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: [Note that some of these resources are in process of being moved to the new UK Libraries' web template.]
Bibliography of UK History, compilation of citations of various published sources (books, articles, theses, dissertations, etc.) that relate to topics associated with the University of Kentucky and its history. Compiled by former UK University Archivists Terry Birdwhistell and Tom Rosko
UK History Encyclopedia, a descriptive encyclopedic compendium of names and terms relating to UK history (work in progress), by Frank Stanger
(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.
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.