In May, the Museum received notification that it had been awarded a transcription grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Transcriptions of oral histories consist of a written, verbatim account of an interview that makes the content more accessible. These transcripts allow us to keep parts of an interview confidential, while still sharing the majority of it with researchers. The funds will allow KDM to transcribe 25 interviews totaling 41 ½ hours.
The interviews being transcribed chart life stories that go back to the mid-20th century, covering decades of Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby history. Those being interviewed include jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., trainer Shug McGaughey and owner/breeder Ogden Phipps. Past employees of Churchill Downs are also included. Among them are Mary Ann Cooper, first curator of the original Churchill Downs Museum, Butch Lehr, long-time track superintendent and Don Richardson, former senior vice president of racing.
All of us at KDM feel that receipt of this grant recognizes the importance of the oral history work being done here. Through the “It’s my Derby” initiative, KDM has accumulated over 63 hours of interviews with important personalities in the Thoroughbred industry. We are grateful for these funds that will assist us in making existing interviews more accessible. KDM will continue to pinpoint and document the stories of individuals that have made lasting contributions to the industry in order to expand our knowledge of the historical and cultural significance of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.