Richard Henry Collins (May 4, 1824, Maysville KY – January 1, 1888, Maryville MO)

Son of Lewis Collins, Richard Collins is most noted for his work as a historian. Collins graduated from Centre College in Danville, KY in 1842 and from Transylvania Law School in Lexington in 1846. He received an LLD degree from Austin College in TX in 1880. Collins, like his father, served as editor of the Maysville Eagle from 1845 to 1850 and 1853 to 1857. The time in between these two tenures he practiced law in Maysville, he later practiced law in Cincinnati from 1862 to 1971 while he lived in Covington, KY. Collins was noted for often giving legal advice without charging any fees. In 1861 he founded the Danville Review and served as its publisher. After his father’s death, Collins moved his family back to Maysville. Collins attempted to persuade legislators to make his father’s book, Historical Sketches of Kentucky, the official history of Kentucky and to require its reading for all Kentucky schoolchildren. His attempt failed, however, when it was deemed too controversial. Four years after his father’s death, Collins rewrote and significantly expanded his father’s book. It was retitled Collins’ History of Kentucky and split into two volumes. The book was “acknowledged as the most inclusive history of the period” (Encyclopedia 209). Collins lived in Louisville from 1877 until he died in 1888 while visiting family in Missouri. After his death, Collins’ library was purchased by the Kentucky legislature and is housed at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort.

Works Available at KCPL

A Dictionary of the Stations and Early Settlements of Kentucky – K 976.9 C712d
There are numerous articles on the KCPL newspaper index about Richard Collins.



“Collins, Richard H.” Lexington Gazette, May 22, 1886.

Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia, Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992.

“Married – Daughter of Edward Cox,” Licking Valley Register

Morton, Jennie C. “Skethc and Picture of Richard H. Collins, Historian,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 7, no. 19 (May 1909): 10-16.

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