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Poems; 77 pages. A land of celestial porches. A God in the belly, tied to the stars. A world of wild subtlety. One woman's body the lightning rod for this electric storm of awareness, grief, delight, and dread, and, yes, true love. Do not be deceived by the simple title to this collection: Eklund's intelligence pricks, and her poems seep deeply into your skin. These are poems of the only quest, the desire to simply be where we find ourselves, and yet, be more than we can imagine, be our best selves. I love these poems and what they give me: the words for my own hope, the fearful hope that is, as the poet writes, gentle as a life. --Rebecca Gayle Howell
Following World War I, our nation entered a decade of national prosperity. Businesses flourished, and the standard of living rose. Jobs were plentiful and Americans were better fed, clothed, and housed than they had ever been before. However, the prosperity of the roaring twenties did not filter down to the rural poor of Appalachia. When Jack Ellis was born to Lon and Dot Ellis in 1927, the family lived near Morehead, Kentucky in a dilapidated, leaky, rat-infested house with no screens on the windows and one room that had a dirt floor. By the time Jack entered grade school, America was mired in the Great Depression. During the 30s, his father was employed by the Civilian Conservation Corp. for several years, but his mother became discouraged and depressed after losing her teaching position in the Rowan County schools. In 1940, Jack began his freshman year in high school. The following year, when he was within one month of his fifteenth birthday, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and American life changed dramatically for Jack and the young men and women of his generation, many of whom served for the duration of the war. It was one of the darkest and most painful periods of American history. On battlefields across the world at Corregidor, Bastogne, Bataan, and thousands of other death sites young Americans felt especially alone at Christmas. It was a desperate time for our nation, for our soldiers, and for millions of families who were separated from their sons and daughters during five Christmas seasons. Jack Ellis did not see himself as a hero, but just another GI doing his best to serve and survive. He missed three Christmases at home during World War II. Like millions of fellow GIs, the song "I'll Be Home for Christmas" had special meaning; the last two lines were "I'll be home for Christmas, If only in my dreams".
Biography; 409 pages, illustrations. "Patriots & Heroes: Eastern Kentucky Soldiers of WW II profiles the physical pain, and also the psychological and emotional stress suffered by a dozen of America’s Citizen Soldiers in WW II. Their stories are representative of the courage, suffering, sacrifice and separation faced by the American GIs of that war. Included among these twelve are stories of POWs, KIAs, MIAs and many that returned home safely to become valuable, productive members of their community. The author uses interviews, letters, documents, and personal experiences to poignantly present their stories." -- Description from the Jesse Stuart Foundation
History, biography, and anecdote; 577 pages, illustrations. "Morehead Memories recalls the struggle of a city and a county to advance from a raw, violent, feud filled region into a modern educational, commercial, cultural and medical center in Eastern Kentucky. The author uses interviews, documented research and personal memories to vividly tell the story of the people, places, institutions and events through which this marvelous transformation was accomplished." -- Description from the Jesse Stuart Foundation
"In Kentucky Memories: Reflections of Rowan County, Jack Ellis has demonstrated an awareness of the important role of local history. During the past century-and-a-half, the human population of this amoeba-like area, carved out of Fleming and Morgan Counties, has matured into an Appalachian folk, cultural, economic, educational, and medical center. Literally scores of people have contributed both positively and negatively to the history of this community, and each of their acts in some form or another should remain as a record of their presence and activities. In the same way, every important human act documenting the past should should be passed on to future generations as a foundation for its presence and actions." Dr. Thomas D. Clark
Housed at the Rowan County Public Library. Contains: General subject files -- Special subject archives and files. WWI & veterans ; Books about WW II -- Morehead memories : people and places : 460 articles published in the Morehead News, 1997-2009.
Interview by Jean Wiggins; part of Pass the Word: A Project of the Kentucky Oral History Commission, Kentucky Historical Society. Summary, "Jack Ellis provides a description of his bookmobile service to Rowan County, development of the public library in Rowan County, compares bookmobile service then and now, effect of bookmobile service on library service in Kentucky, and interesting incidents."
Article published in The Chautauqua Journal: Vol.2, Article 24 (2018). Available to download. Abstract: "From its founding in 1792, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, compared with the states north of the Ohio River, followed a typically southern style of education. Before the Civil War a slave oligarchy controlled the political destiny of the state. After the Civil War, ironically because two-thirds of Kentuckians who fought in that war were on the Union side, the state became even more southern in many ways. Racism and segregation prevailed until the mid-1950s when the state began making rapid and successful strides to integrate its public and private schools. Equity and equality have always been stumbling blocks for education in Kentucky. From the state’s founding if you came from a middle class family your chances of getting a creditable education in Kentucky have been good. However, if you came from a poor family, a rural area, particularly in eastern Kentucky, or were female or African-American, your chances were considerably diminished. These problems appear to have abated in more recent years. More progress will be made, but only if funding by state government exceeds national averages, allowing the state to reach parity with those states which are also improving their systems."
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in Richmond, Kentucky, was originally established as a normal school in 1906 in the wake of a landmark education law passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. One hundred years later, the school has evolved into a celebrated multipurpose regional university that is national in scope. The school was built on a campus that had housed Central University, a southern Presbyterian institution. In its early years, EKU grew slowly, buffeted by cyclical economic problems and the interruptions of two world wars. During that time, however, strong leadership from early presidents Ruric Nevel Roark, John Grant Crabbe, and Herman L. Donovan laid the groundwork for later expansions. President Robert. R. Martin oversaw the rapid growth of the institution in the 1960s. He managed an increase in enrollment and he had additional facilities built to house and educate the growing student population. A savvy administrator, he was at the forefront of vocational education and initiated programs in nursing and allied heath and in law enforcement education. His successor, J.C. Powell, built on Martin's work and saw EKU mature as a regional university. He reorganized its colleges to better balance the needs of general and technical education students and kept educational programs going despite decreases in state funding. In addition, Powell's years were a magical time for EKU's sports programs, as the Colonels captured national football championships in 1979 and 1982 and finished second in 1980 and 1981. Today, EKU continues to offer students a quality education and strives to meet the diverse needs of its student body. Three Eastern campuses, as well as distance learning programs through the Kentucky Telelinking Network, offer more options to students than ever before as EKU prepares them for the challenges of a new century. In A History of Eastern Kentucky University, William E. Ellis recounts the university's colorful history, from political quandaries surrounding presidential administrations and financial difficulties during the Great Depression to its maturing as a leading regional university. Interviews with alumni, faculty, staff, and political figures provide a personal side to the history of the school. Reflecting on the social, economic, and cultural changes in the region during the last century, Ellis's examination of the growth and development of EKU is an essential resource for alumni and for those interested in the progression of public higher education in Kentucky and the region.
Kentucky is nationally renowned for horses, bourbon, rich natural resources, and unfortunately, hindered by a deficient educational system. Though its reputation is not always justified, in national rankings for grades K-12 and higher education, Kentucky consistently ranks among the lowest states in education funding, literacy, and student achievement. In A History of Education in Kentucky, William E. Ellis illuminates the successes and failures of public and private education in the commonwealth since its settlement. Ellis demonstrates how political leaders in the nineteenth century created a culture that devalued public education and refused to adequately fund it. He also analyzes efforts by teachers and policy makers to enact vital reforms and establish adequate, equal education, and discusses ongoing battles related to religious instruction, integration, and the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). A History of Education in Kentucky is the only up-to-date, single-volume history of education in the commonwealth. Offering more than mere policy analysis, this comprehensive work tells the story of passionate students, teachers, and leaders who have worked for progress from the 1770s to the present day. Despite the prevailing pessimism about education in Kentucky, Ellis acknowledges signs of a vibrant educational atmosphere in the state. By advocating a better understanding of the past, Ellis looks to the future and challenges Kentuckians to avoid historic failures and build on their successes.
A sweeping cultural history, The Kentucky River reflects the rich tapestry of life along the banks. Flowing with tales of river ghosts and hidden treasures lying in the backwaters, the book records the myths and events the river has spawned. Bill Ellis also celebrates the Kentucky's influence on such figures as writer Wendell Berry and painter Paul Sawyier. Beginning with an intriguing overview of the river's formation and characteristics, Ellis shows how the stream has helped shape Kentucky's environment, economy, and political culture. In centuries past, flotillas of flatboats carried whiskey, pork, and valuable raw materials downriver to markets in Louisiana. Later, the river became a source of entertainment as showboats brought theater, movies, music, and dancing to otherwise isolated communities. The book describes the environmental impact of settlement, logging, mining, and industrialization, developments that have sometimes tainted the Kentucky's mighty waters with silt, sewage, and trash. In the last thirty years, however, Kentuckians have come together in major efforts to clean and preserve the Kentucky's waters and the life along its banks. Advocates for the river achieved a victory in protecting the stunning Kentucky River Palisades between Boonesborough and Frankfort, and efforts continue to preserve the irreplaceable river for future generations.
"Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn." -- Irvin S. Cobb Born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky, humorist Irvin S. Cobb (1876--1944) rose from humble beginnings to become one of the early twentieth century's most celebrated writers. As a staff reporter for the New York World and Saturday Evening Post, he became one of the highest-paid journalists in the United States. He also wrote short stories for noted magazines, published books, and penned scripts for the stage and screen. In Irvin S. Cobb: The Rise and Fall of a Southern Humorist, historian William E. Ellis examines the life of this significant writer. Though a consummate wordsmith and a talented observer of the comical in everyday life, Cobb was a product of the Reconstruction era and the Jim Crow South. As a party to the endemic racism of his time, he often bemoaned the North's harsh treatment of the South and stereotyped African Americans in his writings. Marred by racist undertones, Cobb's work has largely slipped into obscurity. Nevertheless, Ellis argues that Cobb's life and works are worthy of more detailed study, citing his wide-ranging contributions to media culture and his coverage of some of the biggest stories of his day, including on-the-ground reporting during World War I. A valuable resource for students of journalism, American humor, and popular culture, this illuminating biography explores Cobb's life and his influence on early twentieth-century letters.
Biography; 137 pages. Describes the life of perhaps the most important early-20th-century dry Catholic, who was a progressive as well as an advocate of profitsharing. A multifaceted man who exchanged ideas with many of the most important political and literary figures of his day, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Msgr. John A. Ryan, and H. L. Mencken.
Robert Worth Bingham (1871-1937) rose to great heights as a newspaper publisher, political leader, and ambassador, but his life is surrounded by controversy to this day. Charges that he contributed to the death of his second wife, an heiress whose bequest of five million dollars helped purchase the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times, followed him to the grave. For three quarters of a century the history of the Bingham family of Louisville, Kentucky, has been one of tragedy and controversy as well as wealth, power, and prestige. The breakup of the Bingham dynasty in 1986, vividly chronicled on CBS television's "Sixty Minutes," generated a flurry of books and articles on Bingham and his family, much of it portraying Bingham as a villain. In some accounts, Bingham drove his first wife to suicide and gave syphilis to the second before murdering her to gain control of her inheritance. William E. Ellis's Robert Worth Bingham and the Southern Mystique is an evenhanded, well-researched, and comprehensive biography of a controversial man. Ellis reveals Bingham's strengths as well as his frailties, and he specifically refutes some of the charges made against Bingham. Born in North Carolina, Bingham was influenced throughout his life by the mystique of the Old South. Owing to his dedication to what he considered to be the true path of southern progressivism, he demonstrated both the best and worst of this movement. Throughout his career he voiced opposition to several cherished Kentucky political traditions, and during the Progressive Era and 1920s he opposed the state's powerful liquor and racing interests. As a newspaper publisher and New Deal diplomat, Bingham was instrumental in 1930s foreign policy. Ellis has thoroughly researched Bingham's influence in Kentucky and national politics, tobacco cooperatives, the newspaper field, and international diplomacy, as well as his often turbulent persona life. He presents a comprehensive and realistic portrait of the man.
Housed at the Kentucky Historical Society. Abstract, "Forty-eight interviews with politicians, government officials, educators, and others associated with Perkins, including Wendell H. Ford, A.B. "Happy" Chandler, and Earle C. Clements. Topics include politics, political leaders, electioneering in Kentucky (especially eastern Kentucky) and Washington, D.C., labor, education, the coal industry, mine safety, black lung benefits, environmental concerns, welfare, and flood control and water projects, especially the Paint Creek Dam in Paintsville and the Red River project."
M.A. thesis from Eastern Kentucky University. Abstract: "The primary concern of this thesis is to study the Kentucky controversy and attempt to distinguish reasons for the defeat of anti-evolutionist ambitions. Kentucky differed little from other states which had controversies of more serious consequences, yet did not pass legislation. Consequently, the author compared the Commonwealth to other states, primarily Tennessee and North Carolina. Certainly not all possible areas could be explored due to the short-lived nature of the Kentucky controversy."
Housed at the Kentucky Historical Society. Abstract: "This project documents the economic and social conditions of people who have lived or worked on the Kentucky River. Workers talk about several industries and occupations associated with the river: coal mining, locks and lock repair, logging, rafting logs downriver, sawmills, farming, fishing, oil drilling, and bootlegging. Many of the interviewees worked for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Several types of boats are discussed: showboats, steamboats, pleasure boats, ferry boats, barges, and various other kinds of commercial boats. Narrators recall floods along the river, especially those in 1933, 1937, 1962, and 1978, and the ice tide during the winter of 1917-1918. Other topics are the droughts of 1930 and 1936; boat wrecks, drownings, and other river accidents; environmental concerns such as pollution of the river, dredging, and the ecology of the river basin; the history, including the geological history, of the Kentucky River and the Kentucky River Basin; the impact of the Great Depression and World War II on the area; social life and recreation; the river as depicted in fiction and poetry; and Paul Sawyier and his paintings. Communities along the river that are discussed include Valley View, High Bridge, Shakertown, Boonesborough, and Oregon. Thomas D. Clark and Wendell E. Berry are among those interviewed."
Housed at the Kentucky Historical Society. Summary, "Thirty-nine interviews with Turner, educators, and political and community leaders, including A.B. "Happy" Chandler, Lawrence W. Wetherby, Bert T. Combs, and Edward T. Breathitt, Jr. Topics include politics and political leaders in Kentucky, electioneering, women in Kentucky politics, the state Democratic and Republican parties, education in Breathitt County and the state, comparisons of life and education between eastern and western Kentucky, development of roads and transportation in Breathitt County, the coal industry, journalism in Kentucky, Carl D. Perkins, Earle C. Clements, and the Turner family."
"Chiefly mimeographed copies of letters, 1923-1939, involving Monsignor John A. Ryan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy, Josephus Daniels, H.L. Mencken, and others; concerning such topics as Hitler, Father Coughlin, pacifism, anti-semitism, profit sharing, and religious tolerance; with a few autograph letters from Callahan to Frederick Kenkel of the Catholic Central Verein; and a paper by William E. Ellis, "Patrick Henry Callahan: A Kentucky Democrat in National Politics," 1976."