Rare book about Harrodsburg’s founder should be cherished

Published 10:36 pm Friday, August 30, 2019


Personal Effects

Question: Hi Jerry, I bet you have one of these. This is a copy of James Harrod by Kathryn Harrod Mason. What do you think this is worth, if anything? I know how many kids don’t want their parents’ things. I’ve had this too many years to even remember. It’s in good shape but it doesn’t have its jacket. What do you think that it’s worth. I think I paid all of $2 for it.

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Answer: Oh my, yes I do have this book. As you very well know, many a collector and researcher would love a copy of this book. You indeed have a 1951 first edition of James Harrod by Kathryn Harrod Mason, published by Louisiana State University Press of Baton Rouge. This is the most well known, and least known books on the founder of Harrodsburg, James Harrod.

OK, here’s a brief breakdown of this great book. Mrs. Mason was the great-great-granddaughter of Levi Harrod, James Harrod’s youngest brother. So, one would assume that the author had some writing and history chops about her.

I love it. It’s a seminal work by the author. Some who have read it have said that it’s like reading an Allan Eckert book without the bibliography. Eckert was a very highly respected historical author, famous for his research and bibliographies.

One thing is for sure, you don’t find copies available in the market. I found nothing in my usual online book searches or the “beloved” Amazon. But, I do know that a few Lexington book dealers have had it come across their counters more times than I have. The first, and only copy, I laid hands on, I kept. We know that the copyright hasn’t expired yet. I think Mrs. Mason passed in the 1970s.

Most copyrights expire 70 years after the author’s death. But I digress, this is not about copyright expiration. I’m secretly hoping that one day it will be reprinted. Though, that does effect book values.

The condition is good. Don’t sweat the dust jacket — I’ve not seen one with a jacket. I wonder if it was issued with a dust jacket? But, it’s a rare and wonderful book. I imagine in a fine bookstore it would be priced at around $125. Enjoy it.

Thanks for sharing it. Though it’s not terribly old, it’s a copy that many people won’t ever see.