Special Collections Research Center

 HOURS for May 31, 2016:  Now Closed


Online Exhibits

The Great Depression vs. The Great Recession is a digital humanities timeline comparing and contrasting the varying factors affecting the Great Depression of the 1920s-30s with the Great Recession of 2008 as glimpsed through materials from the Frankel and Curtis architectural drawings collections. Created by Learning Lab intern Daria Goncharovia. 

COLPComm Text Mining Project created a corpus from archival documents from the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Government (Ky.) Planning Commission Meeting Minutes. The corpus can be used to track the architectural history of Lexington and research trends over time. Project created by Learning Lab intern Aaron Mueller. 

Verse in Type:  Poets & Printers, An Artistic Affinity is an exhibition of poetry, books, and broadsides printed at the King Library Press and other fine presses founded by the former apprentices and associates of Press.  It was created by Erin Reed, graduate student in Art History, University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts in the spring semester 2015.

Lexington Narcotic Farm is a multimedia narrative of the history of this federal drug treatment and rehabilitation center that was formerly located in Lexington, KY. It was created as a scholarly project for the Special Collections' Learning Lab internship.

Faulconer, Johnstone, Shelby, Potter, Tevis papers Research Guide was created as a genealogical and history research tool that documents a series of intermarried families and their business dealings, domestic life in Kentucky and other southern states.  It was created as a scholarly project for the Special Collections' Learning Lab internship.

A Spatial History of UK Residence Halls was 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.

Famous Authors in the Special Collections Research Center is a curated collection that highlights correspondence from novelists, poets, essayists, and journalists from America and the United Kingdom, spanning from approximately 1802-1975.

The Margaret Lantis Collection: A Lifetime of Inquiry highlights the life and career of esteemed University of Kentucky anthropology professor, Margaret Lantis (1906-2006). Her tenure at the university was preceded by 25 years of pioneering field work and ethnography, which focused on War Relocation Agency internment camps, Nunivak islanders in Alaska, and tuberculosis patients.

Henry Clay: Images of “The Great Compromiser” presents Special Collections' images from significant points in the life of Kentucky statesman Henry Clay (1777-1852). The images include a variety of mediums such as sculpture, paintings, drawings, watercolors, daguerreotypes, and lithographs. Their organization provides an idea of how the pieces reflect important stages of Clay's adult life.

I'll Come to Thee by Moonlight: How Cora Wilson Stewart took Responsibility for the right to Adult Literacy was created by Fayette County Public School Junior, Christopher Beebout for the 2014 National History Day competition.

Scarlatina in Kentucky, 1879 is a look at the scarlet fever epidemic of 1879 in Kentucky as seen through letters in the Daniel Drake Carter collection. Drake Carter, a physician, received letters from physicians all over Central Kentucky who were treating a variety of patients who were afflicted with the virus. The collection, available in the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections is intended to provide context to medical history researchers or those with an interest in public health. It was created as a scholarly project for the Special Collections' Learning Lab internship.

Immigrants in the Coalfields, 2014 tells a story of Appalachia through images, maps, documents, and oral histories from the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections. The project reveals a national perspective that includes stereotypes and personal accounts of immigrants to the Kentucky Appalachian region. It is intended to showcase research collections and encourage further study of Appalachia’s rich and often-distressing coal mining industry.

Exploring Intersectionality: 1800s-present is a look at the idea of intersectionality--the study of "intersections" of oppression among certain groups such as race, class, gender or sexual identity--through various collections. The exhibit focuses on feminism and women's rights' movements in Kentucky and how they intersected with various other rights advocacy, such as civil rights, suffragy, education, and slavery.

Black History Month Exhibit, 2014 depicts various time periods in Kentucky and the ongoing search for the right answers.

Kentucky: Roots, Times and Generations: Black History Month Exhibit, 2013 is a photography exhibit of several generations of Kentucky African Americans.

A Student's View of Campus, Now & Then, 2013  Jim Blackerby, a 2013 graduating senior, reflects on the history of significant University of Kentucky buildings, comparing photos he took in 2013 with images from archival photograph collections available through ExploreUK.

New Requests System

(March 31, 2016) The UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center has initiated a new online requests system allowing all our faculty, students, patrons, and visiting researchers to submit requests for materials, schedule a visit, or place digital reproduction and oral history orders through a custom web-based interface.

Create an account to get started.  All researchers visiting after March 31st will need to complete registration in their new account.

UK community members can login using their LinkBlue IDs while visitors can create their own login username and password. For more information, visit our FAQ.

Our Mission

Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the University Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection, and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center.

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.

Associate Dean Deirdre A. Scaggs

Materials in Special Collections do not circulate.

Access to materials are provided through the Breckinridge Research Room.

Campus Mail Code: 0039

For Research or Collections-related Inquiries

Breckinridge Research Room
(859) 257-8611

Fax: (859) 257-6311


General Information

Mailing Address:
Special Collections Research Center
Margaret I. King Library
University of Kentucky Libraries
Lexington, KY 40506-0039

Delivery Address:
179 Funkhouser Drive
Margaret I. King Library
University of Kentucky Libraries
Lexington, KY 40506-0039

Emergency Vehicle Response Location:
179 Funkhouser