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The first book ever published about Kentucky is currently on display at the University of Kentucky Special Collections gallery in the Margaret I. King building.
The book Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke (1784) was written by 18th-century surveyor John Filson. Filson moved from Pennsylvania to Lexington two years before publishing his data and map of the new commonwealth.
UK curator of books Dr. Jim Birchfield prepared the exhibit of the book and map, as well as copies printed in France, Germany and England. Filson reportedly published the book in order to encourage western migration from the original 13 colonies. He owned large tracts of land in Kentucky he wanted to sell.
Not long after the book’s publication, Filson moved to Ohio where he owned land near Cincinnati. He disappeared in October 1788 while surveying the forests of Ohio.
From UK Libraries’ Special Collections
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