David R. Bass Papers, 1930-1982

Held by the Filson Historical Society

Creator: Bass, David R., 1904-1994

Title: Papers, 1930-1982

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Collections.

Size of Collection: 0.33 cubic feet

Location Number: Mss. A B317

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the business and civic life of David R. Bass, the president of Louisville Wholesale Liquor Company in the 1930s-1970s and an active member of Masonic organizations and the Jewish community of Louisville, Ky. In addition to newspaper clippings, certificates, and other papers relating to Bass, materials provide information about the Louisville Wholesale Liquor Company and the distribution and marketing of liquor in Kentucky.  

 Folders 1-2 contain newspaper and trade magazine clippings about the Louisville Wholesale Liquor Company, some of its employees, and its relationship to Glenmore Distilleries Company from 1930-1976. Of note is a 1935 label for “Old Mose” whiskey, featuring a racist image, and undated labels for Bass’ bourbon whiskey. Also included are documents relating to David Bass’s pharmaceutical background, such as a National Prohibition Act prescription note from 1930, filled out by Bass Drug Company, and a 1969 pharmacist’s renewal license. 

 Folders 3-4 consist of newspaper clippings and certificates relating to Bass’s membership and leadership in Masonic organizations in Louisville from 1952-1972, including Shawnee Lodge #830, the Kosair Temple of the Shriners, the Scottish Rite, and the High Twelve. Newspaper and magazine articles also document Bass’s work with the Kosair Crippled Children Hospital fund drive and the SUCCESS program for physically handicapped youth in the 1960s 

 Folders 5-6 consist of papers relating to Bass’s civic and Jewish community involvement. Certificates from 1942-1972 include ones recognizing his membership in Optimist International and his Kentucky Colonel commission. Papers provide information about Bass’s appointment to a 1962 committee to try to save the Louisville Colonels baseball team, and his work with the state Democrat Party in the 1960s. Newspaper clippings and certificates document Bass’s chairmanship of the United Jewish Campaign in Louisville in 1960-1962, his contributions to Keneseth Israel Congregation, and his membership in B’nai B’rith Lodge No. 14. 

Folder 7 contains a small number of miscellaneous personal papers, including a 1955 obituary for David’s mother Sara H. Bass and a 1972 program for Bass’s 50th Male High School reunion.  

Separation Note 

Photographs that were included with the David R. Bass manuscript materials in scrapbooks were separated and cataloged as the David R. Bass photograph collection (020PC3)


Biographical Note

David R. Bass was born in 1904 in Louisville, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Meyer and Sara Bass. He graduated from Louisville Male High School and the University of Kentucky and became a registered pharmacist, working at R. C. English Drug Company and then the Bass Drug Company. After the end of Prohibition in 1933, Bass became president of the Louisville Wholesale Liquor Companyand his wife Yetta (Rosenthal) Bass was secretary and treasurer. The company, originally located at 114 W. Walnut Street, moved to 1018 W. Main in 1938 and then to 1703 S. Brook in 1958. David Bass officially retired in 1976with his sons-in-law Charles Leifer (husband of Beverly) and Frances Wolff (husband of Betty) operating the company. 

Bass was active in the Masons and in the Jewish community of LouisvilleHe became a member of Shawnee Lodge No. 830 in the 1930s. He was elected an Oriental Guide in 1962, a Potentate of the Kosair Temple in 1964, a Knight Commander of the Scottish Rite Temple in 1967, and a member of the Downtown Louisville High Twelve in 1971. He served as a member of the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society of Denver and as a board member of Adath Jeshurun Congregation.


Folder List

Box 1 

Folder 1: Louisville Wholesale Liquor Co., 1930-1976 

Folder 2: Glendale Distilleries Co. and the Kentucky Liquor Industry, 1935-1975 

Folder 3: Shawnee Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and High Twelve International, 1937-1981 

Folder 4: Kosair Temple and Kosair Charities, 1952-1972 

Folder 5: Certificates and Civic Involvement, 1942-1972 

Folder 6: Jewish Community Involvement, 1960-1972 

Folder 7: Miscellaneous Personal Papers, undated, 1952-1981 


Subject Headings

Advertising – Kentucky. 

Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North AmericaKosair Temple (Louisville, Ky.) 

Bourbon whiskey – Kentucky. 

Business enterprises – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Charities – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Distilleries – Kentucky. 

Distributors (Commerce) – Kentucky.  

Fraternal Organizations – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Freemasons – Kentucky – Louisville. 

High Twelve International – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Glenmore Distilleries Company (Owensboro, Ky.) 

Jewish businesspeople – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Jewish families – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Jewish pharmacists – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Jews – Kentucky – Louisville. 

Kosair Crippled Children Hospital (Louisville, Ky.) 

Liquor industry – Kentucky. 

Louisville Colonels (Baseball team). 

Louisville Wholesale Liquor Company (Louisville, Ky.) 

Male High School (Louisville, Ky.) 

Marketing – Kentucky. 

Optimist International. 

Scottish Rite (Masonic order). 

Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. 

United Jewish Campaign. 

United States. Navy.