Thursday, November 6, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
November 6, 1814 - William Wells Brown


Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

William Wells Brown, novelist and historian, was born a slave in 1814 on the farm of Dr. John Young near Lexington, Kentucky. His mother, Elizabeth, is said to have been the daughter of Simon Lee, a slave soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his father may have been a cousin to his owner. At an early age, Brown moved to a farm near St. Louis with his owners' household. In 1834 Brown escaped to Ohio from the job he held on a river steamboat. He was aided by a Quaker named Wells Brown and in gratitude he adopted the Quaker's name as his own.

Brown made his way to Cleveland, where he worked at a variety of jobs, from barber to banker. As a steward on a Lake Erie steamboat, he was able to ferry sixty-nine fugitive slaves to freedom. Two years later Brown moved to Buffalo, New York, where he was active in temperance reform. In 1845 he moved to Farmington, Massachusetts, to take part in the strong abolitionist movement developing there.

After Brown wrote Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave, Written by Himself (1847), his reputation as an abolitionist spokesman grew, along with fears that fugitive slave bounty hunters would carry him back to slavery. In 1849 he represented the American Peace Society at the world Peace Conference in Paris. He remained in Europe in voluntary exile for five years. During that time he was a regular speaker at abolition meetings and published his first novel, Clotel; or, the President's Daughter: a Narrative of Slave Life in the United States, With a Sketch of the Author's Life (1853). This book was a fictional account of Thomas Jefferson's alleged long-term relationship with his slave mistress, Sally Hemmings, portraying the dehumanizing effects slavery had on her and their children. Considered too controversial for publication in this country, the book was first published in England and went through several printings and a number of changes before being published in the United States in 1864 with all references to Jefferson removed. Over the next thirty years, Brown wrote on the history of slavery, the black experience in America, and the role of black soldiers in the Civil War . He published a collection of slave songs and a five-act play based on his own escape from slavery. His writings, though not literary masterpieces, are significant because Brown was among the country's first and best-known black historians, authors, and playwrights.

Brown was married twice, first in 1834 to Elizabeth Schooner of Cleveland, then to Annie Elizabeth Gray of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. He was survived by two daughters, Clarissa and Josephine. He died on November 6, 1884, and was buried in the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Cemetery.


Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

My southern home ; or, the South and its people / by William Wells Brown ; edited and with an introduction by John Ernest.
E185 .B88 2011, Young Library - 4th Floor

Biography of an American bondman [electronic resource] / by His daughter [i.e., Josephine Brown].

Narrative of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave / written by himself.
E444 .B88 1848, Special Collections Research Center

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
September 25, 1948 - Dan Issel

Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Daniel Paul Issel, Hall of Fame basketball player, son of Robert and Eleanor (Meyer) Issel, was born on, in September 25, 1948 Batavia, Illinois. His family moved to Missouri but returned to Batavia when he was twelve. Issel, a center who enrolled in the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1966, left in 1970 after three years of varsity ball as the men's career scoring leader. He scored 2,138 points (25.7 per game), and he was an All-American in his last two years. He also set the UK scoring record for points in a single game, fifty-three, against the University of Mississippi in 1970. While Issel was at Kentucky the Wildcats won seventy-one games, lost only twelve, and won three Southeastern Conference championships.

In 1970 Issel signed a contract to play professional basketball with the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association. In 1975 he was traded to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Denver Nuggets. Although he was a short center at six feet, eight inches, when he retired he had scored more than 25,000 points and ranked fourth on the all-time NBA list behind Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Julius Erving.

Issel retired in 1985 to Courtland Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, to breed and train thoroughbreds. He sold the farm in 1988 and returned to Denver to work in the Nuggets' front office, but maintained horses in Kentucky and occasionally returned for the Keeneland sales. Issel married Cheri Hughes of Lexington, who was a UK cheerleader, in 1969. They have two children, Sheridan and Scott.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Parting shots/ Dan Issel with Buddy Martin.
GV884.I77 A35 1985, Special Collections Research Center

The history of University of Kentucky basketball [videorecording] / [produced by Giant Productions with Collegiate Images].
AV-D6828, Young Media Library

Wildcat memories : inside stories from Kentucky basketball greats / Doug Brunk ; foreword by Dan Issel.
GV885.43.U53 B78 2014, Young Library - 4th Floor

Kids and Kentuckians II : biographies of famous living Kentuckians / the third and eight grade students of St. Pius X Elementary School, Louisville, Kentucky.
CT236 .K53 1993 , Special Collections Research Center
Birth dates of Famous Kentuckians
September 25, 1919 – John Ed Pearce

      Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

One of the most widely read writers in Kentucky in 1990, John Ed Pearce was born on September 25, 1919, in Norton, Virginia, to John Edward and Susan (Leslie) Pearce. He spent part of his boyhood in Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky . Pearce served as a navy officer in World War II and in the reserve until 1977, retiring as a commander. He worked as editor of the Somerset Journal before joining the Louisville Courier-Journal in 1946. An editorial writer for twenty-five years, he is known to his fans as John Ed.
Admired as a newspaper columnist and an author, appreciated as a raconteur and historian, Pearce has attracted respect as a political pundit who wields a witty but caustic pen. He is a fixture at the Courier-Journal, where even after his retirement in 1986 he has continued to write his Sunday column. His column also appears regularly in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Pearce has won a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard, a Governor's Medallion for Public Service, a share in a Pulitzer Prize, and Headliner, Meeman, and American Bar Association awards. He was named outstanding Kentucky journalist by Sigma Delta Chi, and is a member of the University of Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. He is the author of Nothing Better on the Market (1970), The Colonel (1982), Seasons (1983), Divide and Dissent (1987), and The Ohio River (1989). He has served on the boards of the Kentucky state park system and the Filson Club, as chairman of the Kentucky Oral History Commission, and as an instructor for the National War College. Pearce has been married twice, to Jean McIntire and Virginia Rutledge, and has five daughters, Susan, Martha, Virginia, Elizabeth, and Alida.

JAMES S. POPE, JR. , Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

John Ed Pearce Oral History Project [sound recording].
OHJEP, Special Collections Research Center - Oral History Collection

On the Ohio with John Ed Pearce [videorecording].
AV-V2993, Young Media Library

Memoirs : 50 years at the Courier-Journal and other places / John Ed Pearce.
PN4874.P33 M460 1997, Young Library - 4th Floor

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
September 25, 1953 - bell hooks

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From - The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database -

hooks, bell [Gloria Jean Watkins]
Birth Year : 1955
She was born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, KY, the daughter of Rosa Bell and Veodis Watkins, but goes by the name bell hooks, which she prefers to spell without capitalization. hooks is a professor, feminist, cultural critic, poet, and author of more than 30 books, including Ain't I a Woman, Breaking Bread, and four children's books that include Happy to be Nappy and Be Boy Buzz. She is considered one of the foremost African American intellectuals. hooks is a graduate of Crispus Attucks High School in Hopkinsville, Stanford University (B.A.), the University of Wisconsin at Madison (M.A.), and the University of Santa Cruz (Ph.D.). After almost 30 years of teaching in California, Connecticut, New York, and Ohio, in 2004 she returned to Kentucky to join the faculty at Berea College as a Distinguished Professor in Residence. For more see Feminist Writers, ed. by P. Kester-Shelton; The African American Almanac, 8th & 9th ed.; Current Biography: World Authors 1900-1995 (updated 1999) [available via Biography Reference Bank]; and bell hooks, feminist scholar, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #416 [available online].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Migration West, Poets, Children's Books and Music
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / California / Connecticut / New York / Ohio / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky


Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

bell hooks [videorecording] : cultural criticism & transformation / Media Education Foundation ; produced and directed by Sut Jhaly.
AV-D6822, Young Media Library

Breaking bread : insurgent Black intellectual life / by bell hooks and Cornel West.
E185.86 .H735 1991, Young Library - 4th Floor

Be boy buzz / bell hooks ; illustrated by Chris Raschka.
JE HOO , Education Library - Children's New Book Shelf
Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
November 23, 1949 0 Gayl A. Jones


Image from
From The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database -
Jones, Gayl A.
Birth Year : 1949
Born in Lexington, KY, Gayl A. Jones is a noted author. In the 1970s when she published Corregidora, Eva's Man, and White Rat. She is also a poet, short story writer, and novelist. She was a faculty member at the University of Michigan. Jones left the school in 1984 and lived for a while in Europe. She published The Healing in 1998, the year of her husband's suicide, after their return to the U.S.; they had settled in Lexington. Gayl Jones is the daughter of Franklin and Lucille Watson Jones. She is a graduate of Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Connecticut College (B.A.), and Brown University (M.A. & Ph.D.). For more see "The Saddest Story," Time Canada, vol. 151, issue 9, p. 42; The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature, edited by C. Buck; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and World Authors 1990-1995, by C. Thompson.

See photo image of Gayl A. Jones at the University of Michigan website.
Authors, Education and Educators, Poets, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Suicide
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Flint, Michigan / Europe
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Gayl Jones [sound recording] / University of Kentucky, University Extension in cooperation with the Dept. of English.
CT 85-7, Special Collections Research Center

Corregidora / Gayl Jones.
SF J7165co 1976, Special Collections Research Center - Fiction Collection

Gayl Jones : the language of voice and freedom in her writings / Casey Clabough ; foreword by Daniel Cross Turner.
PS3560.O483 Z73 2008, Young Library - 5th Floor

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
January 17, 1875 – Cora Wilson Stewart


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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Cora (Wilson) Stewart, pioneer in adult education, was born to Dr. Jeremiah and Annie Eliza (Hally) Wilson on January 17, 1875, and reared in Farmers, Rowan County, Kentucky. She attended Morehead Normal School and the National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio, and then began a teaching career in her home county in 1895. She quickly earned a reputation as an outstanding educator, and in 1901 she was elected Rowan County school superintendent. In 1904 she married Alexander T. Stewart, a Rowan County school teacher. Cora Stewart was reelected school superintendent in 1909 and two years later became the first woman president of the Kentucky Educational Association .

In 1911 Stewart launched an experimental adult education program, the moonlight school, to combat illiteracy in her home county. In 1923 Stewart was elected to the executive committee of the National Education Association. Six years later President Herbert Hoover named her to chair the executive committee of the National Advisory Committee on Illiteracy. She also presided over the illiteracy section of the World Conference on Education. Success and recognition brought prizes and honors. In 1924, for example, she received Pictorial Review's $5,000 achievement prize for her contribution to human welfare, and in 1930 she accepted the Ella Flagg Young Medal for distinguished service in the field of education.

She moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1936 and subsequently to various rest homes in North Carolina. She died on December 2, 1958, and was buried in Tryon, North Carolina.
JAMES M. GIFFORD, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Cora Wilson Stewart and the illiteracy crusade : Moonlight schools and progressive reform / by Yvonne Honeycutt Baldwin.
Theses 1996, Young Library - Theses 5th Floor Stacks

Cora Wilson Stewart : crusader against illiteracy / by Willie Nelms.
LA2317.S826 N45 1997, Young Library - 4th Floor

Cora Wilson Stewart Oral History Project [sound recording].
OHCWS, Special Collections Research Center - Oral History Collection

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
January 30, 1945 - Michael Dorris

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From Wikipedia -

Michael Anthony Dorris (January 30, 1945[1] – April 10, 1997) was an American novelist and scholar who was the first Chair of the Native American Studies program at Dartmouth. [2][3] His works include the memoir, The Broken Cord (1989) and the novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987). He was married to author Louise Erdrich and the two frequently collaborated in their writing. He committed suicide in 1997 while police were investigating allegations that he had abused his daughters.
The Broken Cord, which won the 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, helped provoke Congress to approve legislation to warn of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.[4]

Michael Dorris was born in Louisville, Kentucky[1][5] to Jim and Mary Besy (Burkhardt) Dorris. His father died before Dorris was born (reportedly by suicide during WWII), and Dorris was raised as an only child by his mother, who became a secretary for the Democratic Party.[6] It has been reported that two maternal relatives also help raise him, either two aunts,[6] or an aunt and his maternal grandmother.[1] In his youth he spent summers with his father's relatives on reservations in Washington and Montana.[1] In an article published in New York magazine two months after Dorris's death, a reporter quoted the Modoc tribal historian as saying, "Dorris was probably the descendant of a white man named Dorris whom records show befriended the Modocs on the West Coast just before and after the Modoc War of 1873. Even so, there is no record of a Dorris having been enrolled as an Indian citizen on the Klamath rolls."[6] The Washington Post provides a contrary report of Dorris's descent: "Dorris' father's mother, who was white, became pregnant by her Indian boyfriend, but, the times being what they were, she could not marry him. She later married a white man named Dorris."[7]

He received his BA (cum laude) in English and Classics from Georgetown University in 1967 and a Masters degree from Yale University in 1971 in anthropology, after beginning studies for a theater degree.[1] He did his field work in Alaska studying the effects of off shore drilling on the Native Alaskan communities.[5] In 1972, Dorris helped form Dartmouth College's Native American Studies department,[8] and was its first Chair.[4]
In 1971, he became one of the first unmarried men in the United States to adopt a child.[8][9] His adopted son, a three-year-old Lakota boy named Reynold Abel, was eventually diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. Dorris' struggle to understand and care for his son became the subject of his work The Broken Cord (in which he uses the pseudonym "Adam" for his son). Dorris adopted two more Native American children, Jeffrey Sava in 1974 and Madeline Hannah in 1976, both of whom also likely suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.[10] In 1975, he wrote the text to accompany the photographs of Joseph C. Farber in the book Native Americans: Five Hundred Years After.[11] He was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1977 for his work in Anthropology & Cultural Studies.[12] In 1980, he and his 3 adopted children left their home in Cornish, New Hampshire to spend a year's sabbatical in New Zealand.[5]

After returning to the United States, in 1981 he married Louise Erdrich,[4] a writer of German-American, Métis and Anishinaabe descent, whom he had initially met ten years earlier while he was teaching at Dartmouth and she was a student.[6] During his sabbatical in New Zealand, Dorris and Erdrich had begun corresponding regularly by mail.[5] After their marriage, she adopted his three children and eventually gave birth to their three daughters: Persia Andromeda, Pallas Antigone, and Aza Marion.[4] Erdrich and Dorris contributed to each others' writing[4] and together wrote romance fiction under the pseudonym Milou North to supplement their income, with many of their works being published in the British magazine Woman[13] Erdrich dedicated her novels The Beet Queen (1986)[6] and Tracks[14] (1988) to Dorris. The family lived in Cornish, New Hampshire.[15]

While teaching at Dartmouth, Dorris frequently mentored other students and was part of the successful effort to get rid of the college's Indian mascot.[5] In 1985, after the couple had received major grants, the family moved for a year to Northfield, Minnesota.[5]

Beginning in 1986, his son Sava was sent to boarding school and military school.[6] Madaline began going to boarding school when she was 12.[5] After the success of The Broken Cord in 1989, and an advance of $1.5 million for the outline of Crown of Columbus, Dorris quit teaching at Dartmouth to become a full time writer.[5] In 1992, his oldest son Reynold Abel was hit by a car and killed.[16] Dorris, Erdrich and their three daughters moved to Kalispell, Montana, allegedly because of death threats that Sava had made towards them.[5] They later moved back to New Hampshire in 1993,[5] and then to the Piper Mansion in Minneapolis.[6]

Sava sent a letter to the couple in 1994 threatening to "destroy their lives" and demanding money. Dorris and Erdrich took Sava to court for attempted felony theft. The first jury deadlocked, and the next year Sava was acquitted of the charges.[5]

The couple separated, and Dorris went for treatment of alcohol abuse at Hazelden.[6] Dorris and Erdrich divorced in 1996,[17] Dorris considered himself "addicted to" Erdrich and fell into a depression.[17]

Madeline[5] and two of his biological daughters made allegations of abuse against him.[4] Dorris made a failed suicide attempt in March 1997.[17] On April 10, 1997, Dorris used a combination of suffocation, drugs, and alcohol to commit suicide in the Brick Tower Motor Inn in Concord, New Hampshire. In conversations with friends, Dorris maintained his innocence and his lack of faith that the legal system would exonerate him without him "demolishing" his wife and children in a "vicious" court trial.[17] With his death, the criminal investigations into the sexual abuse allegations were closed.[18]

Dorris is the author, co-author, or editor of a dozen books in the areas of fiction, memoir and essays and non-fiction.

His Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987) has been named among the "finest literary debuts of the late 20th century."[8] It tells the story of three generations of women in a non-linear fashion from multiple perspectives, a technique that Dorris would frequently use in his later writings as well.[17]

His memoir The Broken Cord is credited with bringing "international attention to the problem of fetal alcohol syndrome".[9] The book won a number of awards including the Christopher Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for General non-fiction.[19] The book is credited with inspiring Congressional legislation on FAS,[17] and was the basis for a made-for TV film,[17] with Jimmy Smits playing Dorris.[6] In an essay originally published in the Wicazo Sa Review, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn criticizes Dorris and Erdrich (who had written the Foreword), claiming that they are calling for the jailing alcoholic Native mothers during their pregnancies to forestall fetal alcohol syndrome.[20]

When he and Erdrich co-wrote The Crown of Columbus (the only fiction that they officially share credit, although they frequently stated that they collaborated on many of each other's works), each would individually produce a preliminary draft of each section.[21] Within the novel, various characters are writing collaborators, and the work has been identified as an autobiographical representation of creative "pleasure and problems" Dorris and Erdrich shared.[22]

His 1997 Cloud Chamber continued the story of the families introduced in Yellow Raft in Blue Water; telling "the hard story of hard people living difficult lives with much courage" (LA Times Book Review) and is written with "evocative prose" (Publishers Weekly).[23]

Dorris published three works for young adults during his life, and The Window was published after his death. Like his other work, the novels explored issues of identity, as well as sibling rivalry.[17]


1.     Sharp, Michael D. (2006-09-01). Popular Contemporary Writers: Index Volume. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 551–. ISBN 9780761476016. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
      2.     "Michael Dorris". Retrieved 2013-10-24.
3.     "History". 1970-03-02. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
4.     O'Reilly, Andrea (2010-04-06). Encyclopedia of Motherhood. SAGE Publications. pp. 5–. ISBN 9781412968461. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
5.     COLIN COVERT (Aug 3, 1997). "The anguished life of Michael Dorris". Retrieved 16 December 2012.
6.     New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. 1997-06-16. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
7.     Streitfield 1997
8.     JOSIE RAWSON (APR 21, 1997). "A broken life -". Salon. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
9.     "Michael Dorris; Chronicler of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome". Los Angeles Times. April 15, 1997. Retrieved 6 December 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help); |coauthors= requires |author= (help)
10. Kate Falvey (2010). Andrea O'Reilly, ed. Encyclopedia of Motherhood, Volume 1. Sage. p. 355.
11. Linda Ledford-Miller. Emmanuel Sampath Nelson, ed. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature A–C. Greenwood Press. p. 609.
12. "Search Results 1977". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
13. Lorena Laura Stookey (1999). Louise Erdrich: A Critical Companion. Greenwood Press. p. 4.
14. Quennet, Fabienne C. (2001). Where 'Indians' Fear to Tread?: A Postmoden Reading of Louise Erdrich's North Dakota Quartet. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 223–. ISBN 9783825855987. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
15. Coltelli, Laura (1992). Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 42–. ISBN 9780803263512. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
16. Couser, G. Thomas (2004). Vulnerable Subjects: Ethics and Life Writing. Cornell University Press. pp. 209–. ISBN 9780801488634. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
17. Carnes, Mark C. (2005-05-12). American National Biography: Supplement 2: Supplement 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 149–. ISBN 9780195222029. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
18. Rawson, Josie (1997). "a broken life". Salon.
19. O'Connor, Maureen (2011-08-23). Life Stories: A Guide to Reading Interests in Memoirs, Autobiographies, and Diaries. ABC-CLIO. pp. 268–. ISBN 9781610691468. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
20. Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth. 2001. Anti-Indianism in Modern America: A Voice from Tatekeya's Earth. University of Illinois Press. p81
21. Laird, Holly A. (2000-05-11). Women Coauthors. University of Illinois Press. pp. 307–. ISBN 9780252025471. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
22. Karell, Linda K. (2002). Writing Together, Writing Apart: Collaboration in Western American Literature. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 202–. ISBN 9780803227491. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
23. Lesher, Linda Parent (2000-02-01). The Best Novels of the Nineties: A Reader's Guide. McFarland. pp. 203–. ISBN 9780786407422. Retrieved 6 December 2012.

References consulted

  • "Michael Dorris." Newsmakers 1997, Issue 4. Gale Research, 1997.
  • Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2005.
  • Gleick, Elizabeth. "An imperfect union." Time, April 28, 1997 v149 n17 p68(2)
  • "Michael Anthony Dorris." Notable Native Americans. Gale Research, 1995.

Other reading

  • Vizenor, Gerald Robert. 1999. Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance. University of Nebraska Press.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
The broken cord / Michael Dorris ; with a foreword by Louise Erdrich.
RG629.F45 D67 1990b, Young Library - 5th Floor

A yellow raft in blue water / Michael Dorris.
PS3554.O695 Y4 1987, Young Library - 5th Floor

Interview with Michael Dorris, November 23rd, 1992
1993OH069 KW 052, Special Collections Research Center, Louis B Nunn Center for Oral History