Before you get started, please check this post for updated information, quick tips, and information on how to obtain records.
Are you interested in using any of our information? We are happy to accommodate requests. Common requests often include: use for blogs and/or websites, media use, as well as school and non-profit use. We do not own all of the copyrighted information on this website; the appropriate owners, authors, contributors, and any other copyright holders retain any applicable rights under the law. Public domain information/text/media do not require approval to use from KHI. For Creative Commons licensing information, please scroll to the bottom of our disclaimer page.
Cover photographs on the main page are from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives or from Special Collections via the University of Kentucky. Photographers and copyright holders retain the rights to these photographs.
Kentucky Historic Institution’s mission is to preserve memories, advocate for the forgotten patients and employees, and to educate the public about the individual histories of Kentucky’s historic asylums, hospitals and institutions.
In 2016, five ambitious and dedicated advocates came together to preserve the diverse histories of Kentucky’s historic asylums, hospitals and institutions. Many of these facilities, long demolished and forgotten, have decades or even centuries of untold stories waiting to be uncovered. As researchers, we rely heavily on primary sources and have uncovered a range of photographs, documentation, and oral and visual histories. We also aim to provide a historiographical picture of how historians have approached institutional histories, particularly in the Appalachian region of the United States.
As diverse as the institutions we research and archive, the founding members of Kentucky Historic Institutions, Phil Tkacz, Jay Gravatte, Hope Bryant, Robin Rider-Osborne and Shawn Logan, have years of combined experience ranging from field and clinical/social service work to extensive research in special collections, archives, and libraries across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. Over the years, our members have connected with former patients, employees, and their families to gain a better understanding of what life was like and how these facilities operated. At this time, our members work entirely on a volunteer basis and do not receive any monetary donations or compensation.
The main page of this website also houses a blog which will be updated on a regular basis providing educational posts and other information related to the institutions featured on the website. Please remember that the website is a work in progress and we will be providing updates as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you would like to contact us or to provide additional information, photos and/or stories then please click here. You can also visit and participate in our Facebook groups.
Searching for Records?
We have a limited number of records available. The majority of these have been transcribed and posted in the appropriate links on this website. If you would like physical copies of records, we can guide you on the process of obtaining those records. Please remember that not all records are available. KHI has no control over the availability of records.
As of 2019, we will not have access to death records after the year 1960. That means if the patient or inmate died in one of Kentucky’s state hospitals or institutions AFTER 1960, we will not be able to access any vital statistics. The good news is that we can provide you with information on how to obtain these records from BHDID. This is contingent upon record availability which we have no control over. Visit our page dedicated to obtaining records here.
We also ask that you provide us with as much information as possible; this would include first and last names, dates and locations of birth and death, last known location, and any other information you might have available. Please avoid sending social security numbers of anyone living or deceased.
We have put together three documents to help you along in the research process. These will be available to download below and on the dedicated research page of our website.
Kentucky Historic Institutions is NOT affiliated with any local, state, federal, national, or international agency. Kentucky Historic Institutions is NOT affiliated with the Commonwealth of Kentucky or any other public or private state, local, or federal agency, organization, sector, department, office, non-profit or charitable organization, healthcare systems or facilities, government or academic facilities or institutions. This includes but is not limited to organizations within or outside of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that are currently active or have ever been active. Please read our disclaimer statement and terms of service.
If you would like to use any information on this website (including text, bios, photos and any other information) you must first contact us. Some information is courtesy of other sources (of which are cited) and as such we do not own some of the copyrighted text or photos. Please remember that information contained on this site, authored by us, is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.