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 nearly 30,000 volumes of books and journals, one million photographic negatives, thousands of newspaper articles, as well as memorabilia, trophies, artifacts, and equine art by prominent artists.
The Library began with an initial donation of 2,300 volumes from the private collection of William Arnold Hanger, a Lexington businessman 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, now numbering over 6,100 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 Form.
The Library’s founding mirrors the principles that define Keeneland to this day – preserving racing’s rich history while innovating for the betterment of the sport.
About this Site
The purpose of this website is to connect our patrons, both in the United States and internationally, to our collections. This site, launched in 2015, highlights the Library’s collections through virtual exhibits.
You can browse the featured Items, Collections, and Exhibits from the Site Navigation Bar, or search for Items, Collections, or Exhibit content using keywords in the Search Bar. Additionally, the Browse Items tab in the Navigation Bar provides you with the options to browse by tags or conduct an advanced search.
New Items, Collections, and Exhibits will be added to the site on an ongoing basis. If there is a certain collection you would like to see featured, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.
Keeneland Library Collections
The Library’s collections are international in scope with a heavy emphasis on the Thoroughbred racing, breeding, and sales industries. Additionally, the collections document the history of Keeneland and the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, and the history of the horse in culture. The Library’s book collection spans a broad range of topics including equine biography, veterinary care, equine law and economics, equine art, fiction, photography, and poetry. The Keeneland Library holdings include:
Charles Christian Cook Collection: More than 15,000 early to mid-20th century glass plate negatives of one of the first photographers in the U.S. to specialize in racing and race track scenes.
Bert Morgan Collection: Over 250,000 film negatives of racing, finish line, and winner’s circle shots from the 1930s to the early 1960s.
Daily Racing Form: More than 6,100 volumes, including copies of the Form’s Chart Books which contain charts of every recognized Thoroughbred race in North America since 1896.
The Peb Collection: Approximately 2,500 pieces of original artwork by the internationally celebrated caricature and equine cartoon artist Pierre Bellocq, known as “Peb.”
The American Stud Book: Every volume published since 1896.
Spirit of the Times: 1836 to 1903 editions of the New York-based weekly newspaper that covered Thoroughbred racing, all types of sports, foreign correspondence, theatre, literature, women’s fashion, opera, and the stage.
North American Industry Publications: Complete copies of The Blood-Horse (started in 1929), The Thoroughbred Record (started in 1875), and its successor, Thoroughbred Times.
International Industry Publications: England’s monthly sporting periodical, The Sporting Magazine, from 1792 to 1869; the annual Bloodstock Breeders’ Review with coverage of international racing from 1912 to 1980; Timeform Racehorses with information about every horse that raced in England from 1943 to the present; Weatherby’s Racing Calendar from 1773 to 1971; and substantial holdings from France, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Belgium, New Zealand, and Australia.
For more information about the Library's collections, please visit our website.
Keeneland Library Visitor Information
The Keeneland Library is free and open to the public year-round from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The library is closed on federal holidays.
The Keeneland Library is a reference-only, non-circulating library that offers wireless Internet, work and study spaces, and public-access computers. Available 24/7, the online catalog provides an index of all Keeneland Library collections, as well as full-text versions of select online books and journals.
“The Keeneland Library is one of racing’s most valuable assets. It is a great reservoir of the past and an essential key to the future.”
- Joe Hirsch, Columnist, Daily Racing Form
“The beauty of the Keeneland Library is that in its magnificent archives all of racing’s greats are immortal, living forever in the supreme moments of their youth. Racing is a sport of many treasures. None greater than this one.”
- Laura Hillenbrand, Author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend