Keeneland Library Acquires Barrett Collection

Keeneland Library Acquires Barrett Collection
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Keeneland Library

The Keeneland library has acquired the collection of prominent Southern California equine photographer Katey Barrett. The material includes about 12,000 color slides, as well as print photographs and programs.

"Katey is a true pioneer in Turf photography, and her work is a great blend of artistry and documentation," library director Becky Ryder said. "The material spans the 1970s to the present and picks up after the Keeneland Library's other photography collections end. It is the library's first collection of color photography and our first that comprehensively documents West Coast racing."

"I'm so happy because I know the work will be archived and will be taken care of," Barrett said in a release.

Barrett, who is in her early 80s, grew up in Hibbing, Minn. She relocated to Hollywood, Calif., after college to pursue show business and appeared in episodes of such programs as "My Three Sons," "Bonanza," and "Dragnet," and in the motion picture "The Shakiest Gun in the West."

While a production assistant on "Mission Impossible," Barrett purchased an inexpensive 35-millimeter camera because she wanted to increase her knowledge of camera work and photography, and taught herself the basics. That led to freelance photography jobs from her Hollywood friends, some of whom owned show jumpers.

TV producer and racing enthusiast Ed Friendly introduced Barrett to Santa Anita Park, where she became enamored with the track's unique downhill turf course that grew to be a favorite subject. She became known for unusual photographs that captured the movement, power, and beauty of the horse.

The Keeneland Library, established in 1939,  is the world's largest repository of Thoroughbred materials and serves fans and researchers. In addition to thousands of books and newspaper and magazine articles, library holdings include the negative collections of photographers Charles Christian Cook and Bert Morgan; archives of Daily Racing Form; caricatures and cartoons by Pierre Bellocq ("Peb"); and the library of Thoroughbred Times.

The library also lends artifacts to area museums, hosts a lecture series with authors of recently released books, and works to expand the collection and its availability to the public.

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