Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!


Photo of “Grandma Dalrymple” with Harry Gray and Della Gray Cavells. Grandma Dalrymple went to France as a Gold Star Mother to visit the grave of her son, Henry H., who perished in World War I. Gold Star Mothers are mothers whose sons or daughters died in the line of duty in the Armed Forces of the United States or its Allies, starting with World War I. A gold star replaced the blue star families displayed to show they had a soldier overseas. In the late 1920’s, the War Department of the United States compiled a list of mothers and widows of WWI soldiers killed and buried in Europe and offered to take them to their loved ones’ graves. Between 1930 and 1933, 6,000 women traveled on these “Gold Star Mother Pilgrimages”. A rare act of public support for private grief, they were entirely paid for and planned by the U.S. Army.


Johnette Dalrymple Parham Collection

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kirklin family wheelchair

In April of 2006, a wheelchair more than a century old was donated to the Historical Center. In keeping with our mission of collecting Bossier Parish historical material, staff learned that the wheelchair had been used by several members of the Kirklin Family of Bossier Parish. The donor included a note saying, “The wheelchair was for James Albert Kirklin (b. 18 Oct 1903 d. 2 Nov 1915). I don’t know if anyone used it before him or not. He suffered from a high fever (age 3 or 6) and [was] thought to have inflammatory rheumatism — maybe polio? Never walked again. In 1936 James Robert Kirklin - father of James Albert was feeding the stallion he had and the stallion kicked him and broke his leg. He used the wheelchair until he died of thrombosis — a clot went from his leg to his heart."

The wheelchair had been stored in the attic of a house that was being used by hunters. When the hunters discovered it, they pulled it from the attic onto the second floor of the house where it remained until April of 2006 when the donor learned of its whereabouts and brought it to the Historical Center. The wheelchair was in bad condition, with the cane backing and seating badly cracked, the third wheel (a small wheel behind the chair) broken and with numerous other preservation issues. The donor and two other family members paid for the wheelchair's restoration, which was completed by a local company.

To see the wheelchair in its newly restored state, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

The wheelchair as it appeared in 2006, having been stored in an attic for decades.

The wheelchair as it appears now, after restoration.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Curating birds

Things have been mostly quiet around here, history-wise. The reorganization of our vertical file is nearing completion and we will soon begin to inventory our map and aerial photo collection. Our aerial photo collection is quite large, with approximately 270 photos of Bossier Parish from 1939 and another 150 from 1955. We have an index available in our research area, so patrons can easily find the photos they need.

While everything is under control inside the historical center, it's been a challenging week outside for the birds that built their nest under our awning. We think they are house finches. Their nest fell down on a windy day last week, dumping the 3 little baby birds onto the grass. We quickly put the nestlings into a cardboard box and attached their new nest-box back to the awning with the power of duct tape. Mama and Papa Bird approved of the renovations and have resumed their care of the babies. Hopefully we'll see the babies testing out their wings soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Did you get our new quarterly newsletter?

We're excited to share the happenings at the historical center with our patrons. In addition to this blog, we are now mailing a newsletter full of articles and assorted historical tidbits. You'll be able to stay informed of new collections, exhibits, and genealogy news. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please call us at 318-746-7717 and provide us with your address.