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Dianne Watkins' Giles Lecture A Memorable Tribute

This article first appeared in issue 6, and was written by Staff.

Dianne Watkins' lecture, Thursday, August 8, at V.P. Henry Auditorium on the campus of Lindsey Wilson College was a memorable tribute to writers Henry and Janice Holt Giles.

Ms. Watkins has spent the better part of the past 10 years researching the lives of Janice Holt and Henry Giles. Much of the time, she worked with the massive store of Giles' papers which were given to the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University.

The lecture, which Ms. Watkins delivers, with only slight variations, to literary circles around the country, focuses on Mrs. Giles birth and early childhood in western Arkansas, her first marriage and the birth of her daughter, Libby (Mrs. Nash Hancock), her career at the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, the courtship and second marriage to Henry Giles, and finally, the highly productive years in South Central Kentucky.

Ms. Watkins uses slides, Giles family video, and a moving 20-minute slide finale which is narrated in readings from Janice Holt Giles' books. The production was the work of Ms. Watkins and Clara L. Metzmeier. The voice-over by Libby Hancock is hauntingly evocative of Janice Holt Giles own speech. The similarity of the daughter's voice to her mother's, those in the audience who personally knew Mrs. Giles said, was so great it seemed as though Mrs. Giles was reading her own works.

Ms. Watkins paid tribute to the people of Adair County who are helping to restore the Giles' home and keep their legacy alive. Among those singled out for recognition were Foundation Board Members Rev. Jim Chaffin, Donna Vaughn, Evelyn McCloud, Clara Metzmeier, and Barbara Peterson; and Travis and Clifford Giles, who have bushhogged the grounds and restored the property to much of its former beauty.

The Foundation will announce the next Watkins lecture in this area. Further information can be obtained by contacting any of the trustees.

This story was posted on 1996-08-01 12:01:01
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