Harlan Hubbard (January 4, 1900 – Jan. 16, 1988)

Author, artist, and musician, Harlan Hubbard was born on Grandview Ave. in Bellevue, Kentucky. Hubbard is often referred to as Kentucky’s Henry David Thoreau due to their similar views in simplistic living. After the death of his father Hubbard and his mother moved to New York City where he lived into his teen years before returning to Kentucky in 1921. After his marriage to Anna Eikenhout he moved to Brent, KY (across the river from Coney Island) and lived with her in a 10×16 shantyboat, earning their income by renting his Fort Thomas home. The Hubbards used this shantyboat to travel up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. After selling their boat, the Hubbards toured the western United States by car. Upon the couple’s return to the Northern Kentucky area they decided Fort Thomas was becoming too urban and decided to move to Payne Hollow on the Ohio River in Trimble County, Kentucky. There, they built a house on the hillside overlooking the river and continued to their self-sufficient isolated lifestyle. In fact, at the time, Payne Hollow was not accessible by car. Hubbard’s writings and art mostly dealt with living an introverted, self-sufficient lifestyle. Hubbard’s art now hangs in the Behringer-Crawford Museum. Hubbard died at the age of 88, two years after his wife and was cremated and buried beneath the path that led to his Payne Hollow home.

Works Available at KCPL

Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society B H87

Harlan Hubbard Journals, 1929-1944 K B H875b 1987

Shantyboat: a River Way of Life  B H875a

Payne Hollow Journal – K B HUBBA H

The Woodcuts of Harlan Hubbard: from the Collection of Bill Caddell – KR 769.92 H875w

Shantyboat Journal – K B h875


Hubbard, Harlan. Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society. Frankfort, KY.: Gnomon Press, 1974.

Berry, Wendell. Harlan Hubbard: Life and Work. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1990.

“Harlan Hubbard Revisited,” Kentucky Post, February 15, 2003, 1k-7k.

“Hubbard Exhibit,” Kentucky Post, March 29, 1989, 1k.

“River Artist Writer Harlan Hubbard Dies,” Kentucky Post, January 19, 1988.

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