LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University Libraries Archives and Special Collections presents “How High the Water Was: The Flood of ‘37,” an exhibition of rarely seen memorabilia marking the 80th anniversary of the Ohio River Valley’s deepest flood ever recorded.
The exhibition, which includes photographs, diary entries, documents, news clippings and other ephemera, will open to the public Jan. 23, the date the water crested in 1937.
The flood of ‘37 was such a major event in the region that national news publications such as “Life” magazine ran remarkable images that are still widely recognized.
But this exhibition, which draws from collections in the University Archives and Records Center, Photographic Archives and Rare Books, focuses more on seldom seen, personal photos and stories.
“Our neighbors documented their experiences with snapshots, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and even homemade newspapers. Incidental items, like the small scraps of paper kept by Dr. James Kennedy of UofL’s School of Medicine, documented the efforts made to bring vaccines and other medical assistance to Louisville’s citizens during the flood,” said Carrie Daniels, director of Archives and Special Collections. “While most Louisvillians know the broad outlines of the story of the flood of ‘37, many of the materials featured in this exhibit tell a more detailed, personal story of loss, survival and adventure and many of them have never been displayed before.”
The name of the exhibition comes from a diagram a child drew of how high the water reached on 38th Street.
“How High the Water Was: The Flood of ‘37” continues through June 2 in the lower level galleries of UofL’s Ekstrom Library. The opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Jan. 23. Exhibition hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. For more information, contact Daniels at 502-852-6676 or email@example.com.