Real History, Real People — Hear Firsthand Stories from WWII

Boone County Public Library brings you three speakers this spring who lived through WWII, each with a different story to tell. Dr. Al Miller will talk about growing up Jewish in Germany, Lt. Colonel Richard Cole (the last living Doolittle Raider) will tell you about the top secret mission he participated in to bomb Japan, and Gordon Yoshikawa will share his childhood experience of living in a Japanese internment camp in America during the War. Dr. Miller and Lt. Colonel Cole will each speak twice, so that we can accommodate everyone who wants to hear them speak.

Dr. Al Miller: Holocaust Survivor

Dr. Al Miller shares his story of growing up as a German Jew during WWII at Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5 and again on Wednesday, April 12.

Born in Berlin in 1922, Dr. Miller has many happy memories of his early childhood. As an active youth who enjoyed sports, he remembers the day he was no longer allowed into his favorite recreation center because Jews had been banned from the facility. Many of his childhood friends joined the Hitler Youth and stopped being friends with him. An enthusiastic student, he became the last Jewish student in his class to continue to attend school until it was too unwelcoming for him to stay.

In 1936, Dr. Miller was present at the infamous Berlin Olympics where Jesse Owens won four medals. As German Jews faced increasingly difficult conditions, his family arranged to leave the country and resettle. Dr. Miller was sent to Switzerland in 1937 and was separated from his family. His brother was sent to England and his parents remained in Germany and endured Kristallnacht. The family was eventually reunited in England before immigrating to America in 1939. Dr. Miller settled in Hamilton, Ohio where he practiced optometry until his retirement.

Lt. Colonel Richard Cole: Last of the Doolittle Raiders

On April 18, 1942, eighty men took off on a top-secret mission to bomb Japan. The mission was thought to be impossible. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. Today only Lt. Col. Doolittle’s co-pilot Lt. Colonel Richard Cole survives. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, Lt. Col. Cole will share his story at Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, on Wednesday, April 19 at 1 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

A 30-minute showing of “Raiders Remembered” will precede Lt .Colonel Cole’s talk and a book signing will follow. Co-sponsored by Simon Kenton SAR & Boone County DAR.

Gordon Yoshikawa: Japanese Internment Camp Resident

Mark your calendars now for Wednesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, when Gordon Yoshikawa talks about his experience living in a Japanese internment camp as a young child.

Gordon Yoshikawa lived with his parents and four siblings in Yuba City, CA. He was seven years old when war was declared on Japan on December 8, 1941. Executive Order 9066 was signed on February 19, 1942 and five months later his family was sent to an internment camp at Tule Lake, CA. Two years later they were transferred to a second camp at Topaz, UT. Gordon and his parents were the last of their family to be released from the camp. His family resettled in Cincinnati, OH in May 1945. Gordon attended Hyde Park Elementary, Withrow High School and University of Cincinnati.  After completing college, Gordon spent 37 years as a chemist in the printing ink and varnish industry.

Not familiar with Executive Order 9066?
During the spring of 1942, under the authorization of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt, and the War Relocation Authority, more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent, some 80,000 of whom were natural born US citizens, were herded first into relocation centers, such as the stables at Santa Anita Racetrack, and then on to one of the ten incarceration centers mostly located in the most desolate parts of the western United States.  This happened without any due process of or evidence of disloyalty to the U.S.  Read more about Executive Order 9066 here.

Northern Kentucky History Day Comes to Boone County

Northern Kentucky History Day will be Saturday, March 25, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Boone County Public Library, Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington.

Over the past 24 years, Northern Kentucky History Day has become a touch point for historians, educators, researchers and the interested public to come together to celebrate the vibrant and diverse history of Northern Kentucky. From tragic events to the Civil War to life in our Northern Kentucky communities, Northern Kentucky History Day embraces the essence of Public History: historical research by community members about the community, for the community. BCPL is privileged to have the opportunity to host this year’s event on Saturday, March 25, from 8 a.m to 1 p.m. at the Main Library.

Dr. Paul A. Tenkotte will deliver the Keynote address: Cradle of the Arts: Mother of God Church based on his brand new publication of the same title at 9 a.m. The book celebrates the stunning architecture and 175 year history of the iconic Catholic Church established by German immigrants to Covington, Kentucky. To embrace the multi-cultural tourism in Covington, Cradle of the Arts is written in four languages: English, Chinese, German, and Spanish. This remarkable resource will be available for purchase for $20 at the event.

After the Keynote, visit the vendor tables from 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. With over 35 local NKY genealogy, history and preservation organizations represented from across the region, there will be something of interest to everyone.

Schedule for the Day:


8:00-9:00 a.m. — REGISTRATION

Cradle of the Arts: Mother of God Church by Paul A. Tenkotte, Ph.D., Professor of
History and Director of the Center for Public History at NKU (ROOMS A,B,C)

9:45-10:30 a.m. — DISPLAYS OPEN

10:30-11:30 a.m. — WORKSHOP SESSION ONE
A. The Beverly Hills Supper Club: The Untold Story Behind Kentucky’s Worst Tragedy by Robert Webster: This May marks the 40th anniversary of the horrific fire in Southgate, Kentucky. Bob will cover the history of the club from its roots as the region’s largest illegal mob-owned gambling facility to the May 28, 1977 fire and its investigation. Second Floor, Room A

B. Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County by Bill Penn: Based on his book, this presentation will provide an impressively detailed account of the military action that took place in this Kentucky region during the Civil War. Penn draws on dozens of period newspapers, as well as personal journals, memoirs, and correspondence from citizens, slaves, soldiers, and witnesses to provide a vivid account of the war’s impact on the region. Second Floor, Room B

C. Gold Star Mothers: Pilgrimage of Remembrance by John Graham: From 1930 to 1933, the US Government transported more than 6,000 mothers and widows of WWI soldiers over to Europe to visit their graves. These women were the first generation of Gold Star Mothers, and their trips are best remembered as Pilgrimages. Hear the stories of these remarkable women, as well as find research tips on your own Gold Star ancestors. Second Floor, Room C

D. Freedom Seekers – Researching the Underground Railroad and the Abolition Movement in Campbell County, Kentucky by Dr. Eric Jackson & Shirlene L. Jensen: James Taylor, Jr., who was one of the wealthiest persons in Campbell County, freed his group of enslaved African Americans upon his death in 1848. Many of these enslaved persons remained and worked on land that Taylor owned for several decades after they were freed, while other freed African Americans moved around the county and ultimately developed their own community and supported their own schools. This presentation highlights the various techniques that can be employed to document the experience, history, and legacy of African Americans in this old and very important Kentucky county. Second Floor, Conference Room

E. Community is Our Business: Ft. Thomas’ 150th Anniversary by Debbie
Buckley: The City of Fort Thomas is celebrating her 150th birthday in 2017. Her history is honored in our museum on a daily basis, but never more so than this year. We will be going beyond our borders with a 150 year timeline on the walls of the Fort Thomas Community Center, family presentations, the use of technology telling our story throughout the city, house tours, and walking tours. First Floor

F. Children in Need: Orphanages in Campbell and Kenton Counties by Dave Schroeder: Orphanages and Children’s Homes played a key role in the social fabric of Campbell and Kenton Counties. These institutions cared for many children, some who had lost their parents and others who had been abandoned. Most developed as religious institutions and were part of a greater nationwide progressive movement. Many of these institutions still exist today. The program will also discuss the availability of information on the children who once resided in these institutions. Second Floor, Room A

G. King Cholera in Covington, Kentucky 1832-1873 by Arnold Taylor: An examination of the three cholera epidemics that affected Covington in the nineteenth century. Second Floor, Room B

H. Researching Kentucky Records by Don Rightmyer: Comprehensive discussion of various Kentucky genealogical records and resources. Second Floor, Room C

I. The Underground Railroad in Boone County’s Borderland by Hillary Delaney:
Learn the unusual story of freed Boone County slaves and their former owner who, together, risked life and limb to help others obtain freedom from bondage in the Boone County Borderlands. Room: Conference Room

J. “To Be Once More Free & Enjoy a Quiet Mind”: James Dinsmore, Society and Culture in Boone County, 1842-1872 by Cathy Collopy: Ms. Collopy discusses the reasons for Dinsmore’s move to Kentucky and will argue that his decision, which was a step back economically from his Louisiana plantation, satisfied his cultural yearnings. First Floor


The doors open at 8 a.m. and cost for the day is $8 pre-registered or $10  at the door. Make checks payable to Northern Kentucky History Day.

Pre-registrations may be sent to:
Northern Kentucky History Day
c/o Kenton County Historical
Society, PO Box 641
Covington, KY 41012.

Questions? Call 859-342-2665, x8134. Need directions?