Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Appalachian Collections Available

We’re pleased to announce the first of the University of Kentucky Libraries’ NEH Coal, Camps, and Railroads collections have been digitized and ingested to ExploreUK. More information about the grant can be found at the end of this post.

The Sherrill Martin papers (1937-1954, undated; .63 cubic feet, 2 boxes) primarily comprises Carrs Fork Coal Company newsletters (1940-1945) containing line-drawing illustrations by Martin that accompanied articles and letter-format lectures on mine safety by general superintent P.A. Grady. The newsletter was either attached to, or on the reverse of, a pay stub. Martin’s illustrations reminded the miners receiving the pay stub/newsletter that mine safety was their responsibility and also their patriotic duty as part of the World War II war effort. The articles, lectures, and illustrations in the newsletters warned miners that if safety was not a priority in their daily work, they were aiding and abetting the enemy.

The collection also includes a series of pay stubs issued to Martin’s uncle, C.A. Dupree, from the Carrs Fork Coal Company and the Stoker Coal Company, 1937-1953. Other items include union and mine safety booklets and manuals, including a Coal Miner’s Safety Manual (1942), By-Laws of Carrs Fork Coal Co. Employees Burial Fund (undated), and a contract agreement between Hazard, KY Coal Operator’s Association and the UMWA, District 30 (1937-1939).

In most cases, the newsletters are photocopies of the originals. In addition, photographs of some of the line drawings are included.

Note: Some of the financial records for this collection were not slated for digitization.

These materials (0.5 cubic feet;  1 box) relate to the Tacony Oil Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its exploration for oil in Lawrence County, Kentucky and Burning Springs, West Virginia. The materials were previously arranged together as a scrapbook, but have been disassembled with the papers left in their original order. The collection is mostly comprised of correspondence, much of which has been transcribed, but there are also some legal, financial, and business papers. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded UK Libraries a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant to digitize 132 cubic feet (264,000 pages) of portions of the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection held in UK Special Collections, focusing on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The ten individual collections document the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry, and Powell counties; the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and the company towns, their services, and the individual lives that grew up to sustain and make possible this economic development. 

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