Martin F. Schmidt Research LibraryLocated on the second floor of the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Kentucky Historical Society Martin F. Schmidt Research Library is one stop shopping for over 90,000 published works, over 15,000 reels of microfilm, over 10,000 cubic feet of archival records including genealogical vertical files, manuscripts, photographs, maps and atlases, and over 9,000 oral history interviews.
Hours and visitor information.
For general information, contact library staff by calling 502-564-1792, ext. 4460, or e-mailing KHSrefdesk@ky.gov
The policies for using the KHS Library are in accordance with other special libraries and archives. Nonetheless, these policies differ from what most researchers would experience at a public or school library. These policies are important for the preservation of our materials for future researchers.
Purses, briefcases, waist-packs, backpacks, etc. are NOT allowed in the Reading Room. Lockers are available outside the library for patrons to store personal items. A quarter is necessary to operate lockers, but it will be returned.
Paper, research notes, electronic devices, and three-ring binders are allowed at tables in the Reading Room. Books, magazines, and original manuscript documents must be stored outside the research rooms. Exceptions to this rule can be discussed with Reference staff on a case by case basis.
Please use pencils only in the Reading Room. No pens, scanners, or personal copiers are allowed. Pencils are available at the Orientation and Reference Desks.
Hand-held cameras and electronic devices with camera capabilities may be used in the Reading Room without flash and/or tripod/stand. These images are to be used for personal reference only. You may not reproduce, publish, or exhibit these images without the permission of the Kentucky Historical Society. To request permission to publish, please contact the Kentucky Historical Society for a Use Agreement. Additional fees may apply.
Photocopy machines are located in the Reading Room. Researchers are responsible for obtaining necessary publication rights and/or copyright clearances before publication.
Patrons can purchase a Venda-card for use in photocopy machines and microfilm printers. Photocopies are $0.15 per page and microfilm copies are $0.30.
Research materials may not be removed from the Reading Room. All materials should be returned to designated re-shelving carts. Please do not re-shelve materials.
There are a limited number of microfilm reader-printers. During especially busy periods, KHS staff reserves the right to ask patrons to limit their use of these machines to copying only, and may request that those reviewing microfilm move to a reader.
Cell phones should be set to vibrate or at lowest volume. Please be considerate of the researchers around you. Calls should be taken outside the Reading Room.
Please do not mark or damage KHS collections with pencils, other writing implements or unsafe handling.
Smoking, food, and drinks are not allowed in the Reading Room.
As a precaution, all materials leaving the library are inspected by library staff.
The Kentucky Historical Society's collection of published works includes:
Kentucky state and county histories
Kentucky biographies and biographical histories
Historical and genealogical resources covering all 50 states
Indexed rosters of Kentucky soldiers through World War I
Historical and genealogical periodicals
Dozens of genealogical resources on CD-ROM, including the entire 1880 United States Census
Land records, including photocopies of original records housed in the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office, are available in the library's extensive reference collection. These records are also available on microfilm and some are available online through the Revolutionary War Database of the Kentucky Secretary of State's Land Office
Descriptions and locations of these materials can be found using the Kentucky Historical Society Collections Catalog
The Kentucky Historical Society's microfilm collections include:
U.S. censuses: Kentucky 1810-1880, and 1900-1930 with Soundex index for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 (partial); indexes for 1810-1870 censuses available in printed form
Tax lists, by county, dating from the formation of the county until 1875, and 1890
Kentucky vital records: births, marriages, and deaths from 1852-1910 when available (see County Microfilm Guide online for a list of available years for each county), including additional indexes and records for Lexington, Louisville, Covington, and Newport; statewide indexes for births (1911-1999), deaths (1911-1999), and marriages (1973-1999); uncertified death records from 1911-1958
County court records, including wills and marriages, from the formation of the counties to 1910, when available
Newspapers, nearly complete for 19th-century Frankfort and early Lexington; scattered issues for other localities in Kentucky
Microfilm of many KHS manuscript collections, as well as the Draper Manuscript Collection
Selected city directories for Kentucky, from the 19th and 20th-centuries
Land records; some of these records are available online through the Revolutionary War Database of the Kentucky Secretary of State's Land Office
Access to the microfilm collections is provided by printed finding aids available in the Microfilm Reading Room. Some microfilm resources are also included in the collections catalog
The Kentucky Historical Society Library's vertical files include:
Surname files with collected and contributed research, arranged alphabetically by family name
Abstracts of some wills, marriages, deeds, pensions and cemetery records, alphabetically by county
Files including Biography, Churches, Architecture and Historic Buildings, Kentucky Subject, General Subject, Kentucky County, etc.
The Kentucky Historical Society Library also houses a unique card file of vital records information compiled by the Works Progress Administration, covering 1852-1861, and existing statistics for the 1890s and early 1900s. Patrons may ask to see these files at the library's reference desk.