loved to read. The area that is now Old Louisville was a center of a
thriving artistic and literary community in the area.
lived at 1436 St. James Court. He was Kentucky's first Poet Laureate, and
was often called the "Audubon of Poetry" because of his many poems
more famous to most was Alice Hegan Rice (1870-1942). She lived at 1444
St. James Court, and was the wife of Cale Young Rice, a successful
poet and dramatist. Her best selling 1901 novel, Mrs. Wiggs of the
Cabbage Patch, an enjoyable tale and social commentary on residents
of the "Cabbage Patch" area just west of today's Old Louisville,
was made into a play which opened in 1903 at the Macauley Theater.
A movie version was released
in the 1934 that starred
Pauline Lord and W. C. Fields. There were 2 other film
versions of the book as well, first in 1919 with Mary Carr playing the
title role and also in 1942 with Fay Bainter and Hugh Herbert.
Annie Fellows Johnston, a native of Evansville, but
a long time resident of Pewee Valley, a community just east of Louisville,
is famous for her Little Colonel series, a highly influential and
widely read series of stories for young readers. These books sold
millions of copies in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and were
translated into 40 languages. The stories center around Pewee Valley
(renamed Lloydsborough valley for the stories), an aristocratic enclave just
east of the city that was the summer gathering place of much of
Louisville's elite at the turn of the 19th/20th century. Annie
Fellows Johnston's stories were far from pure fiction. She used
real people and actual places and events in the weaving of her tales.
All of the main characters of the 13 books that make up the series are based
on real people. The models for the Two Little Knights of Kentucky
lived in Old Louisville at 1432 South Third Street. They were featured
in a book by that name (the second in the Little Colonel series), and
continued as major characters throughout the whole series. It may also
be of interest that The Little Colonel's Holidays is largely set in
Old Louisville. The Little Colonel was made into a movie
starring Shirley Temple and Lionel Barrymore in 1935. A Little
Colonel website is hosted on OldLouisville.com as a resource for more
information. The marvelous thing is that this series of stories reveals much
about the day to day lives, psyche, and mores of the people that lived in
Louisville during the Victorian era.
until well into the 1930s, 1154 S. Third St was the home of
Reuben Post Halleck (1859-1936) . His works
included Psychology and Psychic Culture (1895) History of
English Literature (1900) History of American Literature
(1911), Halleck's New English Literature (1913),
Readings from Literature co-authored with Elizabeth G Barbour
(1915), History of Our Country (1923), Founders of Our
Nation (1929), Makers of Our Nation (1930 ) and Our
United States (1935). Halleck was also principal of
Louisville Male High School, and the main building of DuPont-Manual
High School now bears his name.
We should not forget
that also, among others, Charles W. Buck, an author and attorney,
lived at 1468 St. James Court, and that Dr. Christopher Columbus Graham,
a scientist, author, adventurer, and crack rifle shot, lived at 1348 South
Now, through what we
refer to as the "Magic of the Internet," it is possible to read
many of the original works of these poets and authors on line.
Following is a list of links to many complete works by some of our beloved
Old Louisville writers.
to Writings on line:
Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch: 1901 The once idyllic Oakland Race
Track, which faced 7th Street (Oakland Turnpike) just South of Magnolia in
the early 19th Century, preceded Churchill Downs as Louisville's venue for
horse racing. The last race was held in 1850, and the area at the
western edge of present-day Old Louisville became a military camp during the
Civil War, and then a residential area, known as "the Cabbage
Patch," housing the very poorest people of Louisville. First hand
contact with the social conditions in this enclave allowed Alice Hegan Rice
to write the immensely popular and witty tale that exposed 'shocking'
conditions of poverty in Louisville at the turn of 19th/20th centuries.
Hegan Rice Literary Collection at WKU. This site includes photos, sketches and other memorabilia
of old Louisville authors Alice and Cale Young Rice.
Annie Fellows Johnston
Little Colonel 1895 The beginning of the series. Set in
now what is essentially a Louisville suburb, Pewee (Lloydsborough) Valley, a
favorite summer retreat of Louisville aristocracy during Victorian times,
this is the tale of a bitter old confederate colonel (based on the real-life
character of Colonel John Weissinger) and his 5-year old granddaughter
(real-life Hattie Cochran) who possessed a certain military demeanor from
which she got her name. A story of reconcilliation.
Little Knights of Kentucky 1899 Old Louisville's own
and Craig Culbertson are used as the models for little knights Malcolm
and Keith in a fictionalized version of their winter and summer visiting
their grandmother in Pewee (Lloydsboro) Valley at the close of the 19th
century. The relationships are real and even the bear was modeled
after a performing bear that came to the valley during that time. A
real chance to meet the types of people that lived in and around our city
over 100 years ago. Don't miss the descriptions of a genuine Victorian
era Valentine's party and the tableaux which comprised some of the most
respected home-made entertainments of the time.
"Knighthood has not passed away. The flower of chivalry has
blossomed anew in the New World, and
America, too, has her 'Hall of the Shields'"
Little Colonel's Holidays 1901 Several chapters of this
1900-1901 tale are set in "Old Louisville." The Little
Colonel and the Two Little Knights of Kentucky have grown a bit, and are
joined by the Waltons, modeled after the
of General H. W. Lawton, a fallen hero of the Spanish American
War. The story revolves around the search for a little girl who has
been "kidnapped" by her drunken father. Yet the real
interest may lie in the imagery of Victorian Louisville, good and bad, its
values and mores (also good and bad), as well as the descriptions of
Victorian holiday celebrations. Well known early in the 20th Century
was the Halloween party at the Haunted House of Hartwell Hollow (the house
really existed, but burned down by the 1930s).
"To 'The Little Captain' and his sisters Whose proudest heritage
is that they bear the name of a nation's hero"
The Complete Little Colonel Series by Annie Fellows Johnston are
on the Little Colonel
website hosted on OldLouisville.com. Click the link above to read
Dr. Sena Jeter Naslund,
Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2005 - 2006, resides on St. James Court.
Besides writing over 400 works recognized nationally and
internationally, she is Distinguished Teaching Professor at the
University of Louisville; and Program Director of the Spalding
University Master of Fine Arts in Writing. She is also the editor of the
literary magazine, The Louisville Review.
Most recent novels
include Sherlock in Love, the New York Times best seller
Ahab's Wife, and Four Spirits, a story of the civil-rights
Jeter Naslund Official Web Site
The Body In
The Barrel, a contemporary murder mystery, one of the key
characters, Dr. Fritz Kaplan, lives in Old Louisville on Belgravia
Court. Kentucky native author, J. D. Yeiser, has always been fascinated
with the Old Louisville area and took the opportunity to ‘move in’ with
the character. We wish there could have been more, but the detail is
fascinating and flattering.
The mystery details the
efforts of a team of amateur detectives on the trail of the identity of
a body discovered in a barrel of bourbon at the back of a warehouse and
the murderer and his accomplices. Political intrigue and Washington sex
scandals and scenes that sound like they are straight out of current
Old Louisville "When the wind
picks up and sets the dead leaves on the sidewalk to swirling, you might
wonder who lived - and died - in the large brick mansion in front of you.
When the air bristles with the fall chill, you could stop and ask yourself
why someone is staring down at you from the third-story window of the large,
uninhabited gray stone house across the street or why you hear organ music
from the abandoned church on the corner. Take a stroll, and the past comes
alive in Old Louisville, especially when the gaslights click on and night
falls, and ghosts start to roam the streets." David Domine lives on
Third Street in Old Louisville.
Michael Wiliams, has
published a series of novels of increasing oddness -- combinations of what
he characterizes as "gothic/historical fiction/fantasy/sf/redneck magical
realism" -- beginning with Weasel's Luck (1988) and Galen
Beknighted (1990), and most recently the critically acclaimed Arcady
(1996) and Allamanda (1997). Michael Williams lives on St.