University Archives

Archival Collections / Holdings

The archives preserve the memory of the institution through departmental records, faculty papers, student collections, records of organizations, sights and sounds, athletic materials, and printed publications.& In addition to an existing extensive collection of hardcopy inventories available through the Breckinridge Research Room, a number of finding aids are available on-line via the Kentucky Digital Library. Below is a list of selected resources.

The Board of Trustees Online Archive is a keyword-searchable index of the meeting minutes and supporting data of the Board of Trustees from 1862 to 2007. The governance of the University of Kentucky is vested by law in its Board of Trustees, the final authority in all matters affecting the institution. It exercises jurisdiction over the institution's financial, educational, and other policies and its relation with the state and federal governments. This online archive is an invaluable source of information.

The UK Oral History Program's Charles T. Wethington, Jr. Alumni/Faculty Oral History Collection contains over 600 interviews with UK alumni and faculty and is an invaluable resource for researchers of University of Kentucky history and the history of higher education.

Image collections document the visual history of the institution, and many of the significant collections have been digitized. They can be keyword searched and even browsed. Many smaller collections contain photographs, so look for the camera icon next to the UARP finding aids available in the Kentucky Digital Library.

·        Nollau F-Series Photographs: 1998ua001, a large collection of digitized photographic images primarily of UK, circa 1885-1966. Professor of Engineering Drawing at the University of Kentucky for 49 years, Louis Edward Nollau was also a prolific photographer. Because of his interest in photography and the college, Nollau was the first "official" campus photographer. The date span for the majority of the Nollau photographic prints is during Frank McVey's presidency, 1917-1940.

·        University of Kentucky General Photographic Print Collection: 2001ua025, photographic prints related to the University of Kentucky circa 1900-2005, predominantly 1950-1989.

·         Portrait Print Photographs: 2001ua028, portraits that were either created and maintained in the course of University business or were donated to the University Archives. The collection is divided into seven series: Alumni/Student, Board of Trustees, Faculty/Staff, Presidents and Regents, Unidentified, and Visitors, circa 1867-2002.


Faculty papers contain significant information on teaching, research, and professional activities, areas through which researchers can gain a valuable perspective on the intellectual vitality of the university community. Selected examples include:

·        Harrison Garman papers: 2005ua049, correspondence and notes related to the Entomology files and research of Dr. Harrison Garman, circa 1989-1912.

·        Joseph W. Pryor papers and x-rays: 0000ua166, correspondence and glass negative x-rays related to the research of Dr. Joseph W. Pryor, primarily from 1905-1948.

·        James Thomas Cotton Noe papers: 0000ua149, the professional papers, correspondence, and poetry of Cotton Noe 1893-1952.

·        Florence Offutt Stout papers: 1976ua005, sympathy letters pertaining to the death of Judge Robert Stout, clippings, correspondence, family genealogy, photographic prints, teaching materials, and memoirs 1874-1960.

·        John Tuska Collection: 2002ua014, paper materials, photographic prints, slides, and videotapes formerly belonging to John Regis Tuska, a Professor of Art from 1963 to 1992.

Alumni collections also contain significant information on the culture of the university during a particular time period. They often document the way campus looked, what student life was like, and the issues they were facing as college students. Selected examples include:

·        Minerva Collins notebooks: 2006ua072, 1908-1909 agriculture course notebooks from the first woman to earn a degree in agriculture from the University of Kentucky.

·        Richard A. Edwards scrapbook: 0000ua073, scrapbook compiled by a University of Kentucky student who attended from 1906-1910.

·        Ida Kenney Risque Harper scrapbook: 1986ua001, personal mementos and photographs that belonged to Ida Kenney Risque Harper, a 1925 UK graduate.

·        Margaret Ingels Collection: 0000UA107, artifacts, paper materials and photographic prints formerly belonging to Margaret Ingels circa 1845 - 1967.

University Publications may be used to enrich, illustrate, and supplement the manuscript record. These publications are also intrinsically valuable; they contain beautiful photographs, discuss interesting topics, and are packed with facts that can be gleaned from no other source. University publications make outstanding primary source material, and the archives holds countless brochures, bulletins and college catalogs, calendars, histories, manuals, newsletters, proceedings, and student publications documenting all levels of the university. Selected resources include:

·        Kentuckian yearbooks

·        The Kentucky Kernel on microfilm

·        Course catalogs

·        Student handbooks

Athletics collections document an important part of the university’s history and culture.  The University Archives has an extensive and ever-growing collection.

·        Athletics films

·        Media guides

·        Clippings

·        Player files

An incomplete list of collections that have inventories is also available: Listing of Inventories

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