Noted Historian

Historical Marker #1488 in Kenton County remembers noted historian Richard Henry Collins.

Collins was born on May 4, 1824, in Maysville, Kentucky, to Lewis and Eleanor Collins. His father, a judge and journalist, had also authored the "most extensive and best known history" of Kentucky at the time. The younger Collins was educated at Maysville seminary before attending Centre College in Danville. Collins continued his education at Transylvania University, where he received a law degree in 1846.

Upon his graduation from Transylvania, Collins married Mary Cox and went to work for the "Maysville Eagle," newspaper, where he rose from assistant editor to editor. Collins opened his first law practice in Maysville from 1851 to 1853. He moved to Covington in 1862 and again practiced law in Covington and Cincinnati.

The younger Collins' greatest contribution to Kentucky history came when he expanded his father’s 1847 work, "Historical Sketches of Kentucky." Beginning in 1870, the younger Collins spent four years working on a new edition of his father’s book. In the end, he increased the original one-volume work of 560 pages into two volumes of 1,600 pages of Kentucky history. The new edition spanned from the beginnings of Kentucky to 1874, the year of publication.

Collins died at his daughter's home in Missouri on January 1, 1888. He was buried in Maysville.