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

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

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

Primary Manuscript Sources Without Online Finding Aids (H-K).

Hall and Davis Journal, Shelbyville, Kentucky, 1902-1903. 1 volume, 594 pieces. This Accession (#49M2) is part of the Thomas D. Clark Mercantile Records Collection.

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - William Cosby Papers, 1900-1912, 1906-1908 (bulk dates). This collection of 25 letters and an account book offers a look inside the activities of an African American day laborer in Cynthiana, Kentucky. William Cosby (1855-?) received sparse correspondence from his children, Anna Cosby Hansen who resided in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the semi-literate Bert Cosby (1879-), who lived in Lexington, Kentucky and drove a hearse. Many of the letters from his children ask William for money, which he seemed unable or unwilling to give them. Cosby was active in the Cynthiana chapter of St. John Lodge, which may have had some relationship to Prince Hall Freemasonry. Many of the documents include requests for membership and correspondence from a physician affirming sound physical health for those men wanting admission into the lodge. Also included in the collection is a ledger book detailing business transactions and a photograph of William Cosby. Eventually William, some of his children and a granddaughter lived at 717 S. Limestone which was located near the corner of Virginia Avenue in Lexington. (Accession #2009MS132)

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Rhoda Della Evans Letters Series, 1900-1925, 1900-1916 (bulk dates). Rhoda D. Evans was born in Haysville, Marion County, Kentucky in 1880, the youngest of seven children of Dr. John B. Evans (1837-1906) and Mary Elizabeth Beard Evans (1846-1921). The family at one time employed a black juvenile also named John B. Evans (b. 1868). During her life Rhoda worked sporadically as a milliner. She and her mother moved to 131 E. Main Street in Lebanon, Kentucky sometime between 1900 and 1930. This collection consists of 68 letters from boyfriends and love interests who wished to marry Rhoda. She appeared to be uninterested in marriage or being committed to one man and never married. The letters reveal courting behavior in the early to mid-twentieth century. Rhoda died in 1953. (Accession #2009MS132)

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Richard "Dick" Hensley Letters Series, 1889-1932, 1890-1896 (bulk dates). This collection of 32 letters to Richard "Dick" Hensley (1868-1937) of Westport, Kentucky, details his personal relationship with Ella Shirley, who wrote often urging him to come see her and commit to marriage. Hensley eventually ended his correspondence with her and the letters offer insight into one woman's expressed interest in marriage, as well as her personal insecurities and suspicions regarding Hensley's faithfulness. Hensley eventually did get married, to Emma Smith (1875-1951) in 1896, and they had two daughters, Joanna (1896-1932) and Mamie (1900-?), and one son, Robert (1898-?). Hensley was a farmer and the farm was located on Old La Grange and Westport Road. This collection documents courting customs during the Populist Era, and illustrate how women of that period may have dealt with deception and false promises from suitors. There also is unique detail concerning the expectation of payment for caretaking during illness. (Accession #2009MS132)


Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Cora A. Phares Papers, 1889-1897, 1890-1892 (bulk dates). Cora Phares (1870-1942) was the daughter of George Augustus Phares and Margaretta Page Phares. She lived in Jacksonburgh in Butler County, Ohio with her three siblings, Estella (1864-?), Anna (1867-?), and Frank (1872-1955). Apparently at some point she moved to Newark, Ohio to live with her brother Frank's family. This collection of 28 letters consists of correspondence from Charley P. Kirk who was a farmer and apparently from Butler County but moved to Kenney, Illinois, in search of work. His letters indicate he was barely literate as he spelled many words phonetically. He wrote about social life in Kenny and expressed his thoughts on marriage, telling Cora that he wanted to see the world before settling down. The letters offer good detail about a long distance relationship that faltered by 1892. The last letter he wrote to Cora was in 1897 when he tried to rekindle their relationship. (Accession #2009MS132)


Charles William Headley Diaries, 1861, 1863-1864, 1902-1916, 1918. These diaries record daily weather information as well as daily activities. Although the Headleys, from Harrodsburg, Kentucky were Unionists during the Civil War, the diaries contain few references to the conflict, and the diaries from the World War I era have virtually no references to the war. (Accession #1997MS294)

F.K. Jameson Mercantile Ledgers, Weir, Kentucky, 1902-1918. 5 volumes. This Accession (#46M90) is part of the Thomas D. Clark Mercantile Records Collection.