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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.

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 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.

Library meeting rooms are available for individuals, non-profit, for profit, study groups, and community organizations seeking to hold meetings, trainings, and workshops.  Meeting rooms are free of charge.  Sterno and other tools/equipment that have an open flame are prohibited.

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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 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

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.


Digital Archives - Collection

Old Kentucky Architecture is a comprehensive book by Rexford Newcomb that was published in 1940. It contains photographs and floor plans from significant architectural buildings all around Kentucky, but primarily focused on the central Kentucky region, that were built between 1767-1860. It also mentions several buildings designed by architect Gideon Shryock, as well as a few by John McMurtry.

The buildings included are Old Fort Harrod, Old Creel Cabin, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, William Crow House, Old Du Puy Farm House, Bardstown's Old Stone Jail, Colonel William Whitley House, Federal Hill, Liberty Hall, Wickland, Clay Hill, Benjamin Gratz House, Dr. John C. Lewis House, Rose Hill, The Grange, Ridgeway, Xalapa Farm, House on Edgehill Road, Castlewood, Woodlawn, Colonel Andrew Muldrow House, Dr. Ephriam McDowell House, Marshall House, Hopemont, Shropshire House, Eothan, Buford House, General McConnell Farm, Padgett House, Crittenden House, Layson House, Waveland, Bridge House, A. E. Hudnely Farm, Smokehouse, Ashland, Saint Joseph’s Church, Harrodsburg Old Physician’s Office, Old House, Orland Brown House, Diamond Point Passmore House, Chestnut House, Adams House, Moberly House, Mansfield, Showalter Residence, Professor McClure House, Brooker Residence, Rev. Dr. Robert Alexander Johnstone House, Scotland, Helm Place, Carrick House Whitehall, Old Capitol Building, Morrison College Transylvania University, Daughter’s College Harrodsburg, Centre College Old Main Hall, Giddings Hall Georgetown College, Jefferson County Court House, Bank of Louisville, Louisville Board of Education, Kentucky School for the Blind, Kentucky School for the Deaf, Cross Keys Tavern, Tomb of Matthew Shryock, Ingelside, Loudoun House, Mound Cottage, Botherum, Walnut Hill Church, Pigsah Church, Sexton’s Cottage Lexington Episcopal Cemetery, and the Abbey of Gethsemani.

Several of these buildings have been demolished. 

Digital Archives - Collection

The Kentucky Rally Songs pamphlet contains 42 songs compiled and printed by the state chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, to be used at the many gatherings and rallies that they organized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The songs, sung to popular tunes of the day, dealt with prohibition and women’s suffrage.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was an organization founded in 1873 to promote social reform along with Christian moral principles, and the Kentucky chapter was extremely active. In addition to politically supporting sympathetic political candidates, the WCTU also held many social events to advocate for alcohol and tobacco abstinence, with a focus on overall moral reform.

Information from the Kentucky Historical Society.