This week, we’re dropping a print only made possible by the life, legacy, and eloquence of Kick Ass Kentuckian Irvin S. Cobb. The quote that we’ve selected was sent to us by an avid Kentucky for Kentucky fan, and was originally printed in a 1917 edition of the Columbia Spectator, a Columbia University publication that continues to operate. Cobb’s editorial, “A Letter from a Great Kentuckian,” was published on the front page of a special ‘Kentucky edition’ of the newsletter – a message of Kentucky pride, identity, and heritage that continues to ring true today.
A sharp-witted native of Paducah, Cobb was born in 1876 – and though forced to quit school at 16, he nonetheless became a prolific writer. He immediately began work as a reporter, and at the age of 19 became the nation’s youngest news editor. In addition to working in the journalism business, Irvin S. Cobb was an avid screenwriter, actor, and lecturer. After his professional start in Paducah, Cobb’s career took him across the country to New York, where he was the highest paid reporter in the nation. Talk about a Kentucky boy hitting the big time!
During his illustrious career, Cobb was glorified as a celebrity of sorts. He covered World War I for the Saturday Evening Post and also published several memoirs over the course of his lifetime. One of his better-known chronicles is “Exit Laughing,” a non-fiction account that detailed the assassination of one of our Kentucky favorites, Governor William Goebel – who is also the star of Covington’s One Damn Bad Oyster Fest.
Famous for his bushy eyebrows, girth, and always-present cigar, Cobb was also celebrated in his day for his rich, colorful fiction. These were mainly stories about Kentucky, and lent pride, spirit, and dimensionality to the characters of his home state. Cobb was a versatile writer and humorist, writing thousands of columns and publishing over 60 books, many to critical acclaim. Vehemently anti-prohibition, he was credited with being a major force in the Repeal of Prohibition in 1934. When the booze once more began to flow, Cobb was selected by Frankfort Distilleries to pen a whiskey cocktail recipe book that stretched over 50 pages.
Our epic Irvin S. Cobb poster will go down in time like the man himself. White ink on black French Paper Company Paper, 12.5 x 19. Designed, signed, and numbered by the talented Jeremy Booth. Screenprinted by Tim Jones. Only 200 prints will be available on Friday, May 30 at 10:00am for only $25. Cheers to the Commonwealth – and get them while you can.
“To be born in Kentucky is a heritage; to brag about it is a habit; to appreciate it is a virtue. Kentucky may no longer be the leading horse-breeding state; Virginia may grow as much tobacco as she; and Prohibition before long is going to take away from her the claim of being the principal producer of Bourbon distillations. But of one thing the swing of the years, and the tides of change and chance can never rob her. Kentucky until the end of the chapter of our national life will be famous for her splendid yield of one exclusive, unapproachable, magnificent crop —Kentuckians.” – Irvin Cobb
Words by Hannah Legris. Photos by Stanley Sievers. Amazing print by Jeremy Booth.