University Libraries’ exhibition examines 80th anniversary of ‘37 flood

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    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 c0dani01@louisville.edu.                    

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    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.