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  1. #1

    Historical Research on Bourbon

    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

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    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.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  3. #3

    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    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".

  4. #4
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    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.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    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.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  6. #6
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    Quote Originally Posted by kickert View Post
    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.
    bibamus, moriendum est
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  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    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.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  8. #8
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    Quote Originally Posted by RCasna View Post
    I am located in New Hampshire.
    Yeah, welcome to the board, Ryan...the more scholars the better.
    Where in NH do you live? If you want to do some tasting let me know.
    "A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all . . . "

    Andy

  9. #9

    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    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!

  10. #10
    Disciple
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    Re: Historical Research on Bourbon

    Quote Originally Posted by RCasna View Post
    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".
    Quote Originally Posted by RCasna View Post
    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.
    "A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all . . . "

    Andy

 

 

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