Part of Kentucky’s History – Then & Now
Now a public affairs journal, The Kentucky Gazette was founded in 1787 by John Bradford, a Lexington printer who later published some of the first Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly and the Kentucky Almanac (1788-1807). Original editions of the Gazette have been digitized and are available through the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives.
The Kentucky Gazette is considered the first newspaper published in the United States west of the Allegheny Mountains and was established to support Kentucky’s break from Virginia to form the young nation’s 15th state in 1792. Original copies of the paper and references to it are included in the Library of Congress collections of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
John Bradford printed the first issues on an 18th century printing press that could produce only 50 to 60 sheets an hour.
The pages were printed on animal skins. The Kentucky Gazette started out as a weekly, but soon started publishing as a tri-weekly and was delivered to subscribers by a post rider.
The paper originally did not print a lot of local news, but advertised local goods and reprinted articles of national and international importance. As the paper progressed, it started printing letters from the citizens on various issues (and people) of the day and congressional debates and proceedings of the Kentucky General Assembly. Some of Bradford’s most notable articles were published as a book, “The Voice of the Frontier: John Bradford’s Notes on Kentucky,” which was edited by Kentucky historian laureate Thomas D. Clark in 1993.
Bradford and his family published The Kentucky Gazette until 1848, and another Lexington paper used the name from 1866 to 1910. The official archives of the original Gazette are housed at the downtown branch of the Lexington Public Library.
A New Life for The Gazette
Lowell Reese, a Pikeville, Ky. native and publisher of Kentucky Roll Call, revived The Kentucky Gazette in 1995 and operated the newspaper until he sold the paper to Laura Cullen Glasscock, owner of Gravel Switch Publishing Inc., in February 2007.
The award-winning publication is the only one of its kind in the state, and it enjoys distribution and a wide readership in political, business and education communities throughout the commonwealth. The Kentucky Gazette is a member of the Kentucky Press Association and the Associated Press.
Laura Cullen Glasscock is the editor and publisher of The Kentucky Gazette. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Eastern Kentucky University, with a double major in English and public relations, and a master’s degree in English education from the University of Kentucky.
Glasscock holds a masters degree from the prestigious Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is an assistant professor of journalism at Kentucky State University, where she began teaching as an adjunct faculty member in 2008. She served for a number of years as secretary of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and is an occasional panelist on KET’s public affairs program, “Comment on Kentucky.”