Whitney Hale

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College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Series: Give Me a K! (Book)

Published: Feb 1, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2013) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 43rd of 150 weekly installments recounts the history of the "K Book," the tell-all guide for UK's incoming freshmen.

 

The handbook tradition began for the 1895-1896 academic year when the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) produced the "Students' Hand Book for State College, Lexington, Kentucky." The YMCA warmly welcomed the new students to campus and included their mission and officers, as well as a brief history, the academic calendar, a list of organizations, advertisements and interesting information about the institution.

 

This pocket-sized guide for new students quickly became a tradition.

 

"Get some University colors and Wildcat spirit," recommended the 1913-1914 edition. Additionally, it advised new students to write home, keep their room looking nice, attend socials, learn "yells and songs," get season tickets for all sports, and visit a literary society. The handbook strongly suggested that students subscribe to Idea, the official college newspaper, and warned them to choose associations carefully.  

 

Designed to help UK freshmen acclimate quickly, the handbooks also strived to encourage understanding and active participation in the school's traditions and history. However, publication discontinued in 1917 because of World War I, but resumed in 1921 and continued uninterrupted until 1966.

 

The letter 'K' made its debut on the handbook's cover as early as 1923, and by the 1926-1927 year, it was being referred to as the "K Book." 

 

In 2007, a group of student leaders resurrected the "K Book" tradition and worked diligently to create a 21st century version, drawing inspiration from the early versions and resulting in a fun and informative publication full of helpful resources for incoming students.

 

Today, the "K Book" tradition proudly continues. The widespread support for the publication ranges from the new freshmen to the university president. Incoming students receive the book the summer before they start their journey at UK in order to best prepare them for life on their campus.

 

Each year, the carefully chosen "K Book" Editorial Board assumes the responsibility of writing and editing the book for the following year.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

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