Remembering Omer Hamlin, Jr., Milligan’s first Head Librarian, 1930-2014

Omer Hamlin, Jr.
July 16, 1930 – December 25, 2014

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The Library remembers Omer Hamlin, Jr., who passed away on Christmas Day, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. Omer was born on July 16, 1930 in Tollesboro, Kentucky. He was a Milligan College alumnus (1956), President of the Milligan College Student Council 1955-56, and later Milligan College Trustee and Trustee Emeritus.

But the Library especially remembers Omer as our first Head Librarian, from 1959-62. He earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Kentucky and was hired at Milligan College on September 1, 1959. He oversaw the move into and early management of the new P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library. During his tenure, Milligan College received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Steel Foundation and another grant of $2,000 from the Babcock Foundation of Winston-Salem, NC. These monies were earmarked by the College administration and trustees for the purchase of new books for the Library, toward the goal of increasing holdings from 25,800 to 50,000 books.

At the Service of Dedication of the P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library building on November 24, 1961, Omer had the honor of formally opening the doors for the symbolic entry of the books from the liberal arts disciplines (carried by various faculty members)–Bible, Science, Government, Fine Arts, and Literature–to find their places on the new shelves for current and future use by students and faculty.

Milligan’s Madrigal Dinners, a Celebration of an English Christmas Tradition


Madrigal Dinner, 1983. Milligan College Archives & Special Collections.

Written by Cynthia Capps, Sophomore ’17, Archive Student Assistant.

The Madrigal Dinners held at Milligan celebrated English Christmas customs from the 16th century. A medieval banquet featuring a full course meal and a Christmas concert performed by minstrel singers are what the Madrigal Dinners are still remembered for today. In 1967, the first Madrigal Dinner was a production by the speech and music departments; specifically, Dr. William Moorhouse and Sherwyn Bachman. Dr. William Moorhouse and his wife Lowanna Moorhouse did extensive research on costume design while traveling to several museums in England to ensure each costume worn at the dinners were as authentic as possible. The dinners proved to be a success lasting 34 consecutive years ending in 2001. Continue reading

Robert Milligan exhibit and book reading in the Library

He Still Speaks

The P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library and Milligan College Archives and Special Collections is especially pleased during this 2014 Homecoming season to present an exhibit entitled Celebrating Robert Milligan’s 200th Year. Robert Milligan, whose name graces our college, was born on July 25, 1814. He was a preacher, author, teacher and professor, influencing many with his scholarship on Christian reform.

Josephus Hopwood (1843-1935) was a student at the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky, where he studied under Professor Robert Milligan. In 1875, Josephus and his wife, Sarah, served as administrators at the Buffalo Male and Female Institute. In 1881, Hopwood chose to rename the school Milligan College, after his beloved professor.

The exhibit, displaying photographs, manuscripts, and publications of Robert Milligan’s personal and professional life, has been curated by Lindsay Kenderes, Information Resources Librarian and College Archivist. The exhibit can be viewed at the back of the main floor of the Library during open hours. Many of the items in the exhibit are from the Robert Milligan Research Collection, donated by Clinton J. (Class of 1995) and Adele M. (Class of 1996) Holloway.


Accompanying the Robert Milligan exhibit is a book reading and signing by Clint Holloway, author of He Still Speaks: A Literary Biography of Robert Milligan (2014). Clint wrote his book out of a sense that there was a need for people to know more about this man. “Who was this person of whom it was said he was the ‘best and purist man I have ever known,’ and who so clearly exemplified the Christian liberal arts?”


Holloway identifies four themes in which he believes Robert Milligan “still speaks” to us today: He was a ‘servant leader’ long before that term entered into common parlance; he was a champion of the Bible; he was irenic (a peacemaker) in the face of many large egos in the movement; and he was a defender of the under-represented in the church.

Clint will be reading from his book in the Library (main floor) on Saturday, October 25 at 2:30 p.m. Following, he will be making his book available for sale ($10, $5 for students) and he will be on hand to autograph copies. Light refreshments will be served.

Milligan College History, Now Available Online

P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library and the Milligan College Archives are proud to announce the availability of a trove of Milligan documents online, through a mass-digitization project recently completed in collaboration with Appalachian College Association (ACA) and Lyrasis, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Milligan’s site is hosted on Internet Archive, and serves as a portal to a collection that includes Bulletins and Catalogs (1880-2008), Stampede newspapers (1940-2005), and a full run of Buffalo yearbooks (1915-2010). These are all freely available for viewing online or download in a variety of formats, and are fully searchable.

The landing page for Milligan Colleges Internet Archive collection

For example, say I wanted to see what Dr. Jeanes was up to during his college days. He graduated in 1968, so let’s look at the 1968 Buffalo. From our Internet Archive site, click on “B” in the “Browse by Author” field. This takes us to all the items with authors beginning with B (in this case, Buffalo Staff), arranged by date scanned. I then sort by date (they’ll be in reverse-chronological order.) Scroll down, and click on Buffalo 1968.

Sort by date

Click "Date" under "Sort results by"

The front page for each item looks very much like the main page, but includes information about this specific item, and links under “View the book” to various formats (including PDF, EPUB, and Kindle, available to download). The online viewing is gorgeous and easy to navigate. Click “Read Online.” Each book “opens” to the title page, in a two-page spread view.

First page displayed in 1968 Buffalo.

To “turn the page,” click anywhere within the right page to advance, or the left page to turn back. (Alternatively, click on the arrows at the bottom right corner, or by dragging the finger-shaped scroll button.) Clicking the “down” arrow in the lower right hides the toolbar, allowing full-page, full screen viewing. The other buttons in the bottom corner allow single-page, two-page, or all-page (tiled thumbnails) viewing, as well as zoom in or out.

Navigation buttons

The search box at the top will search all printed text (not graphics). To find Don Jeanes, type “Jeanes” into the box, and click “Go.”

Search box

Search results display as tear drop-shaped icons along the scroll bar at the bottom. Hovering the cursor over the “hit” displays a snippet of the searched word in context, and clicking on icon turns to the relevant page, with search term highlighted in blue.

"Jeanes," found.

This project has already been extremely helpful to me as Archivist. I have been able to answer inquiries with direct links to quality images of our books, rather than flipping through pages and pages by hand, and then scanning individual pages piecemeal. I hope the Milligan College community will find this equally useful, and will have fun exploring some of our history!

New “Life” for the Library News blog

Welcome to Milligan Library Life, the new name for the Milligan College Library blog. The name change is the result of a decision to differentiate the way we use various communication and social networking media in the Library.

In addition to a website, the Library maintains a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, targeted email, and this WordPress blog. Up to now, we have tended to view these various mediums as multiple ways of getting a single message out to our user community–namely, letting you know what’s happening in the Library. The more channels of communication we utilize, the greater our exposure. Right?

This is true to a point. But as we live with these online mediums we realize that maybe we have more than one message to share–or at least, we may have more than one way to share our message. Now that Facebook has become nearly ubiquitous in the Milligan College community (as it has practically everywhere else), we have decided to push most of the Library’s news and event-type posts in that direction. We have also found it convenient to utilize Twitter as a quick way to post schedule and informational alerts to Facebook and the Twitter widget on our website home page.

What do we do with the blog? The blog format is not really appropriate for short bursts of news information. We discovered that what looks perfectly appropriate on the Facebook wall appears as a cluttered mess in a blog. The blog format lends itself to longer form articles–and invites reading at a more engaged and leisurely pace.

Of course it takes more time to write in a form that invites reading at a leisurely pace. Do we have the time? Do we have anything worth saying using this format? Would anyone be interested in reading it?

These are legitimate questions. But rather than give up on the blog I encouraged the Library staff to experiment with me with this other form of communication in the way it works best. Enter Milligan Library Life. We are fairly competent and interesting folk who make it our business to stay informed about the rapidly evolving information environment impacting all our lives. I think it would be valuable to have us report and reflect periodically on such things as trends in library and information resource technologies, copyright and intellectual property issues, concerns about online freedom and privacy, etc. We could also tell you about developments in the Library or Archives, offer tutorials for using information resources more effectively, tell you about new books and media added to the Library, or review an interesting book we read or a movie we watched.

So here we go. We won’t have any set publication schedule, but we would hope to have at least one or two new posts per week. I will be functioning as the editor, with other Library staff participating as contributing editors, writing on items of interest from their particular areas of expertise. If you are inclined, we would also welcome your comments as a way of generating a conversation. I think it will be fun!

Gary F. Daught, Director of Library Services