Tales From The Kentucky Room

Tales From The Kentucky Room Episode List

Podcast Episode List: Tales from The Kentucky Room

Revisiting the 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak after 50 Years (2024)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 87

Yesterday, April 2, 2024, there were three confirmed EF-1 tornado touchdowns in three different Kentucky counties, with severe storm damage affecting many more, including Lexington. Today, April 3, 2024, is the fiftieth anniversary of the tornado super outbreak in 1974, with 7 F5 tornadoes attributed to this one storm. The super outbreak affected thirteen states with a total death toll of 319 people, with 75 of them in Kentucky. 

 

Wayne Johnson sits down with Mariam to describe his memories of day in Lexington, Kentucky, which was spared from the super outbreak, and the destruction in the counties that were not so fortunate, and to give important safety tips of always listening to the warnings, and getting to shelter as fast as you can because seconds can mean the difference in survival.

This episode discusses deaths and destruction a result of natural disaster, so please take care of yourself as you listen.

The Life of Ella Offutt Pepper (2024)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 86

Librarian JP Johnson joins Mariam to discuss his research into the life of Ella Offutt Pepper, avid horsewoman and long-time owner of the James E. Pepper distillery. When her husband James E. Pepper took ill, he sold her the distillery to manage, which she did until after his death in the early 1900s. JP tells us about her widely-reported divorce from her first husband in Louisville, to the quiet ceremony of her second to Colonel Pepper, to her later years settling the Meadowthorpe estate.

Quilting Kentucky's Stories: Pants by Retha Hicks

- Tales From The Kentucky Room -

Retha Hicks joins us with a tale of how she successfully protested the dress code for teachers in  Fayette County Public Schools in the early 1970's.

 

Retha Perkins Hicks is a writer, a tour guide at Waveland State Historic Site, and a retired public school teacher. She was born in an Eastern Kentucky coal camp and lived in several different coal camps until she was eight years old. Those coal camps are the background of many of her childhood stories. She is a proud mother of four sons and grandmother of four grandchildren. She lives in Lexington with her Miniature Schnauzer, Edgar.

 

Theme song "Appalachian Lofi" composed and performed by Bryan Klausing and Christine Cole.

Quilting Kentucky's Stories: Donna Carter's Speech for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

- Tales From The Kentucky Room -

Quilting Kentucky's Stories is a year-long series of autobiographical tales from Lexington Residents, some of them funny, some of them heartwarming and some heart wrenching, but all of them important as they build the quilt of Kentucky life.

 

Donna Carter joins us for our inaugural episode, performing the speech she gave on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for Winchester (Clark County), Kentucky. She recounts her 30 years in recovery, and how equity helped her to build the life she has now.

 

Donna resides in WInchester, KY with her husband of 23 years and their 14 year old daughter. Donna has over 20 years of HR experience within various industries.  Over her career she has been responsible for leading HR departments and DEIB initiatives in the manufacturing, non-profit, government, education and private sectors. She is currently the Director of Professional and Community Development at Internal Family Systems Institute, headquartered in Chicago, IL and also oversees the HR department.  

Pralltown (2024)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 85

Mariam sits down with JP Johnson, Kentucky Room Librarian to discuss his research into Pralltown, one of Lexington’s best known Black Enclaves. They talk about the founding of Pralltown, how the residents of Pralltown stood up to urban renewal and destruction of their neighborhood in the mid-twentieth century, and a few of Pralltown’s famous residents: community leader James Herndon, known to most as Sweet Evening Breeze; Lou Johnson, the professional baseball player for the Dodgers; and Tony Briggs, a leader in Lexington’s Punk music scene.

Coming Soon: Quilting Kentucky's Stories

- Tales From The Kentucky Room -

Join Sylvia Lovely for a preview of the upcoming series presented by Tales from the Kentucky Room: Quilting Kentucky's Stories. 

Quilting Kentucky's Stories is a year-long series of autobiographical tales from Lexington Residents, some of them funny, some of them heartwarming and some heart wrenching, but all of them important as they build the quilt of Kentucky life.

Theme song "Appalachian Lofi" composed and performed by Bryan Klausing and Christine Cole.

Anatomy of a Duel: an Interview with Stuart Sanders (2024)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 84

This episode has mentions of violence of dueling, listener’s discretion is advised. 

Mariam sits down with Stuart Sanders to discuss his newest book, Anatomy of a Duel: Secession, Civil War, and the Evolution of Kentucky Violence. They talk about his role and artifacts at the Kentucky Historical Society, why dueling was so embraced in Kentucky (Henry Clay himself dueled more than once), and Stuart’s previous and upcoming projects. Stuart is the Director of Research and Publications for the Kentucky Historical Society and has written four other books exploring interpersonal violence in the Civil War Era.

Anatomy of a Duel: Secession, Civil War, and the Evolution of Kentucky Violence examines why white male Kentuckians engaged in the "honor culture" of duels and provides fascinating narratives that trace the lives of duelists. Stuart W. Sanders explores why, during a time when Americans were killing one another in open, brutal warfare, William T. Casto and Colonel Leonidas Metcalfe engaged in the process of negotiating and fighting a duel. The book is available for checkout at the Lexington Public Library and for purchase at your local bookstore.

During the episode, Stuart mentions a memento ring from a duel that is available to view online. You can see it at the Kentucky Historical Society’s online archive.

Village Branch: The Little Library That Could (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 83

In our last episode of 2023, Mariam sits down with Betty Abdmishani, retired Village Branch manager and Jackie Arakaki, one of the original staff members at Village Branch, to discuss the history of the Village Branch location. Village Branch became an essential and beloved part of the community by never saying "we don't do that here" and helping customers with whatever they needed, in many ways shaping the services the Library now provides at all locations. In 2024, twenty years after Village Branch opened, the newly designed and far larger Marksbury Family Branch will open on the site of the original Village Branch. They reminisce about the founding and opening of Village Branch, staffing, and the unique challenges and successes for the Village community.

Kentucky and the War of 1812: the Governor, the Farmers and the Pig: An Interview with Doris Settles (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 82

Mariam sits down with local author Doris Settles to discuss her latest book, Kentucky and the War of 1812: the Governor, the Farmers and the Pig detailing Kentucky’s heavy involvement and heavy losses during the War of 1812. Doris details how Henry Clay pushed for the fledgling United States’ declaration of War on Great Britain, and what led to Governor Isaac Shelby leading 4000 Kentucky farmers north to fight on the northwestern front. They also discuss Doris’s gardening book for children, and her contribution to the book Prohibition in Bardstown with Dixie Hibbs.

 

Kentucky and the War of 1812: the Governor, the Farmers and the Pig is available for purchase from local booksellers, from Doris Settles’ website and from the publisher’s website. It is also available for checkout from the library.

Segregated Lexington: An Interview with Rona Roberts and Barbara Sutherland (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 81

Mariam sits down with Rona Roberts and Barbara Sutherland to discuss their work on Segregated Lexington. Segregated Lexington gathers primary sources and research to show how systemic racism in housing result in unequal life opportunities for Lexington’s Black residents versus white residents. They speak on redlining in particular, as well as the effect of realtor steering in relation to home ownership. They talk about how, as white women, they can contribute to repair, and how it’s important to understand our past to move forward together in the future. You can visit Segregated Lexington at https://www.segregatedlexington.com

 

This podcast episode is produced in conjunction with the Library’s Community Read of The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein (available for checkout) and the UnDesign the Redline exhibit at Central Library, available for viewing until November 17, 2023.

 

Bluegrass Paradise: the History of Royal Spring with Gary O’Dell (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 80

Mariam interviews local author Gary O’Dell about his new book Bluegrass Paradise: Royal Spring and the Birth of Georgetown, Kentucky. Royal Spring is the largest spring in central Kentucky and is located in Georgetown, Kentucky. They discuss how Gary became interested in springs in Kentucky, and how he gathered the information for his new book about Royal Spring. They also discuss Kentucky’s pioneer history, the discovery of Royal Spring, and the growth of Georgetown around it until it was made into a State Park. Bluegrass Paradise: Royal Spring and the Birth of Georgetown, Kentucky is available for purchase at your local bookseller and available for checkout at the Lexington Public Library.

Street Names in Lexington, Part Two: The Streets Not Named for Horses (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 79

David guest hosts to interviews Wayne about more street names and how streets are named in Lexington. Part Two covers the names of streets in subdivisions and major roads around Lexington. And yes, Wayne does tell us the origin of the name Chinoe and how to pronounce it like a native Lexingtonian.

Lexington's 1965 Fallout Shelter Plan (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 78

Shelby joins us to read selections from Lexington’s Fallout Shelter Plan from 1965. The plan was created in a pilot program funded by Stanford Research Institute and the Federal Offices of Civil Defense to maximize survivability using shelters in the event of an atomic attack. One city in each state developed a plan, and Lexington was the representative city for Kentucky. The full plan can be found in the Library’s Digital Archives.

Gay Poems for Red States: An Interview with Willie Carver, Jr. (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 77

David guest hosts to interview Willie Carver, Jr., Kentucky Poet and 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year about his new work, “Gay Poems for Red States.” They discuss Willie’s approach to poetry, growing up gay and Appalachian in the 90’s, and the effect on book banning in schools on students. Willie reads his poem “First Crush” for the podcast. 

“Gay Poems for Red States” is available for checkout and for purchase at your local bookseller.

Street Names in Lexington, Part One: Horse Names (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 76

David guest hosts and interviews Wayne about street names in Lexington. The first episode of this two-part series covers streets named after racehorses, racetracks, and horse farms in Lexington. 

 

The Week of June 5th is Secretariat Week in the Kentucky Room, so check our events page for more information about the programs for this week.

A History Lover's Guide to Lexington with Peter Brackney (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 75

For our 75th episode, Mariam interviews Peter Brackney about The History Lovers' Guide to Lexington and Central KY, his new book co-written with the late Foster Ockerman, Jr. They discuss some of the places that were selected for the book, and how it's important for history to remain in context as markers are placed or removed, or places renamed. The History Lovers' Guide to Lexington, KY is available for checkout from the library or for purchase from your local booksellers.

The 1964 March on Frankfort (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 74

Mariam hosts a roundtable discussion with librarians Brenna and Heather about the 1964 March on Frankfort. On March 5, 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball player Jackie Robinson, and band Peter, Paul and Mary participated in a march from Louisville to Frankfort to advocate for the passage of a bill to end segregated public accommodations in Kentucky. This bill was eventually passed in 1966, but previous to that time, a pivotal moment in Kentucky Civil Rights history was several Black NBA players, including Bill Russell, were not allowed accommodation in the Phoenix Hotel because of their race. 

Producer Erin briefly joins the conversation when the talks move into how the March, and many aspects of Kentucky history, including Civil Rights, are not taught in Kentucky schools, and how surprised Heather, Mariam and Erin were to discover the March had happened only as adults.

There is no known transcription of the speeches given at the March on Frankfort, but the Library does have a digitized copy of the program available in the Digital Archive. Brenna makes many recommendations for further learning on this topic, including oral histories, in the episode.

The 20th Anniversary of the Lexington Ice Storm

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 73

February 15, 2023 marked the 20th anniversary of the 2003 ice storm that brought Lexington to a standstill and nearly half of utility customers (over 140,000) without electricity. Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the storm, and his experiences riding out the storm with no electricity. Our producer, Erin, pops into the booth to tell her experience of the storm as a high schooler in Lexington. 

Julia Perry, Composer (2023)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 72

Mariam interviews David Bryant about the life and work of Lexington-born African American composer Julia Perry (1924-1979). David covers her early life in Lexington, KY, and Akron, OH and her move to Europe. He also discusses her musical style, with three examples of her works. Special thanks to Dr. Yvonne Giles for her assistance with the research for this episode.

Recordings of Sabat Mater, Short Piece for Orchestra, and Homunculus C.F. are used under Fair Use for purposes of review.

100 Years of the Kentucky Theatre: An Interview with Fred Mills (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 71

Mariam interviews Fred Mills about the history of the Kentucky Theatre and his 50 year tenure as the theatre’s manager. They discuss the opening of the theatre in 1922, and the ups and downs of the theatre industry, and of the Kentucky Theatre itself, from funding issues to the building fire that shuttered the theatre for years.

There is a brief discussion of the theatre showing adult movies in the 1970s and the first amendment implications, but no discussion of the movies beyond their titles and the legal trouble that the theatre faced, some listener discretion is advised. 

Black Enclaves of Lexington (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 70

Brenna guests to share her research on three of Lexington’s Black enclaves, founded by formerly enslaved persons after the Civil War. In this episode, she discusses Davis Bottom (est. 1865; redeveloped in 2010s to make way for Newtown Pike road expansion), Adamstown (est. 1870; razed in early 1900s to make way for Memorial Colosseum), and Brucetown (est. 1865; still exists today). Brenna highlights the history we know, and points out that much of the history of these hamlets and their residents are lost to time, despite their vital contributions to Lexington’s development and growth pre- and post-Civil War. 

John Wilkes Booth in Lexington (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 69

Mariam and David discuss the sordid life of John Wilkes Booth before his assassination of Abraham Lincoln, including his visit to Lexington during the Civil War as a theater actor. Some listener discretion is advised as they discuss his womanizing, his racist and pro-slavery views, and the conspiracy theories surrounding his death. 

Library Building History (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 68

Mariam and Wayne talk about the history of Lexington Public Library spaces, from its beginning as a subscription library in 1795 to the building project for the new Marksbury Family Branch (formerly Village Branch) now in 2022. 

J. Alexander Chiles: The Fight Against Kentucky’s Separate Coach Law (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 67

Mariam shares the history of Kentucky’s Separate Coach Law, and Lexington’s second African American attorney, J. Alexander Chiles, who took the fight to the US Supreme court multiple times in the 1890s and early 1900s. Kentucky’s Separate Coach Law was one of many of Kentucky’s explicitly racist Jim Crow segregation laws, and those who fought against it faced persecution, harassment and assault. J. Alexander Chiles was at the forefront of this fight for de-segregated equality. 

Ten Hours of Terror: The Barnes Family Murder, 1973 (Part 2 of 2, 2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 66

October 1973 saw one of Lexington’s most brutal crimes, the murders of Rev. John Barnes (47), his daughter Francine Barnes (18), and his son John E. Barnes (14). In the final part of this series, Wayne takes us through the murders of the Barnes Family, the murders and shootings in Falmouth, KY, and the aftermath of the crimes. Listener Discretion is Advised. 

Ten Hours of Terror: The Barnes Family Murder, 1973 (Part 1 of 2, 2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 65

October 1973 saw one of Lexington’s most brutal crimes, the murders of Rev. John Barnes (47), his daughter Francine Barnes (18), and his son John E. Barnes (14). In this part one of two series on the Barnes Family’s murder, Mariam interviews guest Ike Lawrence, whose father notified Mrs. Barnes of her family’s murder, and later, Wayne discusses the start of the crime, with the two killers escaping the custody of the US Marshals. The discussion of the crime continues in part two tomorrow. Listener Discretion is Advised. 

Nick Carter, Bloodhound (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 64

Erin guests to talk about bloodhound Nick Carter and his handler Captain Volney Mullikin, who together searched for and found over 600 people in Nick Carter’s career as a tracking hound. She goes over his most profiled cases, and shares one case tracked by Nick Carter’s son, Nick Carter, Jr. 

Washington’s Iron Butterfly, an Interview with Terry Birdwhistell and Don Ritchie (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 63

Mariam interviews oral historians Terry L. Birdwhistell and Donald A. Ritchie about their January 2022 book, Washington’s Iron Butterfly: Bess Clements Abell, an Oral History. They discuss Bess Clements Abell’s (1933-2020) Kentucky history, her background and family life, her time in the White House during Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, and her later public relations firm. More information can be found about the book here and is available for check out here.

Charles Dickens’ Visit to Kentucky (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 62

Mariam and David discuss Charles Dickens’ visit to Kentucky in 1842, including his observations of America, particularly about American table manners, tobacco use, and the varied people he sought out for conversation during his travels. Readings by Bill Widener from Dickens’ work American Notes and from The New York Times and The Paducah Sun newspapers. American Notes is available for check out here.

Drowned Town: An Interview with Author Jayne Moore Waldrop (2022)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 61

Mariam talks with Kentucky author Jayne Moore Waldrop about her first fiction work, Drowned Town, about the creation of Land Between the Lakes. They explore the differences between man-made displacements and natural disasters, as this episode was recorded just two weeks after the December 2021 tornado devastated parts of Western Kentucky. Drowned Town is available for check out at the library here and for purchase at your favorite bookstore

Who’s the Scammer? A Tale of a Horse Sale (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 60

Join us for a dramatic reading by the TFKR Radio Players of several ads taken out by Dennis Nichols and Tazewell Marr in the 1846 Observer & Reporter, each accusing the other of foul play in the sale of a horse that was either already lame or became lame shortly after the sale. The injury to the horse is described as a spavin, which is an osteoarthritis condition and is degenerative. We checked for deeds and court records for the sale and threat of court action, but we weren’t able to find any records to say how this turned out. We hope you enjoy this special episode as much as we enjoyed recording it. 

History of Lexington City & Fayette County Public Schools (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 59

After a year of pandemic created challenges for the public school system in Lexington, Mariam gives an overview of the history of the public schools in Lexington City and in Fayette County. She discusses the initial funding of the schools, through the creation of segregated public schools in 1864, and finally desegregation and the merging of the city and county public schools in the 1960s. 

Lafayette’s Visit to Lexington (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 58

Mariam and David discuss Lafayette's 1825 visit to Lexington, his tour through the 24 states of the United States, and touch briefly on his involvement in the American and French revolutions. David references several books: Hero of two worlds: the Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan; Lafayette In America, in 1824 and 1825: Journal of a Voyage to the United States by Aguste Levasseur; Lafayette's visit to Lexington: an account of the General's sojourn in the Bluegrass, May, 1824 by J. Winston Coleman; and the website of The Lafayette Trail, a project to retrace Lafayette’s visit: https://www.thelafayettetrail.org/

The Urge to Merge: The Merger of Lexington’s City and Fayette County’s Governments (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 57

Mariam and Wayne discuss the history of Lexington & Fayette County’s merged governments, one of only fifteen merged city-county governments in the United States. They discuss how and why the merger was planned, how it was enacted, and briefly touch on Lexington’s famous mayoral race, known as the “Spider Election”, of 1973.

Russell’s Cave: A Tiny History for Fayette County’s Biggest Cave (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 56

Jamie tells an abridged history of Russell’s Cave, Fayette County’s largest cave, including a description of the area, evidence of Native American’s habitation of the land, Colonel William Russell’s military grant of the land including the cave, and our favorite event: the Cassius Marcellus Clay fight with Samuel Brown at a political rally. 

Not Just a One Way Street (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 55

Mariam and Wayne discuss the construction of New Circle Road, the transition of the downtown streets to one way, and other major transportation projects in Lexington. (You might notice some light construction noise after the 25-minute mark - there were renovations happening on the floor above us, our apologies!) An image of Main Street while it was still two-way is available on the Kentucky Photo Archive here

The Murder of Alexander T. Hays (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 54

Producer Erin takes a turn on the other side of the mic to tell the story of the unsolved murder of Alexander T. Hays. She explores the coverage of the crime, the investigation, the suspect, and two theories of the 1846 crime. 

Fire on UK’s Campus: the 51st Anniversary of the Kent State protests (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 53

Mariam and Wayne discuss the National Guard’s shooting of unarmed student protestors on Kent State’s campus in 1970, and how protests against the shooting, including the ROTC building fire, on UK’s campus led to curfews and lockdowns by Kentucky’s Governor. This episode was recorded in September 2020. May 4, 2021 was the 51st anniversary of the shooting, and May 6, 2021, was the 51st anniversary of the fire. An image of the fire and more can be found on ExploreUK.

Elizabeth Keckley, an Interview with Lauren Burke (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 52

Mariam interviews Lauren Burke, of the podcast "Bonnets at Dawn", about Elizabeth Keckley, dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln. They discuss her life as a slave, her move to Washington D.C., and the effect of her memoir on her relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln. They also discuss Lauren’s podcast, "Bonnets at Dawn", about women writers from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Lauren’s upcoming book about Elizabeth Keckley is titled A Stitch in Time. 

Three Civil War Lexington Women

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 51

Denise guest hosts and give sketches of the lives of three Lexington Civil War era women: Elizabeth Harbeson Hummons (Reminisces of Aunt Betty Hummons), Francis Dallam Peter (A Union Woman in Civil War Kentucky), and Ella Bishop Ransom, who saved a Union flag from Confederates. 

A Conversation With Reverend L. Clark Williams (2021)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 50

Guest Host Naomi interviews Reverend L. Clark Williams, the chairman of The People’s Campaign, about what progress has been made in Lexington since the June 4, 2020 march of Lexington’s Black Faith Leaders to deliver a call for racial justice to Mayor Linda Gorton, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, and Sheriff Kathy Witt. 

Cut to the Chase: An Interview with Alan Cutler (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 49

Wayne, resident sports expert, interviews sports broadcaster Alan Cutler about his career and new book, Cut to the Chase. Cut to the Chase is available to check out from the library, and is available for purchase online and in local bookstores. 

President for a Day: David Rice Atchison

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 48

Mariam and Wayne share the story of David Rice Atchison, born in Lexington, KY and later senator from Missouri, the only person in history who was possibly president for a day.

The Murder of Marion Miley, Revisited: An Interview with Author Beverly Bell (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 47

Mariam interviews Beverly Bell about her recent book, The Murder of Marion Miley, to mark the 79th anniversary of Marion Miley's death (September 28, 2020). They discuss Beverly’s research into Marion’s life, her interviews with the people closest to Marion at the time of her death, and how America entering World War II affected the memory of her tragic loss.

Pamela Brown: A Free Life (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 46

Wayne tells the story of Pamela Brown and the ill-fated hot air balloon voyage across the Atlantic in 1970, in time for the 50th anniversary of the crash. He tells of her early history and acting career, how they got the idea to try to be the first people to cross the ocean in a hot air balloon, what might have gone wrong with the balloon, and the aftermath of the crash. 

The Willipus Wallipus (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 45

Mariam tells a brief history of Lexington's first steam powered street roller, named the Willipus Wallipus. This episode was researched and written by Sarah Hubbard, Kentucky Room Manager.

Best of Tales from the Kentucky Room (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 44

Mariam and Erin, the show's producer and editor, discuss a few of their many favorite moments from Tales from the Kentucky Room. They share clips and some behind the scenes fun as the podcast turns two years old. This episode was recorded online during COVID-19 social distancing. To share your favorite podcast moments with us, visit our Facebook page: facebook.com/lexingtonpubliclibrary

Kentucky Baseball Bonus Episode (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 43

Enjoy this discussion of Lexington born Major League Baseball players that was cut from the Kentucky Baseball episode. We hope you're staying healthy at home!

Kentucky Baseball (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 43

Mariam and Wayne discuss the rich history of baseball in Kentucky, beginning just after the Civil War. They discuss Happy Chandler’s role in the integration of Major League Baseball, and how the Lexington Hustlers were the first integrated team in the south. Wayne discusses Lexington’s club and school baseball teams, beginning with Little League, and ends with book and film recommendations to fill the current baseball void. 

Breaking the Bronze Ceiling (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 42

Mariam interviews Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project, artist Barbara Grygutis, and Council District 9 legislative aide Rob Bolson about their inspiration and work with the “Breaking the Bronze Ceiling” initiative to bring the first monument honoring the contributions of women to society to Lexington, KY. You can find out more about the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project at their website here; see more of Barbara Grygutis’s artwork on her website here; and learn more about the “Breaking the Bronze Ceiling” monument project on their website here

Ruth Gaylord, Lexington Public Library's First African American Librarian (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 41

Mariam interviews Ruth Gaylord about her life and work as Lexington Public Library’s first African American librarian. They discuss her experiences going to school and college in segregated Kentucky; how she balanced working full time, raising four children, caring for an ill spouse, and attending Library School from 1979-1984. They also talk about her long career as a librarian with Lexington Public Library. She began as an assistant on the bookmobile in 1977, and when Ruth retired in 2008, she was the Assistant Manager of the Eagle Creek Branch. 

The Extraordinary Life of Dr. Mary E. Britton (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 40

Brenna Pye guest hosts to celebrate the life of Dr. Mary E. Britton (1855-1925), a passionate advocate for civil and women’s rights. She used her time and talents to uplift Lexington’s African American community. As a teacher, a journalist, an activist, a suffragist, and a doctor, Mary Ellen Britton was a distinguished Lexingtonian who made significant contributions to the town. 

Dolly Johnson Dandridge: Lexington's White House Chef (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 39

J.P. Johnson guest hosts to celebrate the life of Dolly Johnson Dandridge (1852-1918), a Kentucky native who was the White House Chef for President Benjamin Harrison, and later a much sought-after chef after her return to Lexington, Kentucky in 1894. She had such clout as to be able to refuse to return to cook for President Grover Cleveland and still have a very successful career as a chef and caterer in Lexington, KY, while continually being recruited as a private chef for prominent families. She was the first African American woman to open a business on Main Street in Lexington. J.P. shares some of her most famous recipes throughout the episode. 

The interlude music is performed by J.P. Johnson.

The Murder of Geneva Hardman: An Interview with Peter Brackney (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 38

Recorded on the 100th anniversary of Geneva’s death, Mariam interviews author and attorney Peter Brackney about his latest book, The Murder of Geneva Hardman and Lexington’s Mob Riot of 1920. They discuss the trial and execution of Will Lockett, the man who confessed to her murder. The mob riot following the trial led to Lexington being placed under Martial Law for two weeks. Though questions remain on his ultimate guilt or innocence, what is not in question is how, for the first time in the south, Lexington’s local authorities were able to successfully repel a lynch mob. You can check out Peter Brackney’s book here

The Tragic Life of Margaret Garner (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 37

This episode may be difficult for some listeners to hear – history is often hard and tragic, but it’s still important to tell it. Mariam discusses the life of Margaret Garner, the real life Kentucky Woman who inspired Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. Margaret, at age 22, and her family attempted to escape from slavery, only to be caught and returned under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Her harrowing decision to kill her youngest daughter rather than return her to slavery had her brought up on murder charges in Ohio. This led to a cat-and-mouse political game between her owner and Governor Chase of Ohio. Margaret Garner died in 1854, at the age of 24, from Scarlet Fever. 

 

Mariam references Modern Medea: A Family Story of Slavery and Child-murder from the Old South by Steven Weisenburger, and you can check it out here

The League of Women Voters (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 36

Mariam interviews First Vice President Dee Pregliasco and Board of Directors member Cindy Heine from the Kentucky Chapter of The League of Women Voters about the organization’s 100 year history. They also discuss the League’s current statewide initiatives regarding redistricting, the restoration of voting rights for people with felony convictions, and overall civic engagement.

Women's Suffrage in Kentucky (2020)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 35

In time for the 100th anniversary of Kentucky ratifying the 19th Amendment granting women in the United States the right to vote, Mariam interviews Shea Simanek Magnuson about the history of women’s suffrage in Kentucky. They discuss the earliest attempts to get votes for women, and the women in Kentucky who fought for the right to vote. This episode features two suffrage songs: “Daughters of Freedom” performed by the “Music for the Nation” Singers and can be found here and a 1916 recording of “She’s Good Enough To Be Your Baby’s Mother”, performed by Anna Chandler that can be found here.

The History of Lexington Newspapers with Tom Eblen (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 34

Mariam interviews Tom Eblen, former editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader, about the history and personalities surrounding Lexington’s Newspapers. They discuss the Kentucky Gazette, The True American, The Lexington Standard, The Bluegrass Blade and more. These newspapers are available on microfilm in the Kentucky Room. 

Eastern State Hospital (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 33

Mariam interviews Susan Griffith and Vikki Franklin about the history of the Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum, now called Eastern State Hospital, what historical records are available, the creation of the cemetery, and what services are offered by the hospital today. She also explores the history of the hospital as reported in the Lexington newspapers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The newspapers referenced are available to view on microfilm in the Kentucky Room at Central Library.

Bad Sex in Kentucky, An Interview with Kevin Lane Dearinger (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 32

Mariam interviews Kentucky native actor, author, and playwright Kevin Lane Dearinger about his forthcoming memoir, Bad Sex in Kentucky, his Broadway career, and his second career in education. Kevin’s first books, The Bard and the Bluegrass and Marie Prescott, a Star of Some Brilliancy are available to view in the Kentucky Room. 

Joyland Amusement Park (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 31

Mariam and Denise discuss the history of the Joyland Amusement Park. The park operated from 1923-1963, and the land is now the site of several subdivisions. 

Cassius Marcellus Clay: Abolitionist, Newspaper Man, Knife Fighter (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 30

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the colorful life of Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903), as he fought slavery, served as Ambassador to Russia during the Civil War, and made life difficult for the Madison County Sheriff. This episode contains descriptions of violent events, but is not overly graphic (our apologies to Mr. Potato Head.) Listener Discretion is advised.

This Is Home Now: An Interview with Arwen Donahue (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 29

Mariam interviews Arwen Donahue, visual artist and oral historian, about her 2009 work This Is Home Now: Kentucky’s Holocaust Survivors Speak. They discuss the experience of interviewing survivors, and their lives in Kentucky. Arwen and Mariam also discuss Arwen’s upcoming projects depicting rural life in Kentucky. This Is Home Now: Kentucky's Holocaust Survivors Speak is available to view in the Kentucky Room and for check out here: https://catalog.lexpublib.org/?section=resource&resourceid=1184055

The Hidden History of Horse Racing in Kentucky (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 28

Mariam interviews Foster Ockerman, Jr., author of Hidden History of Horse Racing in Kentucky, and President and Chief Historian of the Lexington History Museum about his book and horse racing in Kentucky. They discuss horse racing in early Kentucky, the earliest established racetracks for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing, the founding of Churchill Downs in Louisville, and the Civil War’s effect on horse racing in Kentucky. You can find Hidden History of Horse Racing in Kentucky in the library's catalog for checkout here: https://catalog.lexpublib.org/?section=resource&resourceid=59812812

Black Soil: An Interview with Trevor Claiborn (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 27

Mariam interviews Trevor Claiborn, co-founder of Black Soil: Our Better Nature, about the organization and the history of African American farmers in Kentucky. Trevor also performs as “Farmer Brown tha MC” to attract young people to farming. You can visit Black Soil’s website to find out more about their upcoming events: www.blacksoil.life. “Grow Harder” and “Chicken Leg Shuffle” by Farmer Brown tha MC are used with permission. 

Harry Dean Stanton Festival (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 26

Mariam interviews Lucy Jones, founder of the Harry Dean Stanton Festival in time for this year’s festival. They discuss Harry’s early life in Lexington and in Hollywood, his rise to fame, and what movies will be screened at this year’s festival.  Visit harrydeanstantonfest.org for more information about screenings and locations. 

A Little Kidnapping (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 25

Listener favorite Wayne Johnson returns to tell the incredible story of how Lucille Caudill Little, Lexington's best known arts and culture philanthropist, was kidnapped in 1979. They discuss the motives of the kidnapper, and how Mrs. Little called on her experience as an actress to survive the experience. Photos of the aftermath of the police shootout that followed can be found in the Kentucky Room's microfilm archive, or by request through our Ask-A-Librarian service: https://www.lexpublib.org/genealogy-local-history-requests

Lost Lexington: An Interview with Peter Brackney

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 24

Mariam interviews Peter Brackney, author of the 2014 book Lost Lexington, and creator of the blog "The Kaintuckeean." They discuss a few of the lost landmarks in the book, buildings that have been lost since 2014, and buildings that have been saved and renovated. Peter’s blog is https://www.kaintuckeean.com/. Mariam and Peter mention an earlier episode of the podcast, which you can listen to here: https://www.lexpublib.org/podcasts/cholera-part-two-pie-seller-drunk-and-lady-2018

Lost Lexington is available for checkout from the Lexington Public Library: https://catalog.lexpublib.org/?section=resource&resourceid=6771722 

Smiley Pete: Lexington's Town Dog (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 23

Denise Shanks tells the story of Smiley Pete, Lexington’s “town dog” who first appeared around 1944. He took up residence in downtown Lexington, and was cared for by multiple people and businesses. His favorite spot was the corner of E Main Street and N Limestone, and a bronze plaque memorializes him there. 

Swope v. Goodloe, or Possibly the First Time “Going Postal” Might Apply (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 22

Mariam interviews Rand Dotson, the Editor in Chief of LSU Press, about his research into the political rivalry between Armistead Swope and William Cassius Goodloe, which culminated in a deadly fight in the Lexington Post Office. They discuss the differing backgrounds of the two men, and what may have set them on their fateful path. 

Kentucky Duels (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 21

Mariam and Wayne discuss the Code Duello and several nineteenth century Kentucky duels, including duels fought by Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and a pair of doctors from Transylvania University’s School of Medicine. They reference the book Famous Kentucky Duels by J. Winston Coleman, which is available for checkout: https://catalog.lexpublib.org/?section=resource&resourceid=2341267 and, because one can’t talk about duels without talking about this, they briefly reference both Alexander Hamilton and the musical Hamilton. The Hamilton soundtrack is also available for checkout: https://catalog.lexpublib.org/?section=resource&resourceid=7231007 

Henry Faulkner Week: Sweet Evening Breeze (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 20

Sweet Evening Breeze (July 2, 1892 - Dec. 16, 1983) may be the best known Kentuckian in recent memory. James Herndon, or Sweets, as her friends knew her, was beloved by many in the community, from her work at Good Samaritan Hospital, to her baking, to her boundary-pushing performances at clubs, and her womanless wedding fundraisers at local churches and in her own backyard. Artist and activist Robert Morgan joins us again to talk about his relationship and recollections of Sweets. This episode has descriptions of adult situations, so may not be appropriate for all listeners. 

Henry Faulkner Week: An Interview with Robert Morgan (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 19

Henry Faulkner (Jan. 9, 1924 - Dec. 3, 1981) was an internationally-known, openly queer Kentucky artist. He is known for his colorful paintings, his poetry, and his propensity to travel with a bourbon drinking goat called Alice. In this episode, Mariam interviews artist and LGBTQ activist Robert Morgan about his life with Henry Faulkner. This episode has descriptions of adult situations, so may not be appropriate for all listeners. 

Henry Faulkner Week Preview: Alice, Disappeared (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 18

JP Johnson discusses the artist Henry Faulkner and his collection of beloved pets. He tells the story of the time artist Henry Faulkner’s goat, Alice, disappeared for several weeks in 1965, and gives a preview of the events planned for Lexington Public Library’s Henry Faulkner Week, February 25-March 3, 2019. 

A Wounded Snake: An Interview with author Joseph Anthony (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 17

Mariam interviews Joseph Anthony, local author of historical fiction, about his latest work about the life and death of R.C.O Benjamin in Lexington, KY through the eyes of an original character. A Wounded Snake is available for check out in our library catalog.

The Murder of Marion Miley, Part 2 (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 16

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the murder of golfing great Marion Miley in Lexington, KY in 1941. They conclude their conversation with the search for Marion’s killers. This is part two of a two part series. 

The Murder of Marion Miley, Part 1 (2019)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 15

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the murder of golfing great Marion Miley in Lexington, KY in 1941. They discuss Marion Miley’s life, and the events leading up to her death. This is part one of a two part series.

Railroad Track Removal from Downtown Lexington. (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 14

Mariam and Wayne discuss the 1968 removal of the railroad tracks from Downtown Lexington in time for the 50th

Cholera, Part Four: The Outbreak in 1849. (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 13

Mariam interviews Megan Couch about her research into the 1849 outbreak of Cholera in Lexington. They discuss finding more deaths from cholera than were actually reported, and tell the stories of families that were completely wiped out by the disease. This episode is the final episode in the four part series.

Cholera, Part Three: From the Home of the Friendless to Ashland Terrace (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 12

Mariam interviews Mariam interviews Nisa Hanna, assistant director of Ashland Terrace about the history of the facility, and its origins from the 1849 Cholera epidemic. They discuss how Ashland Terrace is working to preserve their history. This episode is part three of a four part series.

Cholera, Part Two: The Pie Seller, the Drunk, and the Lady (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 11

Mariam interviews Terry Foody, author of The Pie Seller, The Drunk and The Lady, about her book and the 1833 Cholera epidemic in Lexington, KY. They discuss the causes of the epidemic, and what treatments contemporary doctors attempted for this devastating disease. This episode is part two of a four part series.

Cholera, Part One: King Solomon (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 10

JP Johnson gives a biography of William “King” Solomon, hero of the 1833 Cholera epidemic. He also talks about later efforts to memorialize him by the city. This is the first episode in a four part series. Interlude music is “Life’s Ups and Downs” by José da Vēde, used under a CC BY license. The full song can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/jose_da_vede/lifes-ups-downs

Lexington Ghost Stories (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 9

Jonathan Coleman guest hosts this episode, and tells his favorite ghost stories from his popular Lexington History Walks. Dr. Coleman conducts Lexington History Walks year-round, which can be booked on his website: www.drcolemanwalks.com

The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 7

Mariam interviews Reinette Jones, founder of the Notable Kentucky African Americans database. They discuss Kentucky’s Centenarian Librarians, the boxer David Moore, and the prison shoe-making industry. Visit the NKAA at http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/

The Cherokee and the Newsman (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 8

Mariam interviews Terry Foody, author of The Cherokee and the Newsman: Kinsmen in Words. They discuss Ms. Foody’s inspiration to write about the two men, their family lives, and how their words contributed to their communities.

The Murder of Betty Gail Brown, part 2 (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 6

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson, librarian and local historian about the murder of Transylvania University student Betty Gail Brown in October 1961. In the last episode, they discuss the court case and other theories of the crime.

The Murder of Betty Gail Brown, part 1 (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 5

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson, librarian and local historian about the murder of Transylvania University student Betty Gail Brown in October 1961. In the first episode, Wayne and Mariam discuss the events leading up to the crime.

Belle Brezing (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 4

Mariam interviews Doug Tattershall, author of Belle Brezing: American Magdalene, about his book. They discuss Belle Brezing’s early life, her years as the nationally known brothel owner, and the generally unknown final years of her life in seclusion.

Mary Todd Lincoln (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 3

Mariam interviews Dr. Jonathan Coleman, head curator of the Mary Todd Lincoln House, about her life in Lexington, the White House, and after the assassination. They also discuss the collections and events at the Mary Todd Lincoln House museum.

Audubon vs. Rafinesque (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 2

Mariam and Erin tell the story of Constantine Samuel Rafinesque’s visit with naturalist John James Audubon, and how the resulting prank by Audubon on Rafinesque wasn’t fully discovered for nearly 150 years.

Faulkner Morgan Pagan Babies Archive (2018)

- Tales From The Kentucky Room - Episode: 1

Mariam interviews Dr. Jonathan Coleman about the founding of the Faulkner Morgan Pagan Babies Archive and the upcoming “Out in Plain Sight” exhibit at Lexington Public Library.