Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Old Kentucky Home

The story goes that Stephen Collins Foster was visiting the former home of his cousin, Judge Rowan, in Bardstown, Kentucky in the 1850s and was inspired to write the lyrics to the song, My Old Kentucky Home. That story is now thought to be apocryphal, but it doesn't matter because by then Judge Rowan's house had been declared a State shrine, and the song was designated the official state song of Kentucky.

Here's the original song:

By 1986, Kentucky had a black legislator, Carl Hines, who objected to the word 'darky' and successfully sponsored a bill to change the word to 'people."

I looked at this card and imagined Foster sitting by the rustic hearth composing the lyrics.

I guess I was reading the caption on this card too literally, because then I saw this postcard and had to revise my image to a better-dressed Stephen Collins, sitting in the elegant parlor and sipping a mint julep while he wrote the lyrics. Whatever the case, the song is also the official song of the Kentucky Derby and is played at college football and basketball game in Kentucky. It's part of the state's heritage.

I have many cards that show the exterior of Judge Rowan's house. Here's one of them.

And here's the back of the first card, sent to Leona Cowles in Olympia, Washington. The message reads:
Thanks a lot for the nice card. I do hope you like this one. Yes I will be glad to have a greeting card from Seattle or San Francisco as I do not have any for either place. But I do have one from Pittsburgh PA. Please come again.
Norman Inman 719 Ashland Ave Louisville Ky


  1. Your research is fascinating. I love these little pieces of history.

  2. I love the song card. The house on the song card doesn't look at all like the big house where the song was supposedly written.

  3. love these cards!
    i understand an objection to certain terms, but to have a bill to change the original song? how about,just don't use that particular song?
    i really enjoy the background and history to these postcards!!

  4. Great postcards, and as always, you've served them up with some interesting history too.



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