Wah Wah Jones (1926 – 2014)

Wah Wah JonesWallace “Wah Wah” Jones, the last surviving member of the University of Kentucky “Fabulous Five” basketball team, died this past weekend at the age of 88.

The UK legend, and only athlete in the school’s history to have had his jersey retired in both basketball and football, played under both coaches Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant while in school. Besides winning an NCAA basketball championship in 1948 and 1949, Jones also won a gold medal in basketball for the U.S. at the 1948 London Olympics.

In tribute to this unforgettable player, we’re sharing an excerpt from the forthcoming book, Wildcat Memories by Doug Brunk; Wah Wah’s chapter may be the last interview he ever gave. Already cemented in the storied history of UK athletics, the Harlan native shared his remembrances and passion for his teams.

from Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories of Kentucky Basketball Greats by Doug Brunk:

I had dreamed about playing basketball at the University of Kentucky for many, many years. When I was growing up in Harlan in the 1940s, our family didn’t have a television set. We had a radio, but the reception on that was not reliable. Sometimes we’d get reception in the attic of our house, but often we’d pile in the car and drive into the nearby mountains to listen to UK basketball games on the car radio.

I was lucky to have been part of a winning basketball program at Harlan High School. Our team went to the state tournament four years in a row (1942 to 1945), and in 1944 our team won the state championship title. At the end of my high school career I had scored 2,398 points, which at the time was the highest total by a single high school player in the United States.

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“Groundbreaking for Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden Celebrates Unsung Hero of Kentucky Racing”

Isaac Burns MurphyFinally, after many months and years of fundraising, the Isaac Burns Murphy Memorial Art Garden has broken ground on the East End of Lexington, KY. The Memorial Garden, long-planned as the downtown trailhead of the Legacy Trail which will extend some 12 miles to the Kentucky Horse Park, celebrates the achievements of jockey Isaac Burns Murphy as well as other African American contributions to the Thoroughbred industry. Located at the intersection of Third Street and Midland Avenue, where Murphy’s house once stood during the late 1800s, it is also only a few blocks away from where the Kentucky Association Race Track operated prior to the construction of Keeneland.

Read more about the Isaac Burns Murphy Memorial Art Garden, and see photos from the groundbreaking

Isaac Burns Murphy (1861–1896) was one of the most dynamic jockeys of his era. Still considered one of the finest riders of all time, Murphy was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times, and his 44 percent win record remains unmatched. Despite his success, Murphy was pushed out of Thoroughbred racing when African American jockeys were forced off the track, and he died in obscurity.

In his book, The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns MurphyPellom McDaniels honors a man who epitomized the rise of the black middle class. Murphy helped prove that African Americans were not only worthy of citizenship, but capable of representing the best of humanity.

The Prince of Jockeys Isaac Burns MurphyContinue for an excerpt from The Prince of Jockeys


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The Return of Your Favorite 4th of July Cocktail


It was such a hit last year, we wanted to make sure everyone had the recipe!

Here’s wishing everyone a fun, safe, and happy 4th of July holiday! We’re celebrating with one of our new favorite cocktails concocted by Publicity and Direct Promotions Manager, Cameron. Enjoyed best with a sparkler in hand and fireworks overhead.

Cameron’s Kentucky Sparkler

2 oz of your favorite Kentucky bourbon whiskey

2 oz. of Woodchuck or your favorite hard cider (make it American!)

Splash of cranberry

Build on rocks. Garnish with an American flag toothpick (if you’re feeling extra festive).

Don’t Miss Our Great #SHAFR Titles

If you’re at the SHAFR 2014 Annual Meeting this weekend, stop by our booth across from the Thoroughbred I meeting room behind the registration desk to check out and take home some of our great titles.

We have new books from our Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series, edited by George C. Herring, Andrew L. Johns, and Kathryn C. Statler. The series focuses on key moments of conflict, diplomacy, and peace from the eighteenth century to the present to explore their wider significance in the development of U.S. foreign relations. A primary goal of the series is to examine the United States’ engagement with the world, its evolving role in the international arena, and the ways in which the state, non-state actors, individuals, and ideas have shaped and continue to influence history, both at home and abroad.

If you’re headed to the George C. Herring panel at 3:30, stop by and see the series books on your way!

Books in the series include: Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force by Robert M. Farley

The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East by Michael F. Cairo

So Much to Lose: John F. Kennedy and American Policy in Laos by William J. Rust

The Currents of War: A New History of American-Japanese Relations, 1899-1941 by Sidney Pash

Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I by Justus D. Doenecke

Diplomatic Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations Since 1945 by Heather L. Dichter and Andrew L. Johns







Your #SHAFR Guide to Don’t-Miss Lexington Food, History, and Entertainment

SHAFR in Lexington, Kentucky

If you’re in town for this year’s Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Annual Meeting,


We’re so glad to have you in Lexington. While you’re here for the event, we wanted to make sure you get out of your hotel and explore some uniquely-Lexington destinations that will make your trip to the Bluegrass State memorable.

The best place for a bourbon cocktail

If you don’t have tickets to the sold-out Buffalo Trace event, don’t sweat it! There are many great places around the convention center for you to enjoy a bourbon cocktail.

Henry Clay’s Public House
A Public House is a “non-membership drinking establishment,” and this one is named for Lexington-native and famous politician Henry Clay. Located on North Upper Street next to Lexington’s old courthouse building, this cool and elegant stop has some of the best bartenders in town. Don’t know what would go best with Kentucky’s iconic liquor? Just ask the bartender. They have a wide variety of delicious cocktails for all taste buds. If you want to celebrate like a true Kentuckian, drink your bourbon on the rocks.

Belle’s Cocktail House
Named for the famous Lexington madam, you’ll love the feel of this two-story lounge on Market Street. Delcious and creative cocktails, and a modern portrait of the infamous businesswoman herself. Don’t forget to head upstairs and check out the rather creative wall decor.

Also try:
The Bigg Blue Martini at the corner of Broadway and Vine streets
Cheapside Bar and Grill at the corner of Cheapside and Short streets
Table Three Ten on Short Street
Jefferson Davis Inn on Broadway
The Bluegrass Tavern on Cheapside
Parlay Social on Short Street

The best place to spot a Kentucky Wildcat basketball player

In the summer time, many students—including the University of Kentucky’s famous basketball-playing ones—return home for the summer. But some stick around. They aren’t too hard to spot (they usually stand about a foot taller than anyone else in the crowd), so if you’re looking for one of the 8-time NCAA National Championship winning players, try the basketball courts behind UK’s Memorial Coliseum on Lexington Avenue between Avenue of Champions and Maxwell Street.


And don’t forget to duck your head inside of the Wildcat’s home court, Rupp Arena. It’s attached to the Lexington Center.

The best place to take part in a Lexington tradition

Lexington residents are in love with their home town. And why wouldn’t we be? There are so many fun and beautiful things to do within the metropolis. From horses, to good food, to elegant scenery, don’t miss everything the town has to offer.

Keeneland Race Track, Lexington, Kentucky

Keeneland: Surrounded by towering oak trees and hand-laid stone buildings, Keeneland hosts some of the most talented Thoroughbreds, trainers, and riders in the business. Racing only happens in April and October, but the surrounding shaded acres and the track is open for self-guided walking tours any time of year. The track is located out Versailles Road, across from Bluegrass Airport.

Tolly Ho: This restaurant, located at the corner of Broadway and Bolivar Street, has been a University of Kentucky tradition since 1971. Open 24 hours, you won’t find a better diner anywhere. Sit down and strike up a conversation—we love to talk UK basketball! And make sure to let them know if this is your first time in the restaurant. Check out the menu here (Might we suggest a Tolly-Ho Burger with Cheddar Tots?)


Triangle Park: Right across the street from the Lexington Center sits a triangular shaped plot of land in the middle of downtown Lexington. With its iconic fountains and ideal location, this is a tranquil getaway tucked in the middle of the town and the most perfect lunch spot.

McConnell Springs: The campsite of the first Lexington settlers, this 26-acre nature sanctuary offers an array of historical and environmental treasures.

Dudley’s on Short: Dudley’s Restaurant has been a mainstay on the Lexington gathering and dining scene since 1981. It is located in The Northern Bank Building on Short Street, which  was built in 1889 and was one of the most prominent structures in downtown Lexington. With award-winning creative American cuisine, wine list, and service to a steady base of local clientele while making newcomers and visitors feel welcome immediately, this is a perfect fine dining experience that will put you in line with the locals.

Downtown Carriage Rides: Tucked away on a side street downtown, the city’s historic livery still houses Lexington’s most well-known tour guides—the horses of Lexington Livery Carriage Company. On warm summer nights when the weather is clear, you can pick up a horse-and-carriage tour just off Broadway and enjoy a trip around the downtown area.

Kentucky Horse Park: No visit to the Horse Capital of the World would be complete without a stop here. More than 1,200 rolling acres showcase museums, galleries, theaters, and exhibits dedicated to all breeds of horses. Visit the grave of Man o’ War, the greatest Thoroughbred racehorse of all time and visit Funny Cide, a Derby winner who lives here.

Town Branch Distillery and Kentucky Ale Tours: Tours of the newest addition to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are offered daily. Located near downtown on Cross Street.

The best place to soak up a little history

It isn’t foreign relations history, but Lexington boasts lots of local history worthy of a quick stop in.

Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate located just outside of downtown on Richmond Road
Mary Todd Lincoln House on Main Street (right next to the Lexington Center)
The Bodley-Bullock House on the corner of Market and West Second street
Gratz Park (and Lexington’s Fountain of Youth), two blocks north of North Main Street

Gratz Park, Lexington, Kentucky

Transylvania University on North Broadway
Hunt-Morgan House on North Mill Street

For more fun things to see, check out Visit Lex. We hope to see you at SHAFR!

Happy Father’s Day! Books on Dad Written by their Children

Oh, Dads…a seemingly limitless source of bad jokes (have you heard this one? What do you call an Alligator wearing a vest? An investigator!), bear hugs, and well-meaning advice. Some Dads are goofy, some serious, and my Dad will probably spend all day watching the U.S. Open, yelling at golf balls to “Get in there!” If I were to write a book about my Dad, it would include his terrible scrambled eggs recipe and endless battle against the rabbits that eat the flowers in his yard. Below are a few of our favorite books written by children about their fathers…I promise, the stories are much more interesting than scrambled eggs.

Buy or Pre-Order:

Hitchcock’s Partner in Suspense

Voice of the Wildcats

Dalton Trumbo

My Life as a Mankiewicz

Portrait of a Father

My Father, Daniel Boone

Great Military History Reads to Commemorate the WWI Centennial

The War to End All WarsTomorrow, World War I historians, educators, curators, cultural programmers, authors, re-enactors, students, and other enthusiasts will gather in Washington, DC to discuss the upcoming centennial commemoration, share information, and develop partnerships.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, and U.S. officials are gearing up to commemorate the centennial over the next few years.

To honor and learn more about the history of the war, take advantage of some of UPK’s great military history titles.

Nothing Less Than War John J. Pershing The Embattled Past Kentucky Marine Alvin York