They say well-behaved women rarely make history. Lucy Bakewell Audubon is an exception to that rule. Her proper behavior and strength helped secure the legacy of her husband, John James Audubon (famed naturalist, artist, and author of the larger than-life The Birds of America). Theirs is a story about art, ambition, devotion, deception, resentment, redemption, and above all, love. It’s a fascinating story because it’s so implausible: highly educated and born to wealth and privilege, Lucy not only endured her husband’s eccentricity, but successfully adapted to life on the frontier. Follow the Audubons from their immigration to America in the early 1800s, to their adventures in evolving Louisville, their pioneer days in the wilderness of Henderson, economic depression during the Panic of 1819, and their times of separation when John James explored and sought his fame, while Lucy stayed behind and kept the home fires burning. It wasn’t easy to be married to a dashingly handsome and creative (and often unreliable) genius as was Audubon, but Lucy rose above it all. Without her support, The Birds of America may never have been published. This is the story of their marriage though Lucy’s eyes. It is one of the greatest, yet relatively unknown Kentucky love stories. In the words of John James, “With her, was I not always rich?”
Chautauqua Character: Kelly O'Connell Brengelman. Kelly O’Connell Brengelman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Morehead State University and has worked as a creative director, producer and writer for various advertising agencies. She now runs her own design service, Kelly-O Creative. Mrs. Kentucky 2003 is a professional actor with the Kentucky Humanities Council, formerly portraying Ruth Booe: The Bourbon Ball Belle; teaches drama classes to elementary school children; is a commercial voice artist; and appeared in the film “Surviving Guthrie.” She lives in Midway with her husband and three children.
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