Author Archives: University Press of Kentucky

About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

Countdown to the 2019 KY Book Festival

The Kentucky Book Festival kicks off on November 10, just four days away! Every year this event is hosted by Kentucky Humanities to celebrate the literary movement within the Commonwealth. The book event will be held at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, and the surrounding Lexington area from Sunday, Nov. 10 to Saturday, Nov. 16. Many books published by the University Press of Kentucky (UPK) will be sold and signed during this event.

Festival Events featuring our UPK authors include:

  • Literary Luncheon on Tuesday, November 12 at Noon featuring authors Crystal Wilkinson, Bobbie Ann Mason, Ed McClanahan, Gurney Norman, and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall.
  • “Look and See” Screening on Wednesday, November 13 at 6:30 pm featuring authors Tanya Amyx Berry and Wendell Berry.
  • Book Fair Panel featuring Tanya Amyx Berry, author of For the Hog Killing, 1979 & editor Ben Aguilar in conversation with Nana Lampton of the Snowy Owl Foundation, Inc. on Saturday, November 16 at UK Main Stage at 12:30 pm.
  • Book Fair Panel featuring featuring authors Jayne Moore Waldrop, Jessica Wilkerson, Savannah Sipple, & Crystal Wilkinson in conversation with Hannah Markley, The Hindman Settlement School Creative Writing Fellow, on Saturday, November 16 at UK Healthcare South Stage-1 at 10:30 am. 
  • Book Fair Panel featuring Adrian Matejka, author of Map to the Stars in conversation with Frank X Walker, author of Last Will, Last Testament, and Michael Datcher, author of Americus on Saturday, November 16 at UK Healthcare South Stage-2 at 2:30 pm. 

More info on the Kentucky Book Festival Events including the Kickoff, Literary Luncheon, Look and See Screening, Cocktails and Conversation, Books and Brews Trivia, and the KY Book Fair can be found here.

The festival will close with the 38th Annual Kentucky Book Fair on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Panels will be hosted throughout the day featuring UPK authors such as Tanya Amyx Berry, Ben Aguilar, Crystal Wilkinson, and Frank X Walker.

Let’s take a look at the UPK books being featured this year:


From the Life of Kentucky’s Pioneer Sculptor: An Excerpt from Juilee Decker’s ENID YANDELL

Enid’s decision to become a sculptor was a passion as well as a pursuit of an occupation that brought her the independence through which she could forge her identity. Her mother realized early on that her eldest daughter was determined to build a name for herself through sculpture, regardless of any disappointment family members may have felt about her taking on an occupation. In a letter to Enid of 1896, Louise remarked how she knew that Enid was “an original in many things” and that Enid’s “life had gone out of my moulding and into your own.” Through her work, Louise’s daughter would sculpt her legacy.1

By the start of the twentieth century, Enid had become known through her work. For instance, she had been associated with the Chicago World’s Fair, where her classical figures served as architectural support for the Woman’s Building. In Louisville, her 7.1_Deckerproposal for a Confederate monument evoked allegorical representations of fame and victory. In Nashville, she produced a monumental figure of the Greek goddess Athena for the Tennessee Centennial. Shifting from classical exemplars in her public statuary of monuments and architectural elements of the fairs, Enid’s work became more expressive after the 1890s. Strikingly different from the classical statuary of her works for public spectacle and her traditionally posed busts, in this new body of work, Enid garnered praise alongside a developing public for her art. By late in the decade, she had already developed some interest in busts, usually commemorative, and figureens. Living in Paris, she came into contact with cutting-edge works of sculpture by artists such as Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), with whom Enid grew acquainted on her subsequent stays in Europe as a professional artist from the late 1890s onward. Rodin’s The Kiss (1892), a carved block of marble revealing two figures entwined in each other’s arms, was shown at the Paris Salon in 1898. About this time, Enid began to develop a body of work that took a dramatic turn in terms of form and in its emphasis of expressive qualities and sensuality, emphasizing themes of love, loss, and companionship on a scale both small and large.

By the turn of the century, sculptors were taking notice of the shifting terrain of sculptural form. In any one exhibit, for instance, works embodying classical form, realism, idealism, and fantasy might be represented. A case in point is the International Exhibition of Modern Art organized

in 1913 by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, an event known colloquially as the “Armory Show” in New York. Here Enid exhibited both realistic and expressive works, the former tending toward the treatment of form she had used for large-scale public commissions (such as the world’s fairs) and the latter tending toward the abstract and expressive qualities championed by Rodin and others. She developed an8.4_Decker intentional practice of choosing an exposition of form that conveyed meaning. And in 1899, amidst the swirl of activity in her studios in Paris and New York, Enid was clearly in pursuit of passion. 

Juilee Decker is associate professor of museum studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is editor of Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals and the four-volume series Innovative Approaches for Museums. She has curated exhibitions focusing on visual arts, material culture, and public history and has served as a consultant to public art projects and programs in the US. The full text is available through our website [link]


1. Letter from Louise Yandell to Enid, September 20, 1896, FHS Mss A/Y21b/
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The Early Signs of a Champion: Excerpt from SPECTACULAR BID

04.1 - Spectacular Bid Winning 1979

IN JUNE 1978, while he was having dinner with Bud Delp, Ron Franklin, who had been riding Spectacular Bid as part of his regular schedule, said, “Boss, that’s a helluva colt we got.”

“How the hell would you know?” Delp asked in his grumpy but amiable way.

Franklin knew. Earlier in the day, the apprentice jockey had ridden Bid half a mile in a blazing forty-six seconds flat. A good time for an adult racehorse to run four furlongs during a workout is forty-eight seconds. And Bid was a baby, a two-year-old that was just learning to race and whose bones and muscles had not yet matured.

When he got off the horse, Franklin said, “This horse is great! He feels like two horses under you. When you pull him up, he wants to go again.” Delp answered Franklin as a master would respond to an overeager apprentice: “What the hell are you talking about? What do you know about horses?” Delp himself did not want to admit it, but he was getting excited about this colt. Was this the horse he had been waiting for? Was this the horse that would lift him out of the claiming business? Could he have a champion? 06.1 - Spectacular Bid CB


Bid had returned from Middleburg Training Center in March 1978, along with the rest of Hawksworth Farm’s crop, and Delp’s assistant, Charlie Bettis, had been working with Bid for a few weeks. “Bud came over to see him,” Bettis said. “He came away impressed, and said, ‘He needs to be with me [at Pimlico].’” Delp had taken three of the Meyerhoffs’ most promising colts from the Keeneland sale to Middleburg; when he saw Bid run against the other two colts, Seethreepeo and I Know Why1, he said, “I could see that Bid was best.” Delp had to stop running Bid with the other two horses for fear that he would dishearten them with his speed. Franklin had to keep Bid under tight control to keep the other two horses on pace with the colt. Continue reading


Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From the 92nd Infantry Division to the X Corps gives an overview of General Edward M. Almond’s development as a military leader and his overall service. This biography covers almost 60 years from his early career as a soldier to his time in teaching and military leadership, and finally, to his retirement and death. It also covers the development of the US Army during that time, and the US Army’s treatment of African American soldiers.

This book notices the controversial, faulty man while examining his personal life and military accomplishments. Here is an excerpt from Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From the 92nd Infantry Division to the X Corps, page 26, that displays Almond’s attitude as a soldier during his early career:

From this first combat action, Almond placed himself at the front with his troops. On the evening of August 4, Almond seated himself in an observation post on the front slope of a hill overlooking the Vesle River. From there he could direct supporting fire for an American attack. The 3rd Battalion, 58th Infantry, advanced in a dispersed formation because of the Germans firing from the other side of the river. Almond sent his draft animals and carts to the rear and positioned his machine guns so that they could provide overhead fire across the stream. Just as Almond took a moment to eat, a shell exploded nearby and a fragment struck him in the head. He later remembered: “I had just opened a can of corn willy [corned beef] when a shell broke into our midst from across the stream, and although I had my helmet on it penetrated my helmet and the top of my head. My orderly who had brought me my supper was killed by another fragment, and a number of men in my vicinity were wounded also, and a couple killed.”

Medics evacuated Almond to an aid station and later to a field hospital where he recuperated. Almond’s small but potentially deadly wound and his performance under fire earned him respect and a commendation. The 4th Division commander, Maj. Gen. George Cameron, later cited Almond’s valor:31 “Staggering to his feet[,] he issued the necessary orders for the welfare of his men, directing that they report to the next senior officer and after making an inspection to see that all were as well protected as possible from shell fire, he consented to be evacuated. His coolness, courage[,] and utter disregard of personal welfare were a great inspiration to his men.”

BLOOD, GUTS, AND GREASE Explores the Leader and Human in General George S. Patton

“While the focus of this book is clearly on Patton’s development as a leader during the First World War, it offers insights into Patton’s personal life as well. Patton is larger than life, but also very human with the flaws, interests, and passions that would characterize his future.”

—from the foreword by Paul T. Mikolashek, Lieutenant General, US Army (Ret), Commanding General Third US Army, 2000–2002

Blood, Guts, and Grease: George S. Patton in World War I by Jon B. Mikolashek with a foreword by Paul T. Mikolashek explores the military and personal life of Patton, also known as “Old Blood and Guts” by his troops.

Whether you are in the military and are desiring to rise up in the ranks just like Patton, or you are a civilian interested in the history of military leaders, or even if military history has never been an interest to you, all can connect with the story of this leader.

Even in his controversial decisions, readers can gain a better understanding of the man behind those bold and risky calls. From the archives of his own letters and the writings in his diary, readers can start to have an understanding of who Patton was—he was a soldier, a lover, a father, a disciplinary, and a poet. He had a temper, seemed prideful at times, and even got himself into a lot of car accidents, after which he would write to his wife: “On the way back between Amiens and Paris I had my usual yearly accident.” He was human.

In this biography, a reader is allowed to perceive the human in a seemingly larger-than-life historical figure, and is also allowed to read how he became such a great military leader during the time of World War I.



“Why Do I Study the Kentucky Frontier?” by Nancy O’Malley, Author of BOONESBOROUGH UNEARTHED

As a military brat, I spent my childhood moving from place to place. I began my journey in Fort Worth, Texas, where I was born, and later moved to Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Japan, Texas and back to Alabama, where I then finished high school. I learned two key things during my nomadic childhood: the ability to assimilate into a new culture quickly and the knack of observing while participating. For me, there was always another social frontier to cope with, whether it was a Deep South country school, a foreign culture, a large urban high school or the throes of desegregation. Everywhere I went, I was the stranger, the outsider, until I could find my niche.

A persistent theme in my research is the idea of the frontier as the unfamiliar and uncharted, a concept that I trace directly to my upbringing. For me, a frontier can be a physical place or a social arena, and generally both. Kentucky’s position as one of the earliest areas of western American expansion certainly qualified it as a “frontier” to incoming settlers in the classic Jacksonian sense. My interest in the Kentucky frontier of the late eighteenth century was sparked by a site type called a “station” – a defensible residential site that usually housed more than one family—that was a key element of the early historic settlement of Kentucky during the Revolutionary War. Extensive research on pioneer stations in a twelve-county area in Central Kentucky resulted in my publication “Stockading Up.” I eventually received an invitation to conduct research on Fort Boonesborough, one of a handful of large public forts that were built to provide protection and sanctuary for the hundreds of settlers that flocked to Kentucky during the Revolutionary War.

I was intrigued by their experiences in a land that was similar in many respects—weather, forest composition, physiography—to their homes back east, but still very unfamiliar, lacking the landmarks, both physical and metaphysical, of the “civilized” Euroamerican society in which they had grown up. Moreover, there were Native Americans (Shawnee, Cherokee and other allied tribes) who violently opposed the incursions of commercial hunters and settlers, like Daniel Boone. These hunters killed hundreds of wild game animals, and settlers cut down the forests and claimed land as if the native people who had lived in Kentucky for millennia had no rights. And then there was the war that started just as settlement began in earnest. And not just any war, but a bloody family conflict that was fought to separate the American colonies from their mother country of England.

My research into the practical survival strategies that the settlers used to weather deadly attacks and raids while still moving toward their goal of permanent settlement focused necessarily on the defensive sites they built—the stations and forts that formed a network of protective places connected by trails and paths. But always present in my mind was what was going through the settlers’ minds as they woke up each day, not knowing what harrowing event might come yet still having to find enough food for themselves and their animals, get along with their neighbors and put up with often squalid living conditions.

Anthropologists are taught that people bring their attitudes, mores, practices and prejudices—their cultural baggage—with them wherever they go. Kentucky settlers were no different. And there were many differences among them—“distinctions and partitions” as Robert Johnson wrote to Governor Patrick Henry in 1786—that belied a monolithic stereotype of a frontier emigrant. People came from every American colony as well as some European countries; most were white but black emigrants, enslaved and free, comprised a significant minority of the growing population. Settlers who spoke English as their first language encountered German and French settlers who spoke accented English as their second language and exhibited unfamiliar ethnic practices. Social class and wealth distinctions were immediately identifiable. [1]


Kentucky settlers sensibly emigrated in groups composed of friends and family and often settled in the same station until conditions allowed them to settle their own farms. Personal relationships and familiarity and combined resources made shared risks, deprivations and losses easier to bear and increased the chances for survival. An enemy’s bullet knew no distinction of social class or wealth. Your life might be saved or lost but for the intervention of a stranger or a friend. Cultural differences were particularly acute and had to be negotiated in the close spaces of larger, public forts like Fort Boonesborough even while the safety of greater numbers mitigated the dangers of frontier life. Settlers had to keep their hopes trained on a future, better life that lay beyond the immediate uncertainties of life on a wartime frontier. Prosperity was not a given; many failed to attain the land and financial success they sought. [2]

What was remarkable to me was how brief this period of frontier life really was. For the core area of central Kentucky where much of my research has focused, the period of instability and insecurity was, for all practical purposes, over once the Revolutionary War ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Other areas such as northern Kentucky along the Ohio River experienced Native American attacks and raids until the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the Treaty of Greenville in 1794, but that area also did not experience widespread Euroamerican settlement until some years later than the central Kentucky area. For all its brevity, however, the eight years of the war must have seemed endless at times. The experience informed the society that Kentucky eventually became—largely conservative, patriotic, passionately attached to place and somewhat insular. But as Stephen Aron carefully and precisely explains, the development of Kentucky society from a frontier to an ordered society “did not unfold in an orderly parade” and its transformation “featured many casualties.” [3] Like many other aspects of human endeavor, the frontier experience was complicated and complex and cannot be readily reduced to tidy stereotypes.

A frontier as uncharted and unfamiliar is perceived as such only by the newcomer. As a child and young adult, I adapted as I learned more about the places and people I encountered with each move. The unfamiliar became familiar and I usually found a spot where I could fit in. But since I moved often, assimilation became a habit and a survival strategy that never really left me, even though I have now lived in Kentucky for over forty years.

It’s perhaps inevitable that my personal experiences have informed my opinions about the hot topic of immigration these days. Modern immigration discussions are characterized by disturbing polarization of attitudes and opinion, but there is nothing new or unusual about the issues that immigration from without or emigration from within currently raise. We have experienced it all before, numerous times, from the first European arrivals on American shores to the trans-Appalachian movement to the entry of Irish fleeing famine, Germans fleeing oppressive governments, Asians responding to work opportunities, southern blacks moving north to escape the Jim Crow South, Latin immigrants seeking sanctuary and prosperity and so on.

Fundamentally, the forces that drive people to relocate today are no different from those of the past. Sadly, the reactions of those who feel threatened by newcomers are no different either. A look backwards seems to suggest that we keep repeating old patterns over and over again. But I believe that we are at our roots an immigrant nation and that anti-immigrant sentiments have always been limited to a minority whose voices have been temporarily magnified but ultimately, eventually quieted by the embrace of cultural diversity and equality.

Another thing I learned growing up was to adopt a “glass half full” attitude even when conditions around me, whether they be personal challenges or national sentiments, seemed particularly divided and polarized. Amid the rancorous political debates, the demonizing of opposition regardless of which side of the debate you are on and the partisanship that divides, optimism often is a challenge to maintain and the complexity of the issue makes resolution of our differences hard to attain. I recall the pioneers that looked forward to a better day and relief from their temporary privations and take a lesson from their hopefulness. Will partisan politics and “partitions and distinctions” continue to rise to the top in the future? Undoubtedly. Are we as a nation up to the challenge of fighting against the inequities they inspire? Absolutely.

[1] Elizabeth Perkins, Border Life: Experience and Memory in the Revolutionary Ohio Valley, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998. p. 85.

[2] Aron, Stephen, How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

[3] Aron, p. 2


An Excerpt from the Preface of BOONESBOROUGH UNEARTHED by Nancy O’Malley

Boonesborough was founded by Richard Henderson and his Transylvania Company partners in 1775 as the envisioned capital of a new colony more than two hundred miles west of the nearest settlements. The company’s venture was an audacious attempt to create a colony governed under a proprietary model that circumvented a royal proclamation prohibiting settlement beyond the Appalachians. In claiming land obtained by an illegal purchase from the Cherokees, the company violated the terms of the Virginia charter. Moreover, the timing of the enterprise coincided with the American colonies’ War of Independence (1775-1783). The convergence of the Transylvania Company’s ambitions and the inception of a revolution created a unique situation that demanded a creative response. Out of that need, Fort Boonesborough was born. Wartime hostilities necessitated the construction of a defensible fort composed of log cabins and stockade cobbled together to house and protect settlers from attack. From this humble origin, Fort Boonesborough became an important site in the intertwined stories of American beginnings: westward expansion and the War for Independence.[i]  boonesborough unearthed cover

Despite the fort’s early importance in the unification of the American colonies into one independent country, it was abandoned after the end of the Revolutionary War and the town planned at the site did not flourish. The town lots were eventually bought up by a handful of landowners who converted them to large farms. A small resort retained the name as an attraction for guests who came to fish, swim and be entertained.

Yet the memory of the fort and its significance in the history of Kentucky and the nation did not entirely fade.  Since its establishment in the 1960s, Fort Boonesborough State Park has memorialized the site as one of the most important early settlement sites in Kentucky and a key point of defense on the western front during the American colonies’ fight for independence from England. Park visitors can tour a replica of the fort to learn about the people who lived there and even visit the site of the fort itself, marked by a monument and a memorial wall erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). But by the mid-twentieth century a persistent belief spread among many local residents that the monument marked the wrong site. Which story was true?

In 1987 I was asked to find the answer. The quest for the truth led me on a  journey that extended over thirty years of archival and archaeological research. I began with the original question of the site’s actual location and expanded to explore more questions about the site itself: How much of it was preserved, what archaeological evidence did it contain, and what could that archaeology tell  us? When I began the Fort Boonesborough project, I already had researched the defensible residential “stations” established in Kentucky by late eighteenth-century Euro-American settlers and their slaves on land claimed under Virginia law. The large public fort at Boonesborough, another part of the early settlement story, had never been examined from an archaeological perspective. Archaeology offers a unique means to assess the cultural past, and historical archaeology focuses its attention on physical evidence such as artifacts and cultural features (e.g., structural foundations, storage pits, and other physical evidence in the ground) coupled with archival sources to reconstruct what a site looked like, who lived there, and how they lived. This book brings together all the archaeological data that have been gathered about the site of Fort Boonesborough, one of only a handful of large forts that were constructed in Kentucky during the Revolutionary War. The site is the only major colonial fort in Kentucky that still exists as an archaeological site.

The impetus for an archaeological project to confirm the exact location of Fort Boonesborough had unusual origins. In 1985, Jim Kurz, who worked in the economic development and regional planning field, was competing in the Bluegrass Triathlon. As Jim put it in an unpublished account, “The past is important to me. Sometimes when I least expect it, something from the past reaches out to me, captures my attention, and my mind turns back to days gone by.” In the midst of completing the swimming portion of a triathlon, part of his mind was occupied by thoughts of Daniel Boone and his fellow settlers and the stories of their establishment of Fort Boonesborough. A graduate in American history at Eastern Kentucky University, Jim knew of the DAR monument that marked the traditional site of the fort at the state park in Madison County. He was also aware of the local belief that the actual site was somewhere else. He felt sure that an archaeological search for the fort site would be a worthwhile endeavor. But where to begin?[ii]

Want to know more? Order BOONESBOROUGH UNEARTHED today at

[i]Only the British crown could create and sanction a new colony. A proprietary model gave full governing rights to an individual or group of people, such as was done for Pennsylvania.

[ii]Jim Kurz, Looking for Daniel Boone’s Fort (Lexington, KY: unpublished manuscript, 1990), 1.