Special Collections Research Center

 HOURS for July 6, 2020:  

Learning Lab

2020-2021 Learning Lab Projects

2020-2021 Learning Lab Projects

The UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is proud to announce the following collections available for research in the Learning Lab during the academic year 2020-2021. Please look through the list and apply for an internship to work with any of these collections. If you have questions or want to be a Learning Lab intern but are interested in a type of collection you don't see on the list, please contact the program coordinator Carol Street at carolstreet@uky.edu

Please note that the suggested subjects are meant to inspire your ideas about research, and are not meant to be an exhaustive list. You are encouraged to be creative in your research.

Photo of Kentucky Mountain Club scrapbook, 1930

Kentucky Mountain Club papers, 1930s-1960s (subjects: education, women's studies, public health, healthcare, Kentucky history, social work, Appalachia, culture, migration) 2014ms0225

The Kentucky Mountain Club formed in 1929 as a social organization for eastern Kentuckians who moved to Lexington. The club created social and welfare opportunities for those who moved as well as for the family members who remained in eastern Kentucky.


Picture of Winfield Scott photograph album page

Winfield Scott photograph album, circa 1900 (subjects: Mexico, travel tourism, agriculture, labor, photography, ethnology, visual anthropolgy, colonialism, transportation, architecture) 2020av003 

Photograph album contains photographs taken by the American professional photographer Winfield Scott (1863-1942) showing Mexican cities and sites, stations and tracks of the Mexican Central and Connecting railways, and portrayals of Mexican people and American travellers. The images are similar to ones taken of Native Americans by photographer Edward Curtis during the same time period.


Photo of hemp brochure and photographs

North American Industrial Hemp Council records, 1990s (subjects: agriculture, business, engineering, industry) 2019ms008

At one point Kentucky was the largest producer of hemp in the country. This collection contains records from the Kentucky Hemp and Fiber Related Task Force, which was established in 1993-1994 by Governor Brereton C. Jones, as well as the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Numerous samples and artifacts demonstrate the wide range of applications for hemp in industry.


Photograph of Moses Kaufman scrapbook

Moses Kaufman papers, 1873-1924 (subjects: religious studies, business, politics, Lexington history, government, service) 1M87M49

Businessman, Rabbi, historian. Moses Kaufman was a native of Bavaria who lived in Cincinnati, Ohio before coming to Lexington, Ky. in 1869. He founded the Kaufman Clothing Company and at various times served as Lexington city councilman, postmaster, city treasurer, city auditor and trustee of the Julius Marks Sanitorium. 


Judge Charles M. Allen papers, 1971-2000 (subjects: sociology, race, police, law, labor, Kentucky history) 2019ms006

Judge Allen presided over the 1979 case Louisville Black Police Officers v. the City of Louisvillethat sought equal employment opportunities for Louisville’s black officers. The collection contains briefs, judgements, and correspondence related to the case, which resulted in a consent decree to improve employment opportunities and conditions for black officers in Louisville.


Image of Self-Denial Savings Club ledger

Self-Denial Saving Club minute book, 1925-1927 (subjects: African-American history, finance, women's studies) 2019ms033

Documentation of a group of southern African-American women denying themselves small niceties through the year for the opportunity of splurging during the December holidays. Derived from the African-American "sou-sou" tradition and the mutual benefit movement, this club apparently differed in that it operated more like a traditional individual Christmas club, with the members paying in what they could at each meeting. 


Photo of Olive T. Gargan papers

Olive T. Dargan papers, 1929-1966 (subjects: literary, poetry, correspondence, women writers) 2012ms120

Olive T. Dargan was a writer and poet born in Kentucky in 1869. Her work reflects her interests in nature, as well as feminism and social activism. The collection largely contains correspondence and a scrapbook.


Photo of Leavell photograph album

Ullin Leavell photographs, 1922-1946 (subjects: art, Japan, medicine, sociology, photography) 2014av008

A doctor in post WWII Japan, Leavell was also an amateur photographer who took images of life around him in Tokyo. Images include scenes of the hospital and nearby moat and geisha houses, ruins of buildings, transportation, children playing, and a resort on Mount Fuji. This extensive series of photographs documents the rebuilding efforts that took place in Japan after WWII.


Photo of farriers at work, 1950s

Oral History project: Farriers in the Bluegrass (subjects: equine industry, equine health, business, metalsmithing)

Oral histories are incredible sources of information for future generations and this gives students an opportunity to create oral histories that will be preserved and accessible to other researchers. This project will coduct oral histories with farriers (blacksmiths who shoe horses) working in the equine industry in and around Lexington, Kentucky. 


Photograph of the Lexington and Ohio Railway Company board of directors minutes ledger

Lexington and Ohio Railway Company board of directors minutes, 1830-1833 (subjects: transportation, law, American history, business, real estate) 46M154

The first railroad in Kentucky sought to establish a transportation link from Lexington to Louisville and Frankfort; however, the financial panic of 1837 led to its eventual demise. The state seized the railroad in 1840 and its rights-of-way were later used by the Louisville & Frankfort and Lexington & Frankfort railroads. 


Photograph of Bourbon County, Kentucky land records

Bourbon County, Kentucky land records, 1786-1820 (subjects: environment, law, agriculture, early Kentucky history, land, wealth) 46M94

Early land records from Bourbon County that date to the formation of the Commonwealth.


Photograph of Thomas D. Redd papers

Thomas D. Redd papers, 1891-1941 (subjects: labor, race, unions, transportation, business, social justice, women's studies, sex work)

Thomas Redd was an African American railroad worker who served in his unit's union, known as the Colored Brakeman of the Kentucky Division of the Road, during the early 20th century. The collection contains official union correspondence, receipts, and treasurer reports related to his service. Many items reflect conflicts of pay and other disparities between white and African American brakemen working for the Illinois Central Railroad Company. The collection also contains personal correspondence from women who were likely prostitutes. They mention living conditions, incarceration, health, and finances.

Photograph of Davis notebook

John C. Davis notebook and photograph album, 1944 (subjects: military history, WWII) 2013MS0362

A WWII notebook and photograph album kept by Corporal John C. Davis, an African American soldier from Louisville, Kentucky, during his service in Okinawa, Japan.


Louis Pardue Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies (ORINS) papers, 1945-1958 (subjects: nuclear science, atomic age, agriculture, medicine, engineering, education) 0000UA155

ORINS promoted education, research, and development programs for nuclear science and atomic energy in the fields of agriculture, medicine, and engineering. The University of Kentucky participated as a member institution and was represented by UK physics professor Louis Pardue. Collection contains annual reports, correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, and publications regarding the program.

Photograph of Don Pratt newspaper clippingsDon Pratt papers, 1970s-2000s (subjects: social justice, civil rights, environment, peace, Vietnam War, incarceration) 2018MS064

Pratt is a longtime social activist from Lexington, Kentucky, who has been involved in campaigns for peace, social justice, civil rights, and environmental issues. He was imprisoned for refusing the draft during the Vietnam War, worked to integrate University of Kentucky athletics, marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., and helped save the Red River Gorge from being dammed. This collection contains letters to and from Pratt while imprisoned during the Vietnam War.


Photo of Barnstable Colony legal papers

Barnstable Colony legal papers, 1734-1741 (subjects: law, early American history) 69M95

The Barnstable Colony formed in 1650 as part of Plymouth Colony, in what is now known as Massachusetts. The documents in the collection concern legal matters that took place in the colony from 1734 to 1741.


Photograph of manumission record of an enslaved person named Hannibal, 1828

Manumission records, 1828-1839 (subjects: slavery, law, American history, race) 2019ms048; 2019ms049; 2019ms062

Before the end of slavery in America, enslaved people could be emancipated from slavery through the legal process called manumission. Multiple collections contain records regarding manumission in Kentucky prior to the Civil War.


Photograph of J. Winston Coleman letters

J. Winston Coleman papers, 1803-1940s (subjects: agriculture, race, social justice, history, transportation, history, sociology) 87M32

An author and historian, Coleman wrote about Kentucky history, including transportation, slavery, and the Civil War. He also was a member of Lexington social groups, such as the Book Thieves and the Lexington Camera Club, and he grew hemp during WWII. This collection of papers and correspondence to Coleman exemplify his wide range of interests and could be the basis of many different research projects.


Photograph of Hunter collection

Hunter Foundation for Healthcare records, 1970s (subjects: health, medicine, healthcare administration, sociology, poverty, social work, social justice) 1997ms244

The Hunter Foundation for Health Care was named after two African American physicians, Dr. John E. Hunter (1859-1956) and his son, Dr. Bush Hunter (1894-1983), both of whom dedicated their careers to the African American community in Lexington, Kentucky. The Foundation was formed in the early 1970s to provide healthcare to the under-served in Lexington. Collection contains papers collected by Dr. Joseph Engelbert during his time as director of the Foundation’s board of directors.


Photo of Jewish Notebook

Jewish notebook, circa 1810 (religious studies, education, early Kentucky history) 53M74

This handwritten notebook written by an unknown author contains lessons and commentary on the Jewish faith. Little is known about the manuscript, but it provides an opportunity to research Jewish religious education in Kentucky in the early 1800s.


Lexington Cemetery Company Records, 1849-1985, 1860-1930 (bulk dates) (subjects: landscape architecture, business, death and dying, sociology) 1M87M10

Contains records pertaining to time books, financial, payroll, and lot diagrams for the historical Lexington Cemetery.

Photograph of seed catalogs

Seed catalogs, 1890-1970 (subjects: agriculture, biology, landscape architecture, botany) 1997ms346

The collection of seed catalogs represents nearly one hundred years of popular varieties of flower and vegetable seeds available for purchase by the home gardener.


Photograph of Quilling family copybook

Quilling family copybook, 1800s (subjects: calligraphy, education) 2018ms0395

The Quilling family from Kentucky left behind a beautiful copybook where they practiced writing and letters. Research could possibly investigate early education in Kentucky, calligraphy, or cursive writing in today's modern curriculum.


Photograph of Janet gilding kit

Michel Janet gilding kit, 1760s-1780s (subjects: metals, art, architecture, French history, printmaking) 2019ms028

A rare, 18th century gilding kit from Michel Janet, papetier du roi, could lead to research regarding gilding traditions and history, French history, or investigation into how modern artists apply this technique in current work.

Tuska Studio records, 1978-2017 (subjects: art, sculpture, arts administration) 2018ms027

Collection contains studio and arts administration records of former University of Kentucky ceramics teacher John Tuska. He is known for his work that illustrates the physicality of the human form. His work can be seen on the UK campus in the Fine Arts building and Library. 


Two rare books of Spanish poetry and literature: Works of eloquence and poetry awarded by the Royal University of Mexico in the Literary Contest held on December 28, 1790, On the occasion of the exaltation to the throne of our Catholic monarch, Mr. Carlos IIII, King of Spain and the Indies, 1791; Colección de las obras de eloqüencia y de poésia premiadas por la Real Academia Española, 1799  (subjects: poetry, Spanish language, writers, literature, Mexico)

These two published works of poetry and literature from the late 18th century provide the basis for an exploration of the written word. Ability to read Spanish is a must for this project.



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