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St. Matthews Store Displays Large Kentucky Book Collection

By Martha Elson

Ronnie Jandt's fascination with Kentucky history began with a book, "The Louisville Story," given to him by his grandfather.  It was distributed in the early 1950s by the city's Sinking Fund Commission (now the Louisville-Jefferson County Revenue Commission).

He hung onto that, too, and 15 years and about 2,000 books later, Jandt had amassed what he believes to be one of the largest private collections of books about Kentucky in the state...

Tim Fout, whom Jandt had met two years ago, and his wife Judy, had opened A Reader's Corner used book store in St. Matthews last December.  They bought the Kentucky collection for their store and unveiled it last month.

Jandt gets to keep an eye on the collections because he works part time at the store.  He and Fout, of the Poplar Level Road neighborhood, became friends after meeting at a Kentucky Book and Paper trade show... 

Included in the collection are books on the history of Berea, Methodism in Kentucky, a history of the state's hemp industry, the 1937 flood and the lives of Kentucky historian John Filson and Catholic Bishop John Baptist David, for whom the old Bishop David High School (now Holy Cross) was named.

Among the titles are "Plays From Actors Theatre of Louisville by Southern Playwrights," autographed by Kentucky writer Wendell Cherry, whose "The Cool of the Day" is included: a reprint of the 1832 Louisville Directory; the multi-volume "Ohio Falls Cities and Their Counties" from 1882; a signed, first Kentucky edition of Robert Penn Warren's "World Enough and Time:  A Romantic Novel," and "City of Conflict, Louisville in the Civil War:  1861-1865" by Robert Emmett McDowell.

There's also a first edition of Gethsemani monk Thomas Merton's "Seven Storey Mountain" and other works written or translated anonymously by Merton, including a 100th anniversary of the Abbey of Gethsemani.

The Kentucky volumes are among about 15,000 books at the shop, which also specializes in religion and philosophy.  The Fouts belong to St. Martin Catholic Church and Tim Fout is a temporary, part-time philosophy and logic teacher at the University of Louisville, where he received a master's degree in philosophy...

Before opening the bookstore, he had been selling books over the Internet and still posts about 500 titles from the store through an Internet book-selling service.

Opening the store has fulfilled a dream, he said.  It was "one of those things that was always in the back of my mind."

Neighborhoods, Courier-Journal, September 23, 1998.

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