Telling Kentucky's Story

Speakers Roster


Constance Alexander Constance Alexander
Kentucky Writer, Columnist
Murray, KY

Work Phone: 270.753.9279

History & Writing

Kilroy Was Here: Children on the Home Front, World War II

On December 7, 1941, the USA was plunged into World War II; life changed for everyone, including the children on the home front. Kilroy Was Here tells stories of one Kentucky family through soldiers' letters, a recipe, radio advertisements, jump rope rhymes, and a series of oral history interviews conducted with people who were growing up during that turbulent time. Ms. Alexander's presentation features excerpts from her book, Kilroy Was Here, and allows time for questions and discussion of oral history as a way to capture family history and community stories that should not be forgotten.  

Who Needs June Cleaver?

When the publisher of Murray's newspaper asked Constance Alexander to pen a column in 1989, he said she could write about anything, "as long as it's not political or controversial." She accepted the challenge and has penned weekly installments of Main Street ever since. Her most popular writings have been about growing up in a big family in a small town in the 1950s and 60s. Ms. Alexander's presentation features readings from her award-winning columns, as well as discussion of painless ways to capture your own family history so you can pass it on to your children and grandchildren.

Equipment needs: Microphone

Morgan Atkinson Morgan C. Atkinson
Documentary Writer & Producer
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502-553-5095 (cell)
Home Phone: 502-637-7840

Kentucky History & Culture

Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard

This presentation includes the viewing of Atkinson's documentary about the Hubbards which examines the lives of these two remarkable Kentuckians who lived for 40 years on the banks of the Ohio. Anna and Harlan Hubbard lived life as few people in modern times have and in doing so accomplished at least two things that are very rare: contentment and freedom. In a house they built by hand, sustained by food they raised or caught, aided by no electricity or modern "convenience," the Hubbards met the world on their own terms and found deep meaning. "Wonder" considers the Hubbard's astonishing life of freedom and what it says to Americans today. The documentary has appeared on KET.

Thomas Merton: A Kentuckian Claimed by the World

Atkinson has developed two documentaries on Thomas Merton. These documentaries bring to life the inspiring thought of the Trappist monk who was considered one of the 20th century's most important spiritual writers. This presentation features highlights of the two documentaries and illustrates Merton's growth as a spiritual thinker. Among the featured interviews are one with the Dalai Lama, who was a personal friend of Merton's.

Mike Austin Mike Austin
Profesor of Philosophy, Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY

Work Phone: 859.622.1022
Home Phone: 859.979.1355 (cell)


Social Media and the Pursuit of Happiness

A central part of a happy life is having deep relationships with others. One reason for the success of social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is that they provide new avenues of communication with others in our own community and around the world. In many ways, the value of these technologies depends on us. We can choose how to use them to foster deep relationships. However, they can also undermine our ability to connect with others. In this talk, Austin will discuss the pros and cons of social media, from a moral and psychological point of view. Austin will also offer some practical advice for using social media in a way that supports, rather than undermines, our pursuit of happiness.

Equipment needs: Projector for PowerPoint is preferred, but not required.

Becoming Good

In recent years, there has been a renewal of interest concerning character. Character matters. Companies and colleges are not just concerned with the credentials of prospective employees and students, but with their character. For all of the concern about character, we focus less on how to develop it. In this presentation, Professor Austin will share what psychology, philosophy, and many of world's great wisdom traditions have to say about building character.

Geoff Baggett Geoff Baggett
Kentucky Author & Small Town Pastor
Cadiz, KY

Work Phone: 270.350.8816 (cell)
Home Phone: 270.522.6996


Revolutionary War in a Trunk

This hands-on, interactive program is fun for all ages! Mr. Baggett brings an old wooden trunk full of daily necessities and military items from the Revolutionary War period. These items include camp tools and equipment, clothing, and other everyday necessities. This trunk full of 18th century "treasures" helps bring to life the reality of living on the Virginia and Kentucky frontier in the 1770s. 

Equipment needs: Table for books.

The Revolution in Western Kentucky

Mr. Baggett tells the story of the little known Revolutionary War outpost in western Kentucky known as Fort Jefferson. Most Kentuckians associate the raids and combat of the Revolutionary War in heir home state with the central and eastern sections of the Commonwealth. Precious few people know that there was actually a Revolutionary War battle and siege in the far western end of Kentucky. Baggett tells the story of Fort Jefferson, a short-lived frontier outpost along the Mississippi River in what is now Ballard County. The fort was established in 1780, but abandoned in 1781 after a siege by the British and their Chickasaw Nation allies. The engagement involved the only major combat between American and Chickasaw forces in the American Revolution.

Equipment needs: Video projector and table for books.

Wes Berry Wes Berry
Kentucky Writer
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: 270.745.5770
Home Phone: 270.202.0228 (cell)

Culture & Cuisine

Adventures in Kentucky Barbecue


"If you can kill it, I can cook it,” barbecue man Red Seavers of Southern Red’s Bar-B-Que boasted when Berry ate at Red’s southwest Kentucky barbecue joint — one of more than 200 he’s visited. In that one sentence, Red summed up Kentucky’s overall liberal approach to cooking critters with heat from wood and coals. In this presentation, the "Hungry Professor” surveys Kentucky’s wildly variable regional barbecue traditions with a slide show and tales of the people, places, and plates he’s encountered all over the state while researching The Kentucky Barbecue Book.
Equipment needs: Projector with computer is preferred, but not required.
Adventures in Homesteading: Blunders, Wonders, & Abundant Cucumbers


When country-raised Kentuckian Wes marries animal-loving Elisa (a town-raised Floridian), the fun begins, like when Elisa digs a bathing pool for new piglets who turn it into a toilet; or their rescue of a homeless donkey and the frustrating months following as donkey Clyde molests the sheep; or several cases of animal death that oddly occur when friends visit. Inspired by Kentucky writer Wendell Berry, these Berrys attempt to raise much of their own meat and vegetables and the learning process has brought successes and a series of humorous unfortunate events. In this presentation, Wes and Elisa share their philosophy of eating animals raised in healthy conditions and slaughtered at home as humanely as possible, along with a slide show of their homesteading (mis)adventures.
Equipment needs: Projector with computer is preferred, but not required.


David J. Bettez David J. Bettez
Kentucky Writer
Georgetown, KY

Work Phone: 859.227.8136 (cell)
Home Phone: 502.868.0099


Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front

This presentation looks at the domestic side of World War I: how Kentuckians rallied to support the war effort. Bettez will discuss initial reactions to the war, especially as they affected the many Kentuckians of German heritage and will describe how the Kentucky Council of Defense and local county councils created and led war support efforts such as Red Cross and Liberty Loan campaigns, and food and fuel conservation.

Equipment needs: Projector and screen for PowerPoint presentation.
Kentucky Marine: Major General Logan Feland and the Making of the Modern USMC

This discussion is based on Bettez’s book, Kentucky Marine: Major General Logan Feland and the Making of the Modern USMC. In the early 20th century, Logan Feland was a nationally-known hero and leader in the Marine Corps. A Hopkinsville native, Feland was an MIT graduate in architecture who served in the Kentucky State Guard, then entered the United States Marine Corps after the Spanish-American War. Bettez will trace Feland’s contributions to the Marine Corps, and his career development on Marine Corps expeditions "to every clime and place” such as the Philippines, Panama, Cuba, and Mexico. Bettez will discuss Feland’s service during World War I, when he became a war hero. He earned the nation’s second-highest military award — the Distinguished Service Cross — for his bravery under fire during the Battle of Belleau Wood, an iconic struggle that established the Marine Corps’s reputation as a top fighting unit.

Equipment needs: Projector and screen for PowerPoint presentation.
Ronald Wolford Blair Ronald Wolford Blair
Kentucky Writer
Lexington, KY

Home Phone: 859.475.8688


Wild Wolf: The Great Civil War Rivalry

Colonel Frank Wolford, Union Commander of the First Kentucky Cavalry fought in more than 300 battles and skirmishes, was wounded seven times, and had eight horses shot from under him. While wounded, Wolford chased his nemesis, rebel raider John Hunt Morgan, more than 1,000 miles by horseback in 24 days. But it was Wolford’s political rivalry with the Lincoln Administration over black enlistment and civil rights violations that nearly swayed Kentucky to join the Confederacy in March 1864. Wolford was arrested and brought to the Executive Mansion to meet with Lincoln. 

The Lebanon Races

After the Battle of Shiloh, John Hunt Morgan’s Second Kentucky Cavalry was busy behind the lines of the larger armies tearing up railroads, robbing wagon trains, and disrupting communications. Colonel Frank Wolford of the First Kentucky Cavalry had a mission to patrol Murfreesboro and surrounding counties, locate the enemy and attack. Both cavalries had some of Kentucky’s finest steeds. In fact, one journalist went as far say that Wolford’s Cavalry were the best mounted men in the world. On the rainy and dreary morning of May 5, 1862, both cavalry regiments and their mounts are tested in the ultimate horse race at the battle of Lebanon, Tennessee.

Stephen Brown Stephen A. Brown
Kentucky Writer, Former Education Specialist
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 270.307.0150


The Underground Railroad in Kentucky

In this multimedia presentation, Brown will demonstrate the influences of slavery on Abraham Lincoln's early years in Kentucky. A National Park Service research grant made it possible for Brown to document slave-owning neighbors and Underground Railroad activity in all of Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln: Exploring Greatness

Abraham Lincoln's formative years in Kentucky had a lasting influence on his life, shaping him into the man he was destined to become. Primary documents from recent research into his father's land speculation offer insights into the turbulent years spent in Kentucky. In addition, excerpts from a research paper, "The Misunderstood Mary Todd Lincoln," counter charges of insanity and explain how her immersion in Kentucky politics proved invaluable to Lincoln's political career.

Bobbie Smith Bryant Bobbie Smith Bryant
Kentucky Writer
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502.494.7076 (cell)
Home Phone: 502.244.6250

Kentucky History & Culture

Life in the Black Patch

An educational overview of the past 200 years of farm life, this presentation features the social and cultural aspects of a 10-generation, western Kentucky farm family. Learn about the elements of daily living on the farm that shaped traditions and families, from early settlement to modern times.

Cooking the Kentucky Way

Dining customs and tasty food have a long history in Kentucky. Learn about the traditions of living off the land and making do with resources at hand. Experience the traditions of cooking and serving as an expression of love for your family through personal gifts and talents.

Dark-Fired Tobacco: A Kentucky Tradition

This informative presentation gives a brief overview of tobacco's history from prehistoric times, through to the Black Patch Wars of the early 20th century. The audience will learn the process of tobacco cultivation, specifically the dark-fired production process, found only is this area of western Kentucky and Tennessee.

Quilting: A Legacy of Love

Learn how the simple act of making something beautiful from scraps gave women a voice in the days when they had little or none. This presentation pays tribute to the great quilters we have in Kentucky. Participants will get an overview of quilting as craft, and learn about the impact of quilting on women in America.

Megan Burnett Megan Burnett
Assistant Professor of Theatre, Bellarmine University
Louisville, KY

Home Phone: 502.299.7156 (cell)


Mattie Griffith Browne: Kentucky Abolitionist & Suffragist

Mattie Griffith Browne (Martha) was a driven, self-motivated woman from Kentucky. Born in the early 19th century in Louisville and raised in Owensboro, to a family of wealth and privilege, she received a formal education, became a prolific writer and was raised with slaves serving her family. Yet she freed the slaves she inherited. Browne is best known for her book, Autobiography of a Female Slave, followed by Madge Vertner published in serial form in the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Browne gives us an insight into the thoughts and fears of the slave, Ann, in her book. She took a great risk in writing a book that would provide sympathy for the enslaved Africans throughout the South. She took an even greater risk in freeing her slaves. Browne was an important, albeit unknown figure and provided an important voice for the abolitionist movement in Kentucky and in the United States.

Women of the Settlement Schools in Eastern Kentucky

Late in the 19th century, women from central Kentucky and New England were instrumental in creating centers of learning in southeastern Kentucky called settlement schools. Alice Lloyd and June Buchanan started Caney Creek Community Center, which eventually became Alice Lloyd College, a private work-study college in Pippa Passes. Katherine Pettit and May Stone started the Hindman Settlement School in 1902. Other settlement schools include Pine Mountain Settlement School, Lotts Creek Community School, Henderson Settlement School, Redbird Mission School, Stuart Robinson School and Kingdom Come School. Many of these schools are still in existence, though some have a new mission. These women often spent the rest of their lives in these small, rural communities in Appalachia, dedicated to the education of the people in the mountains of Kentucky. This presentation will share their story and their legacies.

James Claypool James C. Claypool
Prof. Emeritus of History, Northern Ky University, Coeditor, Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky
Park Hills, KY

Work Phone: 859.620.8846 (cell)
Home Phone: 859.431.1341

Cultural History

The Kentucky Derby: A Celebration of Kentucky and its Heritage

Claypool traces the origins and development of the Kentucky Derby, the world's most famous horse race and a powerful influence on Kentucky society and culture. He will use memorabilia collected during his 40-year passion for the race.

Equipment needs: Microphone and a small table
Rascals, Heroes, and Just Plain Uncommon Folks from Kentucky

In this talk, Claypool will profile a choice selection of the many colorful Kentuckians, male and female, noted and notorious, whose stories make our history so interesting and entertaining. The format of the program contains an exciting and stimulating surprise for the audience.

Equipment needs: Microphone and a small table
Kentucky's Bluegrass Singers

This program offers a lively presentation with recordings of some of the most popular songs from the North and South during the American Civil War. Claypool discusses the origins, importance, and placement in historical context of each song.

Equipment needs: Microphone and a small table

Michael B. Courtney Michael B. Courtney
Executive Director Bluegrass Center for Teacher Quality
Corbin, KY

Home Phone: 859.489.3549


On Advocacy
Social change begins with advocacy. It only takes one person to stand up for what they believe in and start a social movement. There is no greater gift than offering your own voice to the support of the voiceless or to lend your hands to those who are unable to do the work on their own. In this talk, Courtney will outline his philosophy of advocacy and give the audience the inspirational boost they need to rally together and change your social environment.
Equipment needs: Microphone
The Broke Philanthropist
Philanthropy is often viewed as the world of the super wealthy. It is the hobby of people like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Oprah. The truth is, a culture of selfless philanthropy begins in the home and every American has the ability — the obligation — to become philanthropists in their own right. The audience may not be millionaires, but Courtney will show them how to create a culture of selfless philanthropy at home. Together, broke philanthropists can change the world ... $5 at a time.
Equipment needs: Microphone
Berry Craig Berry Craig
Professor Emeritus, West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Mayfield, KY

Work Phone: 270.804.1017

Kentucky History

Four Kentuckians for Freedom

Lucian Anderson, George Helm Yeaman, William H. Randall, and Green Clay Smith don’t get much ink in history books. But on January 31, 1865, these four congressmen from slave state Kentucky elevated principle above politics, risked defeat at the next election and voted for the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. "A book that bore John F. Kennedy’s name as author was entitled Profiles in Courage,” said James C. Klotter, the state historian of Kentucky. "These men could well have been included.”

The Three Bs of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Burgoo, and Bourbon

Kentucky politics was characterized by the three Bs: Bombast, Bourbon, and Burgoo. This talk examines each element singularly and ends by combining all three in a story that proves that politics is indeed "the damnedest in Kentucky." This talk is non-partisan and features many stories that Craig included in his book, True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon, and Burgoo, which is in its second printing.

Terri Blom Crocker Terri Blom Crocker
Kentucky Writer
Georgetown, KY

Work Phone: 859.257.5485
Home Phone: 859.797.8620


The Christmas Truce: A Day of Peace in the Midst of War

The Christmas truce, which took place in the first year of the "war to end all wars," has been assumed to represent the rebellion of the troops of the Western Front against the First World War. However, an examination of the letters and diaries of the soldiers involved, as well as official records such as war diaries and regimental histories, demonstrate that the truce was entered into by soldiers who merely wanted a day off from a difficult war, and were happy to celebrate Christmas with their enemies while remaining convinced of the need to defeat them. Focusing on the experience of the British soldiers who fraternized with their German counterparts in No-Man's-Land on December 24, 1914, this talk will reveal how soldiers' attitudes toward the war were different from what we now believe.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and screen for PowerPoint

The First World War: Myth v. Reality

The First World War has become a by-word for waste and futility, a senseless war that was despised by the soldiers who fought in it. Tracing the origin of those myths helps us examine the process by which history is created and analyze why our relationship with the past reflects our current understanding of the world. Drawing upon soldiers' letters, war diaries, newspaper accounts, fiction and history books, this talk will focus on the First World War, while posing provocative questions about the role of history, popular culture and fiction in shaping our views of the past.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and screen for PowerPoint

Richard Crowe Richard Crowe
Retired Professor
Hazard, KY

Work Phone: 606.216.2916

Kentucky History

A Giant Love Story: Martin Van Buren Bates and Anna Swan

Martin Van Buren Bates was one of the most famous people of his era. He knew U.S. Presidents and European Royalty. He was also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest man in the world. Bates lived in Letcher County, Kentucky, where he was a young school teacher in a one-room schoolhouse south of Whitesburg. He later served for the Johnny Rebs during the Civil War. Following the War he toured with various circuses throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. But the greatest aspect of his life was his love affair and marriage to Anna Swan, the tallest woman in the world. Together they shared a special life and left behind a love story that needs to be heard.

Equipment needs: Projector and screen for PowerPoint

Happy on the Stump

Books have been written about the speaking style of Happy Chandler, two-time Governor of Kentucky, Lieutenant Governor, state and U.S. Congressman, and Commissioner of Major League Baseball. This program looks at the individual pieces that made Happy so productive as a public speaker and campaigner. Many say there has never been anyone as good as Chandler on the stump. But the world of politics has changed hasn’t it? Big money now rules how many radio and television ads a candidate can purchase. In this program listeners are returned to a day when there was very little radio and no television. If a candidate wanted to win an election they had to get "out among ‘em.” Candidates spoke at the same place at the same time drawing great crowds of people eager to hear directly from the candidates. 

Equipment needs: Projector and screen for PowerPoint

Jerry Deaton Jerry Deaton
Kentucky Writer and Filmmaker
Frankfort, KY

Home Phone: 502.229.1249

Kentucky History

Appalachian Folklore and Literature

Deaton will discuss how he came to write two books, Appalachian Ghost Stories, and Kentucky Boy: My Life in Twenty Words. Deaton will talk about how his 20-plus years in Breathitt County shaped his life and inspired him to write these books. 

Equipment needs: Microphone, DVD player, projector and screen

The Feuds of Bloody Breathitt

Deaton will discuss his family's involvement in the largest and bloodiest feud in Kentucky history, the Breathitt County feuds. Seaton will also show a segment of his film and discuss the details of the four major feuds that took place in Breathitt County from 1870-1912 that resulted in more than 100 deaths.

Ronald Elliott Ronald Elliott
Kentucky Writer
Bardstown, KY

Work Phone: 502.507.0492 (cell)
Home Phone: 502.349.9480


Sinister Influences: UK's Fabulous Five and the 1951 Point Shaving Scandal

The passion that surrounds University of Kentucky basketball traces back to Coach Adolph Rupp's early days at UK. Rupp's teams steadily grew more formidable until they became nearly invincible from 1946-1951. Then, in 1951, the roof caved in. Authorities arrested several UK players on charges of conspiring with gamblers to shave points. While that activity was poor ethics anywhere, it was illegal in the State of New York. Before it was over, 30 players from eight schools were implicated. 

Through the Eyes of Lincoln

While Abraham Lincoln’s every word and deed have been documented in thousands of books, visual documentation is a unique idea. Elliott offers vintage photographs of some of the sights Lincoln saw — as they appeared when he saw them. For comparison, through dazzling modern photography, Elliott also presents many of the same venues as they appear today. This technique truly allows us to view the world "Through the Eyes of Lincoln.” 

Assassination at the State House

Beginning in 1859 a Democrat occupied Kentucky’s Governor’s chair for the next nine terms. Then, in 1895, the unthinkable occurred: Kentucky’s first Republican Governor was elected. Elliott’s examination of the vitriolic 1899 political campaign that culminated in the assassination of William Goebel, the ensuing political, criminal, and civil activity sheds a fascinating light into this dark comer of Kentucky’s history. 

Equipment needs: Screen 

Steve Flairty Steve Flairty
Kentucky Writer
Lexington, KY

Home Phone: 859.494.0667

Kentucky Culture

Kentucky's Everyday Heroes

This former public school teacher will share a selective sampling of stories of the "everyday heroes" he has interviewed and profiled in traveling more than 10,000 miles around Kentucky in the last decade. Flairty has chronicled his work in the book series Kentucky's Everyday Heroes I, II, and III along with a children's version. He also authored a biography called Tim Farmer: A Kentucky Woodsman Restored

Kentucky's Everyday Heroes for Kids

This talk is based on Flairty's book Kentucky's Everyday Heroes for Kids, written for an intermediate elementary grade level. In the presentation, Flairty will share how to become and be an effective writer-author. He will talk about the influence of his early life on his writing, and tell more stories of "everyday heroes" in Kentucky found among the young and older alike.

Terry Foody Terry Foody
Kentucky Writer
University of Kentucky
Lexngton, KY

Work Phone: 859.539.6325 (cell)
Home Phone: 859.277.5291

Kentucky History

Heroes in Disaster: The 1833 Lexington Cholera Epidemic in Lexington, Kentucky, with Lessons for Today

During the 19th century, cholera raged through the United States several times, and Kentucky had very high fatality rates. In 1833, cholera killed one-tenth of Lexington's population in just a few weeks. Foody will examine the devastation in Lexington from many angles - environmental, commercial, social, and medical. She will discuss early altruistic efforts, the black woman behind the white hero, the toll at the lunatic asylum, and societal trends revealed in death reports. Despite great medical advances, cholera is still a worldwide killer. Foody will explain why and compare it to other threatening global diseases, such as SARS and pandemic flu.

Equipment Needs: Microphone, screen
Bob Fortunato Bob Fortunato
LaGrange, KY 40031

Home Phone: 502.222.3069

History & Culture

Baseball: America's and Kentucky's Game
Baseball evolved out of the English games of cricket, rounders, and several American versions like the New York game. From 1876 to present there have been approximately 300 Kentucky-born Major League baseball players. Earle Combs was born in Pebworth, Kentucky, in 1899, and played baseball at Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. He is one of four Kentucky-born members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Combs played his entire career for the New York Yankees (1924-1935). Combs batted leadoff and played center field on the fabled 1927 Yankees team, often referred to as "Murderers Row." Nicknamed the "Kentucky Colonel," Babe Ruth said Combs was more than a good ball player, he was always a first-class gentleman. There are many more players, teams, and of course, the Louisville Slugger baseball bats that make Kentucky part of baseball history.
A Confederate Veteran's Life After the War In the wake of America's Civil War, more than 40,000 Kentucky men who had worn the gray returned to the bluegrass. Most returned home to quiet, productive lives, but some were unable to cope with the postwar life. There was no institutional support, no pension, and no veteran's benefits. By the 1880s, disabled Confederates grew more visible on the streets of Louisville, Frankfort, and Lexington. Some ended up in publicly funded almhouses, poor farms, or asylums typical of the time. The Confederate Home in Peewee Valley opened in 1902 to provide a respectable retirement home for Confederate Veterans. This talk describes a Confederate Veteran's final years of life at the home in Peewee Valley.
Elden Dale Golden Elden Dale Golden
Union Institute and University Faculty
Newport, KY

Home Phone: 502.558.4807


Kentucky Opera and the World Premier of Six Operas

The Kentucky Opera,. the state's first and largest opera company, was founded in Louisville in July, 1952. The following year the Rockefeller Foundation awarded the Louisville Orchestra $500,000 to fund the "composition, performance, and recording of new works by living composers." While the bulk of this money was used for orchestral works, five operas were included among the commissions. They, along with a sixth opera commissioned by WAVE-TV to celebrate the opening of new television studios, were produced by the Kentucky Opera in quick succession between 1954-1959. This presentation will explore the history of the arts in the Commonwealth by focusing on this remarkable series of commissions in the late 1950s. This commissioning series launched Louisville, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Kentucky Opera to national and international prominence in the sphere of contemporary classical music.
Equipment needs: Projector for PowerPoint
Travel: Regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Jacqueline Hamilton Jacqueline Hamilton
Professor of English, Eastern Kentucky University
Winchester, KY

Home Phone: 859.935.5153


Annie Get Your Pen

Mix the state of Kentucky, the country of imagination, and memories from travel and reading, and you have Annie Fellows Johnston. Her Little Colonel series made her one of the world’s most celebrated children’s novelists from 1895 to the 1920s.  Annie also helped start the Author’s Club of Louisville (unofficially "The Inky Dinks”) in which 10 Kentucky women published more than 70 books. Hollywood’s production of "The Little Colonel” with Shirley Temple revived Johnston’s story of post-Civil War forgiveness, and created the movie merchandise phenomena pre-Disney.

One + One + One + One.... = Six Million

The extermination of some 6 million individual Jews plus other groups of people during World War II brought the word genocide into existence. Jacqueline Hamilton, a member of the Holocaust Educators Network, presents a variety of pro-grams: "The C.h.i.l.d.r.e.n.” (each letter represents a different person or place); "How the Light of Music & Art Dispelled the Darkness,”  and "From Barbed Wire to the Bluegrass: Holocaust Survivors in Kentucky.”


This pure Kentucky writing workshop has folks creating poetic or paragraphic masterpieces with famous quotes from Ken-tuckians. Jacqueline Hamilton directs the Inkspire Writing Stable, a summer camp in Clark County, known for "horsing” around with writing: Why You Mustang Out With A Thesaurus; Avoid Being Appaloosa With Your Adjectives; Never Th ink of Writing as a NightMARE; Harness Your Creativity; and Start Writing Right Out of the Gate.  
NOTE: This program works well  by itself or after the Johnston or Holocaust presentations.  
Mary Hamilton Mary Hamilton
Professional Storyteller
Franfort, KY

Work Phone: 502.223.4523


The Storytelling Art

Explore the heart of the art of storytelling with award-winning storyteller and writer Mary Hamilton, author of Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies. Using examples from her oral and written repertoire, Hamilton shines light on what storytelling is and how it functions both as a performing art and as an essential element of everyday life.

Equipment needs: Microphone on a pole stand

Liar, Liar, Storyteller

Kentuckians have long entertained each other by stretching the truth to impossibility. Learn about Kentucky's tall tale telling traditions as storyteller and author Mary Hamilton shares selections from her book, Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies, and talks about where and how she encountered these tales.

Equipment needs: Microphone on a pole stand

Ears to Pen

The journey from story heard to story told to story written has three steps: Remember it. Tell it. Write it down. Maybe? Maybe not? Using her oral and written repertoire, Hamilton will engage the audience in considering how readers and listeners, family members and strangers, present varied telling and writing challenges. 

Equipment needs: Microphone on a pole stand

Daryl Harris Daryl L. Harris
Associate Professor Department of Theatre & Dance, Northern Kentucky University
Newport, KY

Work Phone: 859.572.1472
Home Phone: 859.250.1153 (cell)

African American History

Wanted: Freedom - Dead or Alive!

This talk explores and honors the lives and legacies of Kentucky travelers on the Underground Railroad. Rare newspaper "wanted notices for runaways" that provide detailed insight into these courageous individuals inspired this talk. These and other archival newspaper clippings along with texts from "Slave Narratives," poems, and Negro spirituals give further texture to the lives, personalities, and plights of those who sought freedom by any means necessary: some via the Underground Railroad, others via the "Train to Glory."

Lift Evr'y Voice and Sing!

For African Americans throughout the country, spirituals were the soundtracks upon which the Underground Railroad movement rolled. Freedom songs helped pave the way toward true liberation. Because of its geographical and political positioning, Kentucky gave birth to its own unique musical expressions. Not all African Americans in Kentucky were enslaved; therefore the reservoir of folk culture from which they drew their characteristic forms of expression was rich and deep - often without fixed boundaries between the sacred and the secular. In this talk, Harris takes the audience on a musical history tour through hurt, healing, and happiness.

Free at Last! Free at Last!

This presentation surveys the history of African Americans from Africa to today through the dramatic reading of poetry, archival slave narratives, news clippings, political speeches, and archival "runaway slave adds," interspersed with "Negro Spirituals" and other traditional songs. While the format of this talk is nontraditional, the content is both informative and engaging.

Louis Hatchett Louis Hatchett
Kentucky Author
Henderson, KY

Work Phone: 270.831.2999
Home Phone: 270.827.3878

History & Culture

The Importance of Duncan Hines

To many people, Duncan Hines may simply be a name on a cake mix package. What they may not know is that he shaped our nation's expectations of restaurant service and the quality of its food. Before Hines came upon the American scene in the mid-1930s, it was routine for people to become sick or die from restaurant food poisoning. Duncan Hines, a traveling salesman, changed this state of affairs, from his home in Bowling Green, by telling people where they could go to avoid this calamity. Soon Americans only wanted to dine in restaurants that were recommended by Duncan Hines. Other restaurants across the country, aware that the public wanted what Hines was demanding of them, soon changed their ways. Eventually, the name Duncan Hines became a synonym for the last word in excellent quality. Hatchett tells the remarkable story of how this development in America's cultural history came about, and how Hines's effort culminated in his name being placed on those cake mix boxes.

Equipment needs: Microphone and podium

Mencken's Americana

American writer and acerbic wit, H. L. Mencken, sometimes called America "Moronia." His view was shaped by what he read in the nation's newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets; what he heard in public speeches; and what he saw plastered on billboards, signs and doorways across the country, among many other forms of media. From 1924 to 1933 he collected and recorded the most hilarious examples of these observations in the "Americana" section of his magazine, The American Mercury. Hatchett gives an introduction to Mencken, discusses the social changes that were going through America during that era, and gives many examples of the zaniness that shaped Mencken's opinion of fellow Americans.
Equipment needs: Microphone and podium
George Herring George Herring
Professor Emeritus
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859.492.0332 (cell)
Home Phone: 859.373.9001


How the West was Won: Henry Clay and the Peace of Ghent

Henry Clay is often thought of as a War Hawk, one of those firebrands who pushed hard for war with Great Britain before 1812. Less well-known is his role as a peacemaker. Clay was a member of one of the most distinguished diplomatic commissions ever to serve this country. At Ghent, in 1813-1814, he played a crucial role in negotiating a settlement that solved none of the issues that had caused the war in the first place but that was instrumental in saving the Old Northwest for the new American nation. Clay’s skill at card games helped make him an effective diplomat. The story of his role at Ghent is a colorful tale of the clash of strong personalities with different visions for the nation and a treaty that solved nothing but was of enormous significance for future U.S. history.

Equipment needs: Computer and screen

America's War in Vietnam: A 50 Year Retrospective

Our nation is now in the process of commemorating the 50th anniversary of its war in Vietnam. It seems therefore appropriate to use this occasion to seek the perspective that time and distance can give. In this talk Herring will explore how we got into Vietnam, what we sought to do there, and why, ultimately, we failed. Herring will focus especially on why this war was so traumatic for our nation and why still 50 years later it continues to haunt us and shape our response to world events.

Equipment needs: Computer and screen

Richard Holl Richard Holl
Professor of History, Hazard Community & Technical College
Mt. Sterling, KY

Home Phone: 859.499.4192



Rosie-the-Riveter (inspired by Kentucky's Rose Will Monroe) was the symbol for the strong, capable female war workers of World War II. Female war workers broke down barriers against employment of women, building bombers, fighter planes, tanks, ships, and other weapons. They helped get American soldiers in Europe and Asia the equipment, arms, and munitions they required to defeat German, Italian, and Japanese forces. Rosie-the-Riveter contributed immensely to American victory in World War II.

Equipment needs: Podium

Axis Prisoners of War in Kentucky

This talk is about German prisoners of war held in Kentucky prisoner of war camps during World War II. Fort Knox, Camp Campbell, and Camp Breckinridge all set up facilities to hold POWs, who were captured in Europe and North Africa and sent to the Commonwealth. Some 10,000 German POWs arrived here by the time all was said and done. U.S. authorities used the POWs as a labor source. Given the military draft and the need for women to work in war plants, a severe shortage of workers plagued the agricultural sector by 1943-1944. German POWs were pressed into service, bringing in much of the Kentucky tobacco crop in the fall of 1944 and the fall of 1945. They also harvested tomatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables. German POWs were repatriated in 1945-1946 and a fascinating episode in Kentucky history came to an end.

Equipment needs: Podium

Jonathan Jeffrey Jonathan Jeffrey
Manuscripts & Folklife Archives Coordinator, Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: 270.745.5265
Home Phone: 270.777.5371 (cell)

History & Culture

Jennie Benedict: Culinary Entrepreneur

At spring teas and Derby Day celebrations, it is not uncommon for the Kentucky host/hostess to include tiny finger sandwiches slathered with Benedictine. Knowledgeable hosts will remark that this is a traditional Kentucky savory created by Jennie Carter Benedict of Louisville in the early-20th century. They typically know little else about one of Kentucky’s culinary giants. Benedict started work in a school lunchroom and rose to become one of Louisville’s premier caterers, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, and eatery experts. Jeffrey will explore how this woman became a culinary entrepreneur and share some of her favorite recipes. 

Equipment needs: Screen and overhead projector

Housing the Dead: Kentucky's Grave Houses

Grave houses, structures built directly over interred remains, once liberally peppered Kentucky's cultural landscape. Most, but not all, grave houses protect the grave, the tombstone, and other graveside mementoes, and on occasion even offer shelter for those paying their respects to the deceased. Using photos and drawings of the remaining 100 grave houses in Kentucky, ranging from Calloway County east to Harlan County and north to Robertson County, Jeffrey explains how and why these architectural oddities found their way into and now out of Kentucky cemeteries. He also relays poignant stories about the people - often children - who are buried beneath these "posthumous displays of affection."

Cooking by the Book

Cookbooks seem to be the kudzu of the publishing industry. You find them everywhere. Kentucky cooks and organizations have produced a plethora of these printed guidebooks, and they continue to be churned out at a maddening pace. These books document both cultural and culinary trends, products, ingredients, and processes. In 1999 Jeffrey began processing a gift of over 3,000 cookbooks, most of which were printed in Kentucky and surrounding states. Find out what he discovered as he studied cookbooks ranging from The Kentucky Housewife (1839) to more recent publications on barbecue and tailgating. He examines the evolution of the cookbook genre as well as the gastronomic creations found in these popular works.

Dr. Pearlie  Johnson Dr. Pearlie M. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies and Art History
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502.852.0145
Home Phone: 502.298.9234 (cell)

African American Culture

Quilt Art: Examining the Narrative in Kentucky Quilts
As a result of oral history interviews with quilters across Kentucky, Dr. Johnson has gathered a small, yet powerful group of quilters whose work she discusses in her presentation. Her work explores women's history, storytelling, identity politics, and empowerment. Since the onset of Dr. Johnson's study of quilts in Kentucky, this presentation includes quilts made by women of all cultural groups. Her study is aimed at examining cross-cultural parallels in technique and assemblage, as well as revealing unique designs. 
Roots and Branches: West African Aesthetic in African American Quilts
Knowledge is power! This presentation is designed to enrich, encourage and engage elementary and high school level students. It includes a PowerPoint lecture or Exhibition Booth. 1) The PowerPoint lecture includes high-definition photographs, and links to actual video footage of African cultural groups making textiles. The photographs and the video footage are part of Dr. Johnson’s ethnographic fieldwork while studying in Ghana. This information is then compared with Johnson’s video footage of African Americans making quilts. An interpretation of signs and symbols and their meanings will be discussed. 2) The Exhibition Booth will include one-on-one talks, display boards featuring colorful photographs of African textile production and African American quiltmaking, along with handouts and sample textiles for students to see and touch. 
Equipment needs: Screen and overhead projector
James Klotter James C. Klotter
State Historian of Kentucky, Professor of History, Georgetown College
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 502.863.8076
Home Phone: 859.277.4572


Kentucky History

Who Are We? A Profile of Present-Day Kentucky

Kentucky is many things, and citizens of the commonwealth sometimes do not fully know all the many facets of the present-day state. In this talk, the State Historian looks at what comprises the typical Kentuckian of today--gender, ethnic background, age, income, education, health, religion, political ties, sports affiliations,and more. Then the discussion will move into the less tangible aspects of Kentucky, including a sense of place, and conclude with a look at what the future may hold.

Equipment needs: Podium and projector for PowerPoint

Do We Need Another Henry Clay?

Henry Clay was one of the most respected and also most reviled leaders of his era. "The Great Compromiser” crafted legislation that kept a fragile union together, yet the voters thrice rejected him for the presidency. What was it about Clay that made him so appealing as a candidate? What was the fatal flaw that kept him from achieving the nation’s highest office? But more than that, what lessons can we learn from Clay’s life still? What does his career offer us in regard to present-day politics? Exploring those questions will be the State Historian of Kentucky, who has just written a study of Henry Clay.
Equipment needs: Podium and projector for PowerPoint
Patrick Lewis Patrick A. Lewis
Director, Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 502.564.1792
Home Phone: 270.839.1691 (cell)

Kentucky History

Ben and Helen Buckner: A Kentucky House Divided

Clark County sweethearts Ben Buckner and Helen Martin fought to keep their relationship together while supporting opposite sides during the Civil War. While Buckner led troops in the Union army, Martin hosted rebels in her parlor. Abraham Lincoln spoke of the United States as a "house divided," but this Kentucky couple managed to stand united. The fascinating personal history of Ben and Helen's courtship and marriage helps us explore broader histories that ask new questions about slavery, secession, loyalty, family, and forgiveness in Civil War Kentucky. Together, Ben and Helen teach us what values and ideals Unionists and Confederates shared in Civil War Kentucky as well as those that pushed them apart.

Four New Voices: Searching for an Untold Civil War Kentucky

A southern belle on a diplomatic adventure to combat rebel spies in Europe, a woman fleeing slavery and falsely convicted of murder in Louisville, a war widow whose cow was shot by enemy soldiers as she was milking it, a man who insists on his right to vote and calls into question the meaning of United States citizenship. These stories remind us that Civil War battles did not just happen on rolling hillsides under flying flags. All Kentuckians lived the Civil War in their everyday struggles to survive, overcome, and understand this most critical time in United States history. Why haven't these Civil War stories been told? What new insights and new meanings can these individuals provide us about America's most studied historical event?

George Ella Lyon George Ella Lyon
Kentucky Poet Laureate
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859.699.9276
Home Phone: 859.278.3956


Mapping Your Memory House

Lyon will lead the audience through an exercise for writing from memories of a place you have lived and then read from Many-Storied House, her poetry collection that grew out of that exercise.

Equipment needs: White board or giant Post-It pad; all participants need writing materials

Picture Book Magic

Lyon will explore the picture book as a distinct art form, lead the audience in an exercise for getting in touch with childhood experience, and trace the evolution of one picture book from journal entry to publication.

Equipment needs: Digital projector, screen and table

Leslie McCarty Leslie McCarty
Kentucky Room Manager, Daviess County Public Library
Owensboro, KY

Work Phone: 270.691.1883
Home Phone: 270.313.4839

Kentucky History

Florence Thompson: First Female Sheriff of Daviess County

Florence Thompson became the first female sheriff of Daviess County after the death of her husband. In August 1936, the rape and murder of Lisha Edwards propelled Owensboro into the national spotlight because it would become the last display of a public hanging in America. The question on everyone’s mind was: Could Florence Thompson execute a man? Would her disposition as a female prevent her from pulling the lever? 

Equipment needs: Computer with PowerPoint, speakers, projector and screen

Creating a Living History

Community partners come together to create a living history that has become a tourist destination in Owensboro over the last nine years. Learn how the tour is put together through the partnerships of the Daviess County Public Library, the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, and Theatre Workshop of Owensboro. "Voices of Elmwood” has been created into a documentary and has been featured on KET.

Equipment needs: Computer with PowerPoint, speakers, projector and screen

Sue Lynn Stone McDaniel Sue Lynn Stone McDaniel
Associate Professor, Special Collections Librarian, Kentucky Library Research Collections
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: 270.745.3246
Home Phone: 270.784.1210 (cell)


Southern Kentucky Burials, 1870-1936: Farm, Church & Town Cemeteries

Since settling southern Kentucky, residents have buried their loved ones in local and rural graveyards. Depending on wealth, interest and availability, most graves had some type of marker. The markers varied from field stones, to handmade tablets or gravehouses, to mail order monuments, to statuary works of art. Locating, documenting, preserving and protecting our cemeteries is today’s challenge. McDaniel’s presentation and artifacts will motivate you to see what stones lie in your county.

Leap Year Courtship Etiquette

For centuries, "Old Maids” and bachelors have practiced Leap Year customs. McDaniel, known for her interest in etiquette and everyday life, explores what happens when courtship rules get reversed. Using original parlor games, postcards, news articles, dance cards and sheet music, McDaniel’s presentation and artifacts will inform you on how some things remain unchanged.

Dorothy Grider: Children's Illustrator & Author

Dorothy Grider was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, educated at Western Kentucky State Teachers College in 1936 after which at age 21 she moved to New York City to further her education and career. After freelancing on everything from beauty parlor posters, sheet music, and Catholic holy cards, Dorothy taught one school year in the east Tennessee mountains before returning to New York determined to realize her childhood dream. Dorothy worked for the U. S. Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio; Norcross Greeting Cards; and then realized her dream as Rand-McNally’s most popular children’s book illustrator.

Equipment needs: Laptop with thumb drive port or Wi-Fi connection, projection unit, screen and table

William McHugh William McHugh
Lawrenceburg, KK

Work Phone: 270.498.1966 (cell)

Kentucky History

The Night Riders and the Black Patch Tobacco Wars

One of the most militant and violent uprisings in American history occurred in Kentucky. During the early 1900's a conflict arose in western Kentucky about the monopolization of the tobacco industry by James Duke and the American Tobacco Company. The tobacco trust had complete control of the market and was purchasing tobacco from farmers for less money than it cost to produce. To confront the trust, tobacco farmers organized themselves in protest. When formal protests did not work, the farmers became militant and violence started to erupt all over the black patch region of western Kentucky. This vigilante group of farmers became known as the Night Riders. Their actions were so audacious, the Night Riders actually took over the town of Hopkinsville one evening burned all the tobacco warehouses there. The Night Riders leader was David Amoss. This presentation examines the events that occurred during the black patch tobacco war as well as comparing and contrasting the rise and fall of both James Duke and David Amoss

Cassius Clay: Emancipationist & Diplomat

Always controversial in his public life, Cassius Marcellus Clay was an emancipationist who lived in slave-holding Kentucky during the 19th century. Vocal in his support for the emancipation of slaves, Clay made many enemies and faced numerous assassination attempts throughout his life. While in Lexington, he was publisher and editor of an anti-slavery newspaper, The True American. He was forced to move to Cincinnati because of threats to his life. But Clay was more than an emancipationist, he also served as a captain in the Mexican War and later as a politician, appointed Minister to Russia by President Lincoln.

Equipment Needs: Projector and screen
Lisa Karen Miller Lisa Karen Miller
Kentucky Writer, Reference Librarian
Western Kentucky University
Alvaton, KY

Work Phone: 270.843.9994


The Folklore of Herbs

Take a walk through the herb gardens of history as we examine the folk beliefs of our ancestors regarding the healing powers of herbs. Some of them actually worked! Today's science is bearing this out.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen

Evelyn Thurman: An Extraordinary Life Remembered

Evelyn Thurman was a teacher, librarian, Laura Ingalls Wilder expert, world traveler, penny pincher, philanthropist, eccentric, and all-around extraordinary Kentucky woman. Come hear how she inspired students to be teachers and librarians, gave out cents-off coupons, saved everything, published books about Wilder, inspired a love of the Little House on the Prairie series in schoolchildren, walked her way around Bowling Green, made a 1959 Volkswagen last for decades (it still runs), and gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to support education. Evelyn Thurman is an inspirational figure and a role model for our children and students.

Garment Workers in Kentucky

For many decades, the garment industry fed, clothed, and housed thousands of Kentucky families. The work was difficult, not highly paid, and largely done by female workers. This project documents the lives of these workers — their specific tasks within the factory, attempts at unionization, the wages they earned, and the emphasis on production. Some faced equal hardships and challenges at home, and the eventual migration of manufacturing jobs affected them and their communities.  This presentation includes audio clips from interviews and historical background of the industry in Kentucky.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen; audio capability for PowerPoint

Mike Norris Mike Norris
Kentucky Writer
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859.583.5665 (cell)
Home Phone: 859.971.2739

Children's Literature & Language Arts

Rooster, Monkey, Goose: Appalachian Stories, Music and Folk Art

In this presentation, Norris reads from his three children’s books (Bright Blue Rooster, Sonny the Monkey, and Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains). Though technically children’s stories, these books communicate on several levels with humor, symbolic imagery, and wide-ranging themes that appeal to all ages. In presenting the books, Norris weaves in stories of growing up in Jackson County, his remarkable grandmother, and how he met acclaimed folk artist Minnie Adkins. Norris also tells how he came to do unique books which are illustrated, not with drawings or paintings, but with photographs of Minnie’s custom-made, carved and painted wooden figures. 

Luring Students to Language Arts Mastery: Using Stories and Other Engaging Material to Teach Grammar (and Make Them Like It)

This presentation offers concrete suggestions and examples that will help teachers and parents make language arts study fun and engaging for young people. The presentation is organized around three guidelines that lead to the principle of language as the most powerful tool we have — the one that enables us to relate to others, to entertain ourselves, to earn a living, and to negotiate life. It also makes the case that the attractions of language are powerful and if presented to students in an alluring way can inspire them to learn and make teacher and parent success in helping them achieve language arts mastery much more likely. 

Equipment needs: Microphone on a pole stand

Bernie O'Bryan Bernie O'Bryan
Kentucky Writer & Historian
Covington, KY

Home Phone: 859.322.8838


Lew Wallace, the General Who Wrote Ben-Hur

General Lew Wallace was a self-taught artist, architect, soldier, inventor, and musician, but was most famous for his writing. His most popular work was Ben-Hur:A Story of the Christ. The novel was considered as a fifth gospel at the time and had a significant effect on Christianity. Both Wallace and his wife, Susan, wrote many other popular works, with Lew illustrating her books and she editing his. Wallace served in the Mexican War and rose to become the youngest Major General on the Army during the Civil War. General Wallace is the only person honored for contributions to the arts with a statue in our nation's Capitol.

Stovepipe Johnson, Blind Visionary

After growing up in Henderson, Kentucky, as a young adult Adam Johnson traveled to Texas and became a famous scout, surveyor, and pioneer who opened up the West. When the Civil War broke out, the Johnson family, like many in Kentucky, was divided with family members serving on each side. Adam Johnson eventually joined the southern forces and used skills he perfected in the West, serving as an outstanding scout. Later his boldness earned him the name "Stovepipe" due to his successful use of two stovepipes as cannons, scaring troop of soldiers into surrendering without firing a shot. He was blinded during the war, was captured and became more disabled while in prison.

Carol Peachee Carol Peachee
Kentucky Writer & Photographer
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859.338.5757
Home Phone: 859.559.2453


The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries

Like an archeologist with a camera, Kentucky-based photographer Carol Peachee has been on a mission to document a spirited slice of Bluegrass history. Using a slide show of 65 images from her book, the Birth of Bourbon, she takes viewers on a photographic tour of lost distilleries, facilities undergoing renewal and urbanization, and the National historic Landmark areas of operating distilleries discussing Kentucky's Industrial Heritage by exploring the bourbon distillery plant. The book gathers nearly 250 color images of the hauntingly beautiful steam engines, bottling lines, scales, barrel runs, fermenting tubs, and springhouses Peachee discovered over five years of exploring historic sties throughout the Commonwealth. Throughout her presentation, Peachee interweaves preservation, photographic insights, and bourbon trivia to convey the importance of this now booking Kentucky industry through time.

Equipment needs: Projector to connect to a Mac laptop

Tammy Horn Potter Tammy Horn Potter
Kentucky State Apiarist, President Emeritus of Eastern Apiculture Society
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 502.229.2950 (cell)
Home Phone: 859.200.2207

Environment & History

Angels of Agriculture: Apiculture in 21st Century Kentucky

In response to federal initiatives, Kentucky's new Pollinator Protection Plan outlines multi-stakeholder efforts to increase habitat, promote communication with landowners, beekeepers and applicators, and provide educational opportunities to all citizens. Although this presentation focuses on honey bees, it will also include others; efforts to protect monarch butterflies and other pollinators. With this effort, Kentucky's agricultural shifts to include nutrition for pollinators that provide food for the entire Commonwealth.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and microphone

Women and Bees

The demographics on apiculture have always shifted with political winds of fortune, and more recently, women beekeepers have changes the U.S. industry in research, migratory beekeeping, and extension both domestic and international. This presentation focuses on the historical importance of women beekeepers as well as current and future trends such as the organic movement that make beekeeping more feasible and less arduous for all people because of the influx of women beekeepers.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and microphone

Eddie Price Eddie Price
Kentucky Writer, Educator
Hawesville, KY

Work Phone: 270.922.1326 (cell)
Home Phone: 270.927.0471

Kentucky History & Writing

The Cane Ridge Revival: The Great Revival that Transformed Kentucky

When people talk about the "Bible Belt" they might be interested to learn that its roots began in the great Cane Ridge Revival, held in today's Bourbon County. No one can deny that it changed lives and shaped Kentucky's (and the Deep South's) social and cultural development. Take a journey back to 1801. Find out what drew 25,000 people to Cane Ridge. Sing one of the old hymns that some folks claimed to "make the flesh tremble."

The Battle of Blue Licks

By 1782 the American Revolution was drawing to a close. Lord Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown and negotiators were hammering out the Peace of Paris. But war still raged for frontier settlers, American Indians, and Canadian rangers. On August 19, 1782, Kentuckians would suffer one of the worst military defeats of the war. Learn about the events leading up to the battle that some historians call "The Last Battle of the American Revolution."

1812: Remember the Raisin!

Kentucky's contribution in the War of 1812 was vital to the American War effort. This presentation shows how deeply Kentuckians were involved. The massacre at River Raisin gave rise to the battle cry of the war: "Remember the Raisin!" Governor Isaac Shelby left Frankfort to lead troops along the northern frontier and commanded victorious soldiers at the Battle of the Thames. Kentuckians answered the call once more to defend New Orleans. The epic battle on the sugarcane plantations below the city provided redemption for the young American nation.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen requested
Nancy Richey Nancy Richey
Associate Professor, Reading Room Coordinator/Visual Resources Librarian
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: 270.745.6092
Home Phone: 270.784.1443 (cell)

Kentucky Music

Mose Rager: Kentucky's Shy Guitar Master

There are many country guitar legends, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, and Eddie Pennington, to name a few, who trace the root of their music to Mose Ranger of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky (home of the Everly Brothers), whose tune "Walkin' the Strings" said much about his ability. Known for developing a unique thumb-picking style, Merle worked as a barber and a coal miner when he wasn't playing gigs with Grandpa Jones, Curly Fox, and Texas Ruby. Although Mose died on May 14, 1986, his sound lives on when modern day pickers try to play "That Muhlenberg Sound." 

Equipment needs: Projector and microphone

Albert Schmid Albert Schmid
Kentucky Writer, Professor and Chair, Hotel-Restaurant, Hospitality and Beverage Management Deptartm
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502.938.2560

Culture & Cuisine

Kentucky Comfort Food: Authenticity in an Age of Globalization
Kentucky comfort food is one of the Commonwealth’s best kept secrets. In this presentation, Chef Albert Schmid, awarding-winning author and Professor at Sullivan University will explore unique dishes that people who live in Kentucky love to eat and what makes these dishes and the cuisine authentic. Schmid will also explore how globalization could threaten the Commonwealth’s distinct culinary heritage. 
Burgoo, Barbecue and Bourbon: The Evolution of Kentucky Cuisine Where did Kentucky cuisine come from and how has it changed since the founding of the Commonwealth? Chef Albert W. A. Schmid, award-winning author and professor at Sullivan University, will lead you through an informative presentation on Kentucky’s cuisine and will help to answer the following questions: What defines Kentucky cuisine? What has changed? What has stayed the same? What has disappeared? What has recently appeared? What does the future hold? 
Anne Shelby Anne Shelby
Kentucky Author
Oneida, KY

Home Phone: (606) 847-4792

History & Storytelling

Henry Faulkner: Kentucky Artist
During his lifetime, Kentucky artist Henry Faulkner exhibited and sold his work in galleries around the country. Known for his colorful paintings, eccentric behaviors, and famous friends, the artist and poet was born in Simpson County, grew up in an orphanage in Louisville and a foster home in Eastern Kentucky, and lived more than 20 years in Lexington. This talk about Faulkner's life and work includes images of the artist and his paintings, and footage from a documentary-in-progress, Understanding Henry.
Equipments needs: Screen and projection system for Powerpoint, Windows Live Moviemaker and DVD
Hearing Kentucky's Voices
Anne Shelby is the author of ten published books, including poems (Appalachian Studies,) stories (The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales,) newspaper columns (Can A Democrat Get into Heaven? Politics, Religion and Other Things You Ain't Supposed to Talk About,) as well as award-winning books for children (Homeplace, The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree.) She is also a playwright and storyteller. In all genres, Shelby's work grows out of Kentucky's rich soil for writers. Her reading will feature works based on the voices of Kentuckians with something to say and their own unique way of saying it.
Equipment needs: Podium, table for displaying books
John Sparks John Sparks
Kentucky Writer
Hagerhill, KY

Work Phone: 606.788.9124
Home Phone: 606.899.4785 (cell)

Kentucky History

The Life and Times of Charles Chilton Moore, Kentucky's Most Hated Man
Believe it or not, at one time the notorious atheist advocate Madalyn Murray O'Hair visited Kentucky to pay tribute to the memory of one of her most famous historic counterparts: Charles Chilton Moore of Fayette County. Moore's position as an "infidel" spokesman was made all the more controversial by the fact that he was not only an ex-preacher himself, but the grandson of a pioneer Kentucky minister and church founder, Barton Warren Stone. This presentation is an overview of Moore's life, his times, and his published "infidel" newspaper, The Blue Grass Blade. Whatever else may be said about Kentucky's own historic village atheist, he was never boring.
Equipment needs: Chair
Religion in Frontier and Early Kentucky
Kentucky has been said to be the Daughter of the East and Mother of the West, the place where horses were the fastest, women were the prettiest, and politics were the damnedest. It's a shame nobody could come up with a similar superlative for religion in the state, because early Kentucky, like no other spot in the United States, became a haven of free expression of older religious faiths and a seedbed for newer ones. John Sparks describes the various denominations which settled Kentucky and movements that migrated here with the first settlers, as well as those that began in the state and blossomed outward and the controversies that periodically shook them. Particular emphasis is given to the Antebellum Era. 
Equipment needs: Chair
Ronald Spriggs Ronald Spriggs
Executive Director
Ron Spriggs Exhibit of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Lexington, KY

Home Phone: 859.576.3636


The History of the Tuskegee Airmen

As an oral historian, Mr. Spriggs has traveled throughout United States, England, and to Mexico bringing the history about the Tuskegee Airmen. During his 14 years as an exhibitor and speaker Spriggs has garnered a good collection of stories and experiences shared with him by those who are designated, Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen.

This presentation is available as a 40-minute talk or a 75-minute lecture and workshop.

Equipment needs: Podium, microphone, stool

Travel: Regions 3, 4, 5, 6

Sandra Staebell Sandra Staebell
Kentucky Museum Registrar/Collections Curator at the Kentucky Museum
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: 270.745.6260


Faces & Places in Kentucky Quilts & Textiles

Quilts and other textiles frequently use images that are tied to memory and provide a sense of identity, family, or place. In some, these "faces" were based on real life individuals such as President George Washington, Kentuckians Henry Clay and George Rogers Clark and Robert Penn Warren while in others they were inspired by fictional characters such as Don Quixote or children real and or imagined. Examples of "places" found in textiles include state quilts, governmental buildings, churches, and honeymoon cottages

Equipment needs: Podium, microphone, screen and computer for PowerPoint
Georgia Green Stamper Georgia Green Stamper
Kentucky Writer, NPR Local Commentator
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859.619.5700 (cell)
Home Phone: 859.264.0465


You Might as Well Laugh Mother Always Said

"Laughter," Stamper writed, "was my mother's tonic and psychiatrist - and her gift to me." Sometimes called a Kentucky version of Bailey White, Georgia's stories are every man's - told with a Bluegrass slant. In this entertaining presentation culled from her most popular public radio commentaries and newspaper columns, she discusses the unique role humor has played in shaping Kentuckians' culture and philosophy. The rural folk expression "you might as well laugh" became an intrinsic defense weapon in their battle to survive. A former theater teacher and award winning essayist, Georgia leads the audience from laughter to tears and back again.

Butter in the Morning: Extraordinary Ordinary Kentuckians

Georgia Green Stamper's essays often appear on the back page of Kentucky Humanities magazine. The author of two books (Butter in the Morning and You Can Go Anywhere), a local NPR commentator and newspaper columnist, she grew up in Wendell Berry country on her family's tobacco farm. In this presentation her understanding and appreciation of the region's character is on display, celebrating the ordinary Kentuckians who called her rural crossroads home. From farmers in bathrobes who taught her the true meaning of the Christmas story, to the Widow Rogers who freed her slaves and gave them both her blessing and wherewithal to immigrate to Liberia - Stamper's people are extraordinary. Like the frog that fell into the cream can but kept paddling, they come up sitting on a pad of butter in the morning.

Our Stories: Yours and Mine

"Kentuckians are great storytellers," Stamper says. "It may even be an inherited trait." Every family, every community, seems to have a stash of unique and treasured memories passed from one generation to the next. However, in a technology driven society that does not stop to sleep, much less to linger on the front porch telling stories, she worries that our oral heritage will soon be lost. She maintains that our local and personal stories play an essential role in binding family and community, and in defining who we are as a people. With humor and reflection, she shares tales of her place and kin, encouraging listeners to remember and preserve their own.

Ernest M. Tucker Ernest M. Tucker
Retired Professor, Department of History
Ashland Community College
Ashland, KY

Home Phone: 606.923.8359

Kentucky Folklore

Folk Medicine in Eastern Kentucky

Professor Tucker has interviewed thousands of eastern Kentuckians about how they treated themselves and their animals when they were sick or injured. This talk will include not only the remedies Tucker uncovered but the wonderful stories that accompany them.

The Kitchen: The Warmest Room in the House

From Tucker's extensive collections come these household devices that were supposed to lighten the loads of the average housewife. Used by our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers circa 1900-1940s, they seem quaint by today's standards and not as efficient as we once thought them to be. Electric appliances have replaced almost all of these devices, but they continue to fascinate people who are interested in the past.

Ronald R. Van Stockum Jr. Ronald R. Van Stockum Jr.
Kentucky Writer
Shelbyville, KY

Work Phone: 502.568.6838
Home Phone: 502.548.4125 (cell)


Human Ecology

Human Ecology involves the relationship of humankind with its environment. That relationship involves a complex set of interactions involving humans, billions of other life forms, and the inanimate gases, minerals, and material that support the planet. Dr. Van Stockum discusses the history and science related to these interactions, both locally and globally.  

The Wonder of Natural Life in Kentucky

Th e wonder of natural life in Kentucky surrounds all who live in the Commonwealth. But in their daily lives, many fail to take notice of the diversity of life forms around them. Th e author describes, through the fossil and sedimentary records, the passage of life through the geologic eons in Kentucky. He describes the first humans to come to the Commonwealth, what they found, and how they survived. Dr. Van Stockum then takes the audience on a virtual ride, examining in detail some of the oft en-bypassed plants and animals that live out their lives in this wonderful land that pioneers called "Paradise.”

The History of Kentucky's Environment

Kentucky’s environment is an ancient one. Its bedrock is of a sedimentary nature, formed in oceans. When the seas retreated from Kentucky, the process of erosion began to create the mountains, hills, and plains upon which Kentuckians now live. Dr. Van Stockum will discuss the development of Kentucky land forms, as well as the impact of the first humans to encounter it. Dr. Van Stockum will also describe changes to the environment as the human population of Kentucky began to exploit its natural resources and develop its agricultural and industrial potential. Finally, Kentucky’s environment will be described through data and demonstrable exhibits, allowing the audience to more fully grasp the current status of Kentucky’s environment in relation to its human population and future development.

Maryjean Wall Maryjean Wall
Kentucky Author
Lexington, KY


Kentucky History

Josephine Clay: Forgotten Feminist

Josephine Clay, married to Henry Clay's youngest son, John Clay, emerged upon her husband's death as an inspiring figure for Victorian women. She operated the Clay family's horse breeding farm at Ashland in Lexington and raised an eventual Kentucky Derby winner, Riley (1890). She also wrote novels and owned real estate. A woman's "limitations only lie within herself," she informed a women's conference at Toronto, Canada, in 1903. Kentuckians maintain historical memory of feminists Laura Clay and Madeline Breckinridge, both related to Josephine Clay through marriage. But Kentuckians largely forgot Josephine Clay and her inspirational role for women. The question was why.

Madam Belle

Belle Brezing was directly connected to the rise of Kentucky's horse business in the 1890s and the early 1900s. The author's new book explores this relationship and Belle, of Lexington, as prototype of the fictional Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind.

Travel: Regions 5, 6, 7, 8
Equipment needs: Projector and Screen
Juanita L. White Juanita L. White
Script Writer & Researcher
Louisville, KY

Home Phone: 502.327.7885

African American History

Edith Goodall Wilson: Blues/Jazz Singer and 18-Year Quaker Oats Aunt Jemima Edith's professional career began at age 13. Later, she recorded with Columbia Records and performed in Europe solo or with other notable African Americans (Harlem Renaissance era). She acted in a Bogart/Bacall movie and on radio Amos and Andy shows. Quaker Oats bored her to do television commercials and make public appearances (18 years) until they terminated her job during the 1960s Civil rights movement. Gloria Moorman will sing Edith's signature song, "He May Be Your Man But He Comes to See Me Sometimes."
Notorious Slave Dealer Matthew Garrison's Two African American Families
At the corner of 2nd and Main Streets (Louisville) stands a Kentucky Historical marker at the site of a slave pen owned by Matthew Garrison, a sadistic/ruthless businessman. At death Garrison, a bachelor with no white children, left nothing to his living relatives. he willed his vast estate to two of "his negro women" and their mulatto children. This presentation traces the lines of Mary, a daughter of Garrison, with photographs and a discussion with one of Mary's descendants. Travel Regions: 2, 3, 4, 6
Edmund J. Zimmerer Edmund J. Zimmerer
Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences
Murray State University
Dexter, KY

Home Phone: 270.753.4368


Amphibians and Reptiles of Land Between the Lakes

The Land Between the Lakes located between portions of the Tennessee River (Kentucky Lake) and Cumberland River (Lake Barkley) is unique in many aspects. This is particularly apparent from a natural history perspective because it represents a largely natural transition area both geological and biological between the purchase area and western coal field regions of far western Kentucky and Tennessee. This presentation focuses on one group of biologically diverse group of organisms, the Amphibians and Reptiles. These animals generate strong emotions in many people ranging from fear and loathing to a fascination and a deep appreciation for these often beautiful entities. This talk will include vivid photographs of most of the species that can be seen during a walk through the trails of Land Between the Lakes.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector for PowerPoint presentation

Travel Regions: 1, 2, 3, 4