Filson Historical Society Filson Fridays
The Filson Historical Society is proud to present Filson Fridays, a lecture series featuring the staff of The Filson. Meet the staff as they share the results of their research in The Filson’s collections. This summer’s lecture topics range from famous duels to Appalachian History.
Friday, July 15 – “Our Country, Right or Wrong”: Kentuckians in the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848, Jana Meyer, Associate Curator of Special Collections - On May 11, 1846 President James K. Polk addressed Congress: "Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil." Although this claim was dubious at best, Congress voted overwhelmingly for war with Mexico, bowing to pressure from a bellicose Polk administration and an American public that clamored for war. So began a conflict that spanned two years and drastically altered the political boundaries of the North American continent, setting the stage for a bloodier war that would tear the nation in half a mere thirteen years later. This presentation will explore the causes and repercussions of this often forgotten conflict, especially highlighting the role of Kentuckians in America's first war against another republic.
Friday, July 22 – Around the World with R. C. Ballard Thruston, Heather Potter, Photos and Prints Curator - Former Filson President Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston was an excellent amateur photographer who traveled the world with his camera. An engineer by education and vocation, and historian and photographer by avocation; Thruston applied science and a meticulous eye to his photography. Thruston used his photography as a documentary tool and in doing so created images of historical importance. Come travel around the world and explore the Filson’s largest photograph collection through the 20th century lens of R. C. Ballard Thruston.
Friday, July 29 – The Terrible Harpes! Crime and Murder on the Kentucky Frontier, James Prichard, Cataloger - In the aftermath of the Revolution and the long and bloody Indian wars, the Kentucky frontier remained a dangerous land. Throughout 1799 two brothers, Wiley and Micajah Harpe, terrorized the entire state from the Wilderness Trail to the far reaches of the Green River country. Posing as Methodist circuit riders or weary pilgrims bound for the West, these Tory outcasts left a trail of bodies and burned cabins in their wake. Their bloody deeds and violent end are as chilling today as the notorious crimes of modern day serial killers.
Friday, August 6 – Shanty Boat Louisville, Dr. Mark Wetherington, Senior Research Fellow - During the Great Depression, as many as 50,000 people lived on an estimated 30,000 shanty boats in the Ohio and Mississippi River basins. Louisville's floating shanty boat neighborhood was part of a changing waterfront for more than a century as the city evolved from a river town into an industrial city. This program explores shanty boat Louisville at the beginning of the 1900s. Who were the shanty boaters and why did they chose this alternative form of housing? Did the city's tenement "menace" and its threats to the health and wellness of its inner-city population influence their choice to live on the water? Why were city officials determined to rid the waterfront of these "squatty little shanties, half house, half boat"? And what factors combined to bring an end to what one newspaperman called "these picturesque river tramps" at Louisville's "Point" neighborhood?
Friday, August 12 – Yesterday’s YouTube®: Summer Blockbuster Edition, Aaron Rosenblum, Associate Curator of Special Collections – Before GoPros, before smartphones, and before VHS camcorders, Kentuckians (and Hoosiers) documented their lives and their families on motion picture film. With generous support from our members and the community, The Filson has recently preserved a group of 8mm home movies from the Schwengel, Stevenson, and Lutz family collections. Join us for the public premiere of these films, including summer scenes of boaters on the Ohio, golfers at Shawnee Golf Course, a swim meet at Reservoir Park, and more! The screening will be accompanied by an introduction to the films and to film preservation.
Filson Fridays will be held every Friday at noon from July 8 through August 12 in the Library at Oxmoor Farm. Filson Fridays are free for Filson members and $10 for non-members. Reservations are suggested.
About The Filson
Since its founding in 1884, The Filson Historical Society has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only of Kentucky but also of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South. The Filson continues to collect and tell the significant stories of the region. An independent historical society, The Filson serves the public through its extensive research collections and numerous educational opportunities. The Filson is headquartered in the Ferguson Mansion in Old Louisville and houses a library, a museum and a special collections department.
For more information call The Filson at (502) 635-5083 or visit filsonhistorical.org