Lawrence E. Ashbrook The Kentucky Whittler photograph album

Abstract

The Lawrence E. Ashbrook The Kentucky Whittler photograph album (dated 1942; 0.03 cubic feet; 1 box) consists of an annotated photograph album containing small black and white, silver gelatin photographs of Ashbrook and his folk art, primarily wooden sculptures.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Lawrence E. Ashbrook The Kentucky Whittler photograph album
Creator
Ashbrook, Lawrence E., circa 1890-1953
Extent
0.03 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Folk art -- Kentucky
Folk art
Arrangement
Collection retains its original order.
Finding Aid Author
Abigail Teegarden
Preferred Citation
2019av007: Lawrence E. Ashbrook The Kentucky Whittler photograph album, 1942, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Folk artist, Lawrence E. Ashbrook (circa 1890-1953), also known as The Kentucky Whittler operated a roadside museum on his property approximately 14 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky on U.S. Highway 25. He traveled frequently around Kentucky and the Southern United States selling his wooden sculptures and teaching the art of whittling to children.
Scope and Content
The Lawrence E. Ashbrook The Kentucky Whittler photograph album (dated 1942; 0.03 cubic feet; 1 box) consists of an annotated photograph album containing small black and white, silver gelatin photographs of Ashbrook and his folk art, primarily wooden sculptures. The album was likely used to promote his art, whittling lessons, or to promote his museum located south of Lexington, Ky. The album consists of images of Ashbrook's work: figures, architectural models, busts, sculptures, and vehicles. Many of Ashbrook's figures and dioramas were known to incorporate mechanical elements as well, including an intricately carved skeleton titled: Animated Skeleton or Reckless Driver.
Additionally, a series of 12 well-annotated photos detail his process as he worked on a figure of FDR from start to finish, documenting Ashbrook selecting wood, rough-cutting it with a hatchet, fine carving, and finishing. The annotation also mentions filming for a program called Unusual Occupations, a long-running series of roughly 10-minute films released by Paramount Pictures between 1938-1949. The Kentucky Whittler was featured in a 1943 episode.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Bas relief carving titled The Kentucky Whittler, undated

  • Box 1, item 1
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The top three // The Duke of Paducah (Benajmin Francis Ford) // Little Clifford (Harry Mullins) // Red Foley (Clyde Julian Foley) // They have all three been .. on the stage with me at .. Renfro Valley , undated

  • Box 1, item 2
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Plaques , undated

  • Box 1, item 3
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This two inch campaign // button is now the // property of F.D.R. // I received a letter of thanks // Nov 15 1940 , undated

  • Box 1, item 4
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Animated skeletons or reckless driver , undated

  • Box 1, item 5
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Beethoven 6 in. head // has visited many // museums in N.Y. // and N.J. 1937 , undated

  • Box 1, item 6
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Animated tom tom // beater and // Daniel Boone , undated

  • Box 1, item 7
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The large violin is // full size , undated

  • Box 1, item 8
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Home of Mary Todd // Lincoln 7 in. high. // W. Main St. Lex. Ky. , undated

  • Box 1, item 9
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Home of Henry Clay // 5 in. high // E. Main St. Lex. Ky. , undated

  • Box 1, item 10
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Just some more carving of base. // White walnut, cherry, black walnut, cedar , undated

  • Box 1, item 11
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Crucifix made of White Walnut // cross red cedar , undated

  • Box 1, item 12
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Stage coach to represent // one stopped at this // toll house 1834 // This was imagination // no picture used , 1834

  • Box 1, item 13
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This Statue of Liberty // "Miss Liberty no 8" // may attend the worlds fair Washington. // in 1942. 36 in. high , 1942

  • Box 1, item 14
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Carvings of a bison and a Native American on a horse, undated

  • Box 1, item 15
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From Cincinnati // Zoo. This Lion made // of mahogany accompanied // Beethoven to the // museums in the east , undated

  • Box 1, item 16
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Renfro Valley stage // animated all 18 // characters to their // part in the barn // dance. Character clothes // painted , undated

  • Box 1, item 17
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Kentucky Whittler's Museum, exterior, undated

  • Box 1, item 18
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The Kentucky Whittler // selects Wood from // his 23 acre place. // 14 mi. s. of Lex. Ky. // on U.S. 25 , undated

  • Box 1, item 19
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The horns on the steer // are wild turkey // spurs. The deer horns // are a wishbone from // a wild duck both taken // by the Kentucky Whittler , undated

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The Kentucky Whittlers Museum, exterior, undated

  • Box 1, item 21
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Most of the whittling // is done in the museum // some in Pearl's kitchen // and some outside. Will Rogers completed // in Oct 1940 , 1940

  • Box 1, item 22
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One disbeliever had // to be shown this. // Work was started and // finished here. // So after splitting a [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 23
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[...] Block out and // rounding it down // a little with a // hatchet [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 24
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[...] And cutting in at // the neck a little [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 25
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[...] And taking the // rough off of the // head then the hatchet // work is done [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 26
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[...] From here on the// work is all done // with a sharp pocket // knife, outline the // hair then [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 27
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[...] Cut out the profile [...] // Mr Crochet camera // man for universal // filmed this Read in // the making for // 'Unusual Occupations', undated

  • Box 1, item 28
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[...] Then work at random // no place in particular // but all over in // general [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 29
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[...] The head will eventually // by get down to // where it takes much // more care a very // small shaver now [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 30
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[...] means more than // did a hard lick // with the hatchet // in the beginning [...], undated

  • Box 1, item 31
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[...] an eye cut right. without // any color should look // near human at 10 ft. // You can finish it now // so it is going to be F.D.R. , undated

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An animated whittler // 10 in. high // Represents an Uncle // who can't Whittle , undated

  • Box 1, item 33
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The Whittler's daughter // at the age of 11. She is 19 // now and whittles for pastime. // This head is life size , undated

  • Box 1, item 34
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Sculpture of a ship and a cannon, undated

  • Box 1, item 35
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Four sculptures of birds, undated

  • Box 1, item 36
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Bust of a man, undated

  • Box 1, item 37
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Various sculptures of animals and people, undated

  • Box 1, item 38
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Sculptures of various fruits and vegetables, undated

  • Box 1, item 39
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Four sculpted wooden cups, undated

  • Box 1, item 40
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Sculptures of a hippopotamus and two rhinoceroses, undated

  • Box 1, item 41
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Sculptures of an elephant and a donkey, undated

  • Box 1, item 42
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Various animal sculptures, undated

  • Box 1, item 43
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Sculpture of two giraffes and a camel, undated

  • Box 1, item 44
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Sculpture of three lions, undated

  • Box 1, item 45
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Sculpture of a truck, undated

  • Box 1, item 46
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Sculpture of a wooden soldier playing, undated

  • Box 1, item 47
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Sculpture of a wooden soldier playing a trumpet with one arm, undated

  • Box 1, item 48
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Wooden busts of every President of the United States from George Washington to Harry S. Truman, undated

  • Box 1, item 49
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.