Sunday, December 31, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 31, 1909 - Robert Elliott ("Jonah") Jones

Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Robert Elliott ("Jonah") Jones, jazz trumpeter, was born in Louisville on December 31, 1909. He began his professional career playing on a Mississippi riverboat and performed with the bands of such greats as Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Cab Calloway, and Earl Hines before he began working as a soloist in 1955. At that time, he achieved international success with his recordings of show tunes and jazz standards, which featured him on muted trumpet as the leader of his own quartet. He also appeared frequently on national television. Jones is considered one of the great jazz swing trumpeters and his improvised solos have been cited as models, along with his extensive work with mutes.

LEE BASH, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Notable African American Kentuckians Database 

Bach, Jean, Matthew. Seig, Susan. Peehl, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt. Hinton, Jones, Jonah, Castle Hill Productions, and Image Entertainment. A Great Day in Harlem. Special Ed. 2nd Bonus Disc with New Featurettes.. ed. Chatsworth, CA: Distributed by MMV Image Entertainment, 2005.
AV-D6133, Young Media Library

Armstrong, Lil Hardin, Chu. Berry, Sid Catlett, Jonah Jones, and Peetie. Wheatstraw. Peetie Wheatstraw the Devil's Son-in -law : Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Vol. 7, 4 April 1940 to 25 November 1941. Vienna, Austria: Document Records, 1994.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 30, 1931 - Skeeter Davis

Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
The duo known as the Davis Sisters started singing together while attending Dixie Heights High School in Kenton County . Betty Jack Davis, daughter of Tipp Davis, was born in Corbin, Kentucky, on March 3, 1932. Skeeter Davis was the stage name of Mary Frances Penick, the daughter of W.L. and Sarah Penick, born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, on December 30, 1931. As the Davis Sisters, the two appeared on radio in Cincinnati and Lexington and had a radio-television show in Detroit. They popularized the pedal-steel guitar and had hits on both the country and pop music charts. Betty Jack was killed in an automobile accident on August 2, 1953, which seriously injured Skeeter. Skeeter resumed her career, joining the " Grand Ole Opry" in 1959. In 1973 she was suspended temporarily for criticizing Nashville police on the air.

CHARLES F. FABER, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Davis, Skeeter. Bus Fare to Kentucky : The Autobiography of Skeeter Davis. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group, 1993. Print.
ML420.D34 A3 1993, Special Collections Research Center

One Kiss Can Lead to Another Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found. Burbank, CA: Rhino, 2005.
BCD68, Fine Arts-Media Center

Classic Country Early 60's. Richmond, VA: Time-Life Music, 1999.
CD7330, Fine Arts-Media Center

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 27, 1860 - Nathan Stubblefield

Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Nathan Beverly Stubblefield, inventor, was born to William Jefferson and Victoria Frances (Bowman) Stubblefield on December 27, 1860, in Murray, Kentucky. He attended the public schools of Calloway County beginning in the fall of 1866, but he did poorly and dropped out by age fifteen. Stubblefield educated himself in science by reading books and periodicals. By 1887 he had made various improvements in the relatively new invention of the telephone. He patented these improvements, as well as a lamp lighter, an electric battery, and a mobile radio transmitter-receiver. In a demonstration of the radio transmitter-receiver in Murray on January 1, 1902, before a crowd of about 1,000, Stubblefield transmitted his son's voice from the family home to a shed and then to a receiver approximately one mile distant. A description of the demonstration by a reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch aroused national interest in the invention. Stubblefield was asked to demonstrate his discovery to a group of congressmen and public officials in Washington, D.C., on March 20, 1902.

Stubblefield refused large sums of money for the invention and instead attempted to develop it through the Wireless Telephone Company of America, incorporated on May 22, 1902, in which he held stock. The company failed, and only one Stubblefield wireless telephone system was sold. Though he was the first to transmit and receive radio airwaves, many argue that Stubblefield did not invent radio because his system had a range of only eight miles.

At age twenty-one, Stubblefield married Ada May Buchanan; they had ten children, six of whom lived past adolescence: Victoria, Patty, Nathan, Helen, Oliver, and Bernard. When their youngest child left home, he and his wife separated. Stubblefield died on March 28, 1928, and was buried near Murray.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Buchanan, Tracey D. To Be Greater than Marconi : The Nathan B. Stubblefield Story. 2013. Print. Kentucky Hero Ser.
Special Collections Research Center

[Stubblefield, Nathan B.]. [NATHAN B. STUBBLEFIELD PAPERS]. Print.
M-476, Special Collections Research Center - Microfilm Collection

Lochte, Robert H. Kentucky Farmer Invents Wireless Telephone! : But Was It Radio? : Facts and Folklore about Nathan Stubblefield. Murray, Ky.: All About Wireless, 2001. Print.
TK6545.S83 L63 2001, Special Collections Research Center

Friday, December 22, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 22, 1945 - Diane Sawyer

Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Diane Sawyer, journalist and television correspondent, was born on December 22, 1945, in Glasgow, Kentucky, the second daughter of E.P. and Jean W. (Dunagan) Sawyer. The family moved to Louisville soon after Sawyer was born, and she received her early education in the public school system. She graduated from Seneca High School in 1963.

Sawyer received her B.A. in English from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1967. 

Upon graduation, Sawyer went to work as a part-time reporter at Louisville's WLKY-TV, an ABC affiliate, where she did weather reports. Sawyer left Kentucky in 1970 and moved to Washington, D.C., in search of a broadcasting position. She became an assistant to Jerry Warren, the White House deputy press secretary. Her initial task was writing press releases, but she was soon asked to make drafts of some of President Richard Nixon's public statements. After several months, Sawyer was made administrative assistant to the White House press secretary, Ron Ziegler. Her next position was staff assistant to the president. During the Watergate scandal, her job was to monitor media coverage. After Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, Sawyer accompanied him to San Clemente, California, to help research his memoirs. In mid-1978 she returned to Washington, D.C., where she became a general assignment reporter for CBS News. Sawyer was promoted to correspondent in February 1980 on the basis of her coverage of the nuclear power accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania on March 28, 1979. In May 1981 she became a co-anchor on CBS's " Morning With Charles Kuralt and Diane Sawyer." Despite an increase in ratings, CBS overhauled the morning show in mid-1984, and Sawyer in August 1984 became the first female reporter on " 60 Minutes." She went to ABC in February 1989 to co-anchor " Prime Time Live" with Sam Donaldson. Sawyer married director Mike Nichols in 1988.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Grunwald, Lisa. The Happiest Couple in the World : A Real-life Fairy Tale. 1988. Print.
PN1990.72.S39 G78 1988, Special Collections Research Center

Hill, Anne E. Broadcasting & Journalism. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1999. Print. Female Firsts in Their Fields.
PN4820 .H55 1998, Young Library - 5th Floor

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 22, 1888 - Lucien Hubbard

Image from

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –
(retrieved November 25, 2015)

Lucien Hubbard (December 22, 1888 – December 31, 1971) was a film producer and screenwriter. He is best known for producing Wings, for which he received the first Academy Award for Best Picture. Lucien produced and or wrote ninety-two films over the course of his career. He lived in the same house in Beverly Hills until the day he died; he was an avid polo player and would frequently ride out of the stables located, in those days, at the rear of his Hillcrest Road property, to Will Rogers' house in the Palisades; he also occasionally rode his horse to Paramount Studios where he had been elevated to president shortly after the Academy Award winning Wings which he produced, was released. This film helped director William A. Wellman's rise into major studio films.

Before coming to Los Angeles, he was night editor of The New York Times. He had written five screenplays on the side and decided one day to travel to Hollywood to see if he could sell any of them; he sold three and in 1923, his career was launched. A film he loved was entitled The Vanishing American and it was the first film to portray the Indian in a favorable light; he received an award from the Cherokee nation for this film. He discovered and mentored many talents over the life of his career and was known as a very generous man with a sharp eye for good writers. He had two daughters, Betty and Janet and a brother, Harlan Hubbard, who became a renowned artist and writer, who advocated simple living.

Partial filmography

  • Terror of the Range (1919) (writer)
  • The Climbers (1919) (writer)
  • Outside the Law (1920) (writer)
  • The Fox (1921) (writer)
  • The Trap (1922) (writer)
  • The Thundering Herd (1925) (writer)
  • Wings (1927) (producer)
  • Rose-Marie (1928) (director)
  • The Mysterious Island (1929) (director, writer)
  • Smart Money (1931) (writer)
  • The Squaw Man (1931) (writer)
  • The Star Witness (1931) (Writer)
  • The Women in His Life (1933) (producer)
  • Lazy River (1934) (producer and writer)
  • Murder in the Private Car (1934) (producer)
  • Kind Lady (1935) (producer)
  • A Family Affair (1937) (producer)
  • Gung Ho! (1943) (writer)

External links
  • Lucien Hubbard at the Internet Movie Database

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Wellman, William A., Adolph Zukor, Jesse L. Lasky, Lucien Hubbard, John Monk Saunders, Hope. Loring, Louis D. Lighton, Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen, Gary Cooper, J. S. Zamecnik, Dominik. Hauser, Frederick. Hodges, Ben. Burtt, Gaylord. Carter, and Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation. Wings. Hollywood, Calif.: Paramount, 2012.
AV-V2342, Young Media Library

Demarest, David P. From These Hills, from These Valleys : Selected Fiction about Western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh]: U of Pittsburgh, 1976. Print.
F F9254de, Special Collections Research Center - Fiction Collection

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 21, 1849 - James Lane Allen


Image from Samuel M. Wilson Photographic Collection, ca. 1899-1947

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
James Lane Allen, whose books achieved both popular success and critical acclaim, was Kentucky's first important novelist. Born December 21, 1849, near Lexington, Kentucky, the seventh and last child of Richard and Helen (Foster) Allen, "Laney" (as he was known in childhood) grew to manhood near Lexington and did not leave Kentucky until he was twenty-two years old.
Though of sound heritage, the Allens never had the financial standing of the upper class, and Laney worked hard as a youth. His mother -- to whom Laney dedicated six of his first eight books -- nevertheless brought him up in an idealistic, romantic world filled with stories of honor and chivalry, where gallant and noble gentlemen courted women of spotless virtue. Yet, in adulthood, Allen saw around him a new industrial America where, it seemed to him, ethics were replaced by greed, honor by corruption, purity by vulgarity. Allen was over six feet tall, slim and handsome, an immaculately dressed, reserved Victorian gentleman. He gave many the impression of being cold, repressed, and formal. His sensitivity to anything he perceived as a slight caused him to strike out at even his few friends. Nor did he have any close female attachments, except within his family. He cared for his mother until her death, when Allen was nearly forty, as well as for his reclusive sister Anne.
Educated in local schools, Allen received a degree from what is now Transylvania University in 1872 and as the salutatorian delivered his address in Latin. In 1877 he earned a master's degree from the same institution. For a dozen years after earning his first degree, Allen taught in Missouri, West Virginia, and Kentucky before turning to full-time writing. The subject for fourteen of his ensuing nineteen books was Kentucky. Allen's Victorian Age readers were hungry for local color, and he immersed them in the atmosphere of the old commonwealth, a vanishing world of romantic ideals and genteel traditions. After publication of numerous short stories in the 1880s in the leading magazines of the day, Allen collected some of them, including the well-known " King Solomon Of Kentucky," for his first book, Flute And Violin And Other Kentucky Tales And Romances (1891). Other works followed quickly: The Blue-grass Region Of Kentucky (an 1892 collection of articles that form a kind of travelog); John Gray (1893); his popular and well-written Kentucky Cardinal (1894); and its thin sequel Aftermath (1895). The next year, Allen's Summers In Arcady, with its realism and focus on lower-class subjects, aroused some controversy because of passages dealing with sexual matters. No such outcry greeted Allen's enormously popular The Choir Invisible (1897), which sold almost a quarter-million hardback copies within three years and was translated into several languages. An accurate historical novel set in frontier Lexington, it deals with the conflict of honor, love, and duty as schoolmaster John Gray realizes his forbidden love for a married woman.
Acclaimed as one of America's great writers, Allen chose to depart from the formula that had given him so much recognition. The Choir Invisible, together with Two Gentlemen Of Kentucky (1899), marked the end of his first phase, as he tried to write more about the questions troubling modern America. But in so doing, he left behind the audience faithful to his earlier books. His next work, produced at age fifty in 1900, was The Reign Of Law: A Tale Of The Kentucky Hemp Fields. Dealing with religious doubt and Darwinism, the work proved popular but angered churchmen in Kentucky. Allen's success continued with his complex The Mettle Of The Pasture (1903), another national best seller. Allen sought new themes, but as he tried to change, he never again was so successful. Even when he returned to romantic themes, the criticisms continued and sales dropped. The cold and humorless Bride Of The Mistletoe (1909) scandalized reviewers with what they perceived as the vulgar frankness of its descriptive passages. Although some of his later work had real merit, only cursory public and critical attention was given to The Doctor's Christmas Eve (1910), The Heroine In Bronze (1912), The Last Christmas Tree (1914), The Sword Of Youth (1915), A Cathedral Singer (1916), The Kentucky Warbler (1918), The Emblems Of Fidelity: A Comedy In Letters (1919), The Alabaster Box (1923), and the posthumous The Landmark (1925).
Allen lived in New York after 1893, and his literary output declined. He died on February 18, 1925, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery . His will specified that his royalties and estate go to the city of Lexington, to be used for the young.
Allen's writing often seems romantic and sentimental, but so was his time. He met perfectly the reading tastes of his age, wrote some outstanding literature, and made America aware that the Bluegrass State could produce fine writers.
JAMES C. KLOTTER, Entry Author
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:  
Allen, James Lane. James Lane Allen Papers, 1892-1925. (1892). Print.
8M52, Room 019, Special Collections Research Center - Manuscripts Collection
Allen, James Lane. King Solomon of Kentucky. New York, 1888. Print.
F AL53ki, Special Collections  Research Center - Fiction Collection
Allen, James Lane. Homesteads of the Blue-grass. S.l.: S.n., 1892. Print.
F452 .A440, Special Collections Research Center - Reading Room

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 21, 1898 - Irene Dunne

Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Irene Maria Dunne, star of musical comedies, was born in Louisville on December 21, 1898, to Joseph and Adelaide (Henry) Dunn. (Their daughter added the final "e" to her name in Hollywood.) She spent the first eleven years of her life in Kentucky, attending the Louisville public schools and the Loretto Academy there. During that time, Dunne's mother gave her singing lessons at home. When Dunne's father died in 1910, the family moved to Madison, Indiana, where she attended the public high school. Her education was completed at Webster College in St. Louis, and she graduated in 1919 from the Chicago College of Music. Dunne made her professional acting debut in 1920 in Chicago in the touring company of the musical Irene. Her stage debut in New York City followed two years later, the start of a ten-year career on the stage that included one season with the Metropolitan Opera Company. While touring with the company of Showboat as Magnolia she first attracted the notice of Hollywood producers.

In 1930 Dunne appeared in her first movie, Leathernecking, and her performance in the film Cimarron the following year brought her the first of her five Academy Award nominations. Other nominations were for Theodore Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), Love Affair (1939), and I Remember Mama (1948). Dunne also starred in the movies Showboat (1936), My Favorite Wife (1940), and Anna and the King of Siam (1947). She retired in 1952 after her last movie, It Grows On Trees.

Dunne returned to Louisville on two notable occasions after becoming a celebrity, first to attend the premiere of My Favorite Wife, and in 1965 to receive the Bellarmine Medal for the contributions of her talent to the public. She was the first woman to receive the medal. Dunne received a Kennedy Center Honor in December 1985 for her contributions to the performing arts. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed her to serve as a delegate to the United Nations' 12th General Assembly.

Dunne married Francis D. Griffen on July 16, 1928; they adopted a child, Mary Frances. Dunne died September 4, 1990, and was buried in Los Angeles.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Laemmle, Whale, Hammerstein, Dunne, Jones, Winninger, Robeson, Morgan, Westley, Ferber, Kern, Laemmle, Carl, Whale, James, Hammerstein, Oscar, Dunne, Irene, Jones, Allan, Winninger, Charles, Robeson, Paul, Morgan, Helen, Westley, Helen, Ferber, Edna, Kern, Jerome, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Universal Pictures Corporation. Show Boat. Culver City, CA: MGM/UA Home Video : Turner, 1990.
AV-V4157, Young Media Library

Ferber, Edna, William LeBaron, Wesley Ruggles, Richard Dix, Irene Dunne, Estelle Taylor, RKO Radio Pictures, Inc, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Turner Entertainment Co, and MGM/UA Home Video. Cimarron. Culver City, CA] : [New York]: MGM/UA Home Video ; Turner Entertainment, 1989.
AV-V2345, Young Media Library

Dunne, Irene, Cary Grant, Arthur Richman, and Columbia Pictures. The Awful Truth. Burbank, Calif.: RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, 1991.
AV-V3032, Young Media Library