01/26/2011 7:14PM

Keeneland Library receives NEH grant


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Keeneland Library has received a $6,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that will help the library preserve two of its important collections.

The grant, an NEH Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions, will help Keeneland purchase preservation supplies to house 20,000 photographic negatives in the vast Bert Morgan photographic negative collection and 4,000 artworks by longtime Daily Racing Form illustrator Pierre "Peb" Bellocq.

"Getting an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities is a very competitive process," said Keeneland Library director Becky Ryder. "So to receive an award from them is very prestigious. They only award to collections that have national significance. That's why I refer to it as a stamp of approval that the Keeneland Library collections have national significance."

The Bert Morgan collection covers racing on the New York and Florida circuits during the 1930s and 1940s, including his signature "under the rail" finish line shots, winner's circle photos, and pictures of the sport's most famous owners, trainers, horses, and jockeys of the era. The preservation project is targeting 20,000 negatives in the poorest condition among the collection's 200,000 negatives.

The project also will focus on preserving the first 4,000 of about 5,000 original Peb artworks, including caricatures and cartoons involving many prominent people in the Thoroughbred industry dating back to 1945.

The preservation project will take a year and also will involve graduate students from the University of Kentucky's School of Library and Information Science.