For many people, time spent at home during quarantine has provided an opportunity to clean out their closets and organize their homes. The same goes for the Local History and Genealogy department’s archive room. To reorganize and make better use of our space, I have come across amazing material in our collections that patrons may not know about. One such collection was donated to the department by Fred and Edna Donsback. Fred was the director of planning and zoning for the City of Covington, while Edna taught for several years throughout the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area. A large portion of their donations are “datebooks” created by the couple over the years. These scrapbooks include some great old advertisements for local restaurants and other establishments, many of which you will recognize.

Donsback “datebook,” 1977  

Another interesting find was a donated copy of Whiskey by Aeneas Macdonald, published in 1930. The book is widely considered to be the first on the topic. Aeneas Macdonald is a pseudonym for one of the publishers, George Malcom Thompson. While initially nondescript, this copy is only number 191 of 307 printed and signed by not only the author, but the publisher and editor as well. In my research on the book and author, a copy such as ours is being sold for as high as $400 dollars. The book will eventually be cataloged and placed in the closed stacks of the archive.

Whiskey by Aeneas Macdonald

Other material of note is additional issues of Holmespun, the student newsletter from Holmes High School dated October 23, 1939 and a 1978 alumni booklet also from Holmes. These will both be scanned, indexed, and then upload to GeNKY for online access. A small collection of material pertaining to the St. Vincent De Paul Society will also be scanned and indexed. A donation featuring materials from the Bobzien family of Dayton, Kentucky includes tin type photographs, scrapbooks, and even a box containing a hair relic. Most often found during the Victorian era, hair relics were kept as a way to remember family members both living and deceased. It was also an easy and affordable way for middle class families to create gifts, similar to knitting or crocheting. The photo and small piece of hair pictured do not have any identifying information, but it can be assumed that the hair saved was cut from the child in the photograph.

Bobzien Hair Relic and Photo of unidentified woman and child

Written by Casey Blackmore, Local History and Genealogy Librarian at the Covington branch.


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