Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blast from the past

From 1987 edition of The Cats' Pause newsletter

From 1987 edition of The Cats' Pause newsletter

Over the past three months, I have been scanning basketball programs and The Cats' Pause newsletters for an athletics website project in University Archives. Sometimes, what is most interesting (and also provides some diversion from the subject at hand) are the advertisements in these publications. Some remind me of long-forgotten businesses or events in Lexington, while others are a reminder of better-off-forgotten fashions and pop-culture.

What caught my eye with the military registration ad were the references to popular music at the time: "The Boss, New Edition, Rush." Even the reference to the "stereo" is dated, since 18 year olds are far more likely to be plugged into their iPods these days. In the Ashland Oil ad, it was the acid-wash jeans and big hair. And while the earliest ad is before my time, I do remember when the Welgo store was still around, and also appreciate the now kitschy qualities of the drawings.

From 1957 University of Kentucky basketball program

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women's basketball tradition at UK

University of Kentucky's (then Kentucky State College) first women's basketball team, 1903. University of Kentucky general photograph collection, 2001ua025.

University of Kentucky women's basketball team with trophy, circa 1920s. Louis Edward Nollau photographic print collection, 1998ua002.

The University of Kentucky women's basketball program was established in 1902 - one year earlier than the men's basketball team. The first women's game was played on February 21, 1903. For the first few years of its existence on UK's campus, the women's basketball team mostly played interclass scrimmages, only playing one or two intercollegiate games per season. All games were carefully monitored by Florence Offutt Stout, the women's physical education director and first Dean of Women, and no spectators were allowed. Stout was a proponent of "medical gymnastics," a more gentle form of physical exercise targeted at promoting physical health and eliminating obesity, and considered competitive sports at odds with this program.
In 1909, the women's basketball team complained via a petition to the faculty senate stating that Stout did not support the development of the sport and asked that the athletic association take over the management of the team. This started a power struggle which stretched over almost two decades between Stout, women students in favor of the sport, and the athletic association. In 1924, bolstered by the support of Sarah Blanding -- the new Dean of Women -- Stout finally convinced the University Senate and UK President Frank McVey that basketball was "too strenuous for girls." McVey cited this "strenuousity" and the claim that road trips for the team were prohibitively expensive due to "the necessity of proper chaperonage" as reasons for banning women's basketball. This was in spite of the fact that the 1923-1924 women's team had won the Southern Intercollegiate Championship after an undefeated 10-0 season. All women's intercollegiate varsity sports were discontinued on November 13, 1924. Ironically, the 1924-1925 season marked the first season of men's basketball play in Alumni Gym and a rise of popularity in the game on campus.
In the next decades, women's basketball continued to be played in physical education classes, and later as an intramural sport, but organizing campus dances became the primary focus of the Women's Athletic Association. It was not until 1974 that women's basketball was reinstated as a varsity sport, with Sue Feamster serving as the first coach of a varsity team in fifty years.
Gregory Kent Stanley has written a fuller account of the early years of women's basketball and the campus politics affecting it in his book Before Big Blue. UK Athletics offers a historic timeline of women's basketball achievements on its website under "History and records."

Friday, March 13, 2009

The "Madness" Continues

Even though the Wildcats are out of the running for this year's NCAA Tournament, the University of Kentucky Archives has materials from more than 100 years worth of glory days to revel in! Test your knowledge of UK basketball history with these "fun facts."

1. Scotty Baesler, mayor of Lexington from 1982-1993 and 6th District U.S. Congressman from 1993-1999, is also a former UK basketball player (1959-1963). What was Rupp’s nickname for Baesler?
a. Cab
b. Garbage Collector
c. Frog

2. Which former UK basketball coach toured with the Harlem Globetrotters for a year?
a. Rick Pitino
b. Adolph Rupp
c. Joe B. Hall

3. Who was the first All-American named from the University of Kentucky basketball team?
a. Carey Spicer
b. Basil Hayden
c. Forest “Aggie” Sale

Answers: 1-b; 2-c; 3-b

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nunn Center Launches Online Resource on Digital Technologies

the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History has launched its new online initiative Oral History and Digital Technology to provide a series of educational resources on digital technologies associated with oral history fieldwork. The series has begun with informational videos by Nunn Center Director Doug Boyd discussing popular digital recorders beginning with the Marantz PMD 671 solid state recorder.

Other informational resources will accompany the videos including a resource which will discuss the basics of digital recording. Stay tuned and subscribe to the Nunn Center channel on YouTube

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March Madness

1904 University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Team -- 2001ua025:0023
Head to the Hub in W.T. Young Library to see the exhibit "March Madness: A History of UK Basketball in Images." In addition, other screens in the Hub will be showing historic games in UK Men's Basketball, including the entire 1978 NCAA Championship game against Duke. The exhibit runs through March.
About athletics materials in the University of Kentucky Archives:
Since its creation in the 1930s, the University Archives has endeavored to preserve the history of UK athletics. During these 60 years, the Archives has amassed one of the finest athletics collections in the United States, which now includes over 5000 videotapes, 1500 audiotapes, 1500 films, 3000 photographs, 30 scrapbooks, and 250 boxes of clippings, programs, and media guides. The collection is heavily used by researchers, often requiring reproductions of films, videotapes, and photographs.
Sports are a part of our collective popular culture and also connected to the tradition of excellence at the University of Kentucky. Long after sporting events have faded from recent history the images, the accomplishments, and the records set continue to live in our collective memories. The University Archives has the important role of ensuring that the sights, the sounds, the facts, and goals are more than a memory.
Later this year, Explore UK will launch an amazing online resource for Kentucky basketball fans and researchers including basketball programs, Cats Pause, ephemera, and photographs!

Kentucky's role in the war effort

The notion of the war effort can be traced back to the French Revolution when leaders called for citizens to form a lavee en masse to prevent monarchist forces from reclaiming control of government. The World II version took a slightly different approach. People were encourage to feed their families with food they had grown so food could be shipped to the troops fighting overseas.

The Kentucky Extension Service's war production effort in 1943 included the canning of 86,392,244 quarts of foods, nearly 70 quarts for every man, woman and child on the farms in the state. Kentuckians also preserved 9,068,097 containers of butter, jams and jellies. A total of 114,452 families, nearly half of those living on Kentucky farms, grew 75 percent or more of their food supply.

Pictured above is Mrs. Guy Penick of Fayette Co., KY showing off some of the 1,200 jars she canned in 1943 as part of the war effort.