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Elmer L. Foote served as official photographer of the Cincinnati Public Library for many years, and produced photographs that appeared in the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune during the early years of the twentieth century. Lantern slides are glass positive transparencies, viewed through a back lit projector. The Lexington Public Library does not have record of when the slides were donated, or the donor’s name. Records do indicate that the library purchased a projectoscope for viewing glass slides in 1912, and a separate lantern slide collection was donated to the library in 1919. The slides contain examples of posed portraiture, scenery from around Kentucky, documentation of the new High Bridge, as well as several historic buildings and homes, some of which are unidentified.
He was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut on February 27, 1863, the son of Edwin Foote and Ellen Hodges Foote, both natives of Connecticut. He came to Cincinnati about 1884 and married Estelle Allee of Cincinnati in 1888. Foote died at age 56 in Norwood, Ohio on September 21, 1919 and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio. Foote's obituary in the Commercial Tribune of September 22, 1919 describes him as nationally known, and mentions his "photographic genius." The article further describes Foote's pictures taken among the Cumberland Mountains and outdoor scenic snow views, appearing at intervals in the Commercial Tribune, as photographic classics.
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.
The library has a variety of directories and yearbooks with local information. In the library's current digital collection, there is a selection of residential and street directories, yearbooks, school directories, and organizational directories. These are all fully word-searchable.
The Kentucky Images collection contains postcards, photographs and slides of people, architecture, and locations in Kentucky and Appalachia.
The Materials Selection Policy was initially adopted February 25, 1987 by the Lexington Public Library Board of Trustees and was revised March 24, 1993. The Materials Selection Policy was updated and renamed the Collection Development Policy which was approved by the Board on January 14, 2009. The Board of Trustees assumes full responsibility for all legal actions which may result from the implementation of any policies stated herein.
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.
The Hamilton Female College catalogs list the school’s Board of Trustees, faculty, alumnae, graduates that year, directory of students, courses of study, and the members of each department. Policies for students and parents regarding boarding, correspondence, school attendance, graduation, and expenses are also included. The included directories cover 1891/1892 and 1895/1896.
Hamilton Female College began in 1869, named the Hocker Female College after founder James M. Hocker. The name was changed in 1878 after a donation by William Hamilton. The Kentucky University – later Transylvania University – gained control of the school in 1903 and Hamilton became a junior college, the first two-year college in the state of Kentucky. The College closed in 1930, with the building converted to the Lyons-Hamilton Hall dormitory and was razed in 1962.
Information from Lexington: Heart of the Bluegrass by John D. Wright, Jr., 1982.
The Knowles Postcard Collection contains images of notable Kentucky locations, such as Ashland, Keeneland, and Mammoth Cave, as well as county courthouses, farms, schools, and many others. The 84 images are both artist-drawn and photographs from the early to mid-20th Century.
The Knowles Postcard Collection was donated to Lexington Public Library by Johnson and Catherine Knowles, along with their son Colin, in 2006. The Kentucky postcards are part of a larger collection of 14,000 cards inherited from Johnson’s mother, JoAnn Baxter Zeisler, which consisted of images from across the United States. Upon inheriting the collection, the Knowles family decided to donate sets of postcards to their respective locations in museums, libraries, and historical societies throughout the United States.
The Lexington History Museum began in 1999, and opened its doors in the Old Courthouse in 2003. Its purpose is to educate Fayette County about its rich history, and preserve pieces of that history for future generations. The Old Courthouse closed in 2012 for extensive renovations. The History Museum still creates exhibits and works on school and film collaborations to create an understanding and appreciation of local history.
The History Museum's Community Collections currently contains part of the exhibit "Our Fair City: The 1999 Lexington Fairness Ordinance," which was displayed in the summer of 2019 at the Lexington Public Library, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordinance's passage.
Lena Hart Tobey (1869-1939) was born in Mississippi to Thomas and Susan Watson Hart. In the 1890s, she attended school in Lexington, Kentucky. She married Ellis Tobey in 1896 and died in 1939 in Arkansas.
After Lena Hart Tobey's death, her daughter Myrtis inherited a collection of photographs in a scrapbook. The family donated the Lexington, Kentucky marked cabinet cards to the Lexington Public Library in 2001. Some of the young adults in the photos have been named, though most have not.
Major Henry Clay McDowell purchased the Ashland Estate from Kentucky University in 1882 with his wife, Anne Smith Clay McDowell, who was a granddaughter of Henry Clay. The McDowells took great care to revive the grounds to their former glory and made several lasting improvements, including the construction of a glass conservatory adjoining the terrace, which is visible in several of the collection's images. During the period that Ashland was owned by Kentucky University, a large Mechanical Hall was erected on the grounds, which the McDowells converted to a stable and used to reestablish Ashland as a thoroughbred stock farm. The tenure of the McDowells at Ashland was marked by numerous celebrations and social events on the grounds.
This photo collection shows one of many gatherings of friends and family, taken circa 1894, which included a parade of the estate’s horses. Thoroughbreds Impetuous, King Reine, Oratorio, Argentina, and Bracegirdle are all being proudly shown at this event. Photos also show members of the McDowell family in attendance, including Major McDowell and his wife, and their daughters Nanette, Julia, and Madeline. The author John Fox Jr. was a frequent guest of the McDowells at Ashland and can be seen in one image playing a banjo on the lawn.
Information on the history of Ashland from Ashland: the Henry Clay Estate by Eric Brooks, 2007.
St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church was formally created in the Covington Diocese in 1868, by Father John Bekkers. Still an active parish, the church has celebrated its 150th anniversary and is still in its original building in downtown Lexington.
The Take Back Cheapside Collection is a community collection from DeBraun Thomas. The featured postcard of the historic Fayette County Courthouse at was used as a part of the Take Back Cheapside movement in Lexington in 2017. The old courthouse was originally built in 1898. The photo was undated but taken circa 1905.
Tina Belle Green Winters Simpler Young (1880-1930), was born in Elmville, Kentucky. Known as Tiny, she was believed to be a sex worker in the 1920s and 30s, and sent $5.00 a week home to support her sister. For a time she worked in the Crawl section of Frankfort, then she moved to Lexington, and finally lived the rest of her life in Cincinnati. The queerness of sex work, a marginalized woman using sex to support family, provides context both to this collection bearing her name and to the LGBTQ+ community that has historically formed families on the sexual margins.
The Publications Collection contains runs of historical Kentucky newspapers, almanacs, and magazines.
The Kentucky History collection contains Kentucky-related documents not specifically related to Fayette County.
Fayette County, Kentucky, has changed enormously since it was created in 1792. This collection contains government documents for the city of Lexington, for Fayette County, and for the merged Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, as well as funeral notices, club directories, scrapbooks, image collections and a history of Lexington Public Library.