Friday, May 23, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
May 23, 1928 – Rosemary Clooney

Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia - 

Rosemary Clooney, singing star of radio, motion pictures, and television, was born on May 23, 1928, in Maysville, Kentucky , to Andrew Clooney, Jr. (son of the mayor of Maysville), and Frances (Guilfoyle) Clooney. The family moved to Cincinnati when Rosemary and her sister Betty were teenagers. The sisters began singing together on Cincinnati radio station WLW, and Tony Pastor, a popular band leader, hired them as featured vocalists. Paramount Studios offered Clooney a screen test; when her first movie, The Stars Are Singing, was produced in 1953, she arranged to have the premier showing in Maysville. Always a booster of her hometown, where a street bears her name, she gave a benefit concert there in August 1983. In 1953 she married Jose Ferrer, the actor, and had five children: Miquel, Maria, Gabriel, Moncita, and Rafael. Divorced in 1962, Clooney suffered an emotional breakdown in 1968, but she fought her way back to a productive resumption of her career. Clooney and her brother Nick are co-chairs of the Betty Clooney Foundation for the Brain- Injured.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Girl singer : an autobiography / Rosemary Clooney with Joan Barthel.
ML420.C58 A3 2001, Fine Arts Library

AV-D3076, Young Media Library

Rosemary Clooney sings the lyrics of Johnny Mercer [sound recording]
CD7467, Fine Arts Media Center

Friday, April 25, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
April 27, 1906 - Alice Allison Dunnigan

Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

Alice (Allison) Dunnigan, journalist and civil rights leader, was born April 27, 1906, near Russellville, Kentucky, to Willie and Lena (Pittman) Allison. She graduated from the two-year Knob City High School and attended Kentucky State University in Frankfort. She taught in local rural schools and continued her education during vacations. Alice Allison married Charles Dunnigan in December 1931; they had one son, Robert. In 1942 Dunnigan went to work at the U.S. Labor Department in Washington, D.C., where she started her lifelong fight against discrimination.
Dunnigan became a reporter for the Associated Negro Press and in August 1947 was accredited to cover presidential press conferences. In the 1940s she reported the early Washington, D.C., sit-ins to desegregate restaurants. Dunnigan gained greater access for black journalists at even the highest level of government. As a reporter she came to know four presidents. The first black journalist to accompany a U.S. president when traveling, she covered Harry S. Truman's 1948 campaign trip up the West Coast. In the 1960s she was a member of the President's Committee on Equal Opportunity under both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Dunnigan was a world traveler, a well-known speaker, and a leader in the civil rights movement. She was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 1982. For a time, she wrote a weekly column for the Louisville Defender on the achievements of Kentucky blacks. Her book The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians: Their Heritage and Traditions was published in 1982. She died May 6, 1983, and was buried in Maryland National Memorial Park.
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
The fascinating story of Black Kentuckians : their heritage and traditions / researched, compiled, and edited by Alice Allison Dunnigan.
E185.93.K3 D86 1982, Young Library - 4th Floor
A Black woman's experience : from schoolhouse to White House / Alice Allison Dunnigan.
B D9223bl, Special Collections  Library - Biography Collection
The Black Women Oral History Project ; From the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College
E185.86 .B454 1991, Young Library - 4th Floor 

Book of the States Archives Now Online


Everything you ever wanted to know about how U.S. state government operates, all in one place!

The Council of State Governments has announced that the entire archive of the popular The Book of the States, which dates back to 1935, is now available online. The Book of the States covers basic information such as state constitutions; legislative, executive, and judicial branches; finance; policies and programs; and more for all 56 states, commonwealths and territories of the United States.

The archives, plus volumes from 2010 to the present, can be found at Some print volumes are also available at W.T. Young Library, Law Library and Medical Center Library (check InfoKat for holdings).

Thanks to Roxanna Jones, UKL Reference & Instruction Librarian/Reference & Kentucky State Documents Selector

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
April 28, 1892 - John Jacob Niles

Image from 

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -

John Jacob Niles, ballad writer and collector, eldest son of John Thomas and Lula (Sarah) Niles, was born on April 28, 1892, in Louisville into a musical family. His great-grandfather was a composer, organist, and cello manufacturer, and his father had a local following as a folksinger and square dance caller. From his mother he learned music theory and the piano. Niles first sang publicly at the age of seven, and in 1907, at fifteen, he composed "go 'way From My Window." He was encouraged to continue his musical career by Henry Watterson , editor of the Louisville Courier-journal. He later studied music at the Universite de Lyon in France, the Schola Cantorum in Paris, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
In 1909 Niles graduated from Du Pont Manual Training High School in Louisville and began work as a mechanic at Burroughs Machine Company. In 1917 he enlisted as a private in the aviation section of the Army Signal Corps and was a pilot in France during World War I. When a plane crash left him partially paralyzed, he was discharged in 1918. He moved to New York City and in 1921 became master of ceremonies at the Silver Slipper nightclub there. He teamed with contralto Marion Kerby, and they toured both Europe and the United States giving performances. Niles also sang briefly for the Chicago Lyric Opera Company. He was described as a flamboyant, charismatic performer, and his performances did much to make folk music popular and were often imitated. His last concert was at Swannanoa, North Carolina, in September 1978.

Although he preferred performing, Niles is best remembered as a collector and popularizer of folk music. At the age of fifteen he began to record in a notebook the music of the Ohio Valley region. During the periods 1909-17 and 1928-34, he gathered and recorded songs of eastern Kentucky and the southern Appalachian area, a pioneer in collecting the songs of the common people. Niles arranged or composed more than 1,000 ballads, folk songs, carols, and wartime songs. Among his best known works are "i Wonder As I Wander," "black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair," "jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head," "lamentation," "mary The Rose," and "the Hangman." In 1961 many of his songs were published in the Ballad Book Of John Jacob Niles. His friendship with Trappist monk Thomas Merton resulted in the publication of Niles's last major work in 1972, when he set twenty-two of Merton's poems to music. He lectured and performed extensively, particularly on college campuses.
Niles also carved wood, made furniture, invented, and gardened. He married Rena Lipetz in 1936; they had two sons, Thomas Michael Tolliver and John Edward. Niles died at his Boot Hill Farm near Lexington on March 1, 1980, and was buried at St. Hubert's Cemetery in Clark County .

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
The biography and works of John Jacob Niles / by Ronald Allen Pen.
Theses 1987, Fine Arts Library

John Jacob Niles General Oral History Project [sound recording].
Spec Coll Library - Oral History Collection

M1621.N675 N5 1981, Special Collections Library

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
April 26, 1897 - Philipine “Doc” Roberts

Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Philipine ("Fiddlin' Doc") Roberts, musician, son of William and Rosa Roberts, was born in Madison County, Kentucky , on April 26, 1897. Considered Kentucky's outstanding fiddler, he performed with various other Kentuckians, including Edgar Boaz, Ted Chestnut, Dick Parman, Marion Underwood, Green Bailey, and Welby Toomey. In 1927 he teamed up with Asa Martin, who played the guitar, saw, and jug. He appeared on Nashville's " Grand Ole Opry" and on several other radio stations, including WLAP Lexington. Martin and Roberts recorded more than two hundred sides, under a dozen stage names, on eleven labels. They made up the Doc Roberts Trio along with Doc's son James Roberts, who later married Irene Amburgey and formed with her the gospel duo James and Martha Carson. Roberts died on August 4, 1978, and was buried in the Richmond Cemetery.

CHARLES F. FABER, Entry Author
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Old-time mountain blues [electronic resource] : traditional string bands with fiddle, banjo, guitar and more.

Old time tunes [sound recording]/ Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts.
LP7822, Fine Arts Media Center

The devil's box : masters of southern fiddling / Charles Wolfe ; foreword by Mark O'Connor.
ML3551.7.S68 W65 1997, Special Collections Library

Kentucky country : folk and country music of Kentucky / Charles K. Wolfe.
ML3551 .W64 1982, Fine Arts Library

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
April 3, 1755 – Simon Kenton


Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Simon Kenton, pioneer settler, was born April 3, 1755, in Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of Mark and Mary (Miller) Kenton. Kenton refused to attend school and remained illiterate all his life, learning only to sign his name. At age sixteen, he fought with William Leachman over a girl. He knocked Leachman unconscious and, believing he had killed him, ran away from home. Kenton assumed the name Simon Butler and worked his way to Pittsburgh, where he met adventurers who persuaded him to travel down the Ohio River in search of "cane-lands." After several attempts, he and Thomas Williams entered Limestone Creek (now the site of Maysville) in the spring of 1775 and went into the interior. There they found tall cane, cleared it, made a rough camp, and planted some corn, probably the first cultivated by white men north of the Kentucky River . Kenton and Williams are considered the first permanent settlers of Mason County. In the autumn, Kenton moved to Boonesborough.

For the next few years, Kenton traveled through Kentucky meeting fellow pioneers, including Daniel Boone , Robert Patterson, and George Rogers Clark. In 1777 Clark appointed him spy for defense of the frontier. Kenton is credited with saving the life of Boone during an Indian attack at Boonesborough. In 1784 he built a station on Lawrence Creek in Mason County to which he welcomed incoming settlers. His first guests included the widow Dowden and her four daughters, one of whom, Martha, became his bride on February 15, 1787. They were the first to be married at his station. Four children were born prior to December 1796. As Kenton's family grew, he built a brick house for them near his station. He operated a store in Washington, near Maysville, and hired Israel Donalson, teacher, to keep his books. The new house caught fire, and Martha, who was pregnant with their fifth child, was burned and died of shock. Within fifteen months, Kenton married Elizabeth Jarboe, Martha's first cousin. They had five children. In 1798 he moved to Ohio, where he spent his later years, often in poverty but still a traveler. He made four trips to Missouri, where he bought more land, visited Boone, and considered relocating in the new state.
Kenton managed his finances poorly, lost large acreages of land, and while on a visit to Washington, Kentucky, in 1820, was imprisoned for debt. As he was a popular figure, the jailer, Thomas Williams, allowed him considerable freedom, and the citizenry were incensed by his incarceration. Kenton was released from prison on December 17, 1821, after the Kentucky legislature repealed the Debtor's Law. Kenton died on April 29, 1836, near Zanesville, Ohio, and was buried there. In 1865 his remains were moved to Urbana, Ohio. In 1840 the Kentucky legislature created a new county out of the western half of Campbell County and named it in Kenton's honor.

JEAN W. CALVERT, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Simon Kenton, Kentucky scout, by Thomas D. Clark, illustrated by Edward Shenton.
F517 .K35, Young Library - 4th Floor

The frontiersmen : a narrative / by Allan W. Eckert.
F517 .K362, Young Library - 4th Floor

The violent years : Simon Kenton and the Ohio-Kentucky frontier / by Patricia Jahns.
F517 .K367, Special Collections Library - Reading Room

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
March 4, 1915 - Rude Osolnik

Image from

From -

Osolnik was widely admired as one of the finest wood turners in America and his workshops and seminars were in demand around the world. The Queen of England was presented one of his bowls by the US Government. His bowls and signature candlesticks are collector's items and his pieces are in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Atlanta's High Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, The Yale Museum, The Speed Museum, The Kentucky History Museum, The Mayo Clinic, The Connell Gallery and many other fine institutions. In 1992, he was presented the Milner Award, the Governor's Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement by then Governor Brereton Jones. He is honored by the Commonwealth of Kentucky which presents the Osolnik Award each year to a selected Kentucky artist. Osolnik was born on March 4, 1915 in Dawson, NM, the son of Slovenian immigrants. The family settled in Johnston City, Illinois where Rude learned wood turning in high school. He attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL and received both a BA and MA. In 1937 he accepted a teaching position at Berea College in the Industrial Arts Department. He later became Chairman of the Industrial Arts Department and for awhile ran the Woodcraft Department. He was also the Fire Chief of Berea in the fifties. He taught thousands of students over the course of 40 years at the college. Except for his service in the US Navy in the Pacific during WWII, he lived and worked the rest of his life in Berea. In 1938, he married Berea graduate, Daphne Francis of Carr Creek, KY, who was his partner in Osolnik Originals until her death in 1988. In the 60's and 70's, Osolnik was a leader of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild and helped found the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen having served both as President. He was one of the architects of The Kentucky Guild Train that first started promoting Kentucky crafts. In 1982, he started the ongoing Berea Crafts Festival. Rude Osolnik died at his home on Poverty Ridge, in Berea on November 18, 2001. He was 86.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Rude Osolnik, a life turning wood / text by Jane Kessler and Dick Burrows ; principal color photography by Chipp Jamison.
NK9698.O83 R830 1997, Special Collections Library

Rude Osolnik: by nature defined.
American Craft, February/March 1990, Vol. 50, p54- 56; 3p,1990, 3p.