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The Kentucky Encyclopedia’s 2,000-plus entries are the work of more than five hundred writers. Their subjects reflect all areas of the commonwealth and span the time from prehistoric settlement to today’s headlines, recording Kentuckians’ achievements in art, architecture, business, education, politics, religion, science, and sports. Biographical sketches portray all of Kentucky’s governors and U.S. senators, as well as noted congressmen and state and local politicians. Kentucky’s impact on the national scene is registered in the lives of such figures as Carry Nation, Henry Clay, Louis Brandeis, and Alben Barkley. The commonwealth’s cultural figures range from writers Harriette Arnow and Jesse Stuart, reformers Laura Clay and Mary Breckinridge, and civil rights leaders Whitney Young, Jr., and Georgia Powers, to sports figures Muhammad Ali and Adolph Rupp and entertainers Loretta Lynn, Merle Travis, and the Everly Brothers. Entries describe each county and county seat and each community with a population above 2,500. Broad overview articles examine such topics as agriculture, segregation, transportation, literature, and folklife. Frequently misunderstood aspects of Kentucky’s history and culture are clarified and popular misconceptions corrected. The facts on such subjects as mint juleps, Fort Knox, Boone’s coonskin cap, the Kentucky hot brown, and Morgan’s Raiders will settle many an argument. For both the researcher and the more casual reader, this collection of facts and fancies about Kentucky and Kentuckians will be an invaluable resource.

"A ready source of readable history, entertaining folklore, humor, even mystery, and a mother lode of genealogical information."—Lexington Herald-Leader

"Over two thousand entries by more than five hundred authors who represented diverse educational, cultural, and regional backgrounds. . . . Clearly organized and easy to use. . . . A useful compendium of information that balances political, social, and economic history and gives voice to the regional diversity of the state."—Journal of American History

"It is remarkable that John E. Kleber and his editorial team designed and executed the Commonwealth’s premiere bicentennial project, The Kentucky Encyclopedia, in four short years. . . . A very promising research tool for the preparation of Kentucky’s next few decades of historical writing."—Journal of Southern History

"Will be referred to for decades, maybe centuries."—Kentucky Living

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Kentucky, Encyclopedias


United States History

The Kentucky Encyclopedia
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