University of Louisville Archives: Williams-Nichols Collection

lgbtq collection

University of Louisville Archives: Williams-Nichols Collection

Delve into Kentucky's vibrant LGBTQ history with Delinda Buie as she unveils the rich narratives within the Commonwealth's largest LGBTQ archive. Explore the treasure trove of the UL Archives & Special Collections. Don't miss out!

What You Will Learn

The Williams-Nichols Archive is located in Archives & Special Collections on the lower-level of the Ekstrom Library. It houses various materials related to the LGBT experience. Established in 1982 by the donor, Louisville activist David Williams, the collection holds over 3,500 books, 3,000 issues of journals and periodicals, nearly 25 linear feet of manuscripts, hundreds of video and audio tapes, and nearly 1,500 items of memorabilia and ephemera on the LGBT experience.

The University of Louisville Archives & Special Collections (ASC) collects, organizes, preserves, and makes available for research rare and unique primary and secondary source material, particularly relating to the history and cultural heritage of Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding region, as well as serving as the official memory of the University of Louisville.

ASC serves as an internationally recognized repository of primary source materials, with a special commitment to documenting the life of our community. We have a dual mission to preserve these materials, and to make them available to the public. All are welcome to visit our research room, on the lower level of Ekstrom Library, without charge. We also feature exhibits, which are also free and open to the public. Recognizing that many people cannot come to us, we are continually adding to our Digital Collections. We also host and teach classes, helping students hone their critical thinking skills by interacting with primary sources.

Archives & Special Collections was established in 2013, bringing together four related units from the University of Louisville Libraries into one library:

  • Photographic Archives was founded in 1962, and holds approximately two million photographs and associated records and manuscripts. Hundreds of discrete collections include national documentary projects, local history photographs, and an excellent museum collection of fine prints.
  • Rare Books was established in 1957, and holds books that are especially important because of their historical or literary significance, age, scarcity, or value. Rare Books’ collections also include literary manuscripts, rare posters and maps, and collections of books by or about particular authors or subjects in the sciences, literature, history, popular culture, and the history of books and printing.
  • University Archives & Records Center (UARC), founded in 1973, holds more than 11,000 linear feet of University records, personal papers, and records of other organizations. UARC is also home to the Oral History Center, which holds more than 2,000 oral history interviews. It is also the official custodian of the records of the University and administers the application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) at the University of Louisville.

Digital Initiatives coordinates the University of Louisville Digital Collections, which includes rare and unique images, documents, and oral histories from ASC and other campus units, and ThinkIR, an open-access digital repository that provides worldwide access to the scholarship of the University of Louisville community. Digital Initiatives also coordinates the libraries’ digital preservation efforts.


Delinda Stephens Buie received an A.A. degree from Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky before completing her B.A. at Spalding University in 1973. She began graduate work at the University of Edinburgh, and subsequently earned an M.L.S. from the University of Kentucky in 1975. She also has studied at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, where she earned the M.S.S.W. degree in May 2006. She began her career as Preservation Archivist in the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center in 1975, and in 1976 was appointed Assistant Curator of Rare Books. She became Curator in 1991.

Over the last thirty years Buie has been active in the Kentucky Council on Archives, served on the University of Louisville’s Commission on the Status of Women, and worked closely with the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Women’s Center. She has curated exhibitions at the University of Louisville and Louisville area galleries and collaborated on publications such as For Love of Learning, a print and online guide to the University’s special collections and archives, and Louisville Then and Now, featuring historic photographs from the University’s Photographic Archives.

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