The theme of the library’s summer reading program is “Locally Grown,” and there is no one who fits this theme better than Paducah’s own Irvin S. Cobb.
Born in Paducah on this day in 1876, “locally-grown” Cobb went on to become a world-renowned journalist, author of more than 60 books, radio host, screenwriter, screen actor, host of the Academy Awards, humorist, and general bon vivant. He was so popular in his day that he not only had a hotel and bridge named for him, but also a towboat, dahlia, redwood tree, golf championship, brand of pipes, cigar, and burgoo.
So, what better way to celebrate Cobb’s birthday than to read some of his stories this summer? Thankfully, many of Cobb’s early writings (which are arguably his best work) are part of the public domain and are free to download. All of his available works can be found on this link to Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=irvin+cobb). But if you’re not sure where to start, here are some suggestions from our Local and Family History Staff:
Nathan Lynn recommends “Back Home” which includes many of Cobb’s famed and humorous Judge Priest stories. The character of Judge Priest was based on a Paducah judge named William S. Bishop.
Matt Jaeger recommends “The Escape of Mr. Trimm: His Plight and other Plights,” a collection of some of Cobb’s earliest and darkest stories including the title story, “Fishhead” and “The Belled Buzzard.”
Dusty Luthy recommends “Paths of Glory: Impressions of War at and Near the Front,” a collection of Cobb’s journalistic observations during WWI.
Zach Underwood recommends “Eating in Two or Three Languages,” essays by Cobb regaling his gastronomical adventures.
And if you’d like to read more or our blog posts about Cobb, all of our posts that invoke his name can be found here (https://mclib.net/blogs/history/?s=irvin+cobb)