Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 10, 1906 – George Barry Bingham, Sr.


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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

George Barry Bingham, Sr., became president of the company that published the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times at the death of his father, Robert Worth Bingham , in 1937. Later he also headed WHAS radio and television stations and Standard Gravure Corp. He was chairman of the board when the Bingham companies were sold in 1986. His newspapers had won six Pulitzer prizes.

He was born February 10, 1906, in Louisville. His mother, Eleanor (Miller) Bingham, died in 1913 after an automobile accident in which he was involved. He attended schools in Louisville, Asheville, North Carolina, and Concord, Massachusetts. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1928, he traveled and wrote a novel. On June 9, 1931, he married Mary Clifford Caperton (Bingham) of Richmond, Virginia. They had five children: George Barry (Bingham), Jr., Sarah ("Sallie") Montague (Bingham), Eleanor Miller, Robert Worth III, and Jonathan Worth.

After working at WHAS radio in 1930, Bingham became a police reporter for the Louisville Times, then a general assignment reporter, Washington correspondent, and editorial writer before holding managerial positions. He went on active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve in May 1941. He was on special assignment in London in 1942 and served as public relations officer for U.S. Naval Forces in Europe until being transferred to the Pacific theater in 1945. He was present at the Japanese surrender, and received two Bronze Stars. Bingham traveled to Germany, Austria, and Trieste in 1946 and again in 1947 at the behest of the secretary of the army. He was chief of the mission of the Economic Cooperation Administration to France in 1949 and 1950, when harbors were reopened, dams and factories constructed, and railroads put back in operation under the Marshall Plan. He toured Asia with his friend Adlai Stevenson in 1953 and served as cochairman of volunteers in Stevenson's presidential campaign in 1956.

During Bingham's reign, the newspapers and radio and television stations championed many causes -- civil rights, military preparedness, mental health, ethics, and the environment, while supporting educational and cultural activities in the region. Bingham's philanthropy included the Crusade for Children, company contributions of 5 percent of pretax earnings, and more than $50 million through the Mary and Barry Bingham, Sr., Fund.

Bingham was a longstanding participant in the affairs of Berea College , Harvard University, the University of Louisville , Pine Mountain Settlement School , American Press Institute, American Society of Newspaper Editors, International Press Institute, Asia Foundation, English-Speaking Union, National Portrait Gallery, various preservation and mental health groups, and several presidential commissions. He was an accomplished speaker, a facile and precise writer. He wrote poetry and was a devotee of Shakespeare and theater in general.

He received the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award from the University of Kentucky, the William Allen White Award from the University of Kansas, and the Roger Williams Straus Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, as well as the titles Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur.

Bingham died on August 15, 1988, and was buried in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery. His personal papers were given to the Filson Club.

SAMUEL W. THOMAS, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Barry Bingham : a man of his word / Samuel W. Thomas, editor.
PN4874.B48 A3 1993, Young Library - 5th Floor

Poems / by Barry Bingham.
811 B5133po, Special Collections Research Center

The patriarch : the rise and fall of  the Bingham dynasty / Susan E. Tifft, Alex S. Jones.
CT274.B52 T54 1991, Young Library -- Books - 3rd Floor

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 10, 1810 – Joel Tanner Hart

Image from Smithsonian Institution Libraries
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

Joel Tanner Hart, sculptor, was born near Winchester in Clark County, Kentucky, on February 10, 1810, to Josiah and Judith (Tanner) Hart. Because of his family's limited means, Hart received only three months of schooling. As a young man, he moved to Bourbon County, where he built stone walls and chimneys. At the age of twenty-one he was working in Pruden's marble yard in Lexington, where he carved headstones and monuments. There he met Shobal Vail Clevenger, a young sculptor from Cincinnati, who encouraged Hart to sculpt a marble bust of Cassius Marcellus Clay (now among the collections in the Margaret I. King Library at the University of Kentucky).

In 1838 Hart visited the Hermitage to sculpt Andrew Jackson. On his return to Lexington, Hart made busts of John J. Crittenden, Robert Wickliffe, and the Rev. Alexander Campbell . In 1845 he received a commission from the Ladies' Clay Association in Richmond, Virginia, for a full-length sculpture of Henry Clay to be placed in the Virginia state capitol. Hart traveled to Italy in September 1849 to transfer his plaster molds of the statue into marble, and he lived in Florence for the rest of his life, occasionally visiting the United States, London, and Paris. His invention for modeling the human form by means of measurements was patented in Great Britain and France.

In 1853 Hart submitted a sketch for a monument for the grave of Henry Clay in Lexington. The commission, however, went to architect Julius W. Adams, who used Hart's models for the head of the statue. In the mid-1850s William H. Lowery of New York City ordered a marble replica of Hart's bust of Clay, called Virginia Mourning Over Her Son. (Its name was later changed to Il Penseroso and it is now in the Margaret I. King Library at the University of Kentucky .) In 1857 Hart obtained a commission from the city of New Orleans for a bronze version of a statue of Clay that the state of Virginia had commissioned. The sculptures in both Richmond and New Orleans were unveiled on April 12, 1860. Hart was in New Orleans for the event. While he was in the United States, Hart was asked by the city of Louisville for another replica of Virginia's statue of Clay, which was placed in the Jefferson County Courthouse .

In 1869 Hart completed Morning Glory, another life-size neoclassical ideal sculpture. Of the two versions in marble, one is now in Louisville's Free Public Library and the other is in the collection of the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. Hart's masterpiece, Woman Triumphant, was begun in 1875. He died before its completion and George Saul, an English sculptor and former pupil of Hart, finished sculpting the figure. A marble replica of it in the Fayette County Courthouse was destroyed in a fire on May 14, 1897.

During his lifetime Hart was more zealous of his reputation as a poet than as a sculptor. Though not many of his verses were published while he was alive, he provided in his will for compiling and publishing them in book form. Manuscripts of many of his poems, including "Marathon" and "the Old And New Year," are in the collection of the Kentucky Library Archives at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green .

Hart died on March 2, 1877, in Florence, Italy. Eight years later his remains were brought to Frankfort, Kentucky, for reburial in the Frankfort Cemetery .
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Joel Tanner Hart : American sculptor / by David B. Dearinger
NB237.H35 D4450 1984, Special Collections Research Center
Joel T. Hart scrapbook, 1877-1947.
50M64, Special Collections Research Center - Manuscripts Collection

Joel Tanner Hart [electronic resource] / by Carrie Williams Berry.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 9, 1849 - Laura Clay

Image from National Women's History Museum
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

One of the controversial figures in the national women's rights movement, Laura Clay was born at White Hall, her family's estate near Richmond, Kentucky, on February 9, 1849. Her parents were Cassius M. Clay , the noted antislavery activist, and Mary Jane (Warfield) Clay, both of prominent Bluegrass families. Laura Clay was educated at Lexington's Sayre School, where she graduated in 1865. She then spent a year at Miss Hoffman's finishing school in New York City and later studied at the universities of Michigan and Kentucky for short periods. She supported herself and financed her long public career with her income as a "practical farmer," managing a three-hundred-acre farm in Madison County, which she leased from her father in 1873 and owned after his death in 1903.

Clay's commitment to women's rights arose from her parents' bitter separation in 1869 and divorce in 1878, when she became aware that the property and legal rights of Kentucky women, especially those married, were woefully unprotected. After considering careers in teaching, law, and the missionary field, Clay decided to devote her life to the woman's movement. In 1888 she took the leading role in organizing the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) , which she served as president until 1912. Although the growth of the association was slow, its lobbying in Frankfort by the mid-1890s had won a number of legislative and educational victories, including protection of married women's property and wages, a requirement for women physicians in state female insane asylums, and the admission of women to a number of male colleges.

 As an officer in both the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs , Clay persuaded the groups to join the KERA in advocating additional benefits for women and children at the turn of the century. Their efforts secured legislation that provided for a women's dormitory at the University of Kentucky , established juvenile courts and detention homes, and raised the age of consent from twelve to sixteen years. Clay and other women activists saw the vote as the capstone of their movement. With the state legislature's grant of school suffrage in 1912, they won a partial victory.

 During the 1890s, Clay became the best-known southern suffragist and the South's leading voice in the councils of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Her efforts were largely responsible for the establishment of suffrage societies in nine of the former Confederate states. Clay addressed constitutional conventions in Mississippi and Louisiana and managed an unsuccessful NAWSA effort to add women's suffrage to the South Carolina constitution of 1895. In 1896 Clay was elected auditor of the NAWSA, a post she held for fifteen years. She maintained a position of moderation and conciliation on the NAWSA official board in matters of both race and personality clashes. As an unpaid NAWSA field worker, she also directed suffrage campaigns in Oregon, Oklahoma, and Arizona. While chair of the association's membership committee, she introduced recruiting innovations that almost tripled the number of members, from 17,000 in 1905 to 45,501 in 1907. In 1911 Clay lost her bid for reelection as auditor, following a dispute between the southern and western suffragists and those from the East over administrative and organizational matters. Contrary to some accounts, neither the race question nor the issue of the federal amendment versus the state route to enfranchisement figured in this dispute. Despite her removal from the official board of the NAWSA, Clay for a number of years chaired association committees, contributed to fund drives, and worked in state suffrage campaigns.

In 1916 Clay was elected vice-president-at-large of a new organization, the Southern States Woman Suffrage Association, founded to win the vote through state enactment. Clay saw this organization as an auxiliary, not a rival, of the NAWSA, whose activities she continued to support. It was not until 1919, when the U.S. Congress enacted the Nineteenth Amendment, that Clay withdrew from the NAWSA, turned her energies to securing a state suffrage bill in Kentucky, and began openly to oppose the federal bill. She based her opposition to it on states' rights, asserting that the Nineteenth Amendment was a vast and unneeded extension of federal power. A product of her time, Clay was a believer in Anglo-Saxon superiority but was paternalistic, rather than Negrophobic, in her attitudes.

 After the ratification of the suffrage amendment, Clay continued to work for women's rights and the involvement of women in civic life. She helped organize the Democratic Women's Club of Kentucky, served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1920, and ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 1923. A firm believer in women's church rights, she was instrumental in winning vestry and synod eligibility for women in the Lexington diocese of the Episcopal church. In the 1928 presidential campaign, she made a number of speeches for the Democratic nominee, Alfred E. Smith, and vigorously condemned national prohibition. When Kentucky voted for the repeal of prohibition in 1933, Clay served as a member and temporary chair of the ratifying convention in Frankfort. Clay died on June 29, 1941, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery .

PAUL E. FULLER, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Laura Clay, voice of change [video recording] : a documentary film / by Heather Lyons and Chris Blair.
SC-V4082, Young Media Library
Bitter harvest; Laura Clay’s suffrage work, by Clavia Goodman.
B C5784g, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection 

Laura Clay papers, 1882-1941,
PA46M4, Special Collections Research Center

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 6, 1888 – James Haven Lamont Gillespie

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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

James Haven Lamont Gillespie, songwriter, was born in Covington, Kentucky, on February 6, 1888, the son of William F. and Anna (Reilly) Gillespie. Haven Gillespie, as he was known, worked as a printer for newspapers including the Cincinnati Times-Star and the New York Times. Even after he became a successful songwriter, he kept his membership active in the printer's union. Gillespie wrote more than a thousand popular songs including " Violet Blue" (1912), " Drifting and Dreaming" (1925), " Breezin' Along with the Breeze" (1926), " Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (1934), " Lucky Old Sun" (1949), and " I Love to Dream" (1972). His songs have been hits for such stars as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Rudy Vallee, the Andrews Sisters, Tony Bennett, and George Strait. Gillespie's chief collaborator was composer J. Fred Coots; he also worked with Richard Whiting, Larry Shay, and Beasley Smith. Gillespie received a Freedoms Foundation award in 1950 for " God's Country" (1950) and an ASCAP award for country music in 1985 for " Right or Wrong" (1921). Gillespie, a reformed alcoholic, was a strong supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Gillespie married Corene Parker on March 1, 1909, in Covington; they had one son, Haven Lamont. Corene died in 1958. Gillespie then married Josephine Kruempleman. They were divorced in 1970. Gillespie died in Las Vegas on March 14, 1975, and was buried there.

CHARLES D. KING, Entry Author


Source from UK Libraries:

Drifting and dreaming : the story of songwriter Haven Gillespie / by William E. First with Pasco E. First.
ML423.G55 F57 1998, Special Collections Research Center - Room 019

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 4, 1808 - Oliver Frazer

 Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

Oliver Frazer, portraitist, was born on February 4, 1808, in Fayette County , Kentucky, to Alexander and Nancy (Oliver) Frazer. In 1825 he left school to study art with Matthew Harris Jouett . After Jouett died in 1827, Frazer left Kentucky for Philadelphia, becoming a pupil of Thomas Sully. Around 1830 Frazer returned to Lexington to begin work as a portrait painter. Frazer sailed for France in May 1834 to study the Old Masters; he studied painting in Paris under Thomas Couture and Baron Antoine-Jean Gros. During 1835-36 Frazer visited major museums in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and England. Returning to Lexington in 1838, he opened a portrait studio at 12 East Main Street. During the next few years, Frazer painted portraits of Mrs. Henry Clay, Jr. (Julia Prather), Richard H. Menefee, Joel T. Hart, Waller Bullock Redd, Col. William Robertson McKee, and other notable Kentuckians. Four portraits of Henry Clay are known to be the work of Frazer, including the well-known likeness of the aging statesman ca. 1851.
In 1838 Frazer married Martha Bell Mitchell of Lexington, niece of Mrs. Matthew Jouett. They lived in a small house on Georgetown Road in Fayette County for the first few years of their marriage. In the late 1850s they moved into nearby Eothan (now Malvern Hill), built by the Rev. James Moore. Failing eyesight in his later years forced Frazer to cease painting. He died on April 9, 1864, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery .  

Selected  Sources from UK Libraries:

Jouett-Bush-Frazer: early Kentucky artists.
ND236 .F5, Young Library – Reference

Jouett, Bush, and Frazer : an historical and stylistic analysis / by William Barrow Floyd.
Theses 1967, Young Library - Theses 5th Floor Rotunda

The old masters of the Bluegrass [electronic resource] : Jouett, Bush, Grimes, Frazer, Morgan, Hart / by General Samuel Woodson Price ... member of the Filson Club.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 3, 1819 - Amelia B. (Coppuck) Welby

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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Amelia B. (Coppuck) Welby, poet, daughter of William and Mary Coppuck, was born in St. Michael's, Maryland, on February 3, 1819. She went to school in Baltimore, where her family had moved shortly after her birth. In 1833 they moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and in 1834 to Louisville. Her poetry was published in the Louisville Journal in 1837, and under the tutelage of the paper's editor, George D. Prentice , her popularity grew. In 1845 Poems By Amelia was published, and by 1860 it had reached its seventeenth edition. This collection touched on a variety of topics: love, death, children, nature, religion, and brides. Her best-known poem was " The Rainbow." In June 1838 Amelia Coppuck married George Welby, a Louisville businessman, and in March 1852 she gave birth to a son. She died on May 3, 1852, and was buried in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery.


William Ward, A Literary History of Kentucky (Knoxville, Tenn.,1988).

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Poems / by Amelia [pseud.]
PS3158.W3 P6 1845, Special Collections Research Center

Poems. By Amelia [pseud.]
PS3158.W3 P6 1846, Special Collections Research Center
811 W441a, Special Collections Research Center

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 5, 1897 - Mona Bismarck

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From Wikipedia –
(accessed February 3, 2015)

Mona Travis Strader (February 5, 1897 – July 10, 1983), known as Mona Bismarck, was an American socialite and fashion icon. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958.[1]

She was born Mona Travis Strader in Louisville, Kentucky in 1897 to Robert Sims Strader and his wife, Bird O'Shockeny. Her parents divorced in 1902, and Mona and her brother were raised in Lexington, Kentucky, by their paternal grandmother.[2] 

Through their mother, Patricia Strader, Mona was the great-aunt to racers David "Salt" Walther and George "Skipp" Walther III.[3]
In 1917, she married Henry J. Schlesinger, a man 18 years her senior who owned Fairland Farm in Lexington where her father was a professional trainer, and moved to Milwaukee where he had an iron and coke business. During the marriage, Mona bore a son, Robert Henry, whom she left in the custody of Schlesinger in exchange for half a million dollars when they divorced in 1920. (Her son would marry Frederica Barker, elder sister of actor Lex Barker.) In 1921, she married the banker James Irving Bush, 14 years her senior, said to be the "handsomest man in America".[4] They divorced in Paris in 1925.
In 1926, Mona opened a New York dress shop with her friend Laura Merriam Curtis, the daughter of William Rush "Spooky" Merriam, a former Governor of Minnesota. At the time, Laura was previously engaged to Harrison Williams, said to be the richest man in America with an estimated fortune of $600 million ($8,000,000,000 in today dollars), made in financing public utilities. On July 2, 1926, Mona married Williams, a widower 24 years her senior.[5] For their honeymoon they went on a cruise around the world on Williams' Warrior, at the time, the largest, most expensive pleasure boat in the world.
When they returned from their honeymoon, Williams bought the Georgian mansion at the corner of 94th Street & Fifth Avenue designed by Delano & Aldrich in 1915 for Willard Straight. Mona had it decorated by Syrie Maugham. They also kept an estate named Oak Point on Bayville Avenue, Bayville, Long Island, for which Delano & Aldrich also did alterations. They kept a home on North Ocean Avenue in Palm Beach, and the villa Il Fortino overlooking Capri's Marina Grande, on land which belonged first to Caesar Augustus, and later to the Emperor Tiberius.
In 1933, Mona was named "The Best Dressed Woman in the World" by Chanel, Molyneux, Vionnet, Lelong, and Lanvin, becoming the first American to be so honored. The Duchess of Windsor (1934) and Elsie de Wolfe (1935) would also earn that title.
In "Ridin' High", (1936) Cole Porter had Ethel Merman sing: "What do I care if Mrs. Harrison Williams is the best dressed woman in town?" In 1943, Mona's portrait was painted by Salvador Dalí.
Williams died in 1953; and in January 1955, Mona married her "secretary" Albrecht Edzard Heinrich Karl, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen (1903-1970), an "interior decorator" of an aristocratic sort and the son of Herbert von Bismarck and grandson of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, civilly in New Jersey and, in February 1956, religiously in Rome. They lived mostly in Paris at an apartment in the famed Hôtel Lambert, later at Mona's townhouse at 34 avenue de New York, and at Capri.

In 1970, Mona was widowed again and, in 1971, married Bismarck's physician, "Count" Umberto de Martini, a nobleman (after Mona acquired a title for him from King Umberto II of Italy), who was 14 years younger than she. It was only after his death in a sports car accident in 1979 (later referenced by socialites as "Martini on the rocks") that Mona realized that de Martini, like Bismarck, had married her for her money (exactly the same way she had married Schlesinger, Bush and Williams, so many years before), only de Martini turned out to be already married and had been secretly bilking Mona of funds for his children.
When Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his atelier in 1968, Diana Vreeland quipped that Mona did not leave her bedroom in the villa at Capri for three days. Mona donated her papers and photos to the Filson Historical Society in 1976, and several items of unique jewelry to the Smithsonian Institution, including the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace.
In Truman Capote's Answered Prayers (1987), she was the model for the character Kate McCloud.
Mona died in 1983, her will having established the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture in Paris. She is buried at Bayville, on Long Island.
1.    VF Staff (1958). "World's Best Dressed Women". The International Hall of Fame: Women. Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
2.    Birchfield, James D (1997). Kentucky Countess: Mona Bismarck in Art & Fashion (first ed.). University of Kentucky Art Museum. ISBN 978-1-882007-14-1. 
3.    "Tampa Bay Times "Tomboy socialite Patt Joannides loved speed and the finer things", dated June 8, 2012". Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
4.    "JAMES I. BUSH WEDS MRS MONA T. STRADER;". New York Times. October 27, 1921. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
5.    Molotsky, Irvin (May 20, 1984). "HARRISON WILLIAMS MARRIES MRS. BUSH". New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
Further Reading:
  • Birchfield, James. Kentucky Countess: Mona Bismarck in Art and Fashion. Lexington: University of Kentucky Art Museum, 1997.
  • Tapert, Annette & Edkins, Diana, The Power of Style - The Women Who Defined The Art of Living Well, Crown Publishers, New York, 1994.
External Links
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Kentucky countess : Mona Bismarck in art & fashion / James D. Birchfield
CT275.B57 B570 1997, Fine Arts Library

"Legendary Figures In The World Of Taste." Architectural Digest 56.4 (1999): 74
NA730.C2 A7, Design Library

Weaver, W. "The Last Images Of Il Fortino." Architectural Digest 46.2 (1989): 32.
NA730.C2 A7, Design Library