People Stories

Author Claypool to speak at
Oldham County History Center

He will discuss his recent book
on various characters of history

LA GRANGE, Ky.(August 2013)  – Author James C. Claypool has been talking about Kentuckians for a long time. Out of a list of 200 people, he has chosen the best of the best for inclusion in his book, “Our Fellow Kentuckians: Rascals, Heroes and Just Plain Uncommon Folk.”
The book evolved from programs Claypool has presented over the years. He said he “researched Kentuckians with unique characteristics; people who did something distinctive.”
He devised a list of 200 people from various walks of life and rotated them in his programs. When presenting a program, he would choose which people to talk about, depending on the region of the state he was in or what he thought his audience would enjoy.

James Claypool

Claypool has been on the speaker’s roster for the Kentucky Humanities Council for 20 years. He generally gives programs about horse racing, music and Kentucky history.
Claypool will present a program about his book for the Oldham County History Center at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22. The program will take place in the Rob Morris Educational Building and a catered buffet dinner and cash bar will be available. Reservations are required.
His talk will “run the span of history, from the earliest days to modern times,” Claypool said. Included in the book are such characters as Nancy Green (1834-1923), the original Aunt Jemima. Green was an emancipated slave from Montgomery County, Ky. Daniel Carter Beard (1850-1941), raised in Covington, Ky, was the founder of the Boy Scouts of America. Eddie Arcaro (1916-1997) was a champion jockey from Newport, Ky.

Claypool Book

In addition to well-known Kentuckians, such as Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln, also included are lesser-known people like John T. Thompson (1860-1940). Thompson invented the atomic weapon known as the Thompson machine gun. It was popular during the American gangster era of the 1920s and ’30s.
Rose Monroe (1920-1997) became known as “Rosie the Riveter.” Monroe became the symbol for the contribution made by women to America’s industrial production effort during World War II.
“Our Fellow Kentuckians: Rascals, Heroes and Just Plain Uncommon Folk,” is part of a series of six authors and their books the History Center has offered this year known as The History Press Author Dinner Series. All books were published by The History Press, based in South Carolina.
“The History Press heard about my talks,” Claypool said. They asked him to write a book based on his talks and the result has been very popular with readers. The History Press is a spinoff of Arcadia Publishing.
In his academic career, Claypool holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, spent three and a half years teaching at Murray State University, and was the first employee of Northern Kentucky State College. He took a position as the Dean of Administration in 1970 and stayed until he retired in 2002, holding various teaching positions.
Claypool was born in Evansville, Ind., where his father was in the newspaper business. He now resides in northern Kentucky.
He began teaching European history and sort of “inherited Kentucky history. The two are actually very similar,” he said.
Claypool said he likes to write about Kentucky history because “Kentuckians are interesting. There is a color and character in their history. They are proud and passionate about being Kentuckians.”
He is perhaps best known as co-editor of the “Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky.” He referred to it as a 1,100-page mammoth work, of which he is very proud, considering his Kentucky roots.

• For information or to reserve tickets, contact the Oldham County History Center at (502) 222-0826. Tickets are $12 for History Center members and $15 for non-members.

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