Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Stereoscope "Gems of Kentucky Scenery" by Carpenter and Mullen collection, 2010AV006

This newly processed collection consists of 21 albumen process stereograph cards of various Kentucky landscape scenes taken by local Lexington photographers Carpenter and Mullen. James A. Mullen, founder of Carpenter and Mullen, had an illustrious career in the 1860s. He operated galleries in New York and Cincinnati, worked for a Cincinnati photographer, the Engineering Corps, the State Geological Survey, and the Engineers of the Cincinnati Southern Railroad before settling into his Lexington Main street gallery.

Stereograph cards are an early form of three-dimensional photograph. First introduced in the 1850s, they were most popular between 1870 and 1920. To create stereograph cards a camera with multiple lenses, such as the one on the right, was used.

After the camera captured the images simultaneously, the two virtually identical photographs were printed side-by-side. When viewed with a stereoscope, like the one on the left, the image appears three-dimensional.

--Sarah K. Piester, graduate student processor

Oral History Interview about December 8, 1941, the Day After Pearl Harbor

On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 8, 1941, the Japanese attacked Clark Field in the Philippines. The Nunn Center has an interview in its Colonel Arthur L. Kelly Veterans Oral History Collection with Morgan French about this day. French served as a maintenance crew chief for the 192nd Tank Battalion, Company D. He participated in the delaying action in the Philippines, and describes the Japanese bombing of Clark Field, the subsequent battles, and the fall of Bataan. When the rest of the battalion surrendered, French and his maintenance section escaped to Corregidor. They were eventually captured by the Japanese at Fort Drum and taken to a prison camp in Cabanatuan. There, French was selected to go to Japan on a work detail. He recalls his “hell ship” voyage, prison camps in Tanagawa and Tsuruga, illness among the prisoners, and the prisoners’ work and acts of sabotage. Check out his interview on the Kentuckiana Digital Library, it is quite moving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey and the Tennessee Game

While Thanksgiving will undoubtedly be on the minds of all of us in the Bluegrass next week, in the back of many minds will be the UK vs. Tennessee football game on Saturday. Tennessee has beaten the Cats 23 consecutive times, including a four overtime thriller last year, stretching back to 1984. Many a wishbone will be used to help ensure a UK victory this year. This photograph, taken in 1963, shows that balancing the holidays and sports has long been a tradition at the University of Kentucky.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrate Fall with French Fashion

From the Underwood and Underwood Photographic Collection, 1913-1915

Fall afternoon suit, Paris.

Fall coat, Paris.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

1955 Ky vs DePaul

A clip from the 1955 DePaul game. This original film was donated by Vernon Hatton and digitized this year by The Media Preserve — a division of Preservation Technologies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This gem was discovered
in the Wade Hall collection on American letters.

If only misbehavior was so easily remedied in the 21st century.

Jeff Suchanek, Mark Wetherington, and Lewis Warden - Public Policy Archives, UK Libraries.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Memory of George Blanda


George Blanda passed away on Monday at the age of 83. Blanda, who played from 1945-1948, helped the University of Kentucky win the school's first bowl game, the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl. He went on to play 26 seasons in the National Football League, the longest career in the league's history.

A framed image of George Blanda is also part of a current exhibition on UK football being presented by UK Libraries. The exhibition, which includes several images of legendary UK athletes like Blanda, early team pictures, and a 1900s football, is on display through the fall semester in the foyer of the M.I. King Building.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adrian "Odie" Smith

Former UK men's basketball standout, and member of Adolph Rupp's 1958 Fiddlin' Five National Championship team, Adrian “Odie” Smith was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the 1960 gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic basketball team. The 1960 team was one of two teams and eight individuals honored at this years induction ceremony.

Smith is a native of Farmington, Ky and played two years at a junior college before receiving a scholarship to play at UK. Smith averaged 10.1 ppg in two years at UK. After college Smith joined the Army and played for two Army All-Star teams. While in the Army, Smith won gold medals for the U.S. in the 1959 Pan-American Games in Chicago and the 1960 Rome Olympics.

After his stint in the army Smith played ten years in the NBA with the Cincinnati Royals and the San Francisco Warriors. He was MVP of the 1966 NBA All-Star Game held in Cincinnati, playing with and against players including Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Rick Barry to win the honors. Photograph digital id [KUKAV-1997AV27-3570].

Monday, July 12, 2010

Diary of Robert Todd, 1784

Although the documentation with these materials state that the author of this diary was the father of Mary Todd, Robert Smith Todd was not born until 1791. With that in mind it seems likely that this is the diary of Brigadier General Robert Todd who was born April 19, 1754 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He came to Kentucky in 1776 and was known as an 18th century American pioneer, politician and soldier. Robert Todd is credited as being one of the founders of Lexington, Kentucky. His brothers were John and Levi Todd who also settled in Lexington. If my poor genealogy is correct, Robert Todd would be the Great Uncle of Mary Todd.

On Friday June 18th Todd wrote, "Started and continued down said branch of Big Barran which I suppose to be the principal. Killed large buffalo. Turned into raining. Encamped and barbecued some of the meat. This part of the country is well watered with excellent springs - traveled about four miles." So goes part of the diary kept by Robert Todd of his expedition for settling lands.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In Memory of Melvin Turpin

Our thoughts go out to the family and fans of Melvin Turpin.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Combat to Kentucky: Oral History Interviews with Kentucky’s Student Veterans

From Combat to Kentucky: Oral History Interviews with Kentucky's Student Veterans
A re-post from the Saving Stories blog about the Nunn Center's project to document the experiences of Kentucky's student veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. From Combat to Kentucky is not only interviewing the students but adding their photographs from Iraq and Afghanistan to the University of Kentucky Archives as well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Newly Processed Collections at the University of Kentucky Archives

Recently two new collections have been processed at Special Collections and Digital Programs. The Frontier Nursing Service Photograph collection consists of roughly 14,000 photographs, most are gelatin silver prints. Subjects include Mary Breckinridge, Mary Marvin Breckinridge, Wendover and the work of FNS nurses making their rounds in Eastern Kentucky. The work of the FNS began in Leslie County, Kentucky in 1925 by the late Mrs. Mary Breckinridge, who remained its Director until her death in 1965. Mrs. Breckinridge decided, following the death of her two children, to devote her life to the health care of children in remote areas. In 1975, the Service completed and opened the modern, forty-bed Mary Breckinridge Hospital and Health Center. This hospital has served the health care needs of the people of Leslie County for the past 30 years and continues its operation today as a critical access hospital.

The other collection recently processed is the Frank Fitch Notebook Collection. These seven notebooks span from 1867-1873 and document the construction of an iron furnace in Estill Co., KY. At the time of its construction it was among the largest charcoal furnaces in the country and the region of northeaster Kentucky and southeastern Ohio produced a significant percentage of the countries iron supply. The collapse of the railroad boom meant that the furnace closed a mere 5 years after its construction. The Fitch Furnace to this day is considered among the most important historic sites in Kentucky.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Historic Marker Dedicated to Margaret I. King

Remarks from the Dedication
Margaret Isadora King was born on September 1, 1879 in Lexington, Kentucky. She was the salutatorian of her senior class in 1898. During this time women were consistently graduating with honors and outranking the campus men. Perhaps this is why in 1900, the faculty simply decreed that there would no longer be any college-wide academic honors.

Margaret I. King began her work at the University from 1905-1912 as Registrar and Secretary to President Patterson, our first President. In 1912 King was appointed Librarian, becoming our first.Her salary was fixed at $75.00 per month. Margaret I. King not only witnessed tremendous growth of the library but of the University. In 1912, 2,000 volumes were added to the library and UK’s enrollment was only 754. In 1949, the year that King retired, 28,973 volumes were added and enrollment had increased to 9,991.

At the time of the building’s dedication in 1931, this was the central library on campus. The five story Georgian Building cost $400,000 and was designed to house 350,000 volumes. It was outfitted with a completely refrigerated circulating system of drinking water, three electric elevators, and 781 light fixtures. The UK Libraries now has 12 major facilities with over 3.7 million volumes. It was said of Margaret King, “an institution is but the lengthening shadow of a person. Her shadow falls across a great portion of our collective memory and it is my privilege to work in this building and my pleasure to carry on the legacy of Margaret I. King.

--Deirdre A. Scaggs April 15, 2010

  • Library Club, 1. ? 2. Minnie Neville 3. Margaret King 4. Dean A. J. Hamilton 5. Freda Lenon 6. Margaret Tuttle
  • Dedication Ceremony: Carl Nathe; Angela Martinez, President of the Student Development Council; President Lee Todd; Mattie Parsley, Senior Challenge Chair; Deirdre Scaggs, Director of Archives.
  • The King Library in 1940.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oral Histories with UK Basketball Coach Adolph Rupp

Nunn Center interviews were featured on WUKY highlighting oral histories with the great UK basketball coach Adolph Rupp.

Saving Stories Remembers "The Baron of The Bluegrass"

The Nunn Center recently uploaded 15 hours of interviews with Coach Rupp to the Kentuckiana Digital Library.

If you want to hear the whole collection, search for what Coach Rupp had to say about your favorite player go to the Kentuckiana Digital Library and click on oral history.

This is great collection to listen to during NCAA tournament. Go Cats!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Horse of Many Different Colors!

James Edwin Ed Weddle Photographic Collection, 1948-1981
Available on KDL at

Why in the world would someone want to put polka dots on an otherwise perfectly good mule? We don't know! A prank? A parade? A party? Either way, the poor thing looks none too happy about it as he gazes haplessly, yet amazingly calmly (good horsey!) into James Edwin Weddle's camera.

Unfortunately, with "no publication notice present," no date or context is offered for this 8x10 black & white print other than "Men spray painting polka-dots on a mule." So, we offer it up to you to take a whack at what this mule did to deserve a new "coat" of paint!

(*Note: To our knowledge, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. But that doesn't seem to make this one any happier!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

When Irish Eyes Were Smiling: St. Patrick's Day Postcards from 100 Years Ago

Curated by Jeff Suchanek and scanned by Lewis Warden.

NOTE: Slideshow does not work with Internet Explorer but seems to work fine in Firefox.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Knockout Kentuckian!

"Ali sizes up opponent with reaching left" [undated]
James Edwin Ed Weddle Photographic Collection 1948-1981
Available on KDL

Well, a technical knockout (TKO) anyway.

Today, in 1964, famous Louisvillian Muhammad Ali became the youngest boxer to win the Heavyweight title, at 22 years of age. Then known as Cassius "Louisville Lip" Clay, he took the title from Sonny "Big Bear" Liston, after Liston refused to return from his corner for the 7th round. It was prior to this match that Ali uttered his well-known line, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

With rumors swarming regarding Clay's association with Malcolm X, the following day (2/26/1964), he changed his name to Cassius X, renouncing the surname of his family's former slaveholders. [Note: Cassius M. Clay was named for his father who, in turn, was named after the 19th-century Kentucky emancipationist.] Within the following year, Clay changed his name again to Muhammad Ali, in relation to his Islam conversion.

Ali had an extremely successful boxing career. Before his first title - which he held for 3 years until it was taken away when it was stripped due to his refusal of the Army draft for religious reasons - he won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. He later regained the Heavyweight Championship twice, holding it for almost half of the 1970s. Throughout his life he has been passionately active in Civil Rights reform, using his celebrity to champion the cause, even after his 1984 diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

His athletic and societal achievements have afforded him numerous accolades, including the 1997 Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Kentucky Athlete of the Century (1999, Kentucky Hall of Fame), and Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005). He even lit the torch at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics! His social activism continues, as does his boxing legacy, through his daughter, Laila (she started her career in 2002).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Founder's Day University of Kentucky

Jean Ritchie, folk singer and UK graduate, being presented the school's first Founders Day award by President Donovan.

According to the April 4, 1944 Board of Trustees Minutes President Donovan recommend that the University celebrate the day of its founding. "Some time ago I requested Professor E. L. Gillis, who is probably as familiar with the history of the University as any man connected with it, to study various dates that might be considered as an appropriate date on which to celebrate a Founders Day Program. After considerable research, Professor Gillis has suggested that February 22 would be a very appropriate time for such a celebration. It was on February 22, 1865, that the General Assembly of Kentucky approved a bill establishing an Agricultural and Mechanical College in connection with Kentucky University (now Transylvania). Therefore, February 22, 1865 is the date on which the University of Kentucky actually came into existence as a state institution."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“Progressive Hearts: Valentine’s Day Postcards From 100 Years Ago”

Curated by Jeff Suchanek and scanned by Lewis Warden.

NOTE: Slideshow does not work with Internet Explorer but seems to work fine in Firefox.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Martin Luther King Interview Featured on WUKY 1/19/2010

WUKY featured an oral history interview from the Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project conducted in 1964. The WUKY piece features Warren's intriguing interview with Martin Luther King Jr. Warren, former poet laureate and author of such great works as All the Kings Men, interviewed over forty Civil Rights leaders and activists including Stokely Carmichael, James Baldwin, Vernon Jordan, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Warren's interviews were used for his book Who Speaks for the Negro. The audio and transcripts for the oral history project are available and fully searchable online at (follow links to oral history).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Capitol Idea - Commemorating 100 Years of Service: The New State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky

Curated by Jeff Suchanek and scanned by Lewis Warden.

NOTE: Slideshow does not work with Internet Explorer but seems to work fine in Firefox.