The University of Kentucky was chartered in February of 1865 by the Kentucky Legislature, as the "Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky," a department established, pursuant to the terms of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, for the purpose of college-level training in Agriculture and Engineering, within Kentucky University, a private, sectarian institution organized at the same time. Ensuing denominational and theological controversies, as well as financial difficulties, prompted the Legislature to formally separate the College from the University in 1878, and the former, in 1880, began a century-and-a-quarter of development as an independent institution of higher education on the site of a municipal park and fairgrounds donated by the city of Lexington. In 1908 the A&M College attained University status, and in 1916 it assumed its present name.
The history of the University may be researched by means of the following on-line informational resources:
A Spatial History of UK Residence Hallswas created by UK geography students using various University Archives sources to make this “story map” showing the change in residence halls on campus by decades
The mission of the Special Collections Research Center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic, and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Materials are acquired regardless of format and include both primary and secondary sources; Kentuckiana is collected comprehensively. Special Collections maintains the records management program for all records generated by the University and serves as its archival repository for permanent records. As part of the mission, the Special Collections Research Center advances and supports the research, teaching, and scholarship of the University and beyond by preserving and providing access to its holdings.