Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Meal - Print It!

You can find pretty much everything you need for your Thanksgiving meal by browsing your local newspaper! I can prove it - look!

Most staple items for cooking your meal might come from the general store, but you can also find those luxury foods, such as fruits for pies, there too!

Ah, yes! The turkey! It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a turkey, now would it? It doesn't quite matter how you attain this for your meal.

Whether you go "old-fashioned," and get one on your own...

Or buy it from a store (roaster not included; or turkey not included - depends which store you're going to!).

It should still end up on your table and, ultimately, in everyone's stomachs! Delicious!

You'll be needing something to wash down the glorious feast. Again, there are options, which are, once again, traditional staples. Some guests might prefer something warm (& I, personally, never had a pie that didn't taste great with coffee!); others might desire something cold (though I don't know how many "sweltering" Thanksgiving days Kentucky has seen, who doesn't love Coca-Cola, especially mixed with bourbon whisky!)

Finally, when you've stuffed yourself to the gills and start to feel that "food coma" coming on, perhaps with a bit of discomfort), as I know we all have, especially after Thanksgiving, there's a solution for that too!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tobacco "Habits" Through History, Part II

As promised, here is the second part of the "Great American Smokeout" celebration; newspaper clippings about societal perspectives on the health effects of tobacco use in Victorian KY! And, as mentioned in "Part I," you can find exceedingly more newspaper clippings about tobacco farming, economic impacts, and other societal impacts by searching KDL newspapers with the keyword "tobacco" (and/or with other associated keywords).

In "Part II," we're covering the same ideas as in "Part I," just the more creative expressions.

Beginning backwards, so to speak, there's always some sort of "folk remedy" or "cure" for ailments, illnesses, and addictions - some more "reliable" than others, perhaps. In the case of this one (published in February 22, 1907 Hickman Courier), one must wonder if the author was even serious at all! I had to read it more than once before I realized this "one dose;" this "laying on of the hands" to resolve cigarette smoking in "one dose" was not "new" at all, but simply a good ol' traditional whooping!

Of course, other solutions are perhaps a bit more serious and, in many cases for the purposes of either persuasion or profit. In a time when cigars and cigarettes were replacing pipes in popularity, this clipping from the November 13, 1907 Springfield Sun ensures that, though seemingly difficult, packing and smoking a pipe is, indeed, an "art form." It even walks the read through the many steps and aspects, specifically arguing against "the minor delights of cigar and cigarette smoking." Quite obviously, the Prince Albert crimp cut tobacco ad (from the June 8, 1916 News-Leader) seeks profit for the company. Another convenience, manufactured and packaged tobacco allowed easier packing of pipes or rolling of cigarettes, rather cutting plug tobacco or from a "twist." It also allowed (if from white burley tobacco) the addition of sweeteners or flavoring.

Still others, whether "experts" or not, sought to express themselves in verse. This included concerns of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, perhaps seeking social purity ("Nicotine." Earlington Bee. 26 May 1902, p. 7); an anonymous poet presenting the "joys" of tobacco use, while sternly warning against the health hazards alike ("To a Twist of the 'Weed.'" Springfield Sun. 26 January 1910, p. 2); and a reprint of N.A. Jennings's take on Kentuckian stereotypical identity - a common literary perspective of the time ("Geographic Morality." Frankfort Weekly News and Roundabout. 25 July 1908, p. 4).

So whether you're a smoker, reformed, or never touched tobacco in your life, this is just a slight taste of Kentucky's tobacco history (at least different societal POVs, via newspaper clippings) to inhale during the Great American Smokeout!

Tobacco "Habits" Through History, Part I

Today, as every year, the American Cancer Society hosts a nationwide "Great American Smokeout." The idea is to encourage smokers to quit, if only for the day. Take note, I am not promoting smoking, non-smoking, or anything like that. That being said, I find this to be a wonderful opportunity to examine Kentucky's strong historical ties to tobacco - it's fed our economy (and still does, to an extent), and fostered and influenced a great deal of social and cultural growth, whether we realize it or not.

See as how there are so many angles and newspaper clippings to examine, I am going to post 2 blog entries today (aren't you a lucky bunch!). And, in honor of the "Great American Smokeout," I am going to generally focus on health and social perspectives, rather than the economic side (although, I promise, if you go to KDL newspapers and search "tobacco," you will find more newspaper clippings and excerpts regarding economic impact, farming traditions, unions, and so on, than you probably ever wanted to know!). Here, in part I, we're going to look at the more straightforward expressions from KY newspapers.

Cigarettes grew popular partially due to their convenience, and the flavorings used with the tobacco; they generally replaced chewing tobacco by World War I. However, they also came with negatives, such as coughing "fits" and other ailments (the 1904 American Baptist below mentions "insanity!"). People recognized a potential fatal connection with smoking, and cigarettes adopted the nickname "coffin straws" (called "coffin scraws" in this 1900 Adair County News clipping).

Much like contemporary times, people still debated the PRECISE effects of tobacco use. This ranged anywhere from what exactly was it that made tobacco harmful (this 1906 Breckenridge News clipping claims it's the tar rather than nicotine), to how to cut down on harmful effects (as per studies from German "experts," according to this 1904 Bourbon News article).

Throughout the years, one thing that seems to never change is hearing about harmful health effects of one vice or another from "the experts." They may change their mind later, or studies may uncover a different "unknown factor," but this is what we should beware of now! Sometimes, people heed these warnings as they come, but sometimes, as this elaborated book advertisement from the 1904 Bourbon News suggests, you just need to follow your gut - AKA Mother Nature's "Whack" (though it seems to almost reference "expert advice" a bit - my own personal opinion!). Of course, in any case, even back in 1903, there existed products, like "NO-TO-BAQ" to help you quit your habit, if you so chose.

Coming this afternoon: Part II, more "creative" expressions regarding health & social perspectives toward tobacco...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Henry Hardin Cherry!

Without Henry Hardin Cherry, Kentucky would quite possibly be without one of its quickest growing, most well-known universities today - Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green. WKU has fostered a number of talents, from 1950s musical group the Hilltoppers to filmmaker John Carpenter; sports mascot Big Red to contemporary rap group Nappy Roots. Of course, there is a long tradition of education, as well, beginning more than 25 years before Cherry took his role as president in 1906, but he arguably began the process of establishing and molding WKU into the college we know today.

Henry Hardin Cherry was born to Warren County farmers, on November 16, 1864. He actually received little to no formal education until entering Bowling Green's Southern Normal School (what WKU was essentially known as then, established in 1875) in January 1886. Six years later, he and his brother, Thomas Crittenden Cherry bought the school, while he was faculty there, in an attempt to save it. By 1899, enrollment exploded, thanks to Henry, and he bought out his brother's share, developing it into the Southern Normal School and Bowling Green Business University.

The REAL turning point came seven years down the road, in 1906. Cherry played an integral role in state legislation to establish normal (teaching) schools in Eastern and Western parts of the state. Along with others, success came with two schools - one in Richmond and one in Bowling Green. This was noted throughout the state, as was his naming as president of Bowling Green's school in June of that year. The specifics of the site bids are laid out in these clippings from page 4 of the May 10, 1906 Hopkinsville Kentuckian:

There were apparently a few issues with providing deeds for the proposed land in Bowling Green. Nevertheless, Cherry fought for the school. Classes began in the private school in January 1907, and the name - "Southern Normal School" - changed to Western Kentucky State Normal School (Hartford Herald, 1 August 1906, p. 1). By 1911, it moved to its current location (on top of a hill, overlooking Bowling Green; hence the school sports team - "Hilltoppers"), bought from another college in 1909. It has absorbed assorted lands, and even another college throughout the years. These are all memorialized through buildings on, and colleges within the university (e.g. Potter, Ogden).

Cherry, himself, is remembered in WKU's landmark building - Cherry Hall, which has the campus belltower. The building was completed in 1937, and dedicated in November of that year, a few months after Cherry died - the only thing that ended his more than 30-year tenure as president. He had seen the college through its first bachelors and masters degrees (1924; 1931) numerous name changes (though it would not be known as WKU until 1966) and various social challenges, including women's suffrage (of which he proved himself a considerable ally) and the Great Depression.

Probably most importantly, Cherry championed the success of the students, encouraging them to become all that they could. He even endowed WKU with a motto it still uses and holds true to, to this day: "The Spirit Makes the Master."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kentucky "Pioneers," In Memoriam

Over the span of 50 years, on this day, Kentucky lost 3 of its pioneers; its founders; its visionaries - in every sense of the word. Today, we remember Dr. Thomas Walker (1715-1794), Robert Patterson (1753-1827), and Rev. Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844).

Dr.Thomas Walker (1715-1794)
Dr. Thomas Walker was a Virginia physician, living next door to Thomas Jefferson's father (for awhile, he was even Jefferson's guardian!). But he will likely be best remembered as a member of the Loyal Land Company, and leading the first organized English expedition into KY. This trek took place in 1750, and although it did not quite make it into the Bluegrass Region (he turned back after climbing a tree & only seeing more rough terrain ahead, even though he was only a couple days away), it resulted in a journal that assisted in future expeditions, as well as the alleged first house in KY (near Barbourville). It also resulted in the naming of the "Cumberland Gap" (in Southeast KY), for the Duke of Cumberland at the time. Walker did not technically name the Gap, but the River below it; throughout time, the surrounding features adopted the name "Cumberland" to match the River.

Later, in 1779-80, Walker surveyed the boundary between KY & TN, which was called "Walker's Line." Surveying techniques at the time meant there were a number of deviations, which assorted people accounted for & fixed over the next 100 years or so, but his basic boundary (at least to the Jackson Purchase region) is still the basis for the KY/TN border. Dr. Thomas Walker died on November 9, 1794. Years later, he was remembered as "Prof. Robertson" periodically wrote to the 1910 Berea Citizen, recording his travels "In Old Ferginny" (as he called it). This excerpt describes a bit of Walker's history, as "Prof. Robertson" recalls it in his August 4, 1901 column. (*Note: This is ONLY an excerpt! And also not in the original format! I have reformatted the columns for easier viewing. Please refer to the hyperlink above for the original newspaper format)

Robert Patterson (1753-1827)
Robert Patterson was another Pioneer & KY founder, as well as visionary, through his efforts in TRULY building the Commonwealth. He came to the state in 1775 with 6 other men and helped build what eventually became Georgetown. Then, he moved on to Harrodsburg and, a year later, returned to Fort Pitt (PA) to attain ammo to defend Bryan's Station during a siege! Three years later (1779), he headed the 25-man team that built the first blockhouse, which became the basis for Lexington. Aside from laying out Lexington, Patterson was elected a city trustee for 7 terms from 1781-1791, then every year between 1796 to 1806. He also participated in the 3rd KY Constitutional Convention, and ultimately became a state representative for Fayette County in the KY General Assembly, serving for 8 years. Aside from his political career, he served alongside George Rogers Clark, John Bowman, & Benjamin Logan in various battles, campaigns & skirmishes against domestic and foreign threats - most notably British & Native American - ultimately rising to the rank of Colonel. He died on November 9, 1827. According to this 1901 announcement in the Bourbon News, his log cabin was eventually moved (and presumably preserved) to Ohio.

Rev. Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)
Barton Warren Stone was born in Maryland in 1772, and received his first pastorates in Kentucky & Tennessee during the beginnings of what would become the Great Revival. He helped organize the first significant camp-meeting at Cane Ridge, KY, which lasted nearly a week. It attracted thousands of people from all over to listen to sermons, and debate theological & social issues. Some people became so moved they began "speaking in tongues" or experienced "holy jerks."

In 1803, Stone left the KY Presbytery and over the next 21 years, traveled through Kentucky & Tennessee advocating for Christian unity. In 1824, he met Alexander Campbell, who supported a similar movement. Within 8 years, with the help of John Smith, they co-founded 3 new Christian denominations - the Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church, and the Church of Christ. Rev.

Barton Warren Stone died on November 9, 1844, but his religious legacy lived on in many ways, perhaps most controversially through his grandson Charles Chilton Moore, who published the KY religious newspaper the Bluegrass Blade, out of Lexington (most of its short run is available in digital copies are available on KDL). Moore's controversial views & publications involved him in many debates, much like his grandfather, though they also landed Moore in jail. Nevertheless, both Moore & Stone are at the very least nationally known KY trailblazers. This 1902 "Letter to the Editor" from the Bluegrass Blade shows the level of respect attained by Rev. Barton Warren Stone, as a New Yorker opts to name their child in his honor.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paul Sawyier, in memoriam

Today we remember the passing of one of Kentucky's greatest artists - Paul Sawyier.

Born into a family of amateur artists (though his sister became a professional painter, as well) in 1865, the Sawyier family moved to Frankfort (where his parents had been raised) when Paul was 5 years old. His father immediately employed Elizabeth Hutchins - an artist from Cincinnati - to provide private art lessons to his children.

Paul continued his art education under another famous Kentucky artist - Thomas S. Noble - at the Cincinnati Art Academy, from 1884-85. In the following 2 years, his crayon portraits were his lifeline. He briefly returned to Frankfort to work at a hemp mill, at his father's request, but left by 1887 to return to his artistic pursuits. Between 1887 and 1888, he created river scenes and landscapes around the capital, as well as his well-known Old Covered Bridge series - 6 copperplate etchings of a Frankfort bridge that closed soonafter.

Over the next few years, he moved between NYC & KY, studying with various artists, including another KY painter Frank Duveneck. He truly began focusing on landscapes and river views in various media (particularly watercolor - probably his favorite and best-known works) in 1891. Finally, in 1908, he simply bought a houseboat, and traveled the Kentucky River, making a living with his passion for 5 years before moving to Brooklyn (though his seeming restless spirit kept him moving around NY state). He died November 5, 1917, and was initially buried in Fleischmann, NY; in June 1923, his remains were moved to the Frankfort Cemetery.

His beloved paintings were possibly best-known in Kentucky, and are still popular today in prints. Though his paintings & etchings are rarely signed or dated, and he kept no diary, many of his more popular prints - and his style - are UNDENIABLY Paul Sawyier. Paul Sawyier originals are quite valuable, and rare, today. Although, as you can see below, in this November 3, 1909 ad from the Richmond Climax, some of his works also appeared in what today might be called an "interior decorating" store of sorts.

*Note: C.F. Brower & Co. was more closely related to furniture. However, in this (and other ads), Sawyier and other artists are listed under the "Art Department." I could find very little about "Brower's," but would love to know more, if anyone has further information regarding this particular store!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A story for the season

Seeing as how this is the start of not only the season of cold weather (despite all of which we already seen!), and the season of sharing, giving, and the best of humankind, it seems only appropriate to offer something that covers all this and more! Something that reminds us of both physical and spiritual warmth, as well as offering hope for potential of human existence.

Isaac Wolfe Bernheim was born today, in 1848, in Schmieheim, Germany. At 19, he immigrated to the US with $4 in his pocket, hoping to make a life for himself in NYC. When that company when bankrupt, he worked as a peddler in PA, but was forced to stop after his horse died. He settled in Paducah, where he found work as a bookkeeper for a wholesale liquor company. He soon earned enough to pay his brother, Bernard's way to America. Soonafter (1872), with a silent partner, they founded their own distillery - Bernard Brothers and Company. Seven years later, they acquired the trademarked "I W Harper" - a bourbon whisky.

I W Harper became very well-known and popular. It earned a number of domestic and national awards, including a gold medal at the 1903 Chicago World's Fair. It was one of the few brands allowed to continue as a medicinal bourbon. The name - "I W Harper" was never fully explained until shortly before I.W. Bernheim's death, in a 1944 letter. While the I W is self-explanatory, he writes that "Harper" came from a man named Harper who had a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Three years (1882) after the intro of their trademark bourbon, the Bernheim Brothers moved, expanding their distilleries to Louisville. This is a 1901 ad for their Louisville Distillery, from the Kentucky Irish American:

Though the bourbon business proved profitable, the brothers invested in other ventures, such as mining & real estate. They likely lived quite comfortably for their time, but they also invested back into their Kentucky communities. One such example began in 1882 Paducah, after a terrible winter flood left many poor and needy. The Bernheim brothers started a yearly tradition (outlined in this article from page 1 of the December 20, 1909 Paducah Evening Sun) of indiscriminately donating coal to the poor and needy in the city.

I.W. Bernheim also financed, donated & commissioned a great deal of statuary to, and in honor of Kentucky. Many of his donations can still be seen today, including the Abraham Lincoln bust in Frankfort's Old Capitol dome (1910), the Abraham Lincoln that still stands in front of the Louisville Free Public Library (1922), and the only 2 sculptures representing Kentucky (Henry Clay & Ephraim McDowell) in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. He & Bernard also donated the Thomas Jefferson statue that stands in front of the Jefferson County courthouse. Commissioned in 1899, it was not unveiled until November 1901, due to assorted mishaps. Read these excerpts (respectively: 5/12/1900 KY Irish American, 6/8/1900 Bourbon News, 6/26/1900 Mt. Sterling Advocate, & 11/12/1901 Hopkinsville Kentuckian) below to learn about its rocky journey from Germany to Kentucky.

Probably one of the greatest gifts I.W. Bernheim left to Kentucky was not bought until after Bernard died in 1925, and did not truly fall into place until after Isaac died in 1945 - the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Bullitt County. In 1928, he bought 14,000 acres of worn-out farmland, stripped for mining ore. A year later, he established it as an arboretum & research forest, over time creating lakes on the land & working with the Frederick Law Olmstead Firm to lay out a proper landscape & essentially "restore" it. Finally, in 1950 - 5 years after Isaac died - Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest opened to the public. Ultimately, he and his wife were buried there, exhumed from their initial resting places at Cave Hill Cemetery. Their graves are marked by George Bernard Grey's memorial sculpture "Let There Be Light."

And so it was, in this cold season, yet time of warmth in the human spirit - a German immigrant was born, came to America, and lived the American dream. He gave us something to warm ourselves on cold winter nights, but also gave us an inspirational story of the human spirit - sharing & spreading his wealth & legacy with the earth & with others.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Birthday (again), Daniel Boone!

Today is Daniel Boone's 2nd birthday! Why does this frontiersman and one of Kentucky's greatest legends have two birthdays, might you ask? Well, that's what I'm here to tell you!

In 1734, Boone was actually born on October 22nd. When he was 18 years old (it's okay, you don't have to do the math - that would be in 1752!), what would become the Eastern US - but was still a British Colony - finally adopted the Gregorian Calendar. This threw off the "Old Style" by 11 days, now making his birthday on November 2nd.

Nevertheless, Boone continued to celebrate his birthday in October throughout his life. Many history books honor this, while some take on the Gregorian date, and still others note both dates or just the year. Part of Boone's Kentucky legacy - Fort Boonesboro, one of the first permanent settlements in the Commonwealth - celebrates the way Boone would have wanted it - in October; a full weekend of "living history" with re-enactors & fun for the whole family. For our purposes, though, I'm offering you a little flavor of both!

*Newspaper clippings: "Boone's Birthday" Bourbon News 5 October 1909, p8.

"Unveiling of Boone's Monument" Berea Citizen 10 October 1907, p. 1.