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History - Drugs & Alcohol: Digital Collections

A special topic guide for researching drugs and alcohol from a historical perspective



Digitized collections, prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

When searching ExploreUK, here are some examples of keyword searches that could be helpful in getting started.

ExploreUK also has several years of the Kentucky Kernel digitized.  The student newspaper may be a good source to search as well.

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Oral history interviews focusing on focuses on 20th century Kentucky history; Appalachia; agriculture; African American history; the history of education, politics, and public policy; the arts; Kentucky writers; gender; diversity; the Civil Rights Movement; veterans; the University of Kentucky; healthcare; and industries such as the coal, equine, and bourbon industries.

  • Bourbon in Kentucky: Buffalo Trace Oral History Project
    • The collection includes interviews that explore both the history and process of bourbon production. Historical topics discussed include the history of government regulation of bourbon, Prohibition, the history of the distillery site in Frankfort, the industry's economic struggles and successes, women and African Americans in the distillery, and the history of distillation in Kentucky. Production-related topics discussed include ingredient selection, fermentation, distillation, aging, bottling, quality control and marketing.
  • Bourbon in Kentucky: Jim Beam Oral History Project
    • This series consists of interviews concerning the history of the Jim Beam distillery and how it has changed over the generations. Interviewees include James "Jim" Beam Noe, former Bardstown Mayor Dixie Ann Hibbs, and several Jim Beam employees. Topics discussed include the marketing and image of the Jim Beam brand, the evolution of the corporation, the family history and importance of family involvement in the company, the history of bourbon in the area and how it affects and contributes to the community, employee's experiences with the company, and contemporary issues facing the company such as tourism, international growth, and environmental concerns.
  • Bourbon in Kentucky: Kentucky Bourbon Tales Oral History Project
    • Kentucky Bourbon Tales Oral History Project, a partnership with the Kentucky Distillers' Association (KDA), is a multi-year effort by the Nunn Center in the UK Libraries to document the history of bourbon in the state, and features the stories of the master distillers and bourbon barons from iconic distilleries that participate in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour, including Wild Turkey, Heaven Hill, Brown-Forman, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, Maker's Mark, Four Roses and Jim Beam, as well as the new Michter's Distillery and Independent Stave Cooperage. The oral history project yielded the documentary "Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Distilling the Family Spirit" which airs on Kentucky Educational Television.
  • Painkiller: An Oral History of the Opioid Epidemic
    • ​​​​​​​This is a collection of interviews concerning the opioid addiction crisis of Central and Eastern Kentucky.
  • Kentucky Substance Abuse Oral History Project
    • ​​​​​​​This is a series of interviews that examine substance abuse and its effects in Kentucky.

Kentucky Historical Society - Digital Collections

Discover resources related to over two hundred years of Kentucky history.  Resources include archival collection finding aids and digitized materials selected from the Kentucky Historical Society's archival and library collections, sound recordings from the Kentucky Oral History Commission and more. 

How Do I Find Archives Collections?


Archives collections are the unpublished items created by or given to a person, family, or organization and kept for their historical value. Use SCRC's digital archive, ExploreUK, to find archives collections from SCRC. Enter a topic below to get started!




How Do I Find Oral Histories?

Use Spoke, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History collection catalog, to find, listen to, and request copies of oral histories from the SCRC.  You can follow links to interviews or projects that are available online or request interviews that are not yet online via your research services account.


U.S., Europe, Global

Alcohol, Temperance & Prohibition (Brown University Library)

The digitized items in the Alcohol, Temperance and Prohibition Collection are from the Alcoholism and Addiction Studies Collection, as well as from various collections in the Brown University Library — broadsides, sheet music, pamphlets and government publications.

Calisphere (University of California)

Discover over one million photographs, documents, letters, artwork, diaries, oral histories, films, advertisements, musical recordings, and more. Calisphere aggregates digital collections from libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage organizations in California.

Alcohol Liquor and Saloons (The City of San Diego)

Regulations, licenses and communications relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol have been a common theme in American cities since the 1630s, and San Diego is no exception.  These historical documents pertain to various San Diego public interests including some of the records related to Saloons, the Stingaree District and the regulation of alcohol.

Indomitable Spirits: Prohibition in the United States (Digital Public Library of America)

Digital exhibition created by the Kentucky Digital Library and presented on DPLA.

Umbra Search

Umbra Search aggregates hundreds of thousands digitized materials from over 1,000 libraries and archives across the country.


Europeana works with thousands of European archives, libraries and museums to share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education and research.  This website gives you access to millions of books, music, artworks and more with search and filter tools to help you.

HathiTrust Digital Library

Access 17+ million digitized items from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house member institution initiatives. Items in the public domain are in full-view for everyone and items held in copyright are searchable.