Preserving Racing's Rich History
Established in 1939, the Keeneland Library is a research/reference library that serves as one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred, housing more than 15,000 volumes of books and journals, 250,000 photographic negatives, thousands of newspaper articles and 1,500 videocassettes documenting sales and racing at Keeneland and other tracks.
The Library began with an initial donation of 2,300 volumes from the private collection of William Arnold Hanger, a Lexington business man who was a Keeneland trustee and member of its board of directors. Mr. Hanger had purchased the carefully compiled turf library of Robert James Turnbull, a New York lawyer and bibliophile. This initial donation from Mr. Hanger formed the nucleus of today's Library.
In 2000, the publisher of the Daily Racing Form donated its entire archive of the newspaper, in three editions, now numbering over 5,000 volumes. Included in the gift were a complete file of the American Racing Manual and a large run of The Morning Telegraph, the predecessor of the Eastern Edition of the DRF. The Morning Telegraph touted itself as “America’s Oldest Authority on Motion Pictures, Theatre and Turf,” and featured headlines from the track juxtaposed with photos of Hollywood starlets.
The Library subscribes to the popular online resource, American Produce Records, which is made freely available to onsite researchers. To locate pedigree, sales and racing history of Thoroughbreds, the Keeneland librarians provide instruction in use of this research tool, along with the use of other freely available internet resources, such as Equibase and Pedigree Online.