Across the country, a substantial number of academic musical archives are dedicated to folk, world, country, bluegrass, classical and other musical genres, while other popular forms – namely punk, hardcore, indie and rock – are left out of the mix.
Aiming to correct this imbalance, UofL’s Louisville Underground Music Archive (LUMA) was established in 2013 to preserve recordings, photographs, videos, ‘zines, set lists, fan mail, and other artifacts of the Louisville underground music scene from the late 1970s until the present.
Not only does LUMA not consider these musical genres to be chopped liver, it recently pursued and was given a grant of $1,800 by the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), allowing LUMA to add oral histories – interviews with individuals from the era – to its collection.
“These oral histories will be an excellent way to round out our collection” said Heather Fox, co-director of the Oral History Center and archivist for manuscript collections with Archives and Special Collections. Eighteen-hundred dollars doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but it makes it possible for us to do this work,” said Fox, who will oversee the project.
Matched by funds from the ASC’s oral history budget, the project will be built with $3,600, most of which will go toward paying local journalist and former punk rocker Chip Nold to conduct interviews with musicians from the era.
Nold is not only an experienced journalist and interviewer, with a degree in history from Princeton, but was also the lead singer for Babylon Dance Band (aka “the Babs”), one of the first punk groups in Louisville, thus “the perfect candidate for the project,” Fox said.
“Chip had experience interviewing people for feature stories, but we made sure to train him on oral history methodology, and then sent him out with a trusty Marantz PMD 660 [a portable compact flash recorder] to get started.”
“The oral history project fills in the gaps of our collection,” she continued. “It lets us discover what it was like to be playing music during that era, and what it felt like to be there then. This is something oral history is great at fleshing out.”
Among the first interview subjects was a local music critic, with other musicians from the scene also on tap.
“LUMA is an effort to document part of Louisville’s culture that might not be documented otherwise. Music has played an important role in cultural life of Louisville and still does, and LUMA is filling in that gap.”
“When we’re collecting artifacts around a music scene, we’re less interested in the published material, because there are multiple copies of that. We’re more interested in finding unique items, like fan mail.”
As an example, LUMA has a collection of fan mail sent to Louisville hardcore band Endpoint. Mail addressed to the band came from fans in Louisville, around the U.S., and even Germany.
“Fan mail demonstrates the impact this music had on this community and in other parts of the country and world. . . .It documents the ways in which people communicated before the internet, which is really neat,” Fox said.
“There is fan mail from Louisville fans just across town to the guys in the band. I doubt that ever happens now. People are on Facebook or other social media and have immediate contact.”
Once completed, Fox will upload them to the digital collections where visitors will be able to search for specific passages within the recordings. Archives and Special Collections will be “integrating a new software that will allow us to index digital oral histories and then provide online access that will include a search box, to make the recording key-word searchable. It’s also time-coded, so you can go to the exact place in the audio to find that passage.”
“Ideally what we want is a full transcription of an interview; that’s the most time consuming thing of the process,” she continued.
Fox has eight years of experience with all aspects of oral history, including recording, transcribing and conducting such interviews. She also provided access to oral histories through her work at the Kentucky Historical Society on the Pass the Word website and at the University of Louisville’s CONTENTdm instance which provides online transcripts and streaming audio.
The LUMA advisory board is comprised of local musicians like Nathan Salsburg, musician and curator of the Alan Lomax Archive; musician and actor Will Oldham; Diane Pecknold, professor of popular culture who has written and edited books about country music (who is married to a member of the Louisville band Squirrel Bait); and other members of the community like John Timmons, owner of celebrated ear X-tacy, an erstwhile record store that employed many active participants in the scene, developed a list of active and well-known musicians in the scene during the early to mid-1980s.
Please browse the LUMA collection and find out more about Archives and Special Collections.
By Anna Marie Johnson
Discussions of community engagement, supporting graduate student publishing efforts, and high-quality, free information resources took place against a spectacular backdrop as librarians from UofL’s Ekstrom Library presented at the Kentucky Library Association’s Academic and Special Section/Special Library Association Joint Spring Conference at Cumberland Falls State Park near Corbin, KY, April 7-9, 2016.
Cumberland Falls is home to the only moonbow in the Western hemisphere. While the moonbow was not in evidence during the conference, pre-conference and keynote speakers illuminated practices of assessment in academic libraries as well as the Framework for Information Literacy which helps librarians identify concepts that prove especially difficult for students as they navigate in a complex information environment.
Librarians Sue Finley, Latisha Reynolds, and Fannie Cox, from the Research Assistance & Instruction (RAI) Department discussed the results of their survey of twenty different academic libraries which found hundreds of free websites and databases that could be used by UofL’s community, especially important in difficult budgetary times. Fannie Cox also presented on her work with community engagement, exhorting her audience to form collaborative partnerships on their campuses and to present and write about their efforts.
George Martinez, Samantha McClellan, Rob Detmering, and Anna Marie Johnson, also librarians from RAI presented on the Publishing Academy, a collaborative effort between
the Ekstrom Library Learning Commons and the School of Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies. A series of five workshops on topics such as copyright, open access, impact factors, and writing for publication combined with two faculty panels helped the twenty-student cohort peek behind the curtain into the often intimidating world of academic publication.
Finally, Tyler Goldberg, Head of Collection Development and Technical Services and her co-presenter from Northern Kentucky University speculated on the future of their work, complicated as it is by changing models of publishing and formats (e-books, etc.) as well as the systems that libraries use to keep track of the material they license or buy.
The Kentucky Women’s Book Festival endeavors to foster a deeper interest in Kentucky women writers and encourage beginning writers to continue their work and strive to grow with each new venture. Kentucky writers include those born in Kentucky but now living elsewhere, if they wish to be identified as Kentuckians, as well as those who, although not born here have made Kentucky home.
The Kentucky Women’s Book Festival is held on the 3rd Saturday of May. This year it marks the 8th annual festival and will be on May 17, 2014 in the Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville. The event is free and open to all. If you would like to purchase a lunch, please call the Women’s Center by May 13 (502) 852-8976 by May 13. (The lunch is $16 and catered by Masterson’s. Those who do not wish to purchase a lunch may still come to the reading.)
Doors open at 9:00 with refreshments and discussion, then the speakers begin in the Elaine Chao Auditorium at 9:30 with George Ella Lyon who will discuss and read from her new book of poetry: Many-Storied House, followed by Bobbie Ann Mason who will read from her latest novel: The Girl in the Blue Beret. There are three consecutive morning sessions: Sonja de Vries, a poet; Alison Atlee, an author; and Jannene Winstead & Leborah Goodwin who have compiled a cookbook with a bit of Louisville history: Recipes and recollections: from the houses Samuel M. Plato Built. Holly Goddard Jones will do a lunchtime reading from her novel The Next Time You See Me. After lunch is a presentation by Sena Jeter Naslund entitled “Knowing the Self Through Knowing the Other,” which will feature the research for her latest novel The Fountain of St. James Court; or Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman, then two more consecutive sessions: Mariam Williams will discuss “Black Arts Movement Pride, Walker’s Womanism and Hillbilly Sisterhood: the African American Women’s Literary Series in the 1990s” and Playwrights Nancy Gall-Clayton & Kathi E. B. Wlllis will present “When Characters Speak.”
Through photographs by Robert Doherty and James N. Keen
March 5, 1964
On March 5, 1964, close to 10,000 people from in and around Kentucky gathered at the state capitol for a peaceful civil rights demonstration which has become known as The March on Frankfort, one in a series of civil rights marches lead by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Allied Organization for Civil Rights (AOCR) coordinated this effort. Among its members were Officers Frank Stanley, Jr., editor of The Louisville Defender; Dr. Olof Anderson, Synod Executive of the Presbyterian Church; and a young Georgia Davis Powers. Powers, who later became the first African American and the first woman to be elected to the Kentucky State Senate in 1967, states this was the beginning of her civil rights activism.
Key speakers were Ralph Stanley, Jr.; the Rev. Dr. D. E. King, pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Louisville from 1946 until 1963; The Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr’s close associate and friend; Jackie Robinson, major league baseball legend who broke the color barrier; and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Folk singers and civil rights activists Peter, Paul and Mary performed.
Robert Doherty founded the University of Louisville Photographic Archives while a professor in the Allen R. Hite Art Institute. Also an active photographer, Doherty documented Louisville scenes, political rallies and events, prominent Louisvillians, and important visitors to the city. His photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Louisville and at the 1964 march on Frankfort have frequently appeared in print. In 2010 Doherty received a Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa degree from the University of Louisville.
James N. Keen was a photographer for the Chattanooga News, Dayton Journal-Herald, Associated Press, Acme Newspictures, and for twenty-six years, with the Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times. His work appeared in Life and U.S. Camera Annual, and he won numerous national awards for photojournalism. His subjects include celebrities such as Martha Graham and Orville Wright, as well as political figures including Winston Churchill and several presidents. Keen also photographed local landmarks events such as the Kentucky Derby.
Governor Breathitt fought hard for the public accommodations bill. And although it was unsuccessful in 1964, in 1966 the Kentucky General Assembly passed the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Dr. King called it “the strongest and most comprehensive civil rights bill passed by a Southern state.” The law prohibits discrimination in employment and public accommodations and empowers cities to enact local laws against housing discrimination. [A Kentucky Civil Rights Timeline, http://www.ket.org/civilrights/timeline.htm]
See the exhibit in the Photographic Archives Gallery, Lower Level Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville. Open Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
I recently cataloged a series of photographs in the Caufield & Shook Collection for the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Library that were commissioned by the Louisville Gas & Electric Company. Although the original intent of the photographs was to document property prior to tree removal, they also document when this area was primarily farmland rather than developed residential and commercial real estate.
Here’s what the intersection of Brownsboro Lane and Chamberlain Lane looked like then:
Here’s what the intersection of Brownsboro Lane and Chamberlain Lane look like now:
Click through these images to see more views of Worthington from 1928.
If you are a UofL faculty, staff, or student, you have access to articles from Louisville’s local newspaper, The Courier-Journal. Access is provided through the Gannett Newstand database, available from either the “C” or “G” pages of the All Databases List. The Gannett database includes a number of other papers published by Gannett such as the Cincinnati Enquirer, so if you want to limit your search to just the Courier-Journal, you’ll need to use the Advanced Search, and search for the Courier-Journal in the Publication Title. See the picture below.
The database contains articles from 1999-the present. If you do not find an article you remember seeing in the online or print edition of the paper, it may be that the article was from a news service such as Reuters or reprinted from another paper such as the New York Times and you’ll need to look elsewhere for it. Contact a librarian if you need help!
Articles from before 1999 are likely not available online, or even on the computer! UofL has microfilm of the Courier-Journal dating back to 1868, and from the two proceeding newspapers Louisville Courier (1851) and the Louisville Journal (1833). Here is an example of the index (also on microfilm) to the CJ from 1918.
The earliest years of the Courier-Journal are being digitized, but currently, UofL does not have a subscription to that database; it is however, available from the Louisville Free Public Library.
There are many treasures to be found in the historical Courier-Journal. It would be an interesting assignment for students who want to trace the history of a local story, event, or famous person.
UofL also has several other newspapers of local historical interest on microfilm such as the Louisville Defender, the local African-American paper from 1951-2009; the Louisville Anzeiger, the local German language newspaper from 1849-1937; and the Louisville Leader, another African American newspaper currently being transcribed via crowdsourcing.