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Special Collections Research Center

 HOURS for April 30, 2016:  Closed

World War II and Public Policy

  • . Barkley served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1913-1927, the U.S. Senate from 1927-1949, and again from 1955-1956, and as Vice President of the United States from 1949-1953. This primary source material consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, printed material, audio-visual material, and memorabilia. A complete box and folder inventory to this collection is forthcoming. During World War Two, he served a Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. See also the Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project located in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • . Chandler was twice governor of Kentucky, 1935-1939, and 1955-1959; a U.S. Senator, 1939-1945; Commissioner of Major League Baseball, 1945-1951. This primary source material consists of personal, political, and general papers, legal papers, and a subject file. There are also photographs, political cartoons, audio-visual material, and memorabilia in this collection. As a U.S. Senator during World War Two, Chandler participated in a congressional tour of the major theaters of the war, and his collection contains material pertaining to this tour, as well as other war related topics. See also the A.B. "Happy" Chandler Oral History Project located in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • Robert F. Houlihan Papers, ca. 1940s - 1990s.  Robert Francis Houlihan was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on October 4, 1918.  Houlihan received his undergraduate training at the University of Kentucky, graduating with a law degree in 1941. Houlihan passed the Bar Examination for Kentucky as a senior in law school, was sworn in as a lawyer in April 1941, and practiced law for a few months after graduation.  Having been a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps while at the University of Kentucky, Houlihan was called into active service for the U.S. Army following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and was assigned to the 26th Infantry Division in Massachusetts.  In late 1942, Houlihan  received special orders to transfer to the 122nd Infantry Battalion based in Fort Carson Colorado, where  he was recruited to join an all-volunteer Greek-American commando unit of the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency); according to Houlihan, he was recruited due to the fact that although he was not of Greek origin he had studied two years of classical Greek in high school. With Houlihan as commanding officer, the OG (Operational Group) unit operated behind Nazi forces in occupied Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia, and the unit’s mission was chiefly sabotage and espionage; Houlihan’s unit was responsible for destroying bridges, locomotives, power plants, mine shafts, communication lines and train tracks, as well as setting up emergency landing fields for damaged Allied planes returning from bombing raids. Houlihan was promoted to the rank of Major during his time in the OSS and served with his unit until the end of World War II in 1945.  Houlihan remained in close contact with the men he commanded and four decades later helped organize several reunions in the 1980s and 1990s in Kentucky, Colorado, Washington, D.C. and Athens, Greece, among other places. Houlihan returned to Lexington, Kentucky in 1945 and resumed his private legal practice, specializing in Kentucky management labor law.  He joined the Lexington firm of Stoll, Keenon & Park, eventually became a senior partner, and except for a brief hiatus in the early 1970s remained with the firm until his death. Houlihan was very active in the Kentucky legal community, holding memberships in the American Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association and the Fayette County Bar Association. Houlihan was a charter member of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Of Counsel Committee and was chairman of the KBA’s Senior Lawyer Section in 1993 and 1994. Houlihan was a founding member of the KBA’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers program and served as chair in 1985, 1986 and 1987. Among the awards Houlihan received include the Henry T. Duncan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fayette County Bar Association (1996), the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Servant Award from the KBA (1996), the Kentucky Bar Service Award from the KBA (1998), and was inducted into the University of Kentucky Law School Hall of Fame (1999). In 1965, Houlihan became involved in the restoration of Shakertown at Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  Along with other civic leaders in the Lexington community, Houlihan helped form a non-profit corporation to oversee the restoration and maintenance of dozens of original structures on the Shakertown property. Houlihan was also a former director of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation based in Lexington, and also served as a president of the University of Kentucky’s Library Associates. Houlihan died on December 20, 1999, preceded by his wife, Pattie Field VanMeter, and survived by three children:  a son, Robert F. Houlihan, Jr.; daughter Francis Field Houlihan; daughter Mary Houlihan Gabbert; and six grandchildren. This collection (Accession #2009MS167) documents his wartime and legal activities. See also the oral history interviews with Robert F. Houlihan in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

  • Simeon Willis Collection. Willis served on the Kentucky Court of Appeals (1928-1932), and as governor of Kentucky during World War Two (1943-1947). This primary source material consists of correspondence, petitions, resolutions, budget reports, financial receipts, speeches, printed material, and memorabilia.
  • . Wyatt served as mayor of Louisville during World War Two, 1941-1945. In 1946 he was appointed U.S. Housing Expediter by President Truman and his tenure lasted one year. In 1959 he was elected lieutenant governor of Kentucky and his term ended in 1963. This primary source material consists of correspondence, photographs, printed material, newspaper clippings, audio-visual material, and memorabilia. See also the Wilson W. Wyatt Oral History Project located in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • Col. Arthur L. Kelly American Veterans Oral History Project: World War Two Project. Over 350 interviews help to document veterans' experiences during the war. Veterans from every theater of the war and all branches of the service, including women, were interviewed for this project. The project is located in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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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.


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For Research or Collections-related Inquiries

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