Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Late Notice

This post is a few days late, but the installation is complete! On August 1 the finishing touches were added so, there is now an exhibition dedicated to Cardome Visitation Academy on display in the Cardome Center's main building. Come and see!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Sneak Peak!

Since the exhibition is up (minus the wall texts) I thought I'd give you a little sneak preview. These are a few of my favorite items from the exhibition. :)

This was actually a last minute find. I opened a desk in the archives the other day and found a goldmine. This belonged to a graduating senior in 1924 and was a book for her to record all of her graduation memories. Next to it is an invitation to her graduation.

There are a few items in this picture and each is a favorite. It was interesting to find items that belonged to or mentioned the same students during my research. In this photo you see a framed diploma, a composition notebook and a grade book. Both the notebook and diploma belonged to a girl named Mary Elizabeth Gilmore, who graduated in 1910. Her grades for the 1909-1910 school year can all be found on the first page of the grade book. Mary Gilmore must have been an exemplary student, according to the grade book she made solid A's her final year at Cardome.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Exciting Update!

I just arrived back from an afternoon of accomplishing work at the Cardome Center. I am proud to say that the majority of the exhibition space has been organized and cleaned, and is nearly ready to be viewed. There are a few things I have yet to accomplish before it is completely ready. There is the matter of buying stands for some of the items that will be on display and, most importantly, I must write the wall text to accompany all of the memorabilia.
It is wonderful to see this project begin to really come together. It is my sincerest hope that those who were a part of Cardome during its academic years will appreciate the exhibit. There are many more items I would have liked to include in the displays, but I had to work with the room provided and have tried to cover the Academy and Sisters of Visitation from beginning to end. Of course, there is the room in the basement that is also dedicated to the history of Cardome, and will always be available for those who wish to view more. I am planning on organizing that room to be more viewer friendly.

Another update: I have finished one interview and have a few more in the works, if everything goes as planned. I interviewed Linda Boots and she was absolutely wonderful, and excited to help with the project. I am in the midst of transcribing her interview into text and will post it here when I am finished. There was a problem with the digital recorder, so it was necessary to alter this portion of the internship just a bit. We learn to roll with the punches and it will be wonderful regardless. It was a pleasure to get to meet her and learn about her experiences. I'm sure no one will be disappointed!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beginning of the End

Since this blog has been largely devoid of pictures, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some. I have chosen some of my favorite items in the archives to photograph. Most are not self-explanatory, so they will be accompanied with short explanations.

This is a placard of awards, as well as a photography of the first girl, Ann Pryse Rieth, to receive the award.

Here are some pieces of artwork done by Alice Thompson, Class of 1955, and pottery from the Indian room.

My favorite photo album. The pictures are all from the 1940s and display a very nice idea of what Cardome was like for its residents, a solid mixture of learning and fun.

I believe this is the only remaining portion of the original Cardome house, built by Violetta and benjamin Stuart Chambers in 1821, a two-story building that faced East and was destroyed in a mysterious fire.

I have been able to get in touch with a few alum and we are trying to work out times for the interviews. I left messages with others and, hopefully, they'll get back in touch soon. Maybe my next update will be an audio of their oral history. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Progress Check

Though it has been a while since my last post, I have some wonderful news! Thanks to Allison helping me find a contact, Christine Kleemeier, who has given me the most recently updated Cardome Visitation Academy's alumnae list, it is time for the next step of this project. It is my best intention to get ahold of several women still living in Central Kentucky and ask them to be a part of the oral history portion of the exhibition. There are quite a few of these alumnae who spent many years at Cardome and who will, hopefully, be able to share not only about the actual history of the institution, but who will also be able to share their personal memories and feelings of and about their years at Cardome. Based on my research, though the institution was got large in number, the girls who attended the school were very diverse and came from many backgrounds making the possibility of very unique accounts and stories likely.
It is my attention to update the blog with the audio of these interviews and also, to have the histories playing for those who visit the exhibition after its opening.

For the completion of this internship I have several things left to do. My partial to do list is as follows:
Interview alumnae and convert their interviews to be posted on the blog
Clean and arrange the actual exhibition
Write the wall text for the items that will be on display
Organize an opening event for the exhibition

Saturday, May 21, 2011

a much needed update

After visiting local archives and doing some research in the archives of local newspapers, I have found that I am rereading much of the information I have already collected. It seems as though it is time to use a new approach to my research. I have inquired at Cardome to see if there are any former students who live within traveling distance whom would be interested in being interviewed about their histories at the Cardome Academy or the Sisters of Visitation.
The interviews recorded will eventually be part of the exhibition about Cardome's history in their main building.
If anyone knows of any alumnae who would be interested, please email me with how to get in touch with them. or

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Simple Life

As mentioned in my last post, what has begun interesting me most about Cardome is not its chronological history, but rather it is the intimate history of its inhabitants. As a child I often heard my father say something to the effect of "If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell!" I haven't been able to get those words out of my head. Let's think, what makes history so interesting? It's not the facts and figures, not the technical aspects that captivate our attention; it's human nature. Regularly in discussions and in speculations it is common to assume anthropomorphic tendencies and to desire to discover the culture of history, rather than the timeline, although it is equally as important and it's impossible to have one without the other.
I have discovered a few interesting publications in Cardome's archives that were published by students themselves. These have helped immensely in my search for personal experiences. Unfortunately I am on spring break and have forgotten my notes in the dorm. I will, however, attempt to explain what these have meant to my research and fill in any gaps later.
The first publication I found was a newspaper, the name escapes me, but there was only one edition in the archives. It had a variety of articles; thanks to the sisters, prayer requests, even jibs at classmates about their latest beaux. This was my favorite part of the paper because I had previously only thought of the girls as attendants of a private Catholic college and had not allowed them any personalities. After reading this, however, I discovered that some missed curfew, others dated older boys, some skipped class and they all enjoyed being young.
The second publication I found was a newsletter, or a magazine. It was called the The Chimes. Now that I say it out loud I suppose it is a Catholic play on "The Times". This magazine, for it was quite lengthy, was written by alumnae and, again, I couldn't find any evidence of more editions. There was an article written by a woman who graduated in 1927 and reminisced of times gone by. Apparently during her years there, there was no indoor plumbing. Every morning they had to fight to be the first downstairs to get the hot water. She didn't dwell on it as a negative, it was an endearing experience and a memory about which she told her children.
If anyone has a memory they would like to share, or photographs, it would be an asset to the future exhibition of Cardome Academy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

History of the Cardome Property

This weeks research in the archives of the Cardome Center has enlightened me on a number of levels. There is so much information I would like to share and even more questions I would like to ask in case any of you dear readers may be able to shed some light, however, I will limit the information since there will be several more posts and time is not of the essence..yet. In the archives there were a few records of owndership and after reading them I was able to come up with a comprehensive list of not only the owners, but also of their professions and a small amount of information about their lives. Among the owners was an old professor of Georgetown College, Danford Thomas, who taught Latin and the Classics. There was another person associated with the college, Benjamin Chambers. His interaction with the college was not explicit or explained, but, as a Georgetown College student, I found it quite interesting that the history of Cardome and the history of the college are so involved. I probably should not be surprised considering this is a very sweet, small town. James F. Robinson, who was the owner of Cardome before it became a school and nunnery, was also involved with the college. As well as being Governor of Kentucky for a year or so, he was also the president of the Board of Trustees for Georgetown College from 1864 to 1881 and the president of Farmer's Bank.
During the years that Robinson was in possession of Cardome the Civil War was running rampant through our states and did not avoid Kentucky. During the war both Confederate and Union soldiers camped on the ample acreage and, some years later, it was discovered that there had been tunnels forged underground. The reason for these is complete speculation. There are theories as to it being for protection and easy escape or for the family, or their servants, to help slaves escape. This is definitely a point of interest for me.
Cardome, or Cara Domus which means "dear home", was much more than a school and a nunnery. It was a home, even for the school girls, and based on what I've been reading through, their correspondences and reunions, they loved it as more than an institution. To the women who attended school there it seemed to be a club, one that they considered themselves more than lucky of which to have been a part. I'm finding more and more about the chronological history of Cardome and I've only touched on what actual life there was like. I am interested in discovering what their day to day schedules were. It would mean a lot to this project to know about their habits and memories.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Week 1

After meetings with my art history advisor, Dr. Decker, the associates at Cardome, Allison and Philiip, and the commencement of a new semester at Georgetown College my research in the archives was finally started. There is a plethra of information in their vault, so much so that I was not sure at first how to begin work on such a project. I decided, however, to begin by inventorying their archival contents and continue by working my way around the room.
This tactic proved to be an efficient way to start. Organization is a long process and I needed to learn what they have stored before complete organization is possible.
Among the papers and pictures today I found serveral interesting items and would like to ask you, dear reader, if you have any information concerning these things.
- The Silver Jubilee? It was early in Cardome's existence, 1875-1900, and looked like a pageant of some sort. There was a booklet containing pictures and some information, but I was hoping to learn more about it considering little is known about early Cardome compared to later on in the 20th century.
- The mascot, which looks like a dog or jackal, seems a bit rough for such an institution. Is there any significance to the choice of animal?
- There was also some information concerning a fire. There were no clear dates, although I assume it was after Cardome ceased being a school.
- There was an old picture, 1932, of a girls basketball team. The back had an inscription stating that it was Great Crossings. It seemed strange that there would be a Great Crossings picture in Cardome, unless the two schools intermingled at some point or simply for sports.
If you have any information feel free to comment on this blog or email me at
I am excited about further going through the archives and discovering more about the world of Cardome. It seems like it was a wonderful place to live and learn!