Things to Research
I am deep into the Black Guides of Mammoth Cave Documentary Project, but there are still so many things I need/want to track down. Here is a brief list off the top of my head:
1) Albert, one of the slave guides. There are letters in the Mammoth Cave library that talk about him, perhaps suggesting in their opinion he was a trouble maker. I want to read them and get a better idea of Albert the man.
2) There is a newspaper article about Mat Bransford traveling to Louisville to have a formal photographic portrait done while a slave at Mammoth Cave. I have a copy of the photograph, but would like to get a copy of the article. Joy Lyons and Jean Schmitzer both cite the article in their reports.
3) Nick Bransford dictated a letter in the later 1860’s about how his parents travelled across the mountains from Virginia. Both were slaves. These are in a private collection and are cited by Joy Lyons in her book. I would like to read them and get permission to quote them in the documentary.
4) Joy Lyons also talks of a touching tale of Ed Bishop courting his future wife through comments in an autograph book. I would love to have her retell that story for the documentary.
5) Scottish vocalist John Wilson visited Mammoth Cave in 1849 and there are two accounts of the visit, both of which talk about Stephen Bishop singing: Vickers, G. 1849. “The New Puppet-show, Issues 1-6. p. 15. (Comments about Scottish Vocalist John Wilson’s Visit to Mammoth Cave from 1849), and Wilson, John. 1849. A Visit to the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky. 19 pp. n. p., Edinburgh, 1849, p.6. I would like to see copies of these articles.
6) There is a nice pen and ink drawing of Mat Bransford by Ferdinand Richardt that is privately owned. There is a copy in Joy Lyons book and Jerry Bransford has a copy. I would like to get permission to use the drawing in the documentary – but I don’t yet have contact information for the owners. There was a full color painting that showed two boats on the Echo River and both Mat and Nick piloting them, but the gallery wants $70 to use the image for what would be a few seconds of movie. There also are some drawings in the library at Mammoth Cave of Nick Bransford that I would like better copies of for use in the documentary.
7) I would like to get a good scan of one of the original maps draw by Stephen Bishop for inclusion in the 1844 Rambles in Mammoth Cave book.
8) I would like to get a scan of an original copy of at least some of the Max Kaemper map for the section of the documentary about Ed Bishop.
9) There are many black guides and workers at the cave that I know little about: Bob Lively, John “Mutch” Hunter, several of the Bransfords, and various white guides who played roles in the exploration and development of the cave including Hunts, Lees, Wilsons, Nelson, etc. (There is a long list of guides in Norman Warnell’s book.) I don’t want to give the impression that there were only black guides at the cave.
10) Norman Warnell mentions Jonathan Doyle, a slave guide “whose achievements rival that of Stephen Bishop.” I literally know nothing about him beyond the couple of lines about him in Norman’s book.
11) I need to pull together more stories about Ed Bishop and collect more documentation about him.
12) I want to get some of the service records and miscellaneous documentation on Will Garvin so I have something graphical to show about him in the documentary aside from the few photos I do have.
13) There were a couple of articles cited by Norman Warnell about Edd Hawkins from 1952 and 1954 Edmonton News that I would like to read in person.
14) I can’t fit everything into an hour documentary – the biggest problem for me is figuring out what to leave out and what to include.
Edward Forrest Frank