Robert C. May collection, 1900-1993

Abstract

The Robert C. May collection contains work prints, contact sheets, slides, works of various other artists, photographs and negatives of a wide variety of subjects. In addition, it also includes photo albums, films, correspondence, research, catalogs and clippings, mostly concerning Robert May's photographs, the University of Kentucky and the Lexington Camera Club.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Robert C. May collection, 1900-1993
Creator
May, Robert C.
Extent
10 cubic feet (61 boxes; 2 films)
Subjects
Carpenter, Dennis.
May, Robert C., 1935-1993.
Meatyard, Melissa.
Meatyard, Ralph Eugene, 1925-1972.
Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968.
University of Kentucky.
International Business Machines A/S.
Lexington (Ky.)
Ireland
China
Agricultural Experiment Station -- Kentucky.
Artists -- Kentucky -- Lexington.
Manners and Customs -- Kentucky.
Buildings -- Kentucky.
Cemeteries -- Kentucky.
Churches -- Kentucky.
Photographers -- Kentucky.
Photographs
Arrangement
This collection is arranged by subject in 11 series: I. Work Prints II. Contact Sheets III. Slides IV. Works of Various Artists V. Agricultural Materials VI. Unidentified Negatives VII. Family Photographs VIII. Travel Photographs IX. Printed Materials X. Miscellaneous Items XI. Films
Finding Aid Author
Processed by Archives staff; rearranged by Matthew Jones from June-August 2007 under ; machine-readable finding aid created by Janice Childers
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Robert C. May was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Kentucky in 1956. May was a photographer for the University of Kentucky Agriculture Information Department from 1956-1967. After 20 years in various audio-visual, photographic, and publication management positions with IBM, he retired from the company in 1987. From1986, he was an adjunct faculty member of the University of Kentucky Art Department, teaching courses in photography and photographic history. May was also a member of the Lexington Camera Club from 1952-1972. His photographs have been extensively exhibited locally, regionally and nationally beginning around 1953. Important solo exhibitions of his work were held at Afterimage Gallery in Dallas and Focus Gallery in San Francisco during the 1970s. His work was included in the exhibition, "I shall save one land unvisited, 11 Southern Photographers," which traveled to more than a dozen major museums and galleries throughout the country from 1978-1981. Mr. May's photographs appear in numerous publications and exhibition catalogs. Most notably, his work was featured in the "Discoveries" chapter of the Time-Life series, Photography Year/1976 Edition. In 1989, his book on the history of the Lexington Camera Club, entitled: The Lexington Camera Club: 1936-1972, was published by the University of Kentucky Library Associates. Robert C. May died on March 9, 1993.
Scope and Content
The Robert C. May collection contains work prints, contact sheets, slides, works of various other artists, photographs and negatives of agriculture, miscellaneous negatives, family photographs, photographs of Ireland and plants, photographs of China, 1991 University of Kentucky Art Department Photography II portfolio, miscellaneous photographs, two family photograph albums, two films and printed materials which includes; the original receipt of the collection with list of contents, family history material, miscellaneous correspondence and newspaper clippings, Lexington Camera Club Exhibit correspondence, research materials for Camera Club Exhibit, manuscript of Camera Club speech by Robert May 1989, drafts and final booklet for Camera Club Exhibit, booklets with photographs by Robert May, photography catalogues (most featuring the work of Robert May), the 1953 Auratum - Henry Clay High School Yearbook, and the negatives used in final portfolio, 1991.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Contents of the Collection

Work Prints, 1950-1993

The Work Prints series consists of 8" x 10" images of animals, buildings, barns, churches, interiors, trees/buildings, exteriors, cemeteries, miscellaneous, people, women, children, men, nature, fences roads, rocks, trees, superimposed trees, plants, water, winter, flowers as well as published images from the book The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum. The images in Series I are artistic work prints with the majority in black and white. Prints in Box 11 (848-850) and Box 15 (1197-1198) are in color. There are a total of 1,867 8" x 10" work prints that include five color work prints.

Animals

  • Box 1, item 1-10
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Untitled 1967, The Robert C. May Photograph Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 49

  • Box 1, item 11-13
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Animals

  • Box 1, item 14-48
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Buildings - Barns

  • Box 2, item 49-120
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Untitled 1970, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 70

  • Box 2, item 121
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Buildings - Barns

  • Box 2, item 122-126
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Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building

  • Box 3, item 127-145
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Untitled 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 87

  • Box 3, item 146-147
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Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building

  • Box 3, item 148-172
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Untitled 1968, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 52

  • Box 3, item 173
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Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building

  • Box 3, item 174-181
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Untitled 1968, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 59

  • Box 3, item 182
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Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building

  • Box 3, item 183-198
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Buildings - Exteriors

  • Box 4, item 199-211
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Untitled, ca. 1964, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 43

  • Box 4, item 212
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Buildings - Exteriors

  • Box 4, item 213-273
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Farm House, near Sadieville, Scott County, KY, 1973 The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 68

  • Box 4, item 274-281
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Buildings - Exteriors

  • Box 4, item 282-305
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Cemeteries

  • Box 5, item 306-314
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Untitled, ca. 1964, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 86

  • Box 5, item 315
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Cemeteries

  • Box 5, item 316-369
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 6, item 370-395
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Untitled, ca. 1972, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 64

  • Box 6, item 396
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 6, item 397-441
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People-Women, Children

  • Box 7, item 442-517
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Melissa Meatyard Dressed as Old Lady, 1969, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 57

  • Box 7, item 518
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People-Women, Children

  • Box 7, item 519-524
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People - Men

  • Box 8a, item 525-549
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Untitled 1973, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 67

  • Box 8a, item 550
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People - Men

  • Box 8a, item 551-565
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Ralph Eugene Meatyard, 1972, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 66

  • Box 8a, item 566-569
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People - Men

  • Box 8b, item 570-644
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People - Thomas Merton

  • Box 9, item 645-693
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Bob May Photograph by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (American 1925-1972) The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 5

  • Box 9, item 694
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People - Thomas Merton

  • Box 9, item 695-696
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Nature-Fences, Roads, Rocks

  • Box 10, item 697-748
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Along Higbee Mill Road, Fayette County, KY 1974, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 69

  • Box 10, item 749
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Nature-Fences, Roads, Rocks

  • Box 10, item 750-789
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Nature-Trees

  • Box 11, item 790-885
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Nature-Trees

  • Box 12, item 886-917
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Untitled, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 85

  • Box 12, item 918-920
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Nature-Trees

  • Box 12, item 921-983
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Nature-Superimposed Trees

  • Box 13a, item 984-1074
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Nature-Superimposed Trees

  • Box 13b, item 1075-1100
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Nature-Plants, "Swirl Forest"

  • Box 14, item 1101-1122
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Haystacks, Shakertown, Pleasant Hill, KY, 1974, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 71

  • Box 14, item 1123-1129
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Nature-Plants, "Swirl Forest"

  • Box 14, item 1130-1145
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Outside/Inside, 1970, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 62

  • Box 14, item 1146-1149
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Nature-Plants, "Swirl Forest"

  • Box 14, item 1150-1190
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Water

  • Box 15, item 1191-1261
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# 68 from Tree Series, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 79

  • Box 15, item 1262
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Water

  • Box 15, item 1263-1269
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Winter

  • Box 16, item 1270-1358
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Animals, Buildings, Water, Winter

  • Box 18, item 1444-1472
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# 68 from Tree Series, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 79

  • Box 18, item 1473
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Animals, Buildings, Water, Winter

  • Box 18, item 1474-1488
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 19, item 1489-1499
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My Father, World War I, 1978 Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 91

  • Box 19, item 1500-1502
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 19, item 1503-1540
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 20a, item 1541-1613
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Midnight Moment, 1952 Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 27

  • Box 20a, item 1611-1612
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 20b, item 1614-1671
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Untitled, 1983, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 94

  • Box 20b, item 1672-1673
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Miscellaneous

  • Box 20b, item 1674-1678
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Nature-Flowers

  • Box 21a, item 1679-1735
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Nature-Flowers

  • Box 21b, item 1736-1783
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Outside\Inside, 1970, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 62

  • Box 21b, item 1784
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# 176 from Flower and Tree Series, 1977, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 77

  • Box 21b, item 1785-1787
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Nature-Flowers

  • Box 21b, item 1788-1789
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Nature

  • Box 22a, item 1790-1827
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Untitled, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 85

  • Box 22b, item 1828-1829
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Nature

  • Box 22b, item 1830-1895
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People

  • Box 23, item 1896-1900
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"Untitled, 1988, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 93"

  • Box 23, item 1901-1903
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People

  • Box 23, item 1904-1922
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Untitled, 1968, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 61

  • Box 23, item 1923
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People

  • Item 1924-1953
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Contact Sheets

The Contact Sheets series include positive prints of negative strips. A contact sheet is created by placing negatives on photographic paper. They are then exposed and the print is processed allowing the photographer to view multiple images on a single piece of photographic paper. Most of the contact sheets are 8" x 10" in size and black and white. The images include sunflowers, trees, people, flowers, plants, vehicles, animals, buildings, roads, cemeteries, trains, cows, horses, fences, dolls, Robert C. May, Dennis "Bones" Carpenter, churches, children, dogs, and cats. There are a total of 84 contact sheets.

Contact Sheets (84)

  • Box 17, item 1359-1443
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Slides, 1950-1993

The Slides series includes approximately 1,350 35mm color slides with content of Robert C. May, his family, vacations, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, the Lexington Camera Club, and medical slides.

Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 24
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Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 25
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Family, Vacation (Approximately 150)

  • Box 26
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Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 27
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Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 28
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Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 29
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Family Photos, Meatyard (Approximately 150)

  • Box 30
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Camera Club, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 31
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Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)

  • Box 32
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Works of Various Artists, 1990-1991

The Works of Various Artists series includes work possibly by Robert C. May and other artists including: Melissa Meatyard, Gerry Dartt, Mating, Cull, Marshall Smith, Walz, Pierson Studio, Cranston C. Ritchie, Mary T. Duffy, Hank Chapman, Culest Bynum, Joe Martin, Diane Blazy, Donna Ruskin, Bob Compton, Liz Osbourne, Jennifer Allen, Kristen Bernhard, Joseph David, Sarah Jones, Stephanie Lind, Virginia Martin, Jessica Samuel, John Scowby, Lara Shostle, Diana Stevie, Joel Wilhelmi. There are approximately 97 items including photographs, drawings, paintings, and sculpture.

Works of Various Artists

  • Box 33, item 1-16
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"Pasturage Carousel, 1990, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 95"

  • Box 33, item 17
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Works of Various Artists

  • Box 33, item 18-40
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Works of Various Artists

  • Box 34, item 108-154
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Photography Portfolio 1991 University of Kentucky Art Department Photography II

  • Box 44, item 1-12
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Agricultural Materials, 1956-1967

The Agricultural Materials series consists of negatives that were originally in an envelope labeled University of Kentucky Department of Public Information Agricultural Experiment Station Lexington, Kentucky. This series contains mostly 6" x 6" black and white negatives, one color transparency, 35 mm black and white negatives, and contact sheets. Four 6" x 6" black and white negatives are identified as Johnson Grass Control Plots. Examples of content include unidentified people, crops and animals.

Agricultural

  • Box 34, item 1-27
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Agricultural

  • Box 34, item 79-88
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Unidentified Negatives

The Unidentified Negatives series contains twenty-one 4" x 5" black and white negatives, one 6" x 9" black and white negative, one 35mm color slide, and 102 6" x 6" black and white negatives. The negatives are of unidentified people and places.

Unidentified Negatives

  • Box 34a, item 1-99
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Unidentified Negatives

  • Box 34b, item 100-153
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Unidentified Negatives

  • Box 34c, item 154
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Unidentified Negatives

  • Box 34d, item 155-181
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Family Photographs, 1900-1991

The Family Photographs series contains images of the family of Robert C. May from 1900-1991. The majority of the family photographs are casual snapshots but it does include one daguerreotype of Will McCormick (as identified by a post-it note that was on the wrapping). The identified locations include the states of Kentucky and Florida. Many of the images have writing on the back that is difficult to read. The identified photographs include: Bobbie Carl South Limestone; Carl, Robert Earl May Nine Months Old; E.B. May; Granny, Mother, Aunt Stella, Uncle Johnny, Willie, Aunt Fannie, and Deborah taken at Granny Gaines home in Alton, Kentucky; Owen May, John Francis Cannon; Charity, a pet lamb, and a Collie; Deborah Leach; Cecil "1910"; Uncle Omer 1947; Mother on South Lime 1949; Deborah December 2, 1951; Aunt Stella in Florida; (Boo) now Buddy October 1951; Mother Deborah; Mother and Byron Wilson August 1948; Billy and his five Grandmothers October 1, 1949; Deborah Leach baby picture; Easter Mother and me Georgetown, Kentucky; Mother Cumberland Trail 1937; Deborah; Bess and Deborah; Aunt Fannie Leach; Gaines Home in Fayette County Betty Gaines, Billy, Mary Louise, born in this home; Granny Gaines, Aunt Stella, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Willie, Aunt Fannie, Mother and Deborah; Bill Leach; Bobby Jones 2nd Class Scout Troop 1953; In my living room on Mothers Day 1972 Pattie and Luther; 1977 Bill and Martha May; Mrs. Flowers Home Christmas Me, Serving Punch; Deborah Group of Friends at Mrs. Flowers; 1967 Florida Princess Martha; Me Florida Princess Martha; 1967 Florida St. Petersburg Princess Martha; Taken at School October 1971 Betty Gaines; Deborah Leach 18 years old.

1900-1960

  • Box 36a, item 1-415
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1900-1960

  • Box 36b, item 416-716
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1900-1960

  • Box 36c, item 717-773
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1940-1991

  • Box 37a, item 1-395
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1940-1991

  • Box 37b, item 396-455
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1900-1920

  • Box 41a, item 1-23
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1900-1920

  • Box 41b, item 24-47
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1900-1920

  • Box 41c, item 48-73
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1900-1920

  • Box 41d, item 74
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Family Photographs

  • Box 42a, item 1-32
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Family Photographs

  • Box 42b, item 33-130
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Family Photographs

  • Box 42c, item 131-186
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Miscellaneous and Family Photographs 1900-1980

  • Box 43, item 1-62
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Family Photograph Albums

  • Box 47, item 1-2
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Travel Photographs, 1991-1992

The Travel Photographs series consist of color photographs and negatives taken during May's travel to Ireland, Japan, and China. The photographs of Ireland are in color and include 53 Polaroid's. The photographs of China and Japan include 20 drug store processed envelopes of color photographs.

Ireland and Plants (Approximately 501)

  • Box 38
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China and Japan (Approximately 600)

  • Box 39
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Printed Materials, 1950-1991

The Printed Materials series dates from 1950-1991 and include: the original receipt of collection with lists of contents, family history material, miscellaneous correspondence and newspaper clippings, correspondence of the Lexington Camera Club, research materials for the Camera Club Exhibit, manuscript for Camera Club Exhibit, booklets with photographs by Robert May, photography catalogues featuring the work of Robert May, the 1953 Auratum Henry Clay High School Yearbook, and negatives used in final portfolio.

Original Receipt of Collection With Lists of Contents

  • Box 35, folder 1
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Family History Material

  • Box 35, folder 2
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Miscellaneous Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings

  • Box 35, folder 3
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Correspondence Lexington Camera Club

  • Box 35, folder 4
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Research Materials for Camera Club Exhibit

  • Box 35, folder 5
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Manuscript for Camera Club Speech by Bob May 1989

  • Box 35, folder 6
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Drafts and Final Booklet for Camera Club Exhibit

  • Box 35, folder 7
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Booklets with Photographs by Robert May

  • Box 40, folder 1
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Photography Catalogues (most featuring the work of Robert May)

  • Box 40, folder 2
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The 1953 Auratum, Henry Clay High School Yearbook, Robert May's Senior Year

  • Box 40, folder 3
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Negatives used in Final Portfolio

  • Box 40, folder 4
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Miscellaneous Items, 1953-1993

The Miscellaneous Items date from 1953-1993 and include one photograph of Robert C. May, Robert May's Henry Clay High School Diploma, one painting, one print, one drawing, one metal sculpture and four photographs.

Oversize Miscellaneous Items

  • Box 45, item 1-5
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Miscellaneous Items

  • Box 46, item 1-5
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Films

The Films series contains two 16mm films. Film 1 was produced by Kentucky Educational Television and is labeled "Ralph Eugene Meatyard." Film two is unidentified but contains several color films spliced together and appears to be casual scenes and exteriors of buildings.

KET film on Ralph Eugene Meatyard

  • Item 1
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Unidentified

  • Item 2
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Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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