Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category


D.W. Griffith films

In Spotlight on January 19, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

D.W. Griffith

Kentuckian D.W. Griffith (1875-1948)

The Oldham County History Center is celebrating is D.W. Griffith’s birthday today.  Here’s from Helen McKinney’s press release:

Celebrate D.W. Griffith’s Birthday!

D.W. Griffith movies at the Oldham County History Center
Feature Film Sundays

Sunday, January 22, 2017 from Noon – 4 p.m.
Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum
108 N. Second Ave., La Grange, Ky  40031

In honor of one of Oldham County’s most famous residents, the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum (located on the Oldham County History Center campus) will be showing a selection of D.W. Griffith’s most famous silent movies. Visitors to the museum, now open on Sundays from Noon – 4 p.m., will also be invited to enjoy a slice of cake to celebrate what would have been Griffith’s 142nd birthday.

David Wark Griffith (January 22, 1875-July 23, 1948) was born on a farm in Oldham County to Mary Perkins and Jacob “Roaring Jake” Griffith. Roaring Jake was a Confederate army colonel during the Civil War, and died when his son was ten years old. Four years later, the family moved to Louisville where Griffith’s mother opened a boarding house that soon failed. Griffith left high school to help support the family. It wasn’t long before he left Louisville to begin what would become a very lucrative film career.

Griffith got his start as an actor in touring companies. By 1908 he had begun making short films and accepted a job at Biograph . He released his first feature, Judith of Bethulia, in 1914; it was one of the earliest to be produced in the United States. Griffith’s film career was defined at Biograph, but he eventually left the company. He became one of the most famous American film directors, writers and producers in the business, and will be forever remembered as the filmmaker who pioneered modern filmmaking techniques.  One of his most popular movies was the 1915 silent classic, The Birth of a Nation. Controversial for its time, it made Griffith a house-hold name.

Sally of the Sawdust will be one of the D.W. Griffith films shown on Sunday, January 22 at the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum. Released on August 2, 1925, this silent comedy was based on the 1923 stage musical, Poppy. The film version starred W.C. Fields, Carol Dempster and Alfred Lunt. When her circus mother dies after being disowned, young Sally (Dempster) is raised by Professor Eustace McGargle (W.C. Fields), a juggler and small-time con man. McGargle trains Sally to dance for his opening act, and the pair joins a carnival based in Green Meadow, Conn. Visit the museum to learn how young Sally’s life turns out.

The showing of these D.W. Griffith movies is part of a new program, “Feature Film Sundays” at the museum. Every second and fourth Sunday of the month, movies with relevance to Oldham County will be shown. Museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sundays, Noon – 4 p.m.  Cost is $8 (adults), $6 (students, seniors and military with ID) and free for children 4 and under.

Oldham County Historical Society
106 N. Second Ave.
La Grange, KY  40031


Fake News, Civics Reasoning

In Spotlight on January 13, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Reading like a historianAs history educators we are constantly teaching how to read critically – whether by example or in our assignments. So, the recent hullabaloo about “fake” news probably makes you want to just shake your head in disbelief that this is happening with such alacrity. This is the time for us as educators – whether in our classrooms or in general for our local communities – to take a leadership role. The public in general needs to be reminded that all information sources need to be analyzed for frame of reference and documented evidence. They need resources to make this kind of analysis happen, and we are the best at doing this kind of work.

Recently the News Literacy Project put out a questionnaire that you could share with others to use: “Ten Questions for Fake News Detection.” It’s a good place to start with those who are not yet proficient at close reading – or reading like a historian.

The Stanford History Education Group has done a lot of work in this area. Recently, they published a report summarizing what they found in their research: “Evaluating Information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning, Executive summary.” (November 22, 2016). The summary provides examples of assessments for middle school, high school, and college students. You might consider taking this on as a challenge for yourself and find if your own community-based research (or research projects by your students) garner the same results.

Please reply to this post and let us know what you are doing in this area.


Goan featured on KWSP

In Spotlight on November 20, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Melanie Goan photo from UK History Department webpage

Dr. Melanie Beal Goan, UK

Dr. Melanie Goan, former KATH President and currently Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of Kentucky, was featured recently in the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project (KWSP) portal on the H-Kentucky network.

Dr. Goan was interviewed by the new KWSP Fellow, Dr. Joanna Lile, about her work on a manuscript on the history of Kentucky women and their role in the fight for woman suffrage  locally, nationally and internationally.

See Dr. Lile’s post “A Conversation with Melanie Goan” on the KWSP blog. You can follow future blog posts with an RSS feed from the H-Kentucky network – or subscribe to the network today and receive updates via email.


Call for New Fellow

In Spotlight on September 12, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , , ,

The Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project invites applications for a part-time Fellow who supports this project’s unique digital portal with exemplary writing on Kentucky women’s history and culture for both scholars and nonacademic readers. The current Fellow, Kristen Thornsberry, has built up the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Timeline as well as starting up the blog and the project’s community page on Facebook. The project’s signature digital effort is to identify Kentucky’s suffrage sites and connect with a nation-wide Suffrage History Digital Map being developed by National Collaboration for Women’s Historical Sites (NCWHS) in collaboration with the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative led by the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum and the League of Women Voters.

If requesting compensation, the Fellow can be hired as a temporary employee at the University of Kentucky who would be trained and supervised by Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth. Pay to be negotiated. The Fellow will also collaborate with Dr. Melanie Goan (UK History Department) and Dr. Deirdre Scaggs (UK Special Collections), when needed. Most work can be done online via H-Kentucky and at a distance from UK.

Two or three Fellows can be appointed depending on availability and areas of expertise. We are looking for someone who is
– experienced in history research
– familiar with U.S. women’s history
– detail-oriented and careful with historical references
– organization and time-management skills
– communication skills
– comfortable with technical writing as well as informal social media posts
– basic Excel skills (for collecting digital map entries to be uploaded by the H-Net programmers)
– willing to track down information about records lost to history

Fellows will be working on topics related to the history of Kentucky woman suffrage and research should be published in some form on H-Kentucky: the blog, the timeline, the digital map, annotated bibliography, biographical sketches. The Fellow’s approach to a topic should be broad enough to appeal to students and scholars in several humanities and social sciences disciplines as well as an interested general public.

Applicants must have received at least a Masters degree in History by September 1, 2016. Please submit the following application materials to

  1. A curriculum vitae. Applicants are also encouraged to submit a list of links to online projects and/or social media accounts.
  2. A one-page abstract in addition to a detailed statement of the research topic the applicant would like to pursue during the term of the fellowship (not more than 750 words – this can be re-used for an introductory blog post).
  3. A brief, two-page proposal for a seminar (or webinar) series related to the applicant’s research.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from colleagues to whom candidates should send their research and webinar proposal. Letters of recommendation should include an evaluation of the candidate’s proposed research and webinar statements. Please ask referees to submit their letters directly to Letters must be submitted on or before October 1, 2016.

For further information, contact Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth at:
phone: 859-257-0047
or email Kristen Thornsberry at:


Clements award winner

In Spotlight on August 31, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Congratulations to Margaret Lynn Brewer of Scott County High School – winner of the Earle C. Clements Innovation in Education Award!

On August 9, 2016, U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero presented the award on behalf of the National Archives and the University Kentucky Libraries Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. Margaret Lynn Brewer is a world civilization teacher and UK College of Education doctoral student.


Feature on Duane Bolin

In Spotlight on August 16, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged:

Home and Away book coverSteve Flairty wrote a touching article in KyForward recently about Duane Bolin, professor of history at Murray State University and a former KATH Board Member and Newsletter Editor. The article features too the recently published collection of personal essays from Dr. Bolin’s newspaper columns in the Murray Ledger & Times : Home and Away: A Professor’s Journal (Acclaim Press, 2016).

Take a look at the article:


KY Woman Suffrage

In Spotlight on June 24, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

UPDATE 26 August 2016: The Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project Portal is up and live at – please contribute! and here’s the updated flyer too for you to share. KY-Woman-Suffrage-Project_Votes-for-Women-Trail_July2016 (.pdf file)


In partnership with H-Net programmers and several KATH members, the H-Kentucky network is getting some new bells-and-whistles! Check out the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project‘s new page describing the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Timeline and the upcoming Kentucky “Votes for Women” Trail archive database.

We hope that all the KATH members will help out by posting in H-Kentucky new contributions of items gleaned from your local areas. Or you can assign your students to be sleuths and find hidden gems in your local libraries or historical organizations. We want images, brief biographical sketches, transcriptions of speeches, whatever you think will help us in building out the Kentucky history of the fight for equal suffrage from the 1830s through the 1920s. If you have diaries and letters, buttons, banners and sashes from your family’s heirloom stash of memorabilia, let us know so we can borrow them for the traveling exhibit or for filming to include in the documentary!

We developed an overview flyer for the Project that we shared yesterday with Kentucky teachers at the Kentucky Historical Society’s Kentucky History Educators Conference. Download your own flyer here and share with others. Looking forward to seeing your contributions on H-Kentucky!



KY student wins!

In KATH Awards,Spotlight on June 17, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Congratulations to one of our KATH Tolson Award winners, Amir Abou-Jaoude of Henry Clay High School, Fayette County Public Schools, in Lexington. Sponsored by his teacher,
Jonathan McClintock, his paper on Richard Wagner won the Anita Sanford Tolson Award in 2015.

Read more about his winning this year’s National History Day award this year at Time online: Amir, you make us proud!


Klotter wins medallion

News about Dr. Jim Klotter, featured speaker at our upcoming annual meeting, from a press release by Mack McCormick, University Press of Kentucky:

On Tuesday, May 10, James C. Klotter was recognized as the 2016 recipient of the University of Kentucky Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement at the UK Libraries Spring Gala. The Lexington native, UK alumnus, and Georgetown College scholar is the state historian of Kentucky. The UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement is one of UK’s most prestigious awards. It was created in 1990 to recognize high intellectual achievement by a Kentuckian who has made a contribution of lasting value to the Commonwealth. The recipient is determined by the UK Libraries National Advisory Board after receiving nominations from the public. Past recipients include: Wendell Berry, James Still, Bobbie Ann Mason, Thomas D. Clark, Laman A. Gray Jr., Guy Davenport, George C. Herring, John Egerton, Karl Raitz, and George C. Wright.

“Through his writing, his teaching, and hundreds of talks on Kentucky history across the Commonwealth over the past four decades, Dr. James C. Klotter epitomizes what the UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement honors: high intellectual achievement by a Kentuckian who has made a contribution of lasting value,” UK Libraries Dean Terry Birdwhistell said.

James C. Klotter received his doctoral degree in history from UK in 1975. He is author, co-author, or editor of almost 20 books including The Breckinridges of Kentucky, William Goebel: The Politics of Wrath, Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852, and Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, 1900-1950. He is also the author of the Kentucky history textbooks used at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels statewide. Klotter is general editor, along with UK Libraries Dean Terry Birdwhistell and Douglas Boyd of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, of the book series Kentucky Remembered: An Oral History Series. He also serves as the general editor of the Topics in Kentucky History series.

The state historian of Kentucky since 1980, Klotter worked at the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) from 1973 to 1998, with his tenure culminating in eight years of service as the KHS executive director. Since 1998, he has been a professor of history at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. He has also been chair or president of the Kentucky Association of Teachers of History, the Kentucky Council on Archives, the UK Library Associates, the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning, and the Kentucky Civil War Roundtable. The recipient of several other local, regional, and national honors, Klotter has previously received the Governor’s Outstanding Kentuckian Award and the Clark Award for Literary Excellence. He also has delivered the McCandless Lecture at Oxford University.

For more information, contact: Mack McCormick, Publicity Manager for the University Press of Kentucky, 859/257-5200,

Posted May 16, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth


Drop in history majors?

In Alerts,Spotlight on March 25, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: ,

In the most recent issue of the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, Julia Brookins described some disturbing findings on the latest trends in the number of history degrees in higher education.


“The number of history BAs and BSs completed in the United States fell for the third time in four years, this time by 9.1 percent from the previous year, from 34,360 to 31,233. This is the largest year-to-year change for undergraduate history degrees since a 9.8 percent increase in 1992.”


Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Brookins asserts that the large drop in history baccalaureate degrees earned last academic year is part of a downward trend that will continue through the decade.

chart showing drops in history bachelor's degrees by institution type

from Brookins, “New Data Show Large Drop in History Bachelor’s Degrees,” AHA Perspectives on History (March 2016)

The institution types listed above are based on the Carnegie classification system – for example, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are classified as “Research Universities: Very High Research Activity.” This is the group of universities, nationally, that saw the deepest drop in history bachelor’s degrees.

In Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s data profiles (baccalaureate degrees by institution and major start on page 91), the drop over time has been happening since 2008 for our research institutions, while the public comprehensive institutions are generally doing well, with Northern Kentucky University offering a huge increase in history degree production. Overall, the public comprehensive institutions have kept our history bachelor’s degree production on the increase in Kentucky.

KY Public Postsec Institution ’08-09 ’09-10 ’10-11 ’11-12 ’12-13 Total in 5 yrs
Morehead State University 7 11 15 15 17 65
Murray State University 31 26 24 22 13 116
Eastern Kentucky University 25 27 42 33 47 174
Western Kentucky University 18 39 30 43 49 179
Northern Kentucky University 49 60 34 43 73 259
University of Louisville 57 54 53 63 47 274
University of Kentucky 83 75 73 67 70 368
Totals by Academic Year 270 292 271 286 316

(Note: Kentucky State University does not offer a degree in history.)

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