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Orphan Society of Lexington records, 1895-1978, 1895-1971 (bulk dates)

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


Orphan Society of Lexington records, 1895-1978


1895-1971 (bulk dates)


University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506


Organized: Miscellaneous material, Board of Managers minutes, Book of inventories, Visiting books; arrangement of each material type is chronological.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Orphan Society of Lexington records, 1895-1978, 1895-1971 (bulk dates), 1F83M-787, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.


2 reels of microfilm (10 volumes, 12 pieces)


The Orphan Society of Lexington was formed in 1833 to operate the Lexington Orphan Asylum, founded to provide for children orphaned during the cholera epidemic of that year. It was run by a Board of Managers consisting of twenty-four women, whose numbers included "members of each Protestant Church in Lexington" and who were drawn from some of the most prominent families of the city. Benjamin Gratz was a moving force behind the forming of the asylum and the Society. The first meeting of the Society was held October 16, 1833, and the officers elected were Abby V. Sayre, first directress (president); Syna Richardson, second directress (vice president); Maria C. Gratz (Benjamin's wife), secretary; and Sarah Ward, treasurer. In 1834, the Society was incorporated by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly. The orphans' home was located first on Third Street, then, in 1907, it was moved to West Short Street.

Scope and Content

This is a collection on microfilm of the records of the Orphan Society of Lexington. Miscellaneous papers include a "Historical sketch of the Lexington Orphan Asylum," written by Annie G. Clay for the Society's annual report in 1912. Also included is a copy of the act by which the Society was incorporated. Minutes from the Board of Managers' monthly meetings cover the period from May 7, 1895 to November 6, 1945 inclusively, then skip to June 8, 1971 through December 4, 1973. Included among the minutes are lists, of the Managers, of committees and their members, and of orphans. Tributes to esteemed deceased members, including Virgina Alexander and S.B. Cronley, are frequently found among the minutes as well. The book of inventories covers the period 1922-1925 only. The visiting books date from February 6, 1896 to July 25, 1915, then skip to January 15, 1970-January 20, 1971.


  • Alexander, Virginia, d. 1912.
  • Clay, Annie Gratz.
  • Cronley, S. B.
  • Gratz, Benjamin, 1792-1884.
  • Gratz, Maria C.
  • Richardson, Syna.
  • Sayre, Abby V.
  • Ward, Sarah.
  • Lexington Orphan Asylum (Ky.)
  • Orphan Society of Lexington (Ky.)
  • Orphanages--Kentucky--Lexington.
  • Orphans--Kentucky--Lexington.
  • Women--Kentucky--Lexington--Societies and clubs.
  • Women in charitable work.
  • Lexington (Ky.)--History.
  • Inventories.
  • Minutes

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