UKy Libraries receive NEH grant

University of Kentucky Digital Library Services and Special Collections were selected to receive an NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant for the Coal, Camps, and Railroads project. Over 130 cubic feet (264,000 pages) of portions of the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection will be selectively digitized, focusing on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The ten individual collections document the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry, and Powell counties; the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and the company towns, their services, and the individual lives that grew up to sustain and make possible this economic development.

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Coal miners waiting for the mantrip. Gary, McDowell County, W. Va. 8/16/46. From the Russell Lee Photographic Collection (University of Kentucky Special Collections).
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Harry Fain, coal loader, removes “bug dust” from undercut made by cutting machine. “Bug dust” is a mixture of slate and ground coal. Wheelwright, Floyd County, KY. 9/24/46. From the Russell Lee Photographic Collection (University of Kentucky Special Collections).

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