HIS 800 Selected Digital Collections

This exhibit includes links to sample collections with digitized content that would fit the criteria of the archives assignment. Note that many other collections could be selected for this project and we will work with students to get them access to any materials in our collection either virtually or through appointments to see physical materials. For other options, see the full list of collections, or use subject headings to access collections that include content for specific areas of interest. 

Anderson/Sterrett Family Papers

Thomas H. Appleton, Jr. Collection

Dr. Thomas H. Appleton, Jr. started regularly collecting historical Kentucky materials after he started working at the Kentucky Historical Society in the 1980s. The collection he continues to build consists of materials such as correspondence, ephemera, publications, legal documents and other items, which span over 200 years of Kentucky history. Some notable figures mentioned in the correspondence include Henry Clay, Charles S. Morehead, A.B. 'Happy' Chandler, Phyllis George Brown, Alben Barkley, Barbara Bush, and many more. Materials contain information about politics, religion, pop culture, death, slavery, the military and more. The collection is state-wide in scope; however, most materials are from central Kentucky.

Jennie Jeffers Ashby

Jennie Jeffers Ashby

Jennie Jeffers Ashby Papers

The Jennie Jeffers Ashby papers are an interesting collection for researchers studying education, especially in Muhlenberg and Ohio counties. Mrs. Ashby writes about the schools where she taught and kept photographs from many of those schools. As an alumnus of Kentucky State Normal School Eastern Division (now Eastern Kentucky University) she also writes about faculty and events while she was there. Strong points of the collection are the school photographs that she collected from various schools where she taught and her personal report cards showing curriculum throughout her school career.

Abner Baker Memorandum Book

Abner Baker Memorandum Book

Abner Baker used this memorandum book to record events, dates, etc. relating to the family. In it he has transcribed letters, quotes from books and poetry. He also has a brief autobiography at the start of the book. He occasionally included news clippings as well. The text includes a significant amount of Christian teachings and sermons as Mr. Baker was a part-time preacher in addition to serving as court clerk in Clay County, KY.

Amos Bargdoll Goldrush Diary

Amos Bargdoll Papers

The bulk of the papers is a diary by Amos Bargdoll. Written in 1850, Bargdoll chronicles his journey from Nebraska to Ringgold, CA where he planned to dig for gold. The diary includes a list of letters he sent during his journey as well as a daily list of the miles he traveled. Several sketches are found in the final pages of the diary. The papers also include a transcript of a letter written by Bargdoll from California to his father-in-law. A letter and other personal writings by Anna Bargdoll, Amos Bargdoll's daughter, complete the collection.

Chenault Family Correspondence

Chenault Family Papers

Interesting collection for researchers studying slavery, religion, and the economic situation in Kentucky during the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection has important documents regarding slavery in folder eight. Information regarding religion can be found in folder three, notably some documents reveal historical breaks in the church. Theological discussions regarding Campbellism and other movements of the time can also be found. Family correspondence relating to slavery and morality can be found in folder 5 and other documents revealing enslaved people held by the family are in folder 8.

Ms book titled "The Treaties on Mathematical Subjects

Crooke Family Papers

John Crooke was the county surveyor in Madison County, KY and these family papers include early survey books throughout the 19th century as his son and grandson followed in his footsteps. This collection is an excellent source of information for researchers of early Kentucky history and pioneers in the American west. The papers can also be used to study the life of an educated man of the period. In his writings and diaries John Crooke reflects on weather, land, religion, and other subjects considered important to this pioneer. The collection also includes several manuscript arithmetic books written by members of the Crooke family which show how math was taught in the early part of the 19th century.

Cook Family Daughters Correspondence

Richard A. Edwards Papers

The Richard Alexander Edwards Collection contains documents from Mr. Edwards, and early documents of the Cook/Gatewood families, of which Pauline Cook, Edwards's wife, is a descendant. In addition to these family documents dating back to the early 19th century, there are scrapbooks of farm records and daily life. R.A. Edwards added to the scrapbook collection with notes on bee-keeping. Edwards saved many notes and compositions from his school days that are included in this collection. He also left teaching materials from his time teaching in rural schools, as well as at Eastern Kentucky State College. Finally, this collection contains memorabilia--certificates, diplomas, invitations, Christmas cards and various other remembrances that have been placed in a box of miscellaneous papers. The collection is not only useful for historical research, but also for a look at the life of a Kentucky student and educator in the early 20th century. Also in this series is a collection of letters pertaining to Edwards's work.

Theodore Fleck Correspondence

Theodore Fleck Correspondence

All the letters in this collection were written by Edith (Edythe) Mellinger, a Richmond, KY resident who was writing to Theodore Fleck of Milwaukee, Wisconsin during World War I. Their correspondence began through a program to get young women to write to soldiers, so the couple never met face to face until after the war. The letters talk briefly about happenings in Richmond, but mostly they are getting to know each other. In one letter Edith is working in Washington, DC and she describes her life there.

Green Family Financial Records

Green/Fife/White Family Papers

The Green - Fife - White Family Papers consist of correspondence and other documents from the family of Daniel Green and Margaret Ross Green and their descendants. The letters from Ireland to Alexander Fife are especially interesting as they discuss the economic and political situation in Ireland as well as information about family members and neighbors. The last letter in that series briefly mentions the Potato Famine. Much of the correspondence to Mary Fife was written during the Civil War and includes information about wartime currency and other things relevant to the war. There are also numerous documents relating to slaves and slavery including a ledger which records slave birth dates and children from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Manuscript Version of "My Life"

Henry Allen Laine Papers

Henry Allen Laine (10 Jan 1870-15 Oct 1955) was born and raised in Madison County, Kentucky to Washington and Amelia Madeline Laine. Henry married Florence Benton on 22 Dec 1897. Henry and Florence had nine children: eight girls and one boy.

Laine was an educator in Madison County for twenty-one years. He was the founder of the Madison County Colored Teachers Association and was the chairman of the association for twenty years. Laine was the first African-American county extension agent and he organized a farmers club in 1915 for the African-American farmers in Madison County. He was also responsible for forming the Colored Chautauqua, a combination fair and outdoor educational event to bring cultural, religious and social opportunities to the community. Laine also fought against the closure of Berea College to blacks in the early 1900s.

Laine was widely known as a poet. His most famous volume, entitled Foot Prints, was so popular that is was printed three times--1914, 1924, and 1947. In 1947, Laine was named "Man of the Year" by his colleagues at the Richmond High School. He was also inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2003.

Correspondence from Martha Bohannon Major to Samuel Ire Monger Major, I

Major Family Papers

The Major Family was a prominent Frankfort, KY family in the mid-nineteenth century. The bulk of the material in this collection relates to Samuel Ire Monger Major II, mayor of Frankfort following the Civil War, a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives and owner of the Kentucky Yeoman. A number of documents also relate to his father, Samuel Ire Monger Major I, who was Clerk of the Penitentiary of Kentucky and noted civic leader in early Frankfort; his brother, Dr. Patrick Major, who was also his business partner and confidant whose correspondence reflects their close relationship; and his son, Patrick Upshaw Major, a well-known attorney and judge. There is correspondence that relates to family and business matters, personal documents that range from poetry to journals, business and financial papers that concern a wide range of endeavors, land and legal documentation such as deeds and land grants for holdings in Kentucky and Virginia as well as other states, and political material that relates to campaigns and political beliefs.

Correspondence to Julia Osborne from Thomas D. Osborne

Thomas D. Osborne Papers

This collection contains the personal correspondence of Thomas DeCourcy Osborne, private in the Sixth Kentucky Infantry, which was part of the "Orphan Brigade" and later major general of the Third Brigade of the Kentucky Division.

Most of the letters were written to Osborne's father, mother and sisters during his years of service in the Civil War. He recounted experiences of camp--loneliness, pastimes and privation--that were common to many young men who served in the war. One letter written by Amos Fox, friend and family member, describes the physical suffering Osborne endured from a wound received against Sherman's invading forces.

Hamilton Raven Diary

Hamilton Raven Wagon Train Diary

This diary was written by Hamilton Raven to describe his 1862 journey from Michigan to California for his family. Raven was a school teacher, and he beautifully describes the scenery and travel conditions as he travels across the country. He also talks about the food, weather, and Indian attacks. The volume is small and he writes for only three months, but it is an excellent description of the hardships of a wagon train trip across the country.

William Rodes Shackelford Diary

Shackelford Family Papers

The Shackelford Papers, through correspondence, diaries, photographs, newspaper clippings and other materials, document the public career and personal life of William Rodes Shackelford and his family. The correspondence series consists of letters Shackelford received from his classmates at Central University, Richmond, KY acquaintances, and business associates. Glimpses of Richmond educational, social and cultural life are found in the correspondence along with discussions on local, state and national political issues are covered, especially the watershed 1896 presidential election between William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley and the Spanish American War.

Shackelford kept a diary beginning when he was 18 and entering Central University and continuing until 1912 with a break from 1890 to 1907. The diary from his Central University time includes details about his student days. Also of interest are the ledgers of Dr. S.M. Letcher which indicate who he treated and what they were treated for. The Legal Documents series includes materials from a number of suits involving the Clay family and a case involving betting on an election.

ALS John and Lusinda Walkup to Samuel and Nancy Walkup

Samuel Walkup Letters

These family letters span two decades of antebellum history and are an excellent source for social, cultural and economic information from that era. Slavery is discussed and the relationship between slaves and owners is revealed as the writer mentions family members, both white and African-American. Domestic violence is revealed in the letters from Samuel's children Betsy and John. Politics are also discussed as well as prices of crops in Missouri and North Carolina. The letters also document several generations of the Walkup family in North Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri.

Velma Nisius Diary

Wallace Family Papers

Through correspondence, diaries, speeches, photographs, news clippings, and other primary source materials the public career and personal life of William Luxon Wallace and his family are documented. Glimpses of late nineteenth century Richmond, KY social and political life can be found in the correspondence of Wallace's father, Coleman Covington. In addition, due to Wallace's significance as an organizer in the Kentucky Republican Party, the collection sheds some light on the party's history during the first half of the twentieth century. It also contains political memorabilia which Wallace assembled along with a quantity of materials that document his World War I experience. The correspondence is mostly personal and covers Republican Party activities, World War I, and the proper behavior expected from young women of the 1920s. Other letters deal with various state and national elections. When Wallace served on the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents, the subject of the correspondence shifts to Eastern. The collection also includes several diaries from the women in the family, Wallace’s wife wrote over a span of 44 years; his sister wrote while she was at school in Louisville in the 1920s and there is one volume from his sister-in-law.

Letters to Emma Watts from Margaret [Jones Benton]

Watts Family Papers

The Watts family consisted of William Walker Watts (1836-1912), Mary Buford Parkes Watts (1838-1934) and their daughter Emma Parkes Watts (1887-1970). William was the son of Charles Sinclair Watts and Elizabeth Walker Watts. Mary was the daughter of John White Parkes and Elizabeth Buford Parkes. William built Elmwood after his marriage and their only daughter Emma was born there in 1887 and lived there her entire life. Emma attended Vassar College and took several trips to New York and Europe with her mother. She never married and lived at Elmwood with her parents until each of their subsequent deaths. Watts was a collector of antiques and was an avid reader. This collection consists of correspondence, photographs, ephemera, financial records and legal documents that were left in Elmwood at the time of Emma Watts' death. The collection spans three branches of the family (Parkes, Walker, and Watts) and covers nearly 150 years. The bulk of material is from 1878 and later and pertains to the Watts family; however, the Parkes family, particularly James B. Parkes, is well-represented within the collection.

The Watts family owned thousands of acres of land the Brazos Basin area of Texas and in the Texas Panhandle. The land in the Brazos Basin was used as a plantation growing, while the Texas Panhandle land served as a cattle ranch called Z-L Ranch. The histories of both these properties are richly detailed through correspondence with lawyers and foreman and through the vast amount of legal documents that were kept; including lawsuits, tax receipts, and land surveys.

The voluminous correspondence between William and Mary Watts and their daughter Emma while she attended Vassar and traveled reveals family dynamics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other correspondence from friends and family reveals social customs and culture of the time. Members of the Watts family were involved in the Madison Female Institute, the Richmond Cemetery, Liberty Hall in Frankfort, the Democratic Party, the National Society of Colonial Dames and the Daughters of the American Revolution and this collection includes documents relating to all those organization. A significant part of the collection concerns the Elmwood property, including gardens, farming, furniture, and renovations and repairs to the house.