Dr. Richard Taylor

Bourbon enthusiasts worldwide are familiar with Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. for his reputation as the founding father of the modern bourbon industry. However, the Taylor family's influence on Frankfort can trace its roots back to the earliest pioneer days of Kentucky. This presentation will discuss the lives, influence, and legacies of select early members of this prominent Kentucky family, including surveyor Hancock Taylor, Commodore Richard Taylor, Reuben Taylor, half-brothers "Black Dick" and "Hopping Dick" Taylor, and their relation to the founders of Leestown for whom the town was named.

Dr. Richard Taylor is the author of numerous collections of poetry, two historical novels, and several books relating to Kentucky history, including Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape. A former Kentucky Poet Laureate, he has received two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as an Al Smith Award from the Kentucky Arts Council. Educated at the University of Kentucky (bachelors and Ph.D. in English), he also holds a masters degree (English) and a J.D. from the University of Louisville. Practicing law for a few months, he gave up legal practice, a leave-taking he regards as his gift to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. During graduate school he taught in high schools across Kentucky with the Poetry-in-the-Schools Program through the Kentucky Arts Council, editing an anthology of student writing called Cloud Bumping. 

Embarking on a career in education, he taught at Kentucky State University in Frankfort until retiring in 2008. During that time he taught in the Governor's School for the Arts as well as serving as director of the Governor's Scholars Program on two campuses. He also spent a year in Denmark as a scholar-teacher in the Fulbright Program, also teaching a graduate course at Kangwon University in Korea as well as short periods teaching abroad in England and Ireland in a studies-abroad program. He has received publication awards from the Kentucky Historical Society and the Thomas D. Clark Medallion for his Elkhorn book as well as receiving a Distinguished Professor Award at KSU. Recently retired after fourteen years from Transylvania University as Kenan Visiting Writer, he is co-owner of Poor Richard's Books and lives on a small farm outside Frankfort, Kentucky.

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