Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 11, 1771 - Ephraim McDowell

Ephraim McDowell.
Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B017755).

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia - 

Ephraim McDowell, physician and surgeon who introduced pioneering techniques in abdominal surgery, was born on November 11, 1771, in Augusta (later Rockbridge) County, Virginia. He was the ninth of eleven children of Samuel and Mary (McClung) McDowell. His family moved to Danville, Kentucky, in 1784. Schooled in Georgetown and Bardstown, McDowell studied medicine with Alexander Humphreys of Staunton, Virginia, attended a course of lectures at the University of Edinburgh School of Medicine, and studied anatomy and surgery with John Bell.
McDowell returned to Danville in 1795 and built a busy practice, earning a regional reputation as a skillful anatomist and surgeon, widely consulted by other practitioners. McDowell did not keep notes on his cases, however, and published only two articles, both of them in an obscure journal, the Eclectic Repertory And Analytical Review. Recognition of the significance of his work came slowly and only decades after he performed the first successful ovariotomy, on Christmas Day 1809. The forty-seven-year-old patient, Jane (Todd) Crawford, who had been thought to be pregnant with twins, was in fact suffering from a large cystic ovarian tumor that weighed more than twenty pounds.
In a letter describing the surgical procedure that would subsequently bring him international fame, McDowell said he had warned Crawford that four of the "most eminent Surgeons in England and Scotland had uniformly declared in their Lectures that such was the danger of Peritoneal Inflammation, that opening the abdomen to extract the tumor was inevitable death. But notwithstanding this, if she thought herself prepared to die, I would take the lump from her if she could come to Danville." The surgery went well and Crawford was "perfectly well in twenty-five days." McDowell performed the operation well before the discovery of the importance of aseptic techniques or the introduction of anaesthetics.
McDowell performed the procedure at least eleven additional times, with but one death. He was one of the first surgical pathologists, carefully preserving and studying specimens removed during surgical procedures. Dr. Samuel D. Gross, a professor of surgery in the school of medicine of the University of Louisville during the 1840s and 1850s, publicized McDowell's accomplishments and secured for McDowell his proper place in the annals of abdominal and gynecological surgery. McDowell was one of the founders of Centre College in Danville, and between 1819 and 1829 served on the college's board of trustees.
On December 29, 1802, McDowell married Sarah Hart Shelby, the daughter of the first governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby (1792-96 and 1812-16). The couple had six children, five of whom survived: Susan, Mary, Adaline, Catherine, and William Wallace. McDowell died on June 25, 1830, and is buried in Danville.

ALLEN J. SHARE, Entry Author
Selected Sources at UK Libraries:

Biography of Ephraim McDowell, M.D., “the father of ovariotomy.” By his granddaughter, Mary Young Ridenbaugh. Together with valuable scientific treatises and articles relating to ovariotomy and eulogistic letters from eminent members of the medical profession.
B M148r, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection
Life and times of Ephraim McDowell / by Laman A. Gray ; edited by Oscar Bryant.
R154.M32 G720 1980, Young Library - 5TH Floor
Ephraim McDowell’s Kentucky ride [video recording] / producer, Jo Gladstone.
AV-V2244, Young Media Library

Monday, November 9, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 9, 1845 - Martin Van Buren Bates


From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Martin Van Buren Bates, known as the "Giant of Letcher County" for his extreme height, was the son of John W. and Sarah Bates, born on November 9, 1845, in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Although none of his family members was above average height, Bates at age fifteen was already six feet tall, and by twenty- eight he had reached his maximum height of seven feet, eleven and a half inches, and weighed 478 pounds.

Bates was attending Emory and Henry College in Virginia when the Civil War broke out. On September 15, 1861, he joined the 5th Kentucky Infantry under the command of John S. Williams. He was promoted to first lieutenant of Virginia State Line Troop's Company A and was later raised to the rank of captain, serving until the end of the war. Bates moved to Cincinnati and on July 18, 1865, began to use his size for monetary gain by touring in exhibitions throughout the United States and Canada. In November 1870 Bates went to Elizabeth, New Jersey, to meet with his manager, Judge H.P. Ingalls, who was making plans for a group exhibit in Europe. In New Jersey Bates met Anna Hanen Swan, the "Giantess of Novia Scotia," equal to him in height, who had recently toured Europe with P.T. Barnum. The two were married on June 17, 1871, in London while on tour. They were received by Queen Victoria on three occasions. Returning to the United States in July 1874, the couple purchased a farm in Seville, Ohio, where they custom-built a house with fourteen-foot-high ceilings, eight-and-a-half-foot doorways, and specially made furniture. Bates used Norman-bred draft horses to farm and a pair of Clydesdales pulled their carriage.

On several occasions the couple returned to the road, traveling with W.W. Cole's Circus, Menagerie and Museum. Throughout his life, Bates never toured with Barnum, and rarely traveled with tent circuses, preferring instead to hold receptions where he and his wife could meet with guests. He wrote an autobiography, The Kentucky River Giant (probably published posthumously), which described the couple's life. The Bateses had two children, both of whom died at birth. Their daughter was born on May 19, 1872, in London. A son, born on January 18, 1879, in Seville, was thirty inches long, and weighed twenty- three and three-fourths pounds; it was claimed to be the largest human baby born up to that time.

Anna Bates died on August 5, 1889, and was buried in Seville's Mound Hill Cemetery, where Martin built a memorial to her. He married Lavonne Weatherby in 1900. The giant died on January 14, 1919, and was buried next to his first wife.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
A historical sketch of the tallest man and wife that has ever existed, Captain Martin Van Buren Bates and Mrs. Bates, formerly Anna Swan … / by Martin Van Buren Bates.
B B3185, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

There were giants on the earth! / by Lee Cavin.
B B3185ca, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

Friday, November 6, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable 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, November 5, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 5, 1898 – John Winston Coleman, Jr.



Image from 
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia 

John Winston ("Squire") Coleman, Jr., author and historian, eldest son of John Winston and Mary Shelby (Payne) Coleman, was born on November 5, 1898, in Lexington, Kentucky. He grew up on the family farm in Fayette County and received his early education in Lexington at Miss Ella M. Williams's Private School and at Morton High School, where he graduated in 1916. Coleman attended the University of Kentucky and received a bachelor of science degree in 1920 and a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1929. Between 1920 and 1924 he worked in Louisville for American Telephone & Telegraph; in Albany, New York, for Fort Orange Paper Co.; and in Hazard, Kentucky, for Green & Taylor Electric Company. He returned to Lexington in the spring of 1924 and, with John W. Davis, formed a residential construction company that functioned until 1936. Coleman then moved to Winburn farm on 240 acres in Fayette County he had inherited from his parents, and began farming. He sold the land in March 1966 and retired to the city of Lexington.

Coleman began researching, collecting, and writing Kentucky history in 1932 and became renowned for his work in state and local history, especially on the Bluegrass region. He wrote more than 150 pamphlets and articles on various Kentucky topics and more than twenty books; the first, Masonry in the Bluegrass, was published in 1933. His better known works are Stage-coach Days in the Bluegrass (1935), Slavery Times in Kentucky (1940), A Bibliography of Kentucky History (1949), The Springs of Kentucky (1955), Historic Kentucky (1967), and Kentucky: A Pictorial History (1972). He belonged to an informal group of historians called the Book Thieves that met monthly. Coleman's private collection on Kentucky history included approximately 3,500 books, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, atlases, and more than two thousand photographs and negatives. Coleman donated most of his large collection of Kentuckiana to Transylvania University.

During his life, Coleman received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including doctor of letters from Eastern Kentucky University , doctor of literature from University of Kentucky (1949), and doctor of law from Transylvania University (1969).

Coleman married Burnetta (Zumwalt) Mullen on October 15, 1930. He died on May 4, 1983, and was buried in the Lexington cemetery .
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Here I have lived : a brief summary of my life story / by J. Winston Coleman.
B C6771he, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection
J. Winston Coleman, Jr. : a biographical sketch with a review of his writings / by Virginia Davis.
F456.C66 D38 1979, Young Library - 4th Floor
Squire's memoirs : life story / of J. Winston Coleman, Jr., Kentucky author and historian and resident of Lexington, Kentucky.
B C6771sq 1976, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

Monday, November 2, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 2, 1734 – Daniel Boone

Image - Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson)

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

US frontiersman. He was born in Pennsylvania to Quaker parents and moved with them to western North Carolina. He had little formal education but learned to hunt and trap. After working as a blacksmith in North Carolina he travelled to Kentucky in 1767-68 through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains (1769-71), becoming one of the first to explore the area. In 1775 he marked out the Wilderness Road and founded Boonesborough on the Kentucky River. Twice captured by Native Americans, he repeatedly (1775-78) repelled their attacks and became famed for his heroism. He was a successful surveyor, trapper and landowner, and ushered new settlers into Kentucky, but he lost his large landholdings to debt and legal mismanagement and moved further west into Missouri. He played a crucial role in extending US settlement beyond the Allegheny Mountains and many legends have grown up around his life. He features in Byron's Don Juan.  From - Chambers Biographical Dictionary (Bio Ref Bank), 1997.

Selected Sources at UK Libraries:

Books -
Daniel Boone: an American life / Michael A. Lofaro
F454 .L64 2012,  Special Collections Research Center - Room 019
Daniel Boone and others on the Kentucky frontier : autobiographies and narratives, 1769-1795 / edited by Darren R. Reid.
F454 .D36 2009, Special Collections Research Center and
F454 .D36 2009, Young Library - 4th Floor
Daniel Boone in Kentucky, a story.  Jillson, Willard Rouse, 1890-1975.
F454 .B75962 1939,  Special Collections Research Center
Life of Daniel Boone / by Lyman C. Draper; edited by Ted Franklin Belue.
F454.B66 D73 1998,  Special Collections Research Center
My father, Daniel Boone : the Draper interviews with Nathan Boone / edited by Neal O. Jammon ; with an introduction by Nelson L. Dawson.
F454.B66 B66 2012, Spec Coll Library - Room 019
Electronic Source -
The life and times of Colonel Daniel Boone [electronic resource] / by Cecil B. Hartley ; with an introduction by G. Mercer Adam ; illustrated.
Films -
Adventures of Daniel Boone [video recording] / produced by Peter Doyle ; produced by Greystone Communications, Inc. for A & E Television Networks.
AV-D5626, Young Media Library
Daniel Boone [video recording] / Radio Pictures ; directed by David Howard ; screen play, Daniel Jarrett; produced by George A. Hirliman.
AV-D5625, Young Media Library
Walk with Boone [video recording] / presented by Thomas D. Clark and John Mack Faragher.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 1, 1942– Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr.



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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

Larry Claxton Flynt, nightclub owner and magazine publisher, was born November 1, 1942, near Salyersville in Magoffin County, Kentucky, the son of Larry Claxton and Edith (Arnett) Flynt. He attended public schools in Salyersville, not going beyond grade school. He served in the army in 1958 and in the navy during 1959-64. He then worked in a General Motors factory in Dayton, Ohio.

Flynt's controversial career began in 1970 when he opened the first Hustler Club in Dayton, followed by others in the Ohio cities of Columbus, Toledo, Akron, and Cleveland in the next four years. These establishments mixed a nightclub atmosphere with striptease shows and simulated performance of sexual acts. In 1974 Flynt started Hustler, a men's magazine specializing in female nudity and scatological and sexual humor, and Chic, a similar magazine for women, both published in Los Angeles. The publication of these two magazines resulted many times in his arrest on obscenity charges. On March 6, 1978, after testifying in his own defense at a trial on such charges in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Flynt was the victim of an assassination attempt that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Flynt married Althea Leasure on August 21, 1976; they had four children: Tonya, Lisa, Teresa, and Larry Claxton III. Flynt's wife died on June 27, 1987.
Sources at UK Libraries:

An unseemly man / Larry Flynt with Kenneth Ross.
PN4874.F54 A3 1996, Young Library - 5th Floor

Jerry Falwell v. Larry Flynt: the First Amendment on trial/ Rodney a Smolla
KF228.F35 S65 1988, Law Library – Second Floor

The people vs. Larry Flynt [videorecording]
AV-D3074, Young Media Library

Friday, October 30, 2015

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: October 30, 1881 – Elizabeth Madox Roberts


Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Born on October 30, 1881, in Perryville, Kentucky, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, novelist and poet, was the second of eight children of Mary Elizabeth (Brent) and Simpson R. Roberts, both school teachers and descendants of Kentucky pioneers. In 1884 the family moved to Springfield in Washington County, where Simpson Roberts opened a grocery store and worked as a surveyor and engineer. From her father Roberts learned Greek and Roman mythology and heard reminiscences of the Civil War (he served with the Confederate Army).

As Springfield had no public schools, Roberts studied at the private Covington Institute; in 1896 she went to Covington to live with relatives of her mother while attending high school there. In 1900 she entered the University of Kentucky , but ill health and lack of funds forced her to leave. For the next ten years she taught at the family home in Springfield and in new public schools in the area, becoming familiar with the rural inhabitants, their vernacular, and their customs. Troubled by respiratory ailments, she spent long periods at a brother's home in Colorado, where she published In The Great Steep's Garden (1915), a collection of poems illustrated with photos of flowers by Kenneth Hartley.

In 1917 Roberts entered the University of Chicago, where she studied with Robert Morss Lovett and Edith Rickert; belonged to the University Poetry Club; and became a friend of Glenway Wescott, Yvor Winters, Vincent Sheean, Janet L. Lewis, and other writers, and an acquaintance of Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry. Roberts's poems appeared in Poetry, Atlantic Monthly, and other journals during her Chicago years. After graduating with honors in English in 1921, she returned to the family home in Springfield, where, never married, she spent most of her remaining life except for periodic stays with her sister in California and New York. Under The Tree, a collection of poems based on childhood memories, appeared in 1922; thereafter Roberts focused on writing fiction.

Roberts's first and finest novel, the time of man, was published in 1926 to international acclaim; it made Roberts, says William H. Slavick in introducing the reprint of 1982, "the first major novelist of the Southern renascence." Its psychological insights presage the work of Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, and Eudora Welty. Roberts viewed the "wandering tenant farmer" as a symbol of the human odyssey; her central character is Ellen Chesser, daughter of one such man and wife of another. Ellen toils and suffers until she realizes herself, "flowering out of stone." Comparable in quality to this first work is The Great Meadow (1930), which portrays life on the Kentucky frontier during the years of the American Revolution.

Roberts's other works include My Heart And My Flesh (1927); Jingling In The Wind (1928); A Buried Treasure (1931); The Haunted Mirror (1932), a collection of short stories; he sent forth a raven (1935); black is my true love's hair (1938); and Not By Strange Gods (1941), short stories. Song In The Meadow (1940) is a collection of her later poetry.

In the 1930s Roberts lost her readership and fell into relative obscurity, although she was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1940. Diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1936, she suffered declining health and died in Orlando, Florida, on March 13, 1941, leaving an unfinished novel about the Louisville flood of 1937 and an unfinished epic poem about Daniel Boone . She was buried in Cemetery Hill in Springfield.

DAVID F. BURG, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Herald to chaos; the novels of Elizabeth Madox Roberts.
PS3535.O172 Z8, Young Library - 5th Floor

The time of man, a novel, by Elizabeth Madox Roberts.
PS3535.O172 T560 1926, Young Library - 5th Floor

Black is my truelove's hair [by] Elizabeth Madox Roberts.
PS3535.O172 B650 1938, Young Library - 5th Floor