Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery

by Delinda S. Buie

Delinda S. Buie is a Professor with the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections. She is also the Curator of the Rare Books collection.

Poet, documentarian and educator Lee Pennington is widely traveled — at home nearly every place on the globe. Now he also will have a home in the University of Louisville Libraries with the dedication of the Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery on June 13.   The Pennington Gallery will provide exhibition space and nearly 6000 linear feet of shelving to preserve artifacts and works on paper: manuscripts; archives; rare books; art.  It is the first such space on campus, dreamed and planned by archivists and librarians for decades, and ultimately secured by the tenacity and vision of a number of people, most especially Associate Dean of Libraries Diane Nichols.

Lee Pennington’s involvement with the project began exactly two years ago, when friend of U of L Libraries’ Dick Wilson brought him to campus. Wilson had been one of Lee’s students at Jefferson Community College and – like just about everyone who has ever been in contact with Lee – became a lifelong friend.  Lee’s personal passion for collecting, and his appreciation for how objects and documents can inform and inspire, made him a perfect collaborator for a space to preserve his own collections, which he is generously donating to the university, as well as treasures from the University Archives, Photographic Archives and Rare Books collections. When we needed a name for the new space, the names of Lee and his late wife and creative collaborator Joy came first to mind. Lee and Joy Pennington have devoted their lives to interdisciplinary discovery. The Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery will continue that legacy, inspiring – even provoking – discovery that leads to creativity and scholarship.

27 Comments on “Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery”

  1. A stunning, wonderful space bringing together people, ideas, artifacts from around the world. It is a place to contemplate how we are all part of a greater fabric–our differences merely pieces of that great crazy quilt the earth.

    • Irvin S. and Rubee D. Moxley says:

      It was our prvilege to know Lee and Joy as teacher and colleage at the Jefferson Community College. Rubee learn something about the nature by touching a tree and later expressing through poetry our oneness with nature. Through friendship with the Penningtons we experienced the joy of each other uniqueness in the bond that makes us one. It is fitting that the University of Louisville will dedicate a gallery to Lee and Joy, who lives have drawn so many from diverse cultures into creative community.

  2. What a wonderful way to honor Lee and Joy! Congratulations to both. Wish I could be there.

  3. An exciiting and appropriate way to honor two talent, dedicated invidiuals and what they have given to the world.

    • Jimmy Neil, thank you so much. Of course, much of what is in my own papers will be about the great storytelling venture you launched years ago; so you, too, will be very much part of this record.

  4. cassiodorus says:

    I feel joy in my heart to learn of this. Joy and Lee are really cultural heroes and ambassadors for international friendship.
    Ingemar Nordgren, Källby, Sweden

    • Ingemar is a very special human being. He introduced Joy and me to so many of the great historical wonders in Sweden as we worked on our still unfinished documentary, SEAFARING STRANGERS: VIKINGS IN AMERICA. He is a top international scholar who cares deeply about other people. I am so fortunate to be able to call him friend.

  5. Sharon Ross says:

    How wonderful, WHAT A MONUMENT TO TWO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. I know she is smiling down on you. You are MY HERO Lee.

  6. Jon Whitfield
    I’m outnumbered by UK fans here, but I did my undergraduate work at U. L. and worked in the library, then in the Administration Building. This later led me to get a second master’s degree in library science, and continued working in a school library until I retired. My next stab after U.L at library work came when I worked part-time in the beginning Meade County Library and then on the library board when we moved the library to an old school building where I’d taught my first year. We thought we’d arrived and it took me a while to appreciate the new library, I’m saying all this to say that I’ve enjoyed knowing Penningtons and appreciate what they have done. I haven’t gotten to know Lee as well as I’d like to, and sorry I couldn’t be at the dedication, and feel a connection with him because of the work they both did and he is doing, as well as his appreciation of the Brandenburg Stone..

  7. Robert Ratcliff says:

    For a little guy from White Oak, you’re doing ok!

    • Bob, neither you nor I would have ever dreamed such a thing when we were classmates back at McKell High School. The world turns in wonderful, strange ways. Thank you, my friend.

  8. G Sam Piatt says:

    Congratulations Lee, and Joy, I’ll let readers in the two local daily newspapers know, because you certainly have a bunch of well-wishers and fans here
    in southern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky.

    • Sam, you had the first story on this. Your writing rings true. This collection will ultimately have your wonderful book, MEN OF VALOR: COMBAT STORIES OF WWII BETERANS FROM SOUTHERN OHIO AND EASTERN KENTUCKY, among my gifts to the University of Louisville.

  9. ross hamilton says:

    This is great, Lee. Surely Joy is looking over and loving this.
    Ross Hamilton

  10. mary turvey says:

    Lee and Joy have been gentle but powerful educators in many aspects of life.

    • Mary, I’ll never forget your voice coming from the back room of the little historical museum in Houghton, MI, when I asked the attendant about the ancient copper mines. He didn’t know. But you told us where some were in Copper Harbor. Following that, we all became life-long friends. One of the many precious moments that happens co commonly when total strangers realize how really close we all are. Thank you.

  11. Gary says:

    Lee – I don’t know if you will see this, and my words are a bit late on the subject. But, I am so proud to call you uncle and Joy, aunt. I was sorry I couldn’t join you for the celebration, but Theresa and I gave a small donation. Keep having great adventures and helping spread the joy of your experiences.

    • Gary and Teresa, thank you so much. Of course, you two were always a delight to Joy and me. So proud of you! You must come visit sometime and see the gallery. I look forward to that!

      • garyalanmiller says:

        I would love to see the gallery one day. FYI: mom didn’t know anything about the gallery. She’s visiting us right now and I mentioned it to her. I had assumed she’d received the same invitation as we did. I’m sure she’d love to see it, too! Maybe we can all find time to make a trip one day.

  12. Gary and Theresa, The Gallery will have the exhibit up for another three or four weeks, then it will change. The Lee and Joy exhibit will be done annually (probably last two weeks in Feb. and all of March each year). Hope that helps you plan your visit. So sorry Sandy didn’t know. U of L sent invitations to all Stout family I had addresses for. Maybe I had an old address for Sandy; not sure what happened. Wish she had known! Send me your email on FB message page. Take care. Love to you all. Come visit (bring Sandy) anytime!

  13. […] he provided the funds that enabled Buie to build the special climate-controlled, fire-protected facility which houses the collection and other works.  Thanks to the efforts of Bullitt and Buie, as well as Watkins and Pennington, […]

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