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The Greenville Record, established in 1899, was published weekly by Owen Rice and Orien L. Roark of the Record Publishing Company in Greenville, Kentucky. Roark, formerly of the Democratic Muhlenberg Echo, served as editor of the Record while Rice handled the paper's finances. Roark, a prominent businessman, served as editor for the entirety of the paper’s existence and for many years held the honor for the longest term served by any editor in Greenville.
Declaring in the first issue to be "the organ of no [political] party," the Record instead promoted collaboration between all Greenville citizens, Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, for the improvement of the city. Reflecting the intentions of the Record, the paper's masthead prominently displayed the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky--a symbol of brotherhood in the state.
The Record's content was considerably influenced by Roark's progressive attitude. In addition to local and national news, the paper offered a variety of intellectually stimulating material. The paper covered crop and livestock selection and developments in farm technology in an agriculture section which often received an entire page in the four-page publication. Cultural events, such as shows at the LaMeade Opera House, academic lectures, recitals, and Louisville's May Musical festival, were also frequent news items.
The development and upkeep of county and city roads was a topic of substantial importance to readers. Roark openly supported taxation for road upkeep and construction, often reporting on the issue as it related not only to Muhlenberg and the surrounding counties, but to other states as well, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Kansas. In June 1909, Roark wrote in favor of the "Good Road" amendment to the Kentucky constitution that would lift restrictions on taxation for road development. One month before the general election, Roark again spoke in favor of the amendment, boldly declaring, "Muhlenberg roads are the most serious hindrance to our greater progress."
The Record also included a variety of original material. Kentucky historian, Otto Arthur Rothert, frequently contributed short historical sketches of the important people and places of Greenville. "Murphy's Lake and its Traditions" brought to light the historical and social importance of the lake located 12 miles south of Greenville. A column published in December 1910 described the heroic role of Greenville native Lieutenant Ephraim McLean Brank at the Battle of New Orleans. Other columns explored the history of well-known families in Greenville.
In 1938, Roark’s health began to decline and the Record ceased publication after nearly 40 years.
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY