The newly digitized materials at UK focus on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The 10 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 individuals who grew up and made possible this economic development.
Above: From the Means family papers
UK SCRC was originally awarded the NEH’s Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRC) grant for the Coal, Camps, and Railroads project in 2013. The HCRC program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. Thousands of libraries, archives, museums and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts; photographs, sound recordings and moving images; archaeological and ethnographic artifacts; art and material culture; and digital objects. Funding from this NEH program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.
UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries’ collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Combs Appalachian collection and ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Below: From the Kentucky Union Land Company records