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Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Collection Guides

Research Services Manager

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Sarah Coblentz
Special Collections Research Center
Margaret I. King Library


Through a National Endowment for the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grant awarded in 2018, the project "P.S. Write Again Soon": Revealing 200 years of the American Mosaic through the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has focused on making available the materials in the collection through publishing of collection guides and digitization of select collections.

Locating Wade Hall Collections

Selected Subjects

Need help getting started? Here are some links to popular subjects found in the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters:

Collections documenting family life across the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries detailing marriages, births, deaths, moving homes, finances, arguments, education, religious involvement, and participation in society; includes letters, diaries, journals, legal documents, photographs, and scrapbooks

Collections documenting the lives of women in the United States, detailing familial and romantic relationships, education, employment, philanthropic efforts, community support, social lives, and money; includes letters, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks, record books, and newspapers

Collections documenting the lives of African Americans in the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries in the United States, detailing relationships, family units, civil rights, employment, education, military participation, and social organizations; includes letters, scrapbooks, photographs, and journals

Collections documenting educators, students, and administrators, detailing the training and hiring of teachers, student retention, building of schools, homework assigned, teaching techniques, variety of classes offered and subjects taught, extracurricular activities, fundraising efforts, segregation in education, and finances; includes letters, diaries, journals, scrapbooks, notebooks, photographs, and newspapers

Collections documenting relationships between friends and lovers, detailing gossip, dates attended, parties, engagements, quarrels, weddings, meeting families, matchmaking services, and break-ups; includes letters, scrapbooks, diaries, photographs, and newspapers

Collections documenting Union and Confederate points of view, soldiers experiences, military reunions, support from families, veterans organizations, medical practices, and disease; includes letters, military papers, photographs, and newspapers

Collections documenting the experiences of US soldiers, military allies, and families at home and abroad detailing medical care, the Spanish Influenza pandemic, battles participated in, dealing with effects from gassing, support from the home front, morale boosting endeavors, opinions about the draft, and celebrations at the end of the war; includes letters, photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, newspapers, military papers, draft information, and souvenirs from Europe

Collections documenting the experiences of Allies and Axis soldiers, prisoners of war, and family members, detailing military training, conscription, being stationed in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, India, and Japan, participation in battles and intelligence gathering, life in POW camps, medical care, racial tensions, the use of nuclear weapons, receiving liberty, encountering work and concentration camps, and celebrations for V-E Day and V-J Day; includes letters, diaries, scrapbooks, newspapers, military publications, photographs, souvenirs, and propaganda

Accessing Research Materials from SCRC

Because of the rare and unique nature of the items in the Special Collections Research Center, they may only be used in person in the Breckinridge Research Room, located in the Margaret I. King Library on the University of Kentucky's campus. If you cannot visit in person, our research team will scan and send digital copies of special collections materials to you, up to 250 pages, free of charge. 

All researchers who wish to visit the Breckinridge Research Room or place orders for digital scans must do so through SCRC's Research Services Account, available to anyone regardless of their affiliation to the University of Kentucky. Information on registering, requesting items, or visiting the Breckinridge Research room can be found at the links below.