louisville during the Civil War. They are currently researching the work of Catholic sisters in the Eastern Kentucky mining camps during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Soldiers at Camp Zachary Taylor

“Camp Zachary Taylor: “An Institution of the Great War””

Jennie Cole, August 8, 2014

Text Transcript (PDF)

Camp Zachary Taylor was one of the nation’s 16 cantonments erected during World War I, built to house an entire army division. It opened on 5 September 1917 just outside the city of Louisville, Kentucky, as a “place where Kentucky and Indiana soldiers trained for war.” Associate Curator of Special Collections Jennie Cole will share stories and images of Camp Taylor from The Filson’s collections, highlighting images of the camp, soldiers’ lives, and the incident of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.

Military Funeral [987PC24.13]

Photo depicting a band playing at a military funeral at Camp Zachary Taylor. [Schoening Photograph Collection, 987PC24.13]

Camp Zachary Taylor and its place in Louisville History

Ballard High School History Club, May 22, 2017

Text Transcript (PDF)

Camp Zachary Taylor was the largest military training camp in the United States during the First World War. This presentation, given by members of the Ballard High School History Club, seeks to bring attention to a nearly forgotten part of Louisville history. The club feels it is its duty to pay tribute to the Forgotten Generation 100 years later. During the presentation, members of the BHS History Club will discuss a number of topics, from F. Scott Fitzgerald and the 84th Division to the flu epidemic and the war stories of those sent Over There. In addition, the presentation will detail Louisville’s overall involvement in the war and its long term effect on the city.

The Ballard High School History Club was founded by William Schuhmann when he was a sophomore in high school. William, now a junior, volunteered at The Filson in the summer of 2016 in the Collections department.

Women in Focus

Pretty Good for a Girl Cover

Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass

Murphy Hicks Henry, October 10, 2013

Text Transcript (PDF)

The first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass, Pretty Good for a Girl documents the lives of more than seventy women whose vibrant contributions to the development of bluegrass have been, for the most part, overlooked. Accessibly written and organized by decade, the book begins with Sally Ann Forrester, who played accordion and sang with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys from 1943 to 1946, and continues into the present with artists such as Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and the Dixie Chicks.

Madam Belle Book Cover

“Madam Belle: Sex, Money, and Influence in a Southern Brothel”

Maryjean Wall, October 16, 2014

Text Transcript (PDF)

Belle Brezing made a major career move when she stepped off the streets of Lexington, Kentucky, and into Jennie Hill’s bawdy house. At nineteen, Brezing was already infamous as a youth steeped in death, sex, drugs, and scandal. But it was in Miss Hill’s “respectable” establishment that she began to acquire the skills, manners, and business contacts that allowed her to ascend to power and influence as an internationally known madam. In this revealing book, Maryjean Wall offers a tantalizing true story of vice and power in the Gilded Age.

Liar Temptress Soldier Spy Book cover

“Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War”

Karen Abbot, September 11, 2014

Text Transcript (PDF)

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives. Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.

Whiskey Women Book Cover

“Women Bootleggers: For Family, Money, and Whiskey”

Fred Minnick, March 6, 2014

Text Transcript (PDF)

Ohio Valley women have been known to be ornery. But, did you know they were the best bootleggers? Ohio Valley women bootleggers hid flasks in their dresses, drove trucks filled with whiskey and ran multimil­lion-dollar bootlegging operations before, during and after Prohibition. To this day, in the hills of dry counties, unsuspecting Ohio Valley women are evading taxes and selling booze. Fred Minnick is an award-winning whiskey writer and best-selling author. His first book, Camera Boy: An Army Journalist’s War in Iraq, became a Wall Street Journal Best-Selling eBook. His magazine writing and photography credits include Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Tasting Panel, Sommelier Journal, Whisky Magazine and Whisky Advocate.


Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times

October 27, 2015

Text Transcript (PDF)

Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times introduces a history as dynamic and diverse as Kentucky itself. Covering the Appalachian region in the east to the Pennyroyal in the west, the essays highlight women whose aspirations, innovations, activism, and creativity illustrate Kentucky’s role in political and social reform, education, health care, the arts, and cultural development. The collection features women with well-known names as well as those whose lives and work deserve greater attention.

Melissa A. McEuen is professor of history at Transylvania University. She is the author of the award-winning Seeing America: Women Photographers between the Wars and Making War, Making Women: Femininity and Duty on the American Home Front, 1941–1945 (Georgia).  Thomas H. Appleton Jr. formerly served as editor-in-chief of publications for the Kentucky Historical Society. Since 2000, he has been professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University. He has coedited five books, including Negotiating Boundaries of Southern Womanhood: Dealing with the Powers That Be and Searching for Their Places: Women in the South Across Four Centuries.

Mrs Lincoln Book Cover

Mary Lincoln’s Assassination

Catherine Clinton, September 10, 2015

Text Transcript (PDF)

In this, the sesquicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln’s death, Americans are naturally focused on honoring his memory.  His legacy remains daunting, and at this moment in Lincoln’s legacy, Catherine Clinton will examine the impact of Lincoln’s death on another key player in the Civil War White House: Mary Lincoln.  By considering Mary Todd Lincoln’s experience on the night of Lincoln’s assassination, her subsequent trauma, by examining the scrutiny she endured while in the White House, and particularly while carving out a place for herself as “First Widow,” we can better understand why Marry Todd Lincoln came to be dubbed “The First Lady of Controversy” in the years following her husband’s untimely death.

Catherine Clinton holds the Denman Chair of American History at the University of Texas San Antonio. She is the author and editor of over two dozen books, including Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom and the Penguin classic edition of Mary Chesnut’s Diary. She served as a consultant on Spielberg’s Lincoln and is currently researching a study of Civil War soldiers and insanity. Beginning in November 2015, she will serve as President of the Southern Historical Association, and in 2016 LSU Press will publish her Fleming Lectures: Stepdaughters of History: Southern Women and the Civil War.

Code Girls Liza Mundy Book Cover

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of WWII

Liza Mundy, October 2, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

Following the devastating surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, a group of female college students received secret letters from the U.S. Navy, inviting them to join America’s intelligence forces and train to become code-breakers. Over the next two years more than 10,000 women would answer that call: college students and Southern schoolteachers, young women from cities as well as small towns and farms. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington, D.C, and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history. Now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, Liza brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment. She shares the story in a talk, based on her new book, which includes video footage of her interviews with surviving code breakers. In the tradition of Hidden Figures, it is the story of an early cohort of women adept in science and math, whose efforts helped the Allies win what remains the biggest, costliest and worst war in human history.

Liza Mundy is an award-winning reporter and New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Michelle, a biography of First Lady Michelle Obama, which was translated into 16 languages.

Louise Marshall Book Cover

The Two Lives and One Passion of Louise Marshall: Founder of the Cabbage Patch Settlement

Linda Raymond and Bill Ellison , March 20, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

Rich, flawed and female, Louise Marshall was an unconventional hero. She neither sought nor received medals, but she saved hundreds of people from certain ruin and changed tens of thousands more lives for the better. Some people compare her to Jane Addams, who founded Chicago’s famous Hull House and traveled the world promoting great causes of the Progressive Movement.

Miss Marshall focused her life on one Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood, known as the Cabbage Patch, and the individuals who lived there. For 70 years, she used love, not legislation, to foster pride, self-respect, and character in people who loved, admired, and hated her — often at the same time.

Powered by a conservative faith, Louise Marshall built an institution, the Cabbage Patch Settlement, which still uses her methods to attack today’s most difficult social problems. And she still offers us lessons in courage and the power of one unlikely hero to change and save lives.

Linda Raymond and Bill Ellison are retired journalists with a strong interest in history. After retiring from long careers at the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, they pursued their interest in history, and Raymond taught writing for 15 years at Bellarmine University and other Louisville-area colleges. Together they wrote Like Jacob’s Well: The Very Human History of Highland Presbyterian Church, which won the Angell Award for best first book by Presbyterian writers. The first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass, Pretty Good for a Girl documents the lives of more than seventy women whose vibrant contributions to the development of bluegrass have been, for the most part, overlooked. Accessibly written and organized by decade, the book begins with Sally Ann Forrester, who played accordion and sang with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys from 1943 to 1946, and continues into the present with artists such as Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and the Dixie Chicks.

Muhammad Ali

In 1999 ESPN named Muhammad Ali as the third greatest athlete of the 20th century. That same year, Sports Illustrated awarded him Sportsman of the Century. Ali was undoubtedly the greatest boxer of all time. Yet more important than the intense, near superhuman, dedication he channeled into his sport, was his status as symbol of hope, unity, and peace worldwide. In honor of this incredible Louisvillian, The Filson Historical Society in conjunction with the Muhammad Ali Center will be hosting a four-part lecture series dedicated to Ali’s life and philosophy.

1942-1964: A Young Black Man in Segregated Louisville – We will examine Ali’s childhood in Louisville, his frustrations with a racially segregated society, his earliest amateur boxing matches, and his trip to the 1960 Olympics, which introduced him to the world arena.

Text Transcript Part 1 (PDF)

1964-1971: A Boxer Exiled for His Convictions – In 1964, Ali won his first professional championship, but by 1967 he was banned from boxing for, what some referred to as “draft dodging.” This lecture will look at Ali’s pro boxing, his conversion to Islam, and his commitment to pacifism.

Text Transcript Part 2 (PDF)

1971-1981: The Greatest Boxer in the World – After his exoneration, Ali returned to professional boxing and won two more world heavyweight championships,  solidifying his place as one of the greatest American athletes of all time and the greatest boxer in history.

Text Transcript Part 3 (PDF)

1981-2016: International Icon for Peace – Following his retirement, Ali focused on his life’s most enduring and inspiring work: his advocation for social change on a global scale and tackling of the cultural issues that had motivated him since his childhood days in Louisville.

Text Transcript Part 4 (PDF)

Jewish History

Dr. Edward C. Halperin

The History of the American Jewish Hospital and Why it Matters Today

Dr. Edward C. Halperin — May 20, 2019

Text Transcript (PDF)

Over one hundred Jewish hospitals were opened in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now they are almost all gone. Why were they created, what purposes did they serve, and why did they disappear? Insofar as many of these hospitals were created in response to pervasive medical anti-Semitism which reached its zenith at the end of World War II, why did this medical anti-Semitism dissipate within a generation? The speaker will explore these questions and their relevance to current debates over alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in higher education.

Edward C. Halpern received his BS in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, MA from Duke University, and MD from Yale University. He was an intern at Stanford University and a resident at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Halperin has served as chairman of the department of radiation oncology at Duke University; vice dean of Duke’s School of Medicine; Dean of Medicine, Ford Foundation Professor of Medical Education, and Vice Provost at the University of Louisville; and is now Chancellor/CEO of New York Medical College and Professor of Radiation Oncology, Pediatrics, and History and Provost for Biomedical Affairs of the Touro College and University System. He is the author of more than 220 articles in the peer reviewed literature and multiple editions of the principal textbooks in pediatric and adult radiation oncology.

For more discussion on this topic, see the audio of our May 31, 2018 event – “Breaking Down Barriers: the importance of Jewish Hospital in Louisville’s History”.

Sons of the Covenant

Sons of the Covenant, Brothers of the Lodge: Fraternal Orders and Immigrant Identity in Nineteenth-Century Louisville

Abby Glogower — June 29, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

In 1843, German Jewish immigrants in New York founded B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant), a fraternal order that that quickly made its way to the Ohio River Valley, establishing a regional center in Cincinnati and two active lodges in Louisville. The Filson’s exciting recent acquisition of early Louisville B’nai B’rith lodge membership and minute books, offers new insights into the social and economic life of the city’s exploding mercantile center during and after the Civil War where German-Jewish transplants scrambled for a foothold in their new home. This talk will explore the ways that minority immigrant populations embraced fraternal societies to negotiate assimilation within broader American society while simultaneously cultivating their own ethnic identity.

Jessica Cooperman

‘Why in Heaven’s Name Expect Us to Mingle?’: Jewish and Christian Soldiers in WWI American Military

Jessica Cooperman — June 26, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

World War I American military camps, such as Louisville’s Camp Zachary Taylor, were far more than training sites. As places where young people from different states, communities, and traditions met and negotiated life together, they served as vast laboratories for testing both Progressive Era Americanization policies and new ideas about religious pluralism in the United States. This lecture explores the impact of soldiers’ welfare services provided through independent religious organizations such as the Protestant YMCA, the Catholic Knights of Columbus, and the Jewish Welfare Board. It considers the goals that these different agencies brought into American military camps, and focuses on the responses of soldiers, particularly Jewish soldiers, as they trained both to fight and to redefine ideas about American religion.

Jessica Cooperman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion Studies and  Director of the Jewish Studies Program at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She earned her Ph.D. at New York University’s join degree program in History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She teaches courses on modern Jewish history and culture, religion in the United States, and religion and violence. Her research focuses on American Judaism and American Jewish history and she is particularly interested in the relationship between religion and the modern state. Her book, Making Judaism Safe for America: World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism will be published by NYU Press in September 2018, and her next project will look at interfaith organizations in 20th century America.

Bourbon Empire Book Cover

Kentucky Bourbon’s Jewish Spirit

Reid Mitenbuler — May 22, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

The history of American whiskey isn’t always reflected in the names on the labels. For instance, Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, a Jewish immigrant and bourbon distiller, felt his surname would draw prejudice against his brand, so he named it I.W. Harper instead. This decision reflects the ways a distinctly American spirit can filter notions of history, identity, and national myth. Reid Mitenbuler, author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey, explores the fascinating and often overlooked Jewish heritage woven throughout the story of Kentucky bourbon.

Reid Mitenbuler has written about whiskey and drinking culture for the Atlantic, Slate, Saveur, Whisky Advocate, and other publications.

Jewish Hospital Louisville

“Breaking Down Barriers:  The Importance of Jewish Hospital in Louisville’s History” May 31, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

Louisville’s Jewish Hospital opened in 1905 as a modest means of providing quality medical care and training to under served immigrants and aspiring doctors. Throughout the twentieth century, it became a national leader in research, practice, and patient care. This panel discussion assembles luminaries from Jewish Hospital to reflect on matters as diverse as business, culture, surgery, and spirituality, and to explore this beloved institution’s impact on Louisville and beyond.

The panel will feature the following members of the Jewish Hospital community:

  • Morris M. Weiss, MD, Cardiologist, Jewish Hospital Cardiovascular Institute Board
  • Laman A. Gray, Jr., MD, Executive and Medical Director of the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital Cardiovascular Innovation Institute
  • Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky, MSSW, BCC, Vice President of Mission for Jewish Hospital
  • Richard A. Schultz, Board Vice Chair, KentuckyOne Health

The panel discussion will be moderated by The Honorable Jerry E. Abramson, former mayor of Louisville, Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, and Director of Governmental Affairs in the Obama White House.

We Were the Lucky Ones Book Cover

We Were the Lucky Ones

Georgia Hunter — October 16, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES opens in the spring of 1939, and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows ever closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships facing Jews in Radom. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable. Over the course of the war, the Kurcs must learn to cope in a world overrun with desperation, barbarity, and death—a world in which nearly every basic truth of the lives they once knew, including their home, their family, and their safety, has been stripped away. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death by working endless hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by a will to survive and by the fear that they may never see each other again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to stay alive. The novel is inspired by the experiences of Georgia Hunter’s grandfather—Addy in the book—and his family. When Hunter was fifteen years old, she learned that she came from a family of Holocaust survivors when she interviewed her grandmother for a research project. Through those talks she learned part of this remarkable story; in 2008 she began searching for the rest, pouring over records in the Holocaust Museum’s libraries and Red Cross databases, and traveling to Poland, France, and beyond. Seven years later her novel was complete.

WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES was born of Hunter’s personal drive to uncover her family’s staggering history. It is the story of a family determined to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, and a story that will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Civil War

Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy

Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy By Peter Carlson—November 6, 2013

Text Transcript (PDF)

New York Tribune correspondents Albert Richardson and Junius Browne hold claim to one of the greatest escape stories in American history. Captured by Confederates at the Battle of Vicksburg, the friends were imprisoned for 20 horrifying months before making a daring escape and embarking on a journey behind enemy lines from North Carolina to Union Lines near Knoxville, TN. . Ultimately the journalists travelled for 340 miles, most of it on foot, much of it through snow, in 26 days.

War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies

“War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865″ By James McPherson— June 25, 2013 – Filson Friday

Text Transcript (PDF)

Although previously undervalued for their strategic impact because they represented only a small percentage of total forces, the Union and Confederate navies were crucial to the outcome of the Civil War. In War on the Waters, James McPherson has crafted an enlightening, at times harrowing, and ultimately thrilling account of the war’s naval campaigns and their military leaders. McPherson recounts how the Union navy’s blockade of the Confederate coast, leaky as a sieve in the war’s early months, became increasingly effective as it choked off vital imports and exports. But in the end, it was the Union navy that won some of the war’s most important strategic victories.

Bud Robertson, Jr

“The Untold Civil War” by Bud Robertson, Jr.— May 9, 2014

Text Transcript (PDF)

Dr. Robertson’s event is generously underwritten and co-sponsored by The Kentuckiana Chapter of Virginia Tech Alumni Association. Dr. Robertson’s latest book, The Untold Civil War, focuses on emotions – human feelings – that generally are missing in most works about the war. Hostilities triggered emotions to such a high degree that one cannot understand the 1860s without keeping aware of individual, human actions. Dr. Robertson will discuss a half-dozen cases from the 132 related in the book.

More American than Southern

More American than Southern: Kentucky, Slavery, and the War for an American Ideology, 1828-1861 – Gary R. Matthews — February 12, 2015

Text Transcript (PDF)

When Fort Sumter fell to Confederate troops in April 1861, most states quickly declared their allegiances to the North or South. Kentucky, however, assumed an antiwar posture that outlasted Fort Sumter by five months, begrudgingly joining the Union cause only when Confederate troops marched into the state and seized the town of Columbus. With its hesitancy to make an immediate commitment and faced with the conflicting sentiments of its people, Kentucky stood as a microcosm of the nation’s dilemma. In the first comprehensive examination of Kentucky’s secession crisis in nearly ninety years, Gary R. Matthews examines the antebellum social, economic, and political issues that distinguished Kentucky from the rest of the slave and border states, identifying it instead with a national perspective and its own peculiar form of Unionism.


The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History

James Higdon – June 18, 2019

Text Transcript Part 1 (PDF)

Text Transcript Part 2 (PDF)

In the summer of 1987, Johnny Boone set out to grow and harvest one of the greatest outdoor marijuana crops in modern times. In doing so, he set into motion a series of events that defined him and his associates as the largest homegrown marijuana syndicate in American history, also known as the Cornbread Mafia.

Author James Higdon—whose relationship with Johnny Boone, currently a federal fugitive, made him the first journalist subpoenaed under the Obama administration—takes readers back to the 1970s and ’80s and the clash between federal and local law enforcement and a band of Kentucky farmers with moonshine and pride in their bloodlines. By 1989 the task force assigned to take down men like Johnny Boone had arrested sixty-nine men and one woman from busts on twenty-nine farms in ten states, and seized two hundred tons of pot. Of the seventy individuals arrested, zero talked. How it all went down is a tale of Mafia-style storylines emanating from the Bluegrass State, and populated by Vietnam veterans and weed-loving characters caught up in Tarantino-level violence and heart-breaking altruism.

Accompanied by a soundtrack of rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues, this work of dogged investigative journalism and history is told by Higdon in action-packed, colorful and riveting detail.


Steamboat image

“The Great River Catastrophe: The Collision of the Steamboats America and United States on the Ohio River in 1868” by Mark Wetherington, Ph.D.— October 15, 2014

Text Transcript (PDF)

Steamboats introduced a powerful new technology to the region, changed river travel, and turned small landings into bustling towns. But steamboat disasters— boiler explosions, collisions, and fires—were not uncommon. This program examines the collision of the America and the United States in 1868 and what the disaster tells us about life and death along the Ohio River during the steamboat era.

Julius Friedman

julius friedman

Remembering Artist Julius Friedman February 26, 2020

Text Transcript (PDF)

Curators Jim Holmberg and Abby Glogower host an evening of shared remembrances with friends and family of artist Julius Friedman.

Kentucky Derby

The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy

The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy By Pellom McDaniel— November 14, 2013

Text Transcript (PDF)

Isaac Burns Murphy (1861–1896) was one of the most dynamic jockeys of his era. Still considered one of the finest riders of all time, Murphy was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times, and his 44 percent win record remains unmatched. Despite his success, Murphy was pushed out of thoroughbred racing when African American jockeys were forced off the track, and he died in obscurity.

Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case

Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case

Milton C. Toby— November 8, 2018

Text Transcript (PDF)

In Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case, Milton C. Toby presents an engaging narrative that is as thrilling as any mystery novel. The book provides new analysis of the body of evidence related to the stallion’s disappearance, delves into the conspiracy theories that surround the inconclusive investigation, and presents a profile of the man who might be the last person able to help solve part of the mystery.

Milton C. Tobyis an award-winning author, journalist, and attorney with more than forty years of experience researching and writing about Thoroughbred racing and equine law. He is the author of eight books, including Dancer’s Image: The Forgotten Story of the 1968 Kentucky Derby and Noor: A Champion Thoroughbred’s Unlikely Journey from California to Kentucky.


The Golden Age of Bourbon

The Golden Age of Bourbon By Michael Veach July 12, 2013 – Filson Friday

Text Transcript (PDF)

Kentucky is the largest bourbon producing state in the country, with a rich history and reputation for producing fine bourbons throughout the years. But which era could be classified as the greatest when it comes to what Congress declared the “distinctive product of the United States?” Mike Veach will talk about the history of bourbon distilling, from the humble beginnings of the farmer distiller to the era of the bourbon baron, in order to determine which period could be considered “The Golden Age of Bourbon.”

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

Common Food: Farming, Community, and the Land—Wendell Berry November 17, 2016  

Text Transcript (PDF)

Wendell Berry’s passion for the land he lives on and the people he shares it with moves beyond just his written work; it infuses every aspect of his daily life. Join Wendell as he discusses the issues most meaningful to him.  He will speak of the need for a local economy that values property and cares properly for the land and the people who farm it, talking about issues such as land usage, farm policy, and local food infrastructure.

Wendell Berry is Kentucky’s premier living writer, a native and resident of Henry County whose poetry, fiction, and essays have garnered national renown for their direct yet expressive style and their dedication to the experiences modern society increasingly asks us to abandon. He has received more awards and recognition than he would like us to list here, or indeed would even be possible to list. He is a farmer, itinerant teacher, and devotee of family and community, a champion of land stewardship, sustainable farming, and mindful living.

Wendell Berry is a long-time farmer, writer, and teacher whose focus on the issues confronting small farming families in Kentucky and around the country has made him well-known. In this lecture, Wendell will discuss the need for a local or regional economy that values property and cares properly for the land and the people who farm it. He will cover issues such as land usage, farm policy, and local food infrastructure.

Historic Recipes

Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today’s Cook

Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today’s CookDeirdre A. Scaggs November 18, 2013

Text Transcript (PDF)

Kitchens serve as more than a place to prepare food; they are cornerstones of the home and family. Just as memories are passed down through stories shared around the stove, recipes preserve traditions and customs for future generations. Archivist Deirdre A. Scaggs and Chef Andrew W. McGraw combine these two traditions in their cookbook, The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today’s Cook, which the authors say “arose from a small recipe and a lot of curiosity.” Scaggs and McGraw have assembled more than one hundred dishes from nineteenth and twentieth-century Kentucky cooks. According to Scaggs, “While processing the Logan English papers, held by the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections, Andrew McGraw and I pulled a box to get a general sense of what was in the collection. Inside an arbitrary folder from a randomly chosen archival box, we found our first recipe.”

Video Lectures

Nationally recognized author and host of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Steve Inskeep, discusses his latest book, Imperfect Union the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, America’s first great political couple. Recorded on January 30, 2020 at the Brown Theater.