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Archives & Oral Histories

A key goal of the Heyburn Initiative is to provide a better understanding of the Third Branch and the role it plays in stabilizing our democracy. The Initiative partners with UK Libraries to develop a complete history of Article III judges with Kentucky connections.


To date, the Commonwealth counts 11 U.S. Supreme Court justices, 20 Circuit Court judges, and 58 District Court judges to its credit. 

The Initiative also collects archives and oral histories from law clerks and family members of judges and justices, legal scholars, and Executive and Congressional leaders that contextualize the work of the Third Branch.

Archiving and Digitizing Judicial Papers

A growing number of original, preserved, and digitized archives is available to scholars, students, and the public at no cost.


After creating a model with Judge Heyburn’s papers, this service is offered to all other federal judges and justices with Kentucky connections

The archives are stored in a state-of-the-art facility at UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center.


As of 2019, the Initiative has compiled 7 archival collections.

Conducting Oral Histories

A collection of oral histories contextualizes the lives and opinions of Judge John Heyburn and all with Kentucky connections who have served in the Third Branch.


These histories also explore the interaction of the three branches of our democracy today and in our history. Additional themes include the importance of judicial independence, separation of powers, leadership in the Third Branch, women in the Judiciary and more. The development of civic curricula from these oral histories is planned.


The Initiative's oral historian, Anu Kasarabada, conducts the oral histories at the UK Nunn Center for Oral History, as well as on location.


As of 2019, the Initiative has completed 32 oral histories on judges and justices, as well as law clerks, legal scholars, and Executive and Congressional leaders. More are in the works. 


To access or contribute to the archives and oral histories, contact Anu Kasarabada, the full-time Heyburn Initiative archivist and oral historian at UK Libraries.

Call Anu at 859-257-4631 or use the form below to send her an email.

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