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RCasna
02-09-2009, 19:30
Hello All,

I am new to the forum but I am not new to bourbon. Or maybe I am. I've tried several and I am stuck on the delectable treat of plain ole Maker's Mark.

I am interested in Kentucky history and the history of Kentucky whiskey for a research paper. Not surprisingly, there is very little information in scholarly journals and even fewer primary sources available through library and archive collections that I have searched through.

There are some seemingly well versed people on this forum in regard to this history of bourbon and Kentucky. I am wondering (in awe not in criticism) where you guys get your information. I'm a college student and most of my research has been on Civil War history (abundance of research available on any and every site), yet Prohibition and the Economies effected by this horrible piece of legislation have seemingly slipped under the rug.

I'd like to have a rock solid piece for submission to several journals but I am afraid I may have to give up soon if I can't find some documents to sift through.

Any thoughts?

With Great Appreciation,

Ryan

barturtle
02-09-2009, 19:35
Where are you located? There are collections of primary source material on the history of bourbon. The Filson Historical Society for one, and I would think the Bourbon Museum in Bardstown would have some more...surely some source material would exist in libraries in Pennsylvania and other places as well.

RCasna
02-09-2009, 19:39
Where are you located? There are collections of primary source material on the history of bourbon. The Filson Historical Society for one, and I would think the Bourbon Museum in Bardstown would have some more...surely some source material would exist in libraries in Pennsylvania and other places as well.

Thanks for the post Barturtle,

I am located in New Hampshire. I was hoping to find digitized collections online. I've checked the University of Kentucky website and they have the documents but they aren't imaged. I feel competent in my research abilities and it seems as though I have exhausted all my ideas.

It makes sense that they aren't digitized but I couldn't even find much on the National Archives website and Bourbon is "America's Drink".

kickert
02-09-2009, 20:02
Two places to start are Cowdery's book "Bourbon, Straight" and "Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible." I have borrowed both through inter-library loan. I have heard others reference Crowgey's book "Kentucky Bourbon: The Early Years of Whiskeymaking" but don't know much about it.

barturtle
02-09-2009, 20:11
If you're looking for original source material, odds are you're going to have to travel to where it is. Large amounts of the original source is still in the hands of the families involved in the business, and what little isn't has been given to local historical societies, colleges and libraries. Large scale scanning of this material just hasn't been undertaken to the best of my knowledge, and until Google comes knocking to do so, it is unlikely that the funds exist to attempt such an undertaking.

Josh
02-09-2009, 20:17
Two places to start are Cowdery's book "Bourbon, Straight" and "Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible." I have borrowed both through inter-library loan. I have heard others reference Crowgey's book "Kentucky Bourbon: The Early Years of Whiskeymaking" but don't know much about it.

If you're looking for primary sources, I'd buy Cowdrey's book (it's inexpensive and after all, Chuck's got boat payments) and look in the bib, or better yet email or pm chuck yourself. He's a good egg; he should be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck on your paper!

Oh and if you want to sample some dusty bottles as a part of your research, funknik is the man to talk to in upper New England.:bowdown:

barturtle
02-09-2009, 20:58
Sorry, but Chuck is not a primary source, he is an author and therefore a secondary source (unless he is writing an autobiography). A letter written by E.H. Taylor would be a primary source, a modern day author telling a story about E.H. Taylor is a secondary source. Now if Chuck wants to write about being a two time winner of the SB BTOTY contest, then he would be a primary source.

funknik
02-09-2009, 21:04
I am located in New Hampshire.
Yeah, welcome to the board, Ryan...the more scholars the better. :grin:
Where in NH do you live? If you want to do some tasting let me know.

RCasna
02-09-2009, 22:12
Thanks for the help guys.

I think I will be shelving this project until I am in the neighborhood again (I've been down to tour Star Hill Farm). Due to the nature of the paper, I'll need to shift focus to something a smidgen less complicated. Fear not though, I will be back to conquer this area.

My primary focus was going to illuminate the unique position Kentucky had in Temperance and Prohibition. The fact that more than half the state was Temperate yet they stood behind the right of the individual to chose for themselves is a fascinating and commendable example of Libertarianism (that's the gist I got from the material I've been privy to thus far).

I will save this for another day; in the mean time, I am always up for bourbon tastings Funknik. I live in Keene but I am all over New England all the time for various things.

This is a great forum and I appreciate the dedication to bourbon! It's one of our last great American products!

funknik
02-09-2009, 22:17
Thanks for the post Barturtle,

I am located in New Hampshire. I was hoping to find digitized collections online. I've checked the University of Kentucky website and they have the documents but they aren't imaged. I feel competent in my research abilities and it seems as though I have exhausted all my ideas.

It makes sense that they aren't digitized but I couldn't even find much on the National Archives website and Bourbon is "America's Drink".


Thanks for the help guys.

I think I will be shelving this project until I am in the neighborhood again (I've been down to tour Star Hill Farm). Due to the nature of the paper, I'll need to shift focus to something a smidgen less complicated. Fear not though, I will be back to conquer this area.

My primary focus was going to illuminate the unique position Kentucky had in Temperance and Prohibition. The fact that more than half the state was Temperate yet they stood behind the right of the individual to chose for themselves is a fascinating and commendable example of Libertarianism (that's the gist I got from the material I've been privy to thus far).

I will save this for another day; in the mean time, I am always up for bourbon tastings Funknik. I live in Keene but I am all over New England all the time for various things.

This is a great forum and I appreciate the dedication to bourbon! It's one of our last great American products!
Here, here! One of my best friends lives in Keene...next time I swing through, we'll have to throw down. Similarly, if you find yourself anywhere near Portland, we'll have to do likewise.

Josh
02-10-2009, 06:21
Sorry, but Chuck is not a primary source, he is an author and therefore a secondary source (unless he is writing an autobiography). A letter written by E.H. Taylor would be a primary source, a modern day author telling a story about E.H. Taylor is a secondary source. Now if Chuck wants to write about being a two time winner of the SB BTOTY contest, then he would be a primary source.

No, chuck is not a primary source. However since he did write a book on the subject he can point RCasna in the right direction, meaning toward where some useful primary sources might be. In my research I've always found it helpful to ask someone who knows what and where useful sources might be, rather than wasting time trying to find them completely on my own.

kickert
02-10-2009, 06:27
No, chuck is not a primary source. However since he did write a book on the subject he can point RCasna in the right direction, meaning toward where some useful primary sources might be. In my research I've always found it helpful to ask someone who knows what and where useful sources might be, rather than wasting time trying to find them completely on my own.

This is what I was thinking as well. You have to have a general grasp on your topic in order to be able to effectively use primary source material. You have to know who the early distillers were in order to try and find their correspondences.

smokinjoe
02-10-2009, 15:58
Welcome, R.

If the required length of the paper is 5-10 pages (double spaced), I'll write it for $500. $100/page, thereafter. PM me for my credentials. For starters, I'll just tell you that I've MET Mr. Cowdery, and I have signed bottles from Jim Rutledge, Jimmy Russell, AND Harlan Wheatley. I've also hugged Parker Beam....twice.

cowdery
02-10-2009, 17:04
I have a bibliography of sorts on line here (http://users.rcn.com/cowdery/bourbks.html).

A significant repository of primary source material is the Filson Historical Society in Louisville. One of the archivists there, Mike Veach, has a particular interest in Kentucky's whiskey history.

To find primary source material online, you have to know what you're looking for, in that (as you've discovered) search words like "bourbon" don't get you very far. Most of the primary sources online are family materials or business records, but you find those by searching against the specific family or business name.

The Time Magazine online archive yields a lot of good material about the liquor business. I've gotten a lot of good material from it about the immediate post-prohibition period.

The Crowgey book, mentioned earlier in this thread, is scholarly and references many primary sources, but it isn't the period you're interested in, as it focuses on the late 18th, early 19th century.

RCasna
02-11-2009, 10:09
Welcome, R.

If the required length of the paper is 5-10 pages (double spaced), I'll write it for $500. $100/page, thereafter. PM me for my credentials. For starters, I'll just tell you that I've MET Mr. Cowdery, and I have signed bottles from Jim Rutledge, Jimmy Russell, AND Harlan Wheatley. I've also hugged Parker Beam....twice.

Thanks Joe. I can handle it though.

For now I will just do something else. Thanks for the help guys. This thread can be closed.