Digital Collections – New and Old

The University of Louisville Libraries Digital Collections is moving to a new platform, Samvera Hyku, an open-source repository framework. It will allow for greater configurability, including an improved image viewer. The open-source software allows the University of Louisville Libraries to contribute technical development rather than licensing funds, ultimately saving money while developing our skills and promoting broader, more equitable access to digital content.

However, in the short term, situations beyond our control relating to the aging server and out-of-date software require us to limit access to the full set of materials on the old platform, at, to on-campus and UofL logins only. If you are on either campus, the URL should work as it always has. If you are off-campus and are a student, employee, alumnus, or retiree with an active UofL address, simply go to and log in, then either select Digital Collections from the confirmation page, or replace the “” string with “”.

Meanwhile, the beta version of Digital Collections on the Hyku platform can be explored and shared by anyone and everyone, on or off campus, at

Hyku version of Digital Collections
Digital Collections in Hyku

Only about 20% of the content has been added to the Hyku version. We are still testing code for upload of multiple-page items (books, catalogs, newspapers, postcard folios, baseball cards, recto/verso images, atlases, photo series…), but not even every single-page item has been uploaded yet. If you don’t see something you used to be able to access yet, don’t worry – it will get there!

Once everything has been migrated to Hyku, the old server will be completely shut down and the address will transfer to Hyku. We do not recommend saving the URLs of items you’re interested in reviewing; instead, please make note of the Item Number, as that will be the best way for you and our staff to identify both the digital and physical items.

If you have questions about functionality, please let us know, so that we can not only help you, but also write up an explanation for others.

Archives and Special Collections launches Student Newspaper Digital Collection

Student journalists have narrated the evolving story of UofL’s cultural life for decades through its student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal. Looking up these stories is much easier now that Archives and Special Collections has made historic issues of the newspaper available online.

Landing page for Louisville Cardinal digital archive

A gift from David A. Jones, Jr. and Mary Gwen Wheeler covered the cost of digitizing The Cardinal’s 1926-2013 issues. The work was labor-intensive, including scanning aging issues of the paper, indexing each page and describing it for the online archive. Issues from 2014 on are available through the Cardinal’s profile.

Archives and Special Collections has been preserving paper and microfilm copies of the paper since the founding of University Archives and Records Center in 1974.  But printed newspapers grow brittle with age. Digitizing the newspaper reduces the burden on fragile originals, and because the archive is full-text searchable, relevant stories are much easier to find.

The University of Louisville’s student newspaper has been published, under a variety of names, since September 24, 1926. Sometimes called the University of Louisville’s Cardinal or simply Cardinal, it became The Louisville Cardinal in 1966, a title it retains today. The Cardinal – as it is more generally known – currently produces both print and web editions, providing a training ground for student-journalists.

While it has always served as an important news source for the University community, past issues are used by researchers – including students and alumni/ae – to investigate the history of the University, the nature of student life, and the impact of local, national, and global events on our community. It is also a wonderful place to stroll down memory lane.



Women’s History Month: Library Resources

March marks Women’s History Month. As noted last week regarding African American History Month, the University of Louisville Libraries provides access to a host of sources for learning about women’s history, particularly from a local perspective.

Explore the Guide to Women’s Manuscript Collections in the University Archives & Records Center (UARC) to start researching women’s lives in Louisville through history. The Women’s and Gender Studies research guide links to primary and secondary sources on this topic.

Digital Collections includes images and oral histories relating to women, including The Kate Matthews Collection by a pioneering woman photographer from Pewee Valley, and Jean Thomas, The Traipsin’ Woman, Collection documenting Kentucky folk culture.

The University of Louisville’s Hite Institute of Art is now home to the International Honor Quilt. Watch this blog for upcoming news about this resource for women’s history, art, and craft.

Mid-century Louisville

The University of Louisville Libraries’ Digital Collections has a colorful new addition: the Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville, ca. 1956-1966. These 573 color snapshots document buildings in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1950s and 1960s, before urban renewal and federal highway construction made major changes to the architectural landscape.

ULPA 1998.09.424

609 West Walnut Street, Louisville, Kentucky. Image Number ULPA 1998.09.424 in Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville 1956-1966, University of Louisville Photographic Archives.

The photographer, Martin F. Schmidt (1918-2010), worked in his family’s Coca-Cola bottling business in Louisville before pursuing a degree in library science and applying his interest in local history to positions in the Louisville Free Public Library’s Kentucky Division and the Filson Club (now Filson Historical Society). He also published Kentucky Illustrated: The First Hundred Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992), a selection of prints he collected documenting Kentucky’s first century. Schmidt was also a major supporter of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, where a library is named in his honor.

The albums he donated to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives (now part of Archives & Special Collections) include churches, schools, offices, and industrial buildings from the Phoenix Hill neighborhood to Portland and from the Central Business District out to the Russell and California neighborhoods. The saturated color images show late nineteenth century architecture with neon signage, painted advertisements (similar to those documented in our Ghost Signs of Louisville digital collection), mid-20th century automobiles, and pedestrians. Many of the buildings depicted have since been razed.

ULPA 1998.09.288

Martin Rosenberger Wallpaper Co., Miller Automatic Sales Company, and Royal Wallpapers, Inc., 525-19 West Market Street, Louisville, Kentucky. Image Number ULPA 1998.09.288 in Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville 1956-1966, University of Louisville Photographic Archives.

Photo mystery in the archives: SOLVED!


By Tom Owen, Archivist for Regional History & Heather Fox, Archivist for Metadata and Scholarly Communication, 2013/08/08

One recent morning on the 4th floor of the Ekstrom Library, as Heather worked describing digitized historic images of Louisville to be uploaded to the UL Digital Collections website, she came across a mysterious panorama of what appeared to be downtown Louisville.  Heather prides herself on having a reasonable grasp of the downtown geography, but she just couldn’t get a fix on what she saw so she hollered down the hall, “Tom, I need your help!”

Heather often requests Tom’s help with street and building identification due to his deep knowledge of local scenes acquired from almost four decades of historical hikes and bikes and local history reference work. Tom, the seasoned sleuth, scrutinized the photo carefully and finally exclaimed:  “This isn’t Louisville!”  Persisting, Heather replied:  “But isn’t that the old Jefferson County Courthouse—now City Hall–in the distant left-center of the image?” and “if I zoom in here you can see Seelbach spelled out backwards (HCABLEES) atop the building in the center background.”  Despite evidence of these local landmarks, Tom just couldn’t make sense of what he saw:  What was that massive brick structure without façade ornamentation in the foreground? Or the building just to the left with the mansard roof?  Or the substantial office building a little further to the left?

The two archivists turned to one of the trustiest and most–loved reference books in the ASC collection, Caron’s Annual City Directory.  First published for Louisville in 1832, the directories contain householder name, occupation, and address as well as businesses and their addresses and, beginning in 1884, included  a criss-cross section that listed householders and businesses by street and house number. By zooming in on business signs painted on buildings, then corroborating addresses with the criss-cross section, the archival team concluded that the photographer likely stood on the roof of the recently completed YMCA—now St. Francis High School—at Third and Broadway directing his lens on a broad sweep north and  northwest  toward the Ohio River.

Heather and Tom were thrown off by the fact that the two massive structures in the foreground were demolished long ago and by the fact that the substantial old Atherton Building—now the Francis Building—was “modernized” almost fifty years ago with an aluminum envelope.  The U. S. Post Office and Customs House on the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut—demolished during World War II—had an iconic Renaissance Revival clock tower that was easily recognizable but who knew its far eastern wing ended with a mansard roof?  In addition, Tom and Heather both couldn’t believe that the Masonic Temple with its auditorium which was almost mid-block on the south side of Chestnut between Third and Fourth was so large.  Further, they were trying to “read” that massive structure from the rear.   One of the “occupational pleasures” of being an archivist is the delight you experience identifying historic photographs but that panoramic view from ca. 1910 sure had the two sleuths stumped for some time!

Once identified, Heather added the image to the Caufield and Shook online collection.  Take a look for yourself and see what kind of interesting things you can find!

Derby season


Louisville has been the proud host of the Kentucky Derby for the past 139 years. A Louisville Leader newspaper article (“Derby Visitors Feted As Hospitality Reigns“) from May 14, 1938 reports,

“Not only is Louisville famous for its annual event at Churchill Downs but it has also become famous for its many social courtesies extended those who visit at Derby time.”

The University of Louisville Libraries’ collections include visual and written documentation of Derby races and parties. Travel back in time to Derbies past through these images freely available in our Digital Collections.

UofL’s proud basketball history–online!


Most Card fans know that the University of Louisville has a history of winning basketball teams–we are no strangers to championships. And we are no strangers to Wichita State: in February 1963, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees voted to join the Missouri Valley Conference, which then as now included the Wichita State Shockers.

50 years and three (soon to be four) conferences later, the University of Louisville Cardinals return to the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament for the 10th time on Saturday night, facing their former conference rival.

Photos from the University of Louisville Yearbooks show past meetups between the teams, such as these from the 1966-1967 season, featuring Louisville greats Wes Unseld (#31) and Alfred “Butch” Beard (#14).



The University of Louisville’s women’s basketball team dates back to 1909 when the dean of Arts and Sciences, John L. Patterson, heeded the request of a handful interested in forming a team.

Page 160

Check out our digitized U of L Yearbooks and Selected U of L images to find more women’s and men’s basketball history.



Day of Digital Archives 2012

Joe Tinker of the Chicago Nationals.

Joe Tinker of the Chicago Nationals.

October is Archives Month, and this October 12 is the Day of Digital Archives.

Kentucky has chosen a sports theme this year, and since it’s also baseball playoff season, so our Leonard Brecher Tobacco & Chewing Gum Card Collection is an apt digital collection to highlight.

These baseball cards housed in the Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library at the University of Louisville date back about 100 years, when advertising tobacco to young people was not yet considered objectionable, and the Chicago Cubs won games.

Shortstop Joe Tinker (at left) was one-third of the Chicago Cubs double-play lineup memorialized in the 1910 poem “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” by Franklin Pierce Adams. Images of his teammates Johnny Evers and Frank Chance are also available in the digital collection.

You can read the poem and the feats that inspired it in another digital archive, the Library of Congress’ American Memory website Baseball Cards 1887-1914 collection.

Remembering Helen Mazzoli

The Mazzoli family at Romano Mazzoli’s swearing in to the Kentucky State Senate, 1968 (Kentucky Dept. of Public Information photo)

On June 18, 2012, Louisville lost a particularly wonderful citizen: Helen Mazzoli. I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Mazzoli as the University Archives & Records Center worked with her husband, Congressman Romano (Ron) Mazzoli, to process his papers and renovate our reading room in his honor. She was the kind of woman you meet and think, “Wow. I want to be like her when I grow up” — even if you are, technically, already well past that mark.

As part of the Mazzoli Papers Project, we conducted a series of oral history interviews with the Congressman’s staff and colleagues, as well as with his family. I had the privilege of interviewing Mrs. Mazzoli in January 2011. She deserved a far better interviewer, but she was a very gracious interviewee. While I enjoyed hearing about her work on Congressman Mazzoli’s campaigns, their life together while he was in Congress, and their time at Harvard after he left politics, my favorite story concerned her going to Hollywood at the age of three to audition for the movies. I won’t relate the entire story, as her interview is now available online, so you can hear her tell the story herself.

That is one of the beauties of oral history: hearing her tell her own story is far better than reading my words. And her voice, her inflection, her way of telling that story, is captured forever in this recording. Knowing that I’m helping to preserve this memory – and making it available to the public – is one of the best parts of my job as an archivist.

The Mazzoli Reading Room… and Much More

Mazzoli campaign button, 1982

Mazzoli campaign button, 1982

Anyone who was on the fourth (okay, and third) floor of Ekstrom Library on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 8 knew something was up. This area — normally known for its silence — was packed full of people who gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Romano L. Mazzoli Reading Room in the University Archives and Records Center. A native Louisvillian and alumnus of the Brandeis School of Law, Romano (Ron) Mazzoli represented Kentucky’s Third Congressional District for 24 years, from 1971 until 1995. We also opened his papers to researchers and launched an online oral history collection focusing on the Congressman, his life and career.

The reading room includes exhibits focusing on Congressman Mazzoli, which can be enjoyed anytime between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday-Friday. A companion exhibit showcases Louisville’s Italian American community. The Italian American Association (IAA) has been a generous supporter of the Archives’ work on the Congressman’s papers, and we are working with the IAA to collect materials that document the lives of Italian Americans in Louisville. If you are interested in making a donation, please give us a call at 852-6674!

Romano Mazzoli and his parents, circa 1934

Romano Mazzoli and his parents, about 1934

The Congressman’s papers themselves fill 633 boxes (that’s nearly 700 feet of shelf space). They document his campaigns as well as his time in office, including his work on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. They also tell the story of a Congressman who placed a very high value on being accessible and helpful to his constituents. A detailed description of the papers is available online (, and the papers themselves can be accessed in the Archives on the fourth floor of Ekstrom Library.

In addition, we conducted 66 hours of oral history interviews with the Congressman, his colleagues, staffers, campaign volunteers and family. These interviews complement the papers, giving life to the official record and telling stories that simply aren’t captured on paper. These are being made available online via the University Libraries’ Digital Collections (

So come take a look at these new resources – whether in person or virtually!