Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Man of Destiny!

At the Special Collections Research Center, we recently began processing the W. Hugh Peal manuscript collection. A graduate from the University of Kentucky’s class of 1922, William Hugh Peal was an avid collector of 19th and 20th century manuscripts and autograph albums, especially those relating to the English Romantic writers Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Robert Southey. Peal also collected manuscripts by scientists, clergymen, artists, and political figures.

Of the political figures represented in the collection, a significant highlight is the unconventional and bombastic George Francis Train. Born in Boston in 1829, Train modestly referred to himself as a “man with the brains of twenty men, the energy of a hundred, and the magnetism of a God.”

The letterhead for Train’s 1872 presidential campaign asserted Train was “Unanimously Nominated for the Presidency by immense audiences everywhere” and featured a list of his rather aggressive platform positions, including “Death to Official Thieves, through Vigilance Committees.”

In response to harsh criticism from rival presidential candidate and New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, a facetious Train sent a portrait of himself and referred to Greeley as “the name caller.” 

Corresponding with a gentleman from The Liberty Insurance Company, Train eagerly contended that a man can subsist on a diet of bread and water “forever!”

Train also took it upon himself “to show New York just what a real Santa Claus is like," declaring that he would “eclipse all the old white-beard myths with bogus reindeers that ever appeared.” 

George Francis Train, professional "eccentrique."


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dieting in the early 1900s

1998ms005: William Townsend Collection

Found in the archives: an early 1900s diet plan, with accompanying letter, sent to Katherine Helm by her cousin Ruth.

Katherine Helm was born in 1857 to Benjamin Hardin Helm and his wife Emilie Todd, the half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. Kate Helm pursued a career as an artist following the end of the Civil War. She studied at the Art Students League in New York. Her work includes a portrait of Jefferson Davis and a portrait of her aunt Mary Todd Lincoln, which hangs in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House. 

The first week of the diet plan:


Breakfast – 1st five weeks
1 raw tomato or tomato juice
1 soft boiled egg
1 cup of broth (beef cubes or chicken cubes may be used in a cup of hot water)
1 cup of black coffee

Luncheon – 1st week
1 cup of broth
1 soft boiled egg
2 fresh vegetables (uncooked)

Dinner – 1st week
1 cup of broth
1 soft boiled egg
2 green vegetables (uncooked, like carrots lettuce celery etc.)
1 cup of black coffee

Note – Fruits, except bananas, may be eaten at all times

The letter reads: 

Dear Cousin Kate,

This is really a fine diet list, just follow it or near as you can and you will find you will lose weight in one week’s time. Eat an apple every time you feel a little hungry between meals. The best part however is that one does not get a starved feeling.

Sarah and I lost six lbs in a week and we took sugar in our coffee and cooked vegetables on our second week.

Here’s wishing you luck.



Friday, May 13, 2016

Campus Birds of Prey

One of the red-tailed hawks that frequent campus for our succulent rodent population paid a visit this morning to the historical marker for Margaret Isadora King, the namesake of our building.

Monday, March 28, 2016

New Collection Guide Viewer

ExploreUK launched a new viewer for collection guide this morning!

This viewer was created to work with our new online requesting system, Aeon. Users will now be able to select and request materials within the finding aid viewer for use in the Breckinridge Research Room or for digital reproduction orders.

Collection guides featuring digital content will display a small thumbnail of the materials. Users can click the thumbnail to see a full-sized rendering of the image and right click to download a high resolution .jpg copy. The viewer utilizes Bootstrap, a framework that allows scalability for use on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

We will continue to evolve the finding aid viewer based on user assessment and feedback. Please send thoughts and suggestions to sclref [at] lsv [dot] uky [dot] edu.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Of Syllabubs, Creams, and Flummery

The Special Collections Research Center has recently acquired a 1796 printing of the cookbook, The Frugal Housewife: or, Complete Woman Cook. Written by Susannah Carter of Clerkenwall, England, The Frugal Housewife was first published in 1765. It strongly influenced the first American cookery book by Amelia Simmons.

Engraved frontis leaf

This 1796 printing by James Carey of Philadelphia was one of the first American printings, preceded by extremely rare printing from Boston [1772] and New York [1792 and 1795] with engravings by Paul Revere. The 1796 printing contains two beautiful frontis leaves of engraved plates, showing the reader how to dress different cuts of meat for roasting or boiling. 

So enjoy these recipes for syllabubs, an English sweet drink made from whipped cream or milk and wine or cider!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Louisville Tornado of 1890 Stereographs

The Louisville Tornado of 1890 stereographs (dated 1890; 0.05 cubic feet; 13 items) are now on ExploreUK. The collection comprises stereographs that document the Louisville Tornado of 1890 taken by George Barker. Identified locations include the Louisville Tobacco Warehouse, Baxter Square, Burnhams Store, the Church of the Sacred Heart, St. John’s Church, Falls City Hall, and the Union Depot. These images document the wreckage in different regions of the city.

The Louisville Tornado of 1890 occurred on March 27, killing over one-hundred people and injuring fifty-five. The tornado hit much of the downtown area, flattening many buildings. Among the many businesses, homes, warehouses, and buildings that were destroyed, the Falls City Hall was one of the most damaged sites. This tornado still remains one of the most destructive natural disaster in the history of Kentucky.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Remembering the 1964 Civil Rights March in Frankfort

On March 5, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led ten thousand people on a peaceful Civil Rights march in Frankfort, Kentucky. The rally supported a bill to desegregate public accommodations in Kentucky. Dr. King and several other leaders gave speeches backing the proposed bill and met with Gov. Breathitt. After the march, a group of people led by Frank Stanley, Jr., staged a hunger strike in the House gallery to coerce legislators to pass the bill. It never made it out of committee, but the subsequent Civil Rights Act of 1966 was passed in large part to the influence garnered by the march and hunger strike. For further details and photographs from this march, see the Jim Curtis photograph collection on Civil Rights in Kentucky.