The origins of the Lexington Herald-Leader can be traced back over 130 years to the Lexington Daily Press. Its descendant, the Morning Herald, was first published January 1, 1895 and became known as the Lexington Herald in 1905. Another large circulating newspaper during this time was the Kentucky Leader (formed by a group of Fayette County republicans in 1888) which eventually became known as the Lexington Leader in 1901. In 1937, the owner of the Leader, John G. Stoll, bought the Herald, and both daily papers were published concurrently (the Herald in the morning and the Leader in the afternoon) for the next 46 years. The newspapers had a combined Sunday edition, but their editorial policies were quite different. The Leader was a Republican, society-based evening edition, and the Herald a more political, heavily Democratic morning edition. In 1973, the newspapers were purchased by the Knight-Ridder Corporation and in 1983 were merged into a single, morning paper that is still published as The Lexington Herald-Leader. Please see the Kentucky Encyclopedia for additional information.
The photograph collection of The Lexington Herald-Leader (LHL) consists of an estimated 1.8 million unique photographic negatives that span the years 1939-1990. The collection also contains associated newspaper clippings, job sheets, and hand-written photographers’ notes. The LHL Collection is an unparalleled source of photographic evidence of the many historical, cultural, and industrial changes that have shaped Lexington and its surrounding region. The scope of the collection highlights the day to day activities of Kentuckians. It follows the changing urban landscape of Lexington, the agricultural, tobacco and horse racing industries, key national events such as World War II and Vietnam, as well as notable regional and national figures. Importantly, it is the only large, comprehensive newspaper photographic archive in Central and Eastern Kentucky and is the most extensive single collection of still, photographic images documenting Lexington’s 20th Century history in existence.
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.