Originally established in 1775 the town of Lexington, Kentucky grew quickly into a national cultural centre amongst the rolling green hills of the Bluegrass Region. Nicknamed the Athens of the West, Lexington and the surrounding area became a leader in higher education, visual arts, architecture, and music, and the centre of the horse breeding and racing industries. The national impact of the Bluegrass was further confirmed by prominent Kentucky figures such as Henry Clay and John C. Breckinridge. Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852, illuminates Lexington's status as one of the most important educational and cultural centres in America during the first half of the nineteenth century. Editors Daniel Rowland and James C. Klotter gather leading scholars to examine the successes and failures of Central Kentuckians from statehood to the death of Henry Clay, in an investigation of the area's cultural and ecomic development and national influence. The Idea of the Athens of the West is an interdisciplinary study of the evolution of Lexington's status as antebellum Kentucky's cultural metropolis.
Daniel Rowland is associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky and has published numerous articles on art, architecture, and political culture in early modern Russia as well as contributing to the Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History . He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.