Kentucky Historical Society


Moments in Kentucky
Legislative History

17. Kentucky Historical Society (1838)

On February 5, 1838, the General Assembly passed "an act to incorporate the Kentucky Historical Society" because "the collection and preservation of the antiquities of our country, and of memorials and documents serving to illustrate its history and institutions . . . have a tendency to enlarge the sphere of human knowledge and the advancement of science, to perpetuate the history of moral and political events and to improve and interest posterity." Fourteen distinguished Kentuckians, including John Rowan, George D. Prentice, and Humphrey Marshall, were "hereby constituted a society and body politic and corporate in law by the name and style of the Kentucky Historical Society."

Title page of bylaws of the Kentucky Historical Society.

The Kentucky Historical Society bylaws adopted March 29, 1838, established standing committees on the following Kentucky topics: "Agriculture; commerce; manufactures; means of travel and communication, as roads, canals, boats, stages, etc.; growth of towns and increase of population; education and literature; religion and morals; and on such other objects permanent or special, as the Society may from time to time designate." The records of that generation of the Society, which became more or less defunct by 1852, are sketchy, and none of the extant collections of the Kentucky Historical Society can be attributed to this group.

Kentucky Unbridled Spirit

Kentucky Historical Society, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601
502-564-1792 •
An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet