Kentucky Historical Society
Portions of Woodburn Farm Collection Now Available for Researchers
FRANKFORT, KY (June 9, 2009) — Portions of the Woodburn Farm Collection – a major collection detailing the lives and business dealings of one of Kentucky’s earliest Woodford County families – are now available in the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) Special Collections Reading Room in Frankfort.
The Woodburn Farm Collection consists of thousands of documents from the Alexander family. The portion now available for research dates from 1767 to 1934 and includes manuscripts, ledgers, correspondence, business records and personal papers. The majority of the collection was donated to the KHS in 2003 by the late Dr. Alexander John Alexander and Kathy Brewer. Later portions of the collection were donated by Gretchen Burud, and Dr. Jack and Jonelle Fisher.
Among the documents are the personal and business records of Robert Alexander, a member of the Kentucky General Assembly who represented Woodford County from 1795 to 1802. Robert also served as president of the First Bank of Kentucky. Before moving to Kentucky from France, Robert Alexander also served as personal secretary to Benjamin Franklin and was a charter member of the Kentucky River Navigation Company.
Also available are the papers of Robert’s son, R.A. Alexander. Born in Kentucky and educated in England, R.A. Alexander was a businessman who bred thoroughbreds and livestock. He purchased the famous thoroughbred, Lexington, from Richard Ten Broeck in 1856 for $15,000. At that time, this was reportedly the most anyone had paid for a horse. Researchers can also access the papers related to the thoroughbred, Lexington, one of the first horses inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Other documents now available relate to Alexander John Alexander, who was born in 1824, and his farm manager, Lucas Brodhead. Papers from Alexander’s second wife, Lucy Fullerton Alexander, and their eight children are also accessible to researchers.
One of the couple’s children, Dr. Alexander John Alexander, served briefly as a doctor and missionary in Korea. He returned home to run Woodburn Farm after the death of his father in 1902. He was active in the Presbyterian Church, served on the board of directors for Centre College, and was involved in breeding cattle, swine and Shetland ponies.
The KHS Special Collections Reading Room is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A guide to the Woodburn Farm Collection is now available on the KHS Web site digital collections, visit www.history.ky.gov and click on “Search our Collections.” For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 502-564-1792 ext. 4470.
An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Historical Society, since 1836, has provided connections to the past, perspective on the present, and inspiration for the future. KHS operates the Old State Capitol, the Kentucky Military History Museum, and its headquarters, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Since 1999, the thirty-million-dollar Center has welcomed more than one million visitors. For more information about the Kentucky Historical Society and its programs, visit the Web site at www.history.ky.gov.