Sunday, December 31, 2017

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 20, 1898 - Felix Holt


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From the Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Felix Holt, author, was born December 20, 1898, in Murray, Kentucky, to Crawford Duncan and Sarah B. (Allen) Holt. His father was a carpenter and his uncle, G.A. Holt, had served briefly as acting lieutenant governor of Kentucky in 1871. As a youth, Felix attended the Stone School in Calloway County and Murray High School. In 1917 he volunteered for military service in World War I and served as a reporter for the army newspaper, Stars And Stripes. Following the war, Holt worked as a reporter for several newspapers, beginning with the Paducah News Democrat in 1919 and ending with the Detroit Times in 1930. Switching to radio in 1931, he accepted a position as news editor for Detroit's WJBK. Three years later Holt became the editorial, news, and publicity director for Detroit station WXYZ, where he built a reputation as a scriptwriter through his work on two radio serials, " Lone Ranger" and " Green Hornet." In 1945 he went to work for CBS in New York as scriptwriter for several television shows, including " Cimarron Tavern," " Studio One," and " Big Town."

Holt left New York in 1946 for Pennsylvania, where he wrote his first novel, The Gabriel Horn (1951). The book, which critics credited as one of the significant works of the year, depicts Kentucky frontier life in the Jackson Purchase area during the nineteeth century westward migration. It eventually sold over 1 million copies and in 1954 became a major motion picture, The Kentuckian, starring Burt Lancaster. Holt continued the story in his second novel, Dan'l Boone Kissed Me (1954).

Holt married Margie Sies of San Diego, California, on September 29, 1920. They had two children. Holt died on June 3, 1954, in Penn's Park, Pennsylvania, and his body was cremated.

Lawrence S. Thompson, "Felix Holt, Kentucky Historical Novelist," Register 53 (July 1955): 247-56.
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Holt, Felix. Felix Holt Papers, 1903-1964, 1918-1954 (bulk Dates) (1903). Print.PA70M42, Special Collections Archives
Lancaster, Burt, Dianna. Foster, Walter. Matthau, Felix. Holt, United Artists Corporation, and MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc. The Kentuckian. Culver City, CA: MGM/UA Home Entertainment, 2001. Western Legends.
AV-D3072, Young Media Library
Holt, Felix. The Gabriel Horn. Young People's ed. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1953. Print.F H741g 1951, Special Collections Research Center - Fiction Collection

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 20, 1837 - Charles Chilton Moore

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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Charles Chilton Moore, founder and editor of a liberal newspaper at the turn of the century, was born December 20, 1837, at his father's farm, Quaker Acre, eight miles outside Lexington, Kentucky, on Huffman Pike. Moore was the only son of the four children of Charles Chilton and Maryann (Stone) Moore, a daughter of the Rev. Barton Warren Stone, a founder of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) . Moore attended Transylvania University and graduated from Bethany College in West Virginia in 1858. He was ordained a minister of the Christian Church in 1864 and traveled the mountains of eastern Kentucky as an itinerant preacher, then became pastor of the Versailles Christian Church.

Moore resigned his pastorate in
Versailles, worked for a short time as a banker and a farmer, then turned to reporting for the Lexington Observer and Reporter, the Lexington Press, and the Lexington Transcript. In 1884 he began sporadic publication of his own paper, the Bluegrass Blade. In 1890, after three false starts, the paper began weekly publication. In it Moore espoused women's suffrage, prohibition, an international league of nations, publication of scientific information about human sexuality, and agnosticism. He used the personal pronoun "I" instead of the editorial "we" when presenting his views and was accused of personal attacks in the paper.

The fiery nature of the Bluegrass Blade led to more than one physical attack on Moore, including an assassination attempt. In February 1899 in Cincinnati, Moore was convicted of sending obscene material through the mail and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in the Ohio penitentiary. His publisher, James Edward Hughes, was found innocent. While in prison Moore wrote his autobiography, Behind The Bars; 31498 (1899). President William McKinley commuted his sentence to six months; he was released July 7, 1899, for good behavior. He returned to Quaker Acre and the Bluegrass Blade, which he toned down in character. Moore wrote Tamam, a mixture of autobiography and fiction that was not published until 1908, two years after his death. In 1903 he traveled to the Mediterranean and Middle East and wrote of his experiences in Dog Fennel in the Orient (1903).

Moore married Lucy G. Peake of
Georgetown on February 14, 1867; they had four children: Charles, Leland, Brent, and Lucille. After a long illness, Moore died on February 7, 1906, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery. According to news accounts, more than 1,000 people attended his funeral. Moore's epitaph is "Write me as one who loves his fellow man."

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Moore, Charles C. Behind the Bars; 31498. Lexington, Ky.: Blue Grass, 1899. Print. SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PA-24147) ; SOL MN09797.04 KUK.
B M781, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

Moore, Charles C. Dog Fennel in the Orient. 2d ed. Lexington, Ky.: J. E. Hughes, 1903. Print.
DS48 .M81 1903b, Special Collections Research Center

Moore, Charles C. The Rational View. Louisville, Ky.: Courier-Journal Job Printing, 1890. Print.
BL2775 .M640 1890, Special Collections Research Center 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 18, 1957 – Mike Kelsay

Michael Kelsay was born on December 18, 1957, in Huntington, West Virginia. He moved to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1974, graduated from Tates Creek High School, and then attended the University of Kentucky, where he earned a BA in English. In 1990, he moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to attend McNeese State University, where he studied writing under Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler (Good Scent from a Strange Mountain) and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. In 1993, he returned to Kentucky.

In 2001, Kelsay published his first novel, Too Close to Call, which was critically well-received but sold only a few thousand copies. Kelsay was also the principal writer of Kentucky Hardwood, a book that accompanied Kentucky Educational Television's five-hour documentary Basketball in Kentucky, on which he also worked as writer, researcher, and interviewer. 

Kelsay's work has also appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poets & Writers, Writer's Digest, and numerous newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Charlotte Observer.

He has won Virginia Quarterly Review's Emily Clark Balch Award for best fiction and has twice been awarded Al Smith Fellowships by the Kentucky Arts Council.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Kelsay, Michael. Too Close to Call. Jackson: U of Mississippi, 2001. Print.
PS3611.E47 T6 2001, Special Collections Research Center

Thurman, Tom., Robert H. Booth, Marilyn. Myers, Michael. Kelsay, Bob Edwards, and Kentucky Educational Television. Basketball in Kentucky Great Balls of Fire. Lexington, Ky.]: KET, 2002.
AV-D7721, Young Media Library

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 17, 1926 – Bill Keightley


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From The Kentucky Wildcats Official Athletic Site -

Affectionately known as "Mr. Wildcat," Bill Keightley had been associated with the Wildcats basketball program since 1962 before passing in 2008.

Keightley, who maned [sic] the "Bill Keightley Equipment Room" in Memorial Coliseum, was as much a fixture around UK basketball as the eight national championship trophies on display in the Joe Craft Center.

In his 46 seasons on the UK sidelines, the Wildcats' recorded over 1,000 wins.  During his tenure, he served under six UK head coaches -- Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino. Orlando "Tubby" Smith and Billy Gillispie.

In 1997, UK honored Keightley with a retired jersey in his honor. He joins veteran broadcaster Cawood Ledford as the only non-player or coach to have a jersey retired at UK.

Keightley graduated from Kavanaugh High School in Lawrenceburg and was a retired U.S. Postal Service carrier and veteran of the Marine Corps in WWII.

He was survived by the former Hazel Robinson of Lawrenceburg. The Keightleys have one daughter, Karen, who works in the athletic department.

Selected Source from UK Libraries:

Interviews with William B. Keightley (from Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History):

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 16, 1836 - Charles Julian Clarke

Image from
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Charles Julian Clarke was born in Franklin County , Kentucky, on December 16, 1836, the son of Joseph and Harriett (Julian) Clarke. He was Kentucky's fourth native architect, behind the Shryock brothers and John McMurtry . Clarke was educated in Kentucky. During the Civil War he worked in Louisville with Henry Whitestone and afterward with the Bradshaw brothers, eventually becoming a partner. After Whitestone's retirement in 1880, some considered Clarke Louisville's premier designer. In 1882 he became Kentucky's first architect to join the Western Association of Architects.

Arthur Loomis, a native of Massachusetts, entered the Clarke office in 1876 and became Clarke's chief draftsman in 1885. The 1890 Todd Office Building, designed principally by Loomis, was Louisville's tallest building at the time of its construction. In 1891 Clarke and Loomis established a partnership, which was one of the leading architectural firms in Louisville for the rest of the century. The Theophilus Conrad residence on St. James Court and the George A. Robinson residence are their best residential works; the 1893 Levy Brothers Store at Third and Market Streets is their most noted commercial structure. They also designed the Louisville Medical College of 1891 and the 1893 Manual Training School, both notable institutional buildings. Their Louisville churches include St. Paul's Evangelical, the German Reformed Evangelical, St. Matthew's, and the First Presbyterian at Fourth and York streets. Clark died on March 9, 1908, in Louisville and was buried in the Frankfort Cemetery.

WILLIAM B. SCOTT, JR., Entry Author

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 16, 1862 - John Fox, Jr.

 Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
John Fox, Jr., a popular writer at the turn of the century who chronicled the folklife of the Cumberland Mountains, was born December 16, 1862, at Stony Point in Bourbon County , Kentucky. He was the first child of John W. Fox, head of Stony Point Academy, and his second wife, Minerva (Carr) Fox, of Mayslick, Kentucky. After attending his father's private boarding school, Fox studied for two years at Transylvania University in Lexington. In September 1880 he entered Harvard as a sophomore and graduated cum laude in June 1883, the youngest member of his class. Following brief periods as a reporter for the New York Sun and the New York Times and as a student at Columbia University Law School, Fox returned to Kentucky in 1885 because of poor health. For several months he taught in his father's school and did some private tutoring.

Fox had been introduced to mountain people and their folk ways during the summer of 1882, when he lived in Jellico, Tennessee, where his brothers had mining interests. In 1888 he joined his family when they moved their mining and real estate operations to Big Stone Gap, Virginia, near Cumberland Gap. There Fox joined a local vigilante group that succeeded in bringing order to a lawless region. He also began walking tours of the Kentucky-Virginia border country, in particular the Kentucky mountain counties of Letcher , Harlan, Leslie , and Perry, fascinated by the people and their way of life. Encouraged by a former Transylvania professor, the writer James Lane Allen, Fox started writing short sketches of mountain life and in 1892 published his first short story, " A Mountain Europa," in Century magazine. At the age of thirty, he became an overnight literary success, publishing stories, articles, and sketches in popular magazines of the day, including Scribner's Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, Harper's Weekly, and Harper's Monthly.

Although Fox was retiring, even shy, by nature, he made friends with many prominent men of his day, including President Theodore Roosevelt, who on several occasions invited him to the White House to give readings and to sing mountain songs. Fox was popular in public readings of his stories in the East and South, sometimes teamed with other writer-performers such as James Whitcomb Riley.

In 1895 Fox published his first book, A Cumberland Vendetta And Other Stories, followed in 1897 by his first novel, The Kentuckians, set principally in the Bluegrass. In 1898 he covered the Spanish-American War in Cuba for Harper's Weekly, an experience that gave him the background for his 1900 novel, Crittenden: A Kentucky Story Of Love And War. In 1901 he published Bluegrass And Rhododendrum, a collection of essays on mountain life.

Fox's 1903 novel, The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come, was perhaps the first in the United States to sell a million copies. The novel has all the ingredients of popular fiction at the turn of the century: a masculine but sensitive hero, a dastardly villain, two lovely but contrasting heroines, and an adventure story set against the background of clashing cultures and civilizations, climaxing in war. Despite a contrived plot and stock characters that frequently melt into sentiment, the book is a well-known American novel. It has been reprinted in numerous editions and reproduced as a successful play and at least four motion pictures.

In 1904 Fox went to Japan and Manchuria to report on the Russo-Japanese War for Scribner's Magazine. His six travel articles appeared in Scribner's in 1904 and 1905 and were published in 1905 as a book, Following The Flag: A Vain Pursuit Through Manchuria.

Fox's 1908 novel, The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine, is a love story based on Fox's own experiences during the boom-and-bust era at Big Stone Gap. The story is that of a Bluegrass Kentuckian, a mining engineer whose work takes him to the mountains. There he falls in love with an unlettered young woman whom he helps to transform into an educated, cultured lady. After being separated by a series of entanglements, including a feud, they are reunited under the lonesome pine on top of the mountain where they first met. The novel was adapted for the stage in 1912 by Eugene Walter and was filmed three times, in 1916, 1922, and 1936. It was also the basis for a popular song.

Fox's easily accessible writing style blended humor and pathos in the manner popular with local colorists of his time. He probably knew his settings and subjects better than most regional writers, and in his best fiction he painted faithful and moving portraits of life in the southern mountains. None of his subsequent works equaled the success of The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine.

In December 1908 Fox married Fritzi Scheff, a Viennese opera singer; they were divorced four years later. In 1919, while on a fishing trip near Norton, Virginia, Fox developed pneumonia and died two days later, on July 8, at his home in Big Stone Gap. He was buried in Paris, Kentucky. 

WADE HALL, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Moore, Elizabeth Fox. John Fox, Jr.; Personal and Family Letters and Papers. Lexington, Ky., 1955. Print.
PS1703 .M6 1955, Young Library - 5th Floor

Green, Harold Everett. Towering Pines the Life of John Fox, Jr. Boston: Meador, 1943. Print. SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN02233.07 KUK.
B F832, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

West, Wallace. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. New York: Lynn, 1936. Print.
PS3545.E8336 T730 1936, Special Collections Research Center

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 13, 1818 – Mary Todd Lincoln


Image from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 13, 1818, Mary (Todd) Lincoln, first lady of the United States, was descended from two of central Kentucky's best-known families -- the Todds and the Parkers. Her grandfather, Levi Todd , had been instrumental in the establishment of Lexington. Her father, Robert Smith Todd, was a prosperous cotton merchant, businessman, and Whig politician. Her mother, Eliza (Parker) Todd, died in childbirth when Mary Todd was six. Shortly thereafter her father married Elizabeth Humphreys, of Frankfort, Kentucky. Mary lived with them and their children in a brick house on West Main Street in Lexington. As a girl Mary attended John Ward's school in Lexington and then Charlotte Mentelle's boarding school, across from Henry Clay 's estate, Ashland. Her twelve years in school made her one of the best- educated women of her era.

In 1839 Mary Todd followed her older sisters to Springfield, Illinois, where she lived in her sister Elizabeth Edwards's home. In November 1842 she married
Abraham Lincoln, then a lawyer who had three times won election to the state legislature. They had four sons, Robert Todd, Edward, William, and Thomas (Tad). Mary Lincoln lived the typical domestic life of a nineteenth century middle-class woman, though she maintained an unusual interest in politics and in her husband's career as a politician. Her great expectations for her husband were realized when, after two unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. Senate, he was elected president of the United States in November 1860.

During Mary Lincoln's four years in the White House (1861-65) she worked hard to turn it into a fashionable mansion worthy of her husband, herself, and the nation. But the
Civil War made these efforts seem frivolous. Throughout the war she was often attacked in the newspapers for her extravagance and for her supposed Confederate allegiance, especially after it was reported that three of her Kentucky half-brothers were fighting with the Confederate army. In 1863 she took in her beloved half-sister, Emilie (Todd) Helm, widow of Confederate Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm , who had been killed at Chickamauga. At the White House, Emilie's presence reinforced the suspicion that Mary Lincoln was a Confederate sympathizer. In fact the first lady (she was the first to be called that) was a staunch Unionist who, like many other women during the war, visited hospitals to comfort the wounded and raised money for the war effort. After the death of her son Willie in 1862, a distraught Mary Lincoln often sought comfort among spiritualists, who she believed could return her two dead sons to her in seances.

On April 14, 1865, five days after Lee surrendered,
President Lincoln was assassinated. As a widow Mary Lincoln struggled financially. Though she eventually received $36,000 from her husband's estate, she fought for a pension. Increasingly restless, she traveled with Tad to Europe. In 1871 she received another devastating blow when Tad died of pleurisy. In 1875 her only surviving son, Robert, committed her to a private asylum for the insane, but she struggled for freedom and after three months was released. Fearing that Robert would continue to threaten her for behavior that was bizarre but not deranged, Mary Lincoln lived in Pau, France, from 1878 to 1882. Only when her health made it necessary did she return to her sister's home in Springfield, Illinois. There she died on July 16, 1882, and was buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. 

JEAN H. BAKER, Entry Author 

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Baker, Jean H. Mary Todd Lincoln : A Biography. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 1987. Print.
B L639ba 1987, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

Helm, Emily Todd. Mary Todd Lincoln : Reminiscences and Letters of the Wife of President Lincoln. 1898. Print.
B L639he 1898, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

Williams, Frank J., and Michael Burkhimer. The Mary Lincoln Enigma : Historians on America's Most Controversial First Lady. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2012. Print.
E457.25.L55 M37 2012, Young Library - 4th Floor