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

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


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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 Research Center - Reading Room
Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
April 28, 1892 - John Jacob Niles

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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].
Special Collections Research Center - Oral History Collection

M1621.N675 N5 1981, Special Collections Research Center

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Birth Dates of Famous Kentuckians
Paul William “Bear” Bryant – September 11, 1913


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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –

Paul William ("Bear") Bryant, football coach, son of Wilson Monroe and Ida (Kilgore) Bryant, was born on September 11, 1913, in Moro Bottom, Arkansas. He was one of eleven children in a poor family, and he remembered himself in his youth as feeling inferior, not doing well in school, and being lazy. But by the time he retired, Bryant was the college football coach with the most wins: 323 victories, 85 losses, and 17 ties. He compiled this record at four schools: University of Maryland (1945), University of Kentucky (1946- 53), Texas A&M University (1954-57), and University of Alabama (1958-82). His teams won six national championships. Many of his former assistants became head coaches, including Jerry Claiborne, Jack Pardee, and Ray Perkins. He sent more than forty-five players to the pro ranks, including quarterbacks George Blanda , Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, and Richard Todd. His coaching style stressed discipline and maximum effort. Some have said that he coached people more than football.
Bryant began his football career as a burly tackle at Fordyce (Arkansas) High School, where he received All-State honors. There he got his nickname when he wrestled a bear at a carnival. At the University of Alabama, he played football from 1932 to 1935 and helped the Crimson Tide to a 23-3-2 record and a victory in the 1935 Rose Bowl. Following graduation he remained at Alabama as an assistant football coach until 1939; he was at Vanderbilt University during 1940-41.
Bryant served in the navy as lieutenant commander (1941-45). After his discharge, Bryant became the head football coach at Maryland, leading the team to a 6-2-1 record, its first winning season in years. In 1946, following a clash with university president D.H. Byrd, who reinstated a player Bryant had suspended and who fired an assistant coach without consulting Bryant, he left to become the head coach at the University of Kentucky. In his first season Bryant's Wildcats posted a 7-3 mark. Overall at Kentucky, he had an impressive 60-23-5 record and led the Wildcats to four bowl games -- Great Lakes 1948, Orange 1950, Sugar 1951, and Cotton 1952 (losing only the Orange Bowl) -- as well as posting a Southeastern Conference championship in 1950. The highlight of his career at Kentucky came in the 1951 Sugar Bowl, when Bryant's Wildcats defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 13-7 and snapped their thirty-one-game winning streak.
Bryant brought charisma to Kentucky football and made the Wildcats a national force. He had said he wanted to stay at Kentucky until he retired, but on February 4, 1954, he resigned as head football coach, after signing a twelve-year contract extension only a month earlier. Bryant attributed his decision to conflict with basketball coach Adolph Rupp. Both men, highly competitive, wanted top priority for their programs. Bryant, who had believed that Rupp would soon retire, resigned when he found out that Rupp had signed a ten-year contract extension. Bryant went to Texas A&M in College Station. He coached four years there, posting a 25-14-2 record.
Bryant returned to his alma mater in 1958 to become head football coach and athletic director. He led Alabama to twenty-four bowl appearances and six national championships. On November 28, 1981, he broke the collegiate coaching record with 315 career wins as Alabama defeated Auburn, 28-17. He was also instrumental in integrating the Alabama student body in 1971 by recruiting black athletes. Bryant retired following the 1982 season.
Bryant enjoyed duck hunting and fishing in Kentucky, occasionally in the company of his close friend Gov. Lawrence Wetherby (1950-55). In 1934 he married Mary Harmon Black; they had two children, Paul, Jr., and Mae Martin Tyson. Bryant died on January 26, 1983, and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.  

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Coach : the life of Paul “Bear” Bryant / Keith Dunnavant.
GV939.B79 D86 1996, Special Collections Research Center
Bear; the hard life and good times of Alabama's Coach Bryant [by] Paul W. Bryant [and John Underwood.
GV939.B79 A32 1975, Young Library - 4th Floor
Walter D. Huddleston Oral History Project [sound recording].
OHWDH, Special Collections Research Center - Oral History Collections