Skip to main content

Populist/Progressive Era, 1890-1913: Primary Sources in Special Collections: Primary Sources in Special Collections (A - D)

This guide will help you find primary sources pertaining to the Populist/Progressive Era.

Primary Manuscript Sources With Online Finding Aids (A-D). Click On Links To Access Full Collection Descriptions.

Primary Manuscript Sources Without Online Finding Aids (A-D).

S.T. Barlow Mercantile Ledger, Cynthiana, Kentucky, 1892-1894. 1 volume. This Accession (#46M85) is part of the Thomas D. Clark Mercantile Records Collection.


Beck and Bonny (or Denny) Mercantile Ledgers, Waco, Kentucky, 1908-1918. 8 volumes. This Accession (#46M86) is part of the Thomas D. Clark Mercantile Records Collection.


Black & Blackburn Papers, Van Buren, Kentucky, 1901-1926. 21 volumes, 2 pieces. This Accession (#46M87) is part of the Thomas D. Clark Mercantile Records Collection.


Blaine Family Papers, 1816-1986. This collection consists of the Robert J. Blaine, Jr. Account Book and Diary (1816-1850s), a scrapbook compiled by Iva Watson Hume of Independence, Kentucky, a Robert C. Blaine ambrotype, the 19th and 20th century records of Dr. Alexander Dunlap Blaine, an emancipation speech in 1862 by George Washington Dunlap in Congress, letter from William H. Nichols to his father detailing his capture near Mt. Sterling in 1862, reminiscences of Nichol's service in the Confederacy published in the Honolulu Advertiser in 1930, and a copy of a speech by Moreland N. Blaine on being a country doctor to the Grant County Historical Society in 1986. (Accession #1997MS145)


Desha Breckinridge Papers, 1870-1935. Desha Breckinridge (1867-1935) was the son of Issa Desha Breckinridge and William C.P. Breckinridge.  He attended Princeton University and the University of Virginia and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1893. From 1893 through 1900 he practiced in his father's law firm, Breckinridge & Shelby, in Lexington, Kentucky.  During the Spanish-American War he was an aide de camp to his uncle Major General J. C. Breckinridge.  In 1897 he became the publisher of the Lexington Herald and in 1904, its editor.  Breckinridge married Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, a nationally recognized advocate for women's rights and social causes, in 1898.  Desha Breckinridge remarried in 1929 to Mary Frazier Lebus.  Breckinridge was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1920, 1928, and 1932. These papers contain his extensive correspondence with friends, family, and business associates.  In addition, the Desha Breckinridge papers contain financial information, contracts, speeches, information on horse racing, and his involvement with a Montana company mining vermiculite and asbestos.  Finally, family related materials include approximately 60 photographs, realia, a Confederate broadside issued by Simon Bolivar Buckner at Bowling Green, Sept 18, 1861, and papers relating to W.C.P. Breckinridge's estate. (Accession #1997MS136)


Sidney and Isabella Clay Papers, 1797-1952. This collection consists generally of correspondence to and from Sidney Payne Clay (1800-1834) between 1814-1834 and to and from his wife, Isabella Reed Clay, between 1830-1850. Correspondents include Sidney's father, Green Clay (1757-1828) and his mother, Sally Payne Lewis Clay (1776-1867), Sidney's brothers Brutus J. Clay (1808-1878) and Cassius M. Clay (1813-1900), and their son, Sidney R.G. Clay. Other writer's include Mrs. Margaret M. Reed, Isabella's mother, Mrs. A.G. Smith, Isabella's sister, and Thomas A. Marshall. The letters discuss family matters, agriculture, slaves and slavery, land acquisitions and holdings, and travel, particularly between Bourbon and Madison counties, Kentucky. One series of letters (1819-1820) between Green and Sally P. Clay and son Sidney sheds significant information on the latter's schooling at Princeton University. The collection also contains a Green Clay broadside addressed "to the People of Madison County", n.d., which announces he is running for the state legislature again and which addresses the issue of the Tennessee lands question. (Accession #2005MS015)


Clay-Ellis Papers, 1851-1895. The primary research focus of this collection is the correspondence between Cassius M. Clay (1810-1903) and Minnie Louise Ellis Wolfe (1861-1938). Clay met Minne Ellis at her grandfather's home in Indiana and thereafter, during the period 1884 to 1891, the two exchanged approximately 100 letters. In addition,Clay sent Ellis copies of many of his contemporary speeches and writings in the form of pamphlets or broadsides. Clay's letters to Ellis are detailed and contain discussions pertaining to the issues of the day including politics, women and women's rights, ornithology, and literature. In reply to an inquiry about his daughter, Laura Clay, Cassius wrote, "Yes, my silly daughter has taken avidly to 'woman's rights.'" Clay also discusses matters regarding his personal life including his speeches and public appearances, the progress of his memoir, his recollections of Russia, his role in the purchase of Alaska, and his old wounds and health. Early in their correspondence Clay complained of being lonely and noted that, "I am all alone now, and must seek companionship in distant persons" (January 21, 1885). By 1887 he abandoned all pretense that he wanted Ellis to simply be his correspondent as he expressed his love for her and asked her to marry him (March 17, 1887). Citing the extreme difference in their ages, Ellis deftly refused his entreaty. Ellis eventually asked for the return of her letters, a request in which Clay acquiesced. Ellis married Valentine W. Wolf, a jeweler, on October 29, 1889. Minnie Louise Ellis Wolf had two daughters who lived beyond infancy, Grace (a teacher) and Euretta (a musician). Upon the death of her husband, she moved to California with her young daughters. The collection also contains letters written to and from Minnie Louise Ellis' mother, Louise McClure (1841-1863), the daughter of early Marion, Indiana settlers Susannah and Samuel McClure. Letters to and from Louise include those to her parents and to her siblings Mary (E. Gordon) and brother Erastus while she attended the American Female College at Glendale, Ohio located fifteen miles from Cincinnati in the Ohio River Valley. The institution (1854-1929), which changed its name to the Glendale Female College in 1857, began as an academy and finishing school for both public day school students and boarding school students such as Louise McClure. McClure's letters provide interesting details of the educational process and life in general at the college. The collection also includes several essays written by McClure while she attended Glendale. Louise McClure married Dr. Jonathan. W. Ellis (1827-1889) of Peru, Indiana. After her death at the age of twenty-two, her daughter Minnie was primarily raised by her grandmother Susannah McClure. Minnie attended Hellmuth Ladies College in London, Ontario. The collection contains a series (1870-1879) of letters she wrote to her grandparents.The collection also contains diplomas, licenses, crayon drawings, school papers, embroidered bookmarks, invitations, programs and numerous (86) photographs of the McClure, Ellis, and Wolf families. In addition, some of the images exchanged between Minnie Ellis and Cassius Clay are also included. (Accession #1997MS251)


Colored Orphan Society of Lexington, 1892-1979. These are the records of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home, "a perpetual foundation for the relief and benefit of orphan children and aged women of the colored race."  The home was chartered in September, 1892, but did not attain  state organizational recognition until March, 1918. In 1971 the Colored Orphan and Industrial Home, which was located at 644 Georgetown Street in Lexington, became the Lexington-Fayette County Children's Home.  The collection, which largely covers the period 1892-1979, contains annual reports, articles of incorporation (including amendments), audit reports, bank books, by-laws, cancelled checks,  care agreements, case histories, court records for City vs. Colored Orphan Industrial Home (1939), correspondence (1903-1976), deeds, donor sheets, food menus, records showing stock ownership in the Greenwood Cemetery, insurance records, inspections reports, Shoe Shop Records, Treasurer's Reports, invoices, letterhead, meeting minutes (including those of The Colored Orphan Board of Managers), photographs, receipts, blueprints, children's/resident records, and newspaper clippings. (Accession #1997MS232)


Crandall-Griswold Family Papers, ca. 1810-1895. In 1838 John P. Morton joined with his brother-in-law Henry A. Griswold to open a book, stationary, printing, and binding business known as Morton and Griswold on Main Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1855 Griswold's two sons and Edward Bangs joined the firm which changed its name to John P. Morton & Company. The company, which continued to operate through 1943, specialized in textbooks and dominated publishing in Kentucky through the 19th century. This collection consists of the Griswold Family and related family papers including those of the Thorntons, Slaughters, and Grant families. The collection contains more than 400 letters, legal documents, newspaper clippings, bills and receipts, photographs, and genealogical information. The correspondence includes: letters to and from Susan B. Thornton and her husband Reverend Francis Thornton (1819-1866); letters to and from Elizabeth Fitzgerald Thornton Grant Slaughter and her husband James Burr Slaughter; letters to Elizabeth (Mrs. Solomon K. Grant), daughter of Elizabeth and Reverend Francis Thornton; and letters to Annie C. Grant Griswold (daughter of Elizabeth and Solomon Grant and wife of Howard M. Griswold, treasurer of J.P. Morton & Company). Also included are the manuscript sermons written by Reverend Alexander Viets Griswold (1766-1843), bishop of the Eastern Diocese of the American Anglican Church (1810-1843), and the father of Henry A. Griswold who came to Kentucky to work as a tutor at Transylvania University. (Accession #1997MS243)