UK Libraries Makes Jewish Federation of Bluegrass Collection Available to the Public

By Whitney Hale

University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center recently organized, inventoried and made available the records of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass. The project was funded through the Southern Jewish Historical Society’s Scott and Donna Langston Archival Grant, which encourages the preservation of archival materials related to Southern Jewish history.

The Langston Archival Grant provided funds to hire Erin Weber, a graduate student in the UK’s School of Information Science, to organize the records. The semester-long project resulted in 6.7 cubic feet of fully processed records from the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass Inc. This community and religious-based organization, whose previous iterations date back to the late 1800s, plays an important role in supporting the educational, charitable, social and cultural activities of the Jewish community in Central Kentucky.

The federation’s collection includes operational and administrative records, such as board minutes, event materials, newsletters, bulletins, reports and photographs. The records also include born-digital materials on diskettes, CDs and other media. Access to this collection will contribute to new scholarship and public understanding about the Jewish community in Lexington and Central Kentucky, an area that is underrepresented in the holdings of many Kentucky cultural heritage institutions.

In 2015, the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center partnered with the UK’s interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program to launch an initiative to identify, collect, preserve and make available personal papers, organizational records, oral histories and other primary sources that document Kentucky’s Jewish heritage. The Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass records were the first donation to UK Libraries as part of this project.

For more information on the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass records, contact Megan Mummey, collections management archivist, at or 859-257-6942, or Sarah Dorpinghaus, director of Digital Services and curator of Jewish Kentucky Heritage, at or 857-257-3329.

The Special Collections Research Center at UK Libraries is home to a 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 Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection, the John G. Heyburn Initiative 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.

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