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Special Collections & Archives: Who We Are

Collecting Areas

Manuscript Collections

Manuscript Collections consist of primary source materials such as organizational records and personal papers. The collections document the geographic service region of the University and provide research materials to enhance the educational mission of EKU. 

Special Collections

Special Collections consists primarily of books and periodicals relating to Kentucky history and literature, to Appalachia or Appalachian studies, by Kentucky authors, and that are genealogical in nature. In addition, Special Collections houses rare and at-risk material, items of artifactual interest, and EKU faculty publications. 


William H. Berge Oral History Center

The William H. Berge Oral History Center houses extensive oral history projects that document institutional and local histories, as well as national and global events, themes, and people. With over 4,500 interviews, the Center provides research opportunities for students, faculty, and community members across disciplines. 


University Archives

The University Archives seeks to properly and consistently maintain Eastern's records in accordance with Kentucky state law. However, the value of University records goes far beyond mere legal obligation. Records such as University photographs, minutes of policy-making bodies, memos, campus maps, and correspondence help document the University's history and provide a reference for a past that could otherwise be forgotten.

Collecting Themes

  • Activism and Social Justice: Collections will be acquired which document social activism such as organized labor, environmental protection, anti-discrimination, and other issues relevant to the region. 
  • African American History: Materials documenting the south-eastern Kentucky African American experience from the period of enslavement through the present will be sought. 
  • Agriculture: Collections documenting farming activities from subsistence level family farms to organizational records of agriculture-based businesses and groups and those which document the activities of farm laborers will be acquired.
  • Appalachian History: Since our service region consists almost entirely of Appalachian counties, materials that document the history and culture of the region will be collected. Specific areas of interest include politics and political issues; arts and literature; agricultural businesses and farm labor; coal mining industry and the lives of coal miners; the history and impact of education; environmental concerns; and social justice issues. 
  • Arts and Literature: Collections will be acquired which document authors, performers, and artisans from the EKU service region. Three-dimensional objects supporting research in this area will be selectively acquired.
  • Churches and Religious History: Collections which document churches and church members in the region will be collected, particularly those from early churches which document the culture of the church.
  • Eastern Kentucky University History: Materials documenting the history of EKU and predecessor institutions—Central University and Walters Collegiate Institute will be acquired.
  • Education: Collections of personal and organizational records which document the history and impact of education in the region will be collected.
  • Environment: Materials documenting environmental issues in the service region will be acquired. These could include materials relating to strip mining, mountaintop removal, logging and deforestation and chemical weapons disposal. 
  • Health and Medical Care: Collections which document the history of nursing and occupational therapy as well as those relating to health and medicine in the region will be acquired. Also, of interest are the history and records of non-profit providers in the area.
  • Law Enforcement, Corrections and Fire Science: Personal papers of law enforcement, correctional and fire personnel will be collected to document the history of these professions and the issues surrounding them.
  • Sports History: Collections related to high school and college sports, or athletes will be collected. Of particular interest are materials which document the participation of women and girls in organized sports. 
  • Veteran’s Papers: Collections documenting the lives of soldiers from all wars as well as the lives of those who remained on the home front will be acquired. Also of interest are Veterans who served during peacetime, whether stationed at home or abroad.
  • Women’s History: Materials documenting the role of women in the history of Kentucky will be collected. Especially those collections that document social justice issues relating to women and the lives of women from underrepresented populations.