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Irwin-Hilliard collection, ca. 1840-1990

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Processed by: Archives Staff; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig


Irwin-Hilliard collection


ca. 1840-1990


University of Louisville Special CollectionsLouisville, Kentucky 40292 USA

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to researchers

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Irwin-Hilliard collection, ca. 1840-1990, Special Collections, University of Louisville, Louisville.


ca. 12,000 items

Scope and Content

This unusual family archive documents two affluent families descending from Theodore Irwin of Oswego, New York, and J. J. B. Hilliard, of Louisville, Kentucky, spanning the period from before the Civil War through the 20th century. Hundreds of letters, particularly the correspondence of women in the families, are rich in details of family life and society. Nearly five thousand photographs, tintypes, and ambrotypes include family portraits, interiors, documentation of the Irwin rare book collection and art collections, and views. The images document the families as well as the changing styles of clothing, furnishings, and architecture over more than a century. Documents include birth and marriage certificates, travel documents, and slave records. The archive is accompanied by eighteen volumes of family history, set within the context of United States history, compiled by the donor Nanine Hilliard Greene. Also present are three thousand volumes in fine bindings and three hundred fine art prints from the library of 19th-century book collector Theodore Irwin, along with the correspondence associated with his book collecting. In addition to the archive, Nanine Hilliard Greene has donated the library, furnishings from the Irwin home in Oswego, and an endowment for their support.


  • Art and Architecture
  • History
  • Photography

User Restrictions

The copyright interests have not been transferred to the University of Louisville. For further information, see the section on copyright in the regulations and Procedures of the Special Collections Library or consult a reference archivist.

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