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If the country newspaper is thought a parochial and uninspired genre - resolute on inoffensive issues, cautious of subscriptions and advertising revenues, and predictably bland in content and presentation - then the six surviving issues of the Lawrenceburg It challenge such easy assumptions. Edited by O. Coleman Cox and published by Morton Green, this irreverent weekly first appeared in 1902; the paper evidently folded the following year, for no evidence of its publication thereafter has been found. While self-described as a simple country newspaper, typography, presentation, and wit distinguish the It as one of Kentucky’s unique turn-of-the-century titles.

Cox and Green may have regarded their paper as a complement to the more serious and durable Anderson News, which had served its namesake county since 1877, and where Green would work for more than forty years. Cox described the isolated location of Lawrenceburg and the humble beginnings of the It by noting that when he and his partner began their new venture "as close as we could get to a bean sandwich" was by the telephone. Within a few issues of its founding, Cox gleefully noted that the Woodford Sun, published in the nearby town of Versailles, had denounced the It as "a sheet with so little dignity as to assume such a name." The Lawrenceburg It carried news of local events, sales, and social events, and occasionally included its editor as a bumbling character in recent local events. But if Cox’s self-deprecating humor entertained, it was also a tool to admonish readers. "In what year," Cox wondered, "was the great epidemic that carried off the live, progressive citizens of the city and county?"

Sometime after the demise of the It, Coleman Cox moved to San Francisco, and during the 1920s and `30s he would write a dozen works of aphorism, anecdote, and exhortation. In 1928, Houghton Mifflin published Straight Talk from Coleman Cox, which assembled material from his earlier works into a single volume. The former It editor died in San Francisco on November 26, 1940, remembered by the New York Times as a widely traveled author and philosopher. Today, his writings have found a new life as inspirational aphorisms quoted widely on the World Wide Web.

Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY