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The Lexington Public Library’s Digital Archives provide open access to researchers and students to learn more about the rich history of Lexington and Fayette County. It contains a fraction of the Library’s physical holdings, which are housed and available for reference in the Kentucky Room at the Central Library. New material is being digitized and added constantly, so there's always something new to find.

The archives have a simple keyword search, and it is possible to browse the collections by subject, area, or decade. The Lexington Public Library actively reviews and labels materials in our archives with statements that indicate how you may reuse the images, and what sort of permission, if any, you need to do so. Please check the information for each image to determine its legal status.

The Lexington Public Library has made an effort to ensure that all of our digital collections are public domain, or that we have gotten approval from the copyright holders to display their work. Most - but not all - of these collections, to the best of our knowledge, have no known US copyright restrictions. Some items in the collection are under copyright but qualify for online display by libraries under Section 108(h) of United States Copyright Law. Some of the collections provided in the Library's Digital Archives are made available under an assertion of fair use, which does not necessarily apply to an individual's use of them.

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Join us for Kentucky Legends: a series of programs exploring Kentucky culture, history, and lore. Programs include author visits, Chautauqua performances, live music, activities and crafts, and more.

The Digital Studio provides people of all skill levels the tools for filmmaking, photography and digital art, music making, and media preservation.

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Discover unique resources in our Digital Archives that tell the story of Fayette County.  Visit cemeteries throughout Central Kentucky using our cemetery maps.  Contact our resident experts in the Central Library's Kentucky Room with questions.

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Learn more about Fayette County and our rich history with the Kentucky Room's Digital Archives. Search photo collections, historical newspapers and publications, and community collections with a simple search. New material is continually being scanned and added.
 
Digital Archives - Collection

The Kentucky Gazette was the first paper established west of the Allegheny Mountains, founded by John and Fielding Bradford. The frontier paper focused on East Coast and International news, though some local announcements can be found. Later, the paper focused on disseminating opinions on politics and issues of concern on the frontier. When political parties emerged, the paper developed a Democratic (conservative at the time) bent. John Bradford handed the reins of the paper over to his son, Daniel Bradford, in 1802.

While still owned and occasionally edited by the Bradford family, the paper had several editors and publishers through the mid-1830s, when Daniel Bradford returned to the paper’s byline as editor. Daniel Bradford edited the paper until 1840, when he sold it to Jim Cunningham. The paper shuttered in 1848, due to Cunningham’s failing health, but was revived in 1866 and published until 1910 by different publishers.

The years 1841-1910 are not digitized as of January 2020, but are viewable on microfilm and in print in the Kentucky Room at Central Library. Selected articles are indexed in the Library’s Local History Index.
 

 

The Central Kentucky Cemeteries Maps are powered by Google Maps.  Counties include:  Fayette, Bourbon, Clark, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Nicholas, Powell, Scott, and Woodford.

Digital Archives - Collection - Group
Kentucky Progress magazine

The Publications Collection contains runs of historical Kentucky newspapers, almanacs, and magazines. 

Digital Archives - Collection
The Kentucky Military Institute was a military preparatory boarding school from 1845 to 1971, chartered by the state legislature in 1847. It had several homes, with the longest in Lyndon, Kentucky, outside of Louisville. There was also a winter campus for many years in Eau Gallie, Florida, and later in Venice, Florida.
 
The Cadet Adjutant was the school magazine written by the cadets at KMI. It varied as a bimonthly, then quarterly publication, and contained considerable information about events and alumni, as well as photos and cartoons. The issues in the digital archive were donated to the Lexington Public Library by the Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections.
 
Digital Archives - Collection
​The Kentucky School for the Deaf, located in Danville, was created in 1822.  The first class of students were admitted beginning in April 1823.  Through a partnership with Centre College, the school's board identified John Adamson Jacobs as a potential instructor for the school and sent him to train at the first school for deaf students in the US, the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.  He served as instructor, principal, and superintendent for KSD during the years from 1825-1869.  Jacobs Hall was built in 1857 and was named for him.  It is classified as a National Historic Landmark and is still in operation as the school's museum today.  From the beginning, KSD was committed to educating students academically while teaching life skills and providing vocational training. Deaf African American students began attending in 1885.
 
The Centennial History provides a detailed account of the formation of the school and its facilities, as well as its evolution through the first 100 years.  Financial structure of the school, methods of instruction, and the creation of the school newspaper and literary society are all discussed.  The book also contains lists of the names of all donors, trustees, commissioners, and students.  Officers of the school, which include superintendents, principals, teachers, and staff have a short biographical summaries accompanying their names.