HomeThemed Collections

Themed Collections

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Early Exploration (1750-1785)

Claiming Kentucky
Focus on early attempts for control of Kentucky region, including surveys, land companies, battles, laws, and treaties

Early interactions/Clashes with Native Americans/French

Important People/Organizations: Daniel Boone, Capt. Thomas Bullitt, Chief Cornstalk, Chief Oconostota, Dragging Canoe, Christopher Gist, James Harrod, Richard Henderson, Thomas Walker, Cherokee, Iroquois, Shawnee, Transylvania Company

Important Places/Events: Bluegrass Region, Boonesborough, Cave Gap (AKA Cumberland Gap), Falls of Ohio, Harrodstown (AKA Harrodsburg), Transylvania Colony, Wilderness Road, Treaty of Paris (1763), Proclamation of 1763, Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768), Lord Dunmore’s War, Treaty of Camp Charlotte (1774), Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (1775), Land Act of 1779

Settling Paradise
Everyday life for early KY settlers, focusing on cultural aspects

Transportation methods/routes & why they settled where they did

Interactions with Native Americans

Important People/Organizations: Chief Black Fish, Boone family, Jane Coomes, James Harrod, Mary Draper Ingles, Simon Kenton, Benjamin Logan, Rev. John Lyth, Thomas Parvin, Rev. David Rice, Cherokee, Shawnee, Traveling Church

Important Places: Bryan’s Station, Cumberland Gap, Falls of Ohio, Fort Boonesborough, Fort Harrod, Limestone Landing, Limestone Trace, Logan’s Fort, Ohio River, Wilderness Road

Important Events: American Revolution, Treaty of Camp Charlotte (1774), Siege of Boonesborough (1778), Battle at Blue Licks (1782), "Year of Blood" (1782), Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794)

Important Concepts: capote, clabber, "Eden of the West," flatboat, forts vs. stations, linsey–woolsey, salt lick, settlements, stockade, weskit


Building a New State (1780-1800)

The Road to Statehood (1780–1792)
Separation from VA: governance, Native Americans, transportation, land/legal issues

Important Events/Places: American Revolution, Battle of Blue Licks (1782), Battle of Yorktown, Statehood/Constitutional Conventions, Enabling Acts (1786-89), Jay–Gardoqui Treaty (1786), Spanish Conspiracy (1787-92), Alien & Sedition Acts, Kentucky Resolutions, Constitution Square, Danville, Kentucky County, Mississippi River, New Orleans

Important People/Organizations: John Bradford, Robert Breckinridge, George Rogers Clark, Harry Innes, John Jay, Benjamin Logan, Humphrey Marshall, Rev. David Rice, Thomas Todd, James Wilkinson, Danville Political Club (1786-90), Kentucky Gazette, Kentucky Militia

Important Concepts: commonwealth, ideology, land claim/grant/warrant, republicanism

Two Constitutions (1792–1800)
Foundation of Kentucky government based around the first two constitutions

Important Issues/Concepts: "Aristocracy" vs. "Commoners," constitutional convention, state vs. county government, electoral vs. popular voting, separation of powers, slavery

Important People/Places/Symbols: John Breckinridge, Alexander S. Bullitt (1st Speaker of the Senate; 1st Lt. Gov.), Gov. James Garrard, Harry Innes (1st Judge), Samuel McDowell, George Nicholas, Rev. David Rice, Gov. Isaac Shelby, Thomas Todd, Danville, Frankfort, Lexington, Capitol Building, Kentucky Gazette, State Seal

County to Commonwealth
Development of Kentucky & its initial counties leading to early statehood

Politics of land claims & policies, including regional population growth & diversity

Important Places/Events/Concepts: Cumberland Gap, Fincastle County, District of Kentucky, Ohio River, Battle of Blue Licks (1782), Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794), Ohio Valley Campaign (1778-79), Land Act of 1779, census, flatboat, land commissioner, military land warrants, squatter

Important People/Organizations: Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, James Harrod, Richard Henderson, Thomas Jefferson, Simon Kenton, Benjamin Logan, Thomas Paine, Charles Scott, court of land commissions, Kentucky militia, Transylvania Company

Growth of a New State (1800-1860)

The Nation’s New Commonwealth
State & national politics in the Antebellum Era

Important People/Groups: Robert J. Breckinridge, William Clark, Cassius M. Clay, Henry Clay, Charlotte Dupuy, Josiah Henson, Andrew Jackson, Isaac Shelby, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Delia Ann Webster, York; Cherokee, Chickasaw

Important Organizations: American Colonization Society, Berea College, Board of Education, Democrats, Know–Nothings, War Hawks, Whigs

Important Events: Louisiana Purchase (1803), River Raisin Massacre, Battle of Thames (1813), Treaty of Ghent (1814), Jackson Purchase (1818), Munsell Line (1819), "Old Court–New Court" controversy, Missouri Compromise (1820), Trail of Tears, Mexican–American War (1846–48), 1850 Constitution, Compromise of 1850, Bloody Monday (1855)

Important Concepts: 36°30’, abolition vs. colonization vs. emancipation, American System, compromise, fugitive slave laws, levy, manumission, naturalization, omnibus bill, replevin bill, sectionalism, slave code, slave vs. free state, Underground Railroad

Economic Infancy
Development of economic strengths & centers in Kentucky

Focus on transportation development, currency vs. barter, agriculture vs. early manufacturing, & slave trade

Important Places/Events: Bowling Green, Falls of Ohio, Lexington, Louisville, Mississippi River, New Orleans, Ohio River; Panic of 1819, Louisville and Portland Canal (1830), Nonimportation Act (1833), L&N Railroad

Important Concepts/Products: barge, cash vs. staple crop, country store, flatboat, "Forty Thieves," keelboat, locks & dams, mill, railroad, steamboat, subsistence agriculture, taxation, toll road/turnpike; hemp, livestock, tobacco

Antebellum Kentucky Character
Effect of urbanization, technological, and transportation progress on culture & life in pre-Civil War KY; cultural centers of Lexington & Louisville

Religion: camp-meeting; Cane Ridge Revival, Great Revival, Shakers

Education: influence of church/religion; medical schools, private academies; Choctaw Indian Academy, Transylvania University

Medicine: Jane Todd Crawford, Ephraim McDowell; folk remedies; Cholera epidemics (1832-35; 1848-54)

The Press: early libraries, KY Historical Society (1836), KY history, newspaper boom, specialized newspapers; Courier-Journal antecedents, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

Arts & Music: architecture, cultural societies, early photography, portraiture, silversmithing; J.J. Audubon Asa Blanchard, Matthew Harris Jouett; "My Old Kentucky Home" (1853)

Other Entertainment: agricultural exhibitions, horse racing, first racetracks stagecoaches, steamboats, traveling shows; Mammoth Cave, Springs

Civil War (1860-1865)

Failed Neutrality
Politics of the Civil War, including divisions, attempted compromises, & failed neutrality efforts

Important Concepts: 36°30’, border state, compromise, Confederate Kentucky, fugitive slave laws, habeas corpus, loyalty oath, martial law, neutrality, personal liberty laws, "Palmer Pass," popular sovereignty, secession, shadow government, slavery, states’ rights

Important People/Organizations: General Jeremiah T. Boyle, John C. Breckinridge, J.J. Crittenden, Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis, Confederate Gov. Richard Hawes, Confederate Gov. George W. Johnson, Pres. Abraham Lincoln, Gov. Beriah Magoffin, General John Palmer, Dept. of Kentucky (AKA Dept. of the Cumberlands)

Important Events/Places: Crittenden Compromise (1860), Peace Convention (1861), Russellville Convention (1861), Emancipation Proclamation (1862), 13th Amendment (1865), Bowling Green, Camp Nelson, Frankfort

Fighting Kentucky
Military actions in KY (e.g. State Guard, Home Guards, recruitment camps, battles, raids, guerrilla warfare)

Soldier life (e.g. daily life, African-Americans, raiders)

Important Places/Events: Bowling Green, Camp Boone, Camp Dick Robinson, Camp Nelson, Cumberland Gap, Frankfort, Battle of Richmond (1862), Battle of Perryville (1862), Morgan’s "Great Raid" (1863)

Important People/Organizations: Gen. Braxton Bragg, Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Gen. Don Carlos Buell, Gen. Stephen Burbridge, George "Lightning" Ellsworth, John Hunt Morgan, Sue Mundy, Lt. William Nelson, Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, Orphan Brigade, Wild Riders

Important Concepts: bushwhacker, "Camp Misery," hardtack, haversack, "Lincoln Guns"

Communities at War
Civilian life affected by the Civil War, including military occupation; economy; education; women’s roles; entertainment; patriotic music/literature

African–American life (e.g. slaves vs. freedmen vs. runaways/refugees; culture, mobility, & expression)

Important Events/Places: Emancipation Proclamation (1863), Great Hog Swindle (1864), 13th Amendment (1865), marriage law (1866), "Camp Misery," Camp Nelson

Important People/Organizations: Gov. Thomas Bramlette, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Union Maj. Gen. Speed S. Fry, Gen. E.A. Paine, Maj. Henry C. Symonds, Delia Ann Webster, Julia Ann Marcum, Home Guard, Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Sanitary Commission, Shakers, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Important Concepts: commissary, fractional currency, fugitive slave laws, guerilla, inflation, loyalty oath, military draft, "Palmer Pass," raider, refugee, segregation, sewing/quilting bee, slavery, Underground Railroad

Adapting to an Industrial Society (1865-1920)

Industrialized Culture
Effect of technology on Industrial Kentucky culture

Examination of rural/small town vs. urban life during Industrialization

Advances in transportation, lifestyle, fashion, entertainment, & social reform

Important Places/Events/Organizations: Churchill Downs, Macauley’s Theatre, Louisville Courier–Journal (1868), History of Kentucky (1874), Kentucky Derby (1875), "Happy Birthday" (1893), Kentucky State Fair (1902), Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Southern Railways

Important People: James Lane Allen, Carl Brenner, Laura Clay, Richard H. Collins, John Fox, Jr., D.W. Griffith, Eliza Calvert Hall, Mildred & Patty Hill, Annie Fellows Johnston, Carry Nation, Linda Neville, Cora Wilson Stewart, Henry Watterson, Enid Yandell

Important Inventions: automobile, cyanotype, electricity, heating systems, indoor plumbing, Kodak Stripping Roll, Louisville Slugger, phonograph, stereograph/stereoscope, streetcar/trolley (mule–drawn vs. electric), telephone, tractor, typewriter

Important Concepts: amateur photography, barter, bicycling, country fair, country store, court day, folk music, home delivery, local color writing, minstrel show, ethnic/specialized newspaper, parks, sculpture, self–sufficiency, tennis, vendor

Reform for the Ages
Reform in Kentucky thru Reconstruction, Industrialization, & Progressive eras

Focus on education, health, political, & social concerns

Important People: Gov. Luke Blackburn, Gov. W.O. Bradley, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Mary E. Britton, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Hardin Cherry, John Gregg Fee, William Goebel, Nathaniel Harper, John Marshall Harlan, H.A.M. Henderson, Gov. J. Procter Knott, Joseph & Arthur McCormack, Linda Neville, Katherine Pettit, Ora Porter, Cora Wilson Stewart, May Stone, James "Honest Dick" Tate, Fred Vinson

Important Organizations: Berea College, Colored Teachers Association, Eastern KY State Normal School, KY Education Association, KY Federation of Women’s Clubs, KY Illiteracy Commission, KY Library Association, KY Society for the Prevention of Blindness, KY State Board of Health, Lincoln Institute, Simmons University, Western KY State Normal School

Important Events: Tollgate Wars, KY Constitutional Convention (1890–91), Goebel Election Law (1895), weak compulsory education law (1896), Pure Food Law (1896), Goebel assassination (1900), Day Law (1904), Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), Berea College v. Kentucky (1908), Whirlwind Campaigns

Important Concepts: americanization, certification, child labor laws, discrimination, illiteracy, kindergarten, moonlight schools, nativism, normal schools, pardon, patent medicine, segregation, settlement schools

Merging Separate Spheres
Women’s Rights Movement in KY, mainly focusing on suffrage

Brief examination of other movements & private vs. public "spheres"

Important Concepts/Events: citizenship, discriminatory laws, lobbying, propaganda, separate spheres, suffrage, suffragist/suffragette, 19th amendment (1920), Progressivism

Important People/Organizations: Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Laura Clay, Emma Guy Cromwell, Kentucky Equal Rights Association , Kentucky Federation of Women’s Clubs, League of Women Voters, National American Woman Suffrage Association, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

Reconstruction & a Turbulent Era (1865-1900)

African–Americans & the Struggle for Equality
Negative & positive aspects of African–American life

Includes mob violence/intimidation & African–American rights/equality efforts

Important Events/Places: 13th/14th/15th amendments, marriage law (1866), U.S. Civil Rights Act (1866), Separate Coach Law (1892), Berea College, Berrytown (Louisville), Kentucky State Normal School for Colored Persons, Louisville National Medical College, Simmons University (AKA State University, Louisville)

Important People/Organizations: Gov. W.O. Bradley, Mary E. Britton, John Gregg Fee, Dr. Henry Fitzbutler, Nathaniel Harper, H.A.M. Henderson, Gov. Knott, Elijah Marrs, Isaac Murphy, Ora Porter, Colored Teacher’s Association, Freedmen’s Bureau, Ku Klux Klan, Regulators

Important Concepts: boycott, church/school burnings, Emancipation Day, "jim crow," lynchings, "Palmer Pass," prejudice, segregation, stereotype

Social Stereotyping
Violence & alleged lawlessness during Reconstruction, including vigilantism & feuding

Examination of resulting negative & positive Appalachian stereotypes, mainly perpetuated through local & national media

Important Concepts/People: local color writing, mountaineer, John Fox, Jr., Regulators

Notable feuds: "Bloody Breathitt," Hatfield–McCoy, Rowan County War

Industrial Kentucky (1870-1970)

King Coal
Development of the Coal Industry from Industrialization to present

Focus on company/miner relations, living & working conditions, and technological & political impacts

Important People/Organizations: Harry Caudill, John C.C. Mayo, State Inspector of Mines, Consolidation Coal Company, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)

Important Places/Events: Western/Eastern Coalfields, Jenkins, Harlan County, Middlesboro, Coal Town Booms, Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act

Important Concepts: boom & bust economy, broad form deed, coal camp/town, company store, mechanization, surface/deep-shaft mining, scrip, union

Tobacco Traditions
Development of Tobacco as KY’s cash crop from Industrialization to present

Impacting factors examined include taxation, big business, technological & political impacts, cultural/social perspectives, and health concerns

Important Events/Organizations: Black Patch Wars, Kerr–Smith Act (1934), Agricultural Adjustment Act, American Tobacco Company, Burley Tobacco Growers Co–operative Association, Burley Tobacco Society, Dark–fired Tobacco District Planters’ Protective Association (1904), Farmers’ and Laborers’ Union (1890), Patrons of Husbandry (AKA the Grange)

Important People/Concepts: Night Riders, U.S. Surgeon General, agrarian, white vs. dark burley tobacco, cash crop, curing barn, cultivation, hogsheads, mechanization, monopoly, parity, quota, self-sufficient, setting, suckers, tenant labor, topping

Bourbon Barons
History of liquor as a KY industry, focusing on Bourbon whiskey

Examination of process & impact of political/social causes/issues

Important Places/Events/People: Bourbon County, Bottled–in–Bond Act (1897), Temperance Movement, Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), Prohibition, Federal Alcohol Administration Act (1936), Irvin S. Cobb, Carry Nation

Important Concepts: alcoholism, bootlegging, dry/moist/wet county, distillery, moonshine, revenuers, stillage