Into the Bluegrass: Art and Artistry of Kentucky’s Historic Icons

Appearance Date: 11/6/2021

An exciting new account of early Kentucky antiquities—including Kentucky long rifles, art, silver, furniture and more. Mel Hankla is taking one of our favorite approaches to artifacts—telling the story of the people who owned and created them. The book is 355 pages packed with gorgeous Kentucky artifacts, stories of early Kentucky settlers, lush photos and insights into our ancestors who made Kentucky what it is today.

Meet the Author

mel hankla
Mel Hankla

Mel Stewart Hankla was born in 1956 and grew up in the small town of Jamestown, Kentucky on the banks of Lake Cumberland. He attended Western Kentucky University earning Bachelor of Science Degrees in Agriculture, and Wildlife Management and Ecology, and a Master of Science Degree in Administration. In 2010 he completed an Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Education Administration through the WKU and University of Louisville Cooperative Doctoral Program. The founder of American Historic Services LLC, he is a noted collector, researcher, lecturer and writer of Kentucky’s heritage. He has been an active member of the Kentucky Rifle Association since 1990, is a past president and co-founder of the Contemporary Longrifle Association, and editor of American Tradition magazine. He is a builder of traditional Kentucky Longrifles and in 1984 was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Folk Art Apprenticeship grant to study with legendary riflesmith Hershel House. A historical actor/educator, he worked 20 years with Kentucky Humanities presenting Chautauqua characters of frontiersman Simon Kenton and General George Rogers Clark. In 2012 he was cast for the leading role, in the PBS documentary, An Audacious American, the story of Kentucky abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay. More recently has been an appraiser for Kentucky Educational Televisions popular show, “Kentucky Collectibles.” Hankla serves on the Museum Board of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and on the Advisory Board of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA.) He is a member of the Kentucky Material Culture Collectors and the prestigious American Society of Arms Collectors. Today, Hankla lives on Heavenly Hill Farm in Carter County, Kentucky with his wife Angela.