Special Collections & Archives: Books on TU History

Learn more about the unusual and rare collections that the college cares for.

Regarding Transylvania

If you only read one:
Wright, John D. Transylvania, Tutor to the West. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky, 1980.
available from your local library or for purchase.


Gobar, Ash, and J H. Hamon. A Lamp in the Forest: Natural Philosophy in Transylvania University, 1799-1859. Lexington, Ky: Transylvania University Press, 1982.

Jennings, Walter Wilson.  Transylvania, pioneer university of the West.  New York: Pageant Press.  1955.

Peter, Robert, and Johanna Peter. Transylvania University: Its Origin, Rise, Decline, and Fall : Read at the Club Meetings in October and November, 1895. Louisville, Ky: J.P. Morton and Co., printers, 1896.

Peter, Robert, and Johanna Peter. The History of the Medical Department of Transylvania University. Louisville, Ky: J.P. Morton & Company, printers, 1905.

Wright, John D, William W. Kelly, and William T. Young. Transylvania University, Pioneering a Third Century. New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1981.

Related Readings

Anderson, Annie Stuart. "Transylvania Seminary's First Site and Some Circumstances of Its Beginnings." Register of Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. 33, No. 105 (October, 1935), pp. 356-367.

Boewe, Charles. "Who's Buried in Rafinesque's Tomb?." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Vol. 111, No. 2 (Apr. 1987), pp. 213-235.

Bowden, William A. "Celebrating Transylvania's Medical History." Transylvania University Magazine. Fall 2007. p.10-13.

Brown, L A. Early Philosophical Apparatus at Transylvania College. Lexington: Transylvania College Press, 1959.

Catalogue of the Transylvania University Medical Library. Lexington. Ky: Transylvania University Press, 1987.

Christianson, Eric H.  "The Conditions for Science in the Academic Department of Transylvania University, 1799-1857." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 79, No. 4 (Autumn 1981), pp. 305-325.

C. Frank Dunn. "John Filson and Transylvania Seminary." The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 45, No. 153 (OCTOBER, 1947), pp. 323-334.

Eblen, Tom and Mollie Eblen. “Horace Holley and the Struggle for Kentucky’s Mind and Soul” In James C. Klotter and Daniel Rowland, ed. Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852. University Press of Kentucky. 2012.

Lunger, Irvin E. "Transylvania College: Its history and its futureRegister of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 56, No. 4 (October 1958), pp. 309-318.

Haynes McMullen. "College Libraries in Ante-bellum Kentucky." The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 60, No. 2 (April, 1962), pp. 106-133.

McMurtrie, Douglas C. "Early Kentucky Medical Imprints. With A Bibliography to 1830." Register of Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. 31, No. 96 (July, 1933), pp. 256-270.

Munoff, Gerald J. "Dr. Robert Peter and the Legacy of Photography in Kentucky." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 78, No. 3 (Summer 1980) , pp. 208-218.

Norton, Elizabeth Spencer. "Doctor Samuel Brown: A Biographical Sketch." Register of Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. 39, No. 127 (April, 1941), pp. 189-192.

Page, Tate C. History of Football at Transylvania College. Lexington, Ky: Transylvania College, 1941.

"Petition of Transylvania Seminary." The William and Mary Quarterly. Vol. 22, No. 4 (Apr., 1914), pp. 263-265.

Ranck, George W. History of Lexington, Kentucky. Its Early Annals and Recent Progress, Including Biographical Sketches and Personal Reminiscences of the Pioneer Settlers, Notices of Prominent Citizens.... Cincinnati: R. Clarke, 1872.  pp. 39-63.

Rohrbough, Malcolm J. Trans-appalachian Frontier: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.

Smith, Z. F. "A Kentucky Ideal of a Century Ago Transylvania University" Register of Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. 6, No. 18 (September 1908), pp. 15, 17-21.

Thelin, John R. "Jewels in the Crown: Civic Pride and Educational Institutions in the Bluegrass, 1792-1852." In James C. Klotter and Daniel Rowland, ed. Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852. University Press of Kentucky. 2012.

Transylvania Treasures.  A periodical which contains articles on items in the Special Collections and in the Moosnick Collection.  Published between 2008-2017.

Vance, Charles A. "Address of the President: the Transylvania Medical Library." Annals of Surgery. Apr 1946; 123(4): 481–509.

Zerfas, L. G. "Medical Education in Indiana: As Influenced by Early Indiana Graduates in Medicine from Transylvania University." Indiana Magazine of History. Vol. 30, No. 2 (June, 1934), pp. 139-148.

Our history by the laws

Hening, William W. The Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. : Published Pursuant to an Act of the General Assembly of Virginia, Passed on the Fifth Day of February One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight. : Volume I[-Xiii]. New-York: Printed for the editor, by R. & W. & G. Bartow, 1819.

1780 Charter - In which we are formed -- Hening: Vol X, pp 287-88.
1783 amendment to the Charter - In which we are named -- Hening: Vol XI, pp 282-87

1798 Act to merge Transylvania Seminary and Kentucky Academy.  Littell, William. The Statute Law of Kentucky: With Notes, Praelections, and Observations on the Public Acts. : in Three Volumes. Frankfort, (Ken.: Printed for William Hunter, by Johnston & Pleasants, 1810. Vol 2.  p. 234.

1856 Act to reorganize Transylvania University and establish a school for teachers -- Kentucky. Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Passed. 1856 vol 1. Frankfort, KY. pp. 117-123.

1865 Act to Consolidate Kentucky University and Transylvania University -   Kentucky. Acts Passed At the ... Session of the General Assembly for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Lexington: J. Bradford, printer to the Commonwealth, 1792. pp. 67-68.