Special Collections Research Center

Grants and Partnerships

“P.S. Write Again Soon”: Revealing 200 Years of the American Mosaic through the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters | 2018-2020: The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded UK Libraries a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant to make available 355 cubic feet of letters, diaries, and personal papers from the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters. Additionally, 50 cubic feet of material will be digitized. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters is an invaluable body of primary source materials providing a rich look into American history from the Colonial period to the Vietnam War. Areas of insight include everyday life and common struggles, race, courtship practices, mental health, immigration to the United States, sexuality and identity, the impact of war, and countless other research subjects. The grant will fund a two-year Project Archivist position and will result in over 2,000 finding aids and 80,000 digitized documents.

Action in Appalachia: Revealing Public Health, Housing, and Community Development Records in the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center | 2015-2017: The Council on Library and Information Resources awarded UK Libraries a Cataloging Hidden Collections grant to arrange and describe 645 cubic feet of Appalachian records comprising seven hidden collections of War on Poverty-era, social justice organizational records. These community-driven groups worked to improve public health, housing, education and economic development from the 1960s to the present by taking action in Appalachia. Accessibility to these collections will contribute to new scholarship and public understanding about the social and economic development of Appalachia. Records featured in "Action in Appalachia" are a part of the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection, which comprises more than 3,000 linear feet of primary source material relating to the history, culture and development of Eastern Kentucky and the Central Appalachian region. It is one of the premiere collecting areas in the center and is among the highest in demand for researchers across the United States and beyond.

Action in Appalachia Manual - An MPLP Model for Description

Coal, Camps, and Railroads | 2013-2016: The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded UK Libraries a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant to digitize 132 cubic feet (264,000 pages) of portions of the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection held in UK Special Collections, focusing on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The ten individual collections document the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry, and Powell counties; the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and the company towns, their services, and the individual lives that grew up to sustain and make possible this economic development. 

Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) | 2011: The Institution for Museum and Library Services awarded UK Libraries a National Leadership Grant to further development on OHMS, an open source web-based system that inexpensively and efficiently enhances online access to and discovery of oral histories. OHMS provides users word-level search capability and a time-correlated transcript or index connecting the textual search term to the corresponding moment in the recorded interview online. More information on OHMS can be found here.

National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) | 2005-2013: The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress partnered to form NDNP, a long-term effort to provide permanent access to a national digital resource of historic newspapers, focusing on content published between 1936 and 1922. UK was selected for the pilot run based on the strength of our microfilming efforts and has received a total of 4 award cycles. More information can be found on the Kentucky NDNP website. Digitized newspapers can be found in the NDNP database, Chronicling America.

Arranging and Describing Archives Related to Appalachian History and Culture | 2005: UK Libraries and the UK Appalachian Center was selected for a We the People Grant for the archival processing and production of machine readable finding aids for over 2,600 linear feet of significant Appalachian archival collections housed at UK. These finding aids are available on the Kentucky Digital Library and ExploreUK.

John C. Wyatt Lexington Herald-Leader Preservation and Access Project | 2004:  National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant to preserve and provide access to the most at-risk negatives in the Lexington Herald-Leader photographs.   The collection consists of an estimated 1.5 million items spanning the years 1939-1990, with the bulk of the collection documenting 1946-1990. The collection contains photographic negatives, associated newspaper clippings, job sheets, and hand-written photographers’ notes. The LHL photographs are an unparalleled source of photographic evidence documenting Lexington's 20th century history.


Selected holdings from the University of Kentucky Libraries are available as part of the following collaborative projects. 

Digital Public Library of America | 2013-ongoing: DPLA works with a national network of partners to make millions of materials from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions across the country available to all in a one-stop discovery experience.

Maps of Cuba (Digital Library of the Caribbean) | 2018-ongoing: The Maps of Cuba collection is a shared digital collection, coordinated by the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, in cooperation with the Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí (BNJM), and in partnership with other libraries and institutions. The main geographic focus of the collection is the area now known as Cuba. Regional maps of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Antilles, and West Indies are also included. 

Project STAND: Student Activism Now Documented (The Ohio State University) | 2020-ongoing: Project STAND is an online clearinghouse where academic institutions can provide researchers a centralized access point to historical and archival documentation on the development and on-going occurrences of student dissent. Project STAND focuses on digital and analog primary sources that document the activities of student groups that represent the concerns of historically marginalized communities (e.g., African American, Chicano/a, LGBTQ, religious minorities, disabled, etc.). STAND will also highlight the work of others (e.g., faculty, staff, and administrators) who advocate for or support the interests of those communities.

Sounding Spirit (Emory University) | 2019-ongoing: Sounding Spirit publishes historic sacred songbooks to make accessible the texts that mediate race, place, and religion in American music history and culture. A project that marries printed music of the past with digital innovation, Sounding Spirit convenes scholars, practitioners, and technologists to publish annotated facsimile editions and digital collections of sacred vernacular songbooks.

Umbra Search African American History (University of Minnesota) | 2015-ongoing: Umbra Search African American History makes African American history more broadly accessible through a freely available widget and search tool, umbrasearch.org. Umbra Search celebrates the vital efforts of the individuals and institutions that have helped to preserve and make accessible online hundreds of thousands of pieces of African American history and culture, and we pay homage to the Umbra Society of the early 1960s, a renegade group of Black writers and poets who helped create the Black Arts Movement.

Documenting White Supremacy and its Opponents in the 1920s (Reveal Digital) | 2019-ongoing: The Documenting White Supremacy (previously titled Understanding Hate in America) collection includes papers promoting and opposing white nationalism, published between 1912 and 1938. It brings together for the first time local, regional, and national newspapers published by Klan organizations and by sympathetic publishers from across the US. It also includes key anti-Klan voices from newspapers published by American Black, Catholic, and Jewish communities.

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Breckinridge Research Room
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