Tom Eblen to discuss John Bradford who was much more than just the state’s first newspaper publisher

John Bradford. Photo credit: University of Kentucky Special Collections

John Bradford. Photo credit: University of Kentucky Special Collections

John Bradford is known as Kentucky’s first newspaper publisher, but he was so much more. While editing and publishing The Kentucky Gazette, Bradford also became the state’s first book publisher and historian. He helped start Kentucky’s first public library and was a key figure in the meteoric rise of Transylvania University, whose board he chaired for most of three decades.

As the Kentucky Historical Society prepares to celebrate the 225th year of Kentucky statehood in 2017, Tom Eblen will speak about this fascinating early Kentuckian during the society’s November Food for Thought lunchtime speakers’ series. The event takes place Nov. 16 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort. The $30 admission includes lunch ($25 for KHS members) and the presentation.

Eblen is the metro/state columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He was the Herald-Leader’s managing editor from 1998 to 2008, after 14 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where he served in several capacities, including regional/national reporter, a business reporter and editor, and an Olympics reporter and editor. Before that, he spent five years at The Associated Press, where he was a statehouse reporter in Nashville and correspondent in charge of the Knoxville bureau. Eblen is a former board member of Associated Press Managing Editors.

A Lexington native and graduate of Western Kentucky University, he also teaches journalism ethics at the University of Kentucky and has been a frequent writing/editing coach at The Mountain Workshops.

Reservations for the November Food for Thought are required by end of day, Nov. 11, by calling Nina Elmore at 502-564-1792, ext. 4558 or emailing

For more information on the event, contact Laurel Harper at 502-564-1792, ext. 4489 or


The Kentucky Historical Society, an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, was established in 1836 and is committed to helping people understand, cherish and share Kentucky’s history. KHS is fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information about KHS and its programs, visit or call 502-564-1792.

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