KDL: Kentucky Digital Library


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Name: Kentucky Digital Library

URL: kdl.kyvl.org

Purpose & Audience:


KDL About Page

Information Sources:

Collections and subsets of collections selected for inclusion relate directly to Kentucky history and culture and have a broad appeal on geographic, content and study levels. The materials are not widely available and oftentimes unique. Kentucky archivists propose collections at the repositories based on their evaluation of the materials’ appeal and appropriateness. -KDL About Page

Information Services: 

Digital materials can be explored using item, thumbnails, details, text, and pdf.  The item tab accesses the digital image of the material, details contains metadata, text provides transcription of documents, pdf takes users to a pdf file of the item. Otherwise, no support or context is provided on the materials, or any services provided.


Three Interesting Features: Maps, Newspapers and Images


Genealogy researchers interested in Kentucky kinfolk will find this site an invaluable resource.  Perusing the site, I used Maps, Newspapers, and Books to explore family history.


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Members of the Ballard family moved from rural Owenton to a bustling town across the river from the big city of Cincinnati. That must have been quite a change. Maybe this map can help me explore that question?



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Sheet 1 of Covington, Kentucky. This map is incredibly detailed, but as each sheet progresses, it is possible to see even more detail, including exactly what businesses were at each address.


Sheet 2 of Covington Kentucky. This sheet has even greater detail, with  detailed notes. A city directory I found elsewhere tells me their house number.


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Sheet 3 of Covington Kentucky This sheet details whether lights were on a particular corner, if there were stairs etc. Since I have my family’s address, I can locate them exactly on the map! This offers insights into what their lives were like and maybe what they were doing.

Newspapers: The Kentucky Gazette, Lexington Kentucky, April 30, 1840

These clippings provide insight into the concerns of Kentuckians in 1840, and their world view. Patent medicines and equipment is listed for sale alongside human beings. Rewards notices are placed for runaway slaves. This harsh juxtaposition underscores the brutal reality of life in the slave south in this period.

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Books about Daniel Boone, a leading pioneer in the settlement of Kentucky and an important figure in the commonwealth’s history, written during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Knowing what sort of heroes were admired and the way in which they were framed during this period offers insights into the worldview of Kentuckians at this time.

Life  and Adventures of Daniel Boone: The First Settler of Kentucky by Timothy Flint 1868


The Life of Boone also, The Life and Times of Col. Daniel Boone, Hunter, Solider, and Pioneer by Edward S. Ellis, 1884