Women’s History Month Event

Kelly O’Connell Brengelman
Lucy Bakewell Audubon

As part of Women’s History Month, Brescia University is partnering with the Daviess County Audubon Society to bring a living history character to campus via Kentucky Chautauqua through the Kentucky Humanities Council.

Kelly O’Connell Brengelman from Midway will bring life to Lucy Audubon at 2 pm on Sunday, March 3, 2013 in Taylor Lecture Hall, which is located in the Brescia University Science Building (East 7th St. and Frederica).

It was not easy being the wife of John James Audubon. Yet, Lucy Bakewell Audubon was, in her own words, “perfectly suited for him.” She was incredibly devoted to her husband, the famed naturalist, artist and author of Birds of America. She made enormous sacrifices and suffered public scorn as she supported her husband’s talents. In the end, however, the Audubons were successful. The two spent many years in Kentucky– in Louisville and later Henderson– as John dabbled in the merchandising business.

Though his business ventures failed and his family lost everything in the economic depression of 1819, John devoted more and more time to his talent, spending hours in the woods while Lucy became the breadwinner for their family. She remained steadfast as his confidant and the love of his life, continually defending her husband’s talents as an artist and ornithologist. The couple endured nearly four years of separation while John set off to find a publisher for the book. During their separation, passionate letters between the two show the trying times their marriage faced.

Without her emotional and financial support, Audubon’s now famous book might never have been published. Lucy’s story is one of love, lies, disappointment, an internal struggle over her ever-changing role in her family, abandonment, sacrifice and, finally, redemption. This is perhaps one of the best, and somewhat unknown, Kentucky love stories.

About the Presenter:

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.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. with support from: Scripps Howard Foundation, Lindsey Wilson College, the Cralle Foundation, The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, People’s Bank & Trust Company of Hazard, the Brown-Forman Corporation, Union College, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, PNC Bank in Lexington, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc.

The Kentucky Humanities Council is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is not a state agency, but is a proud partner of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For information, visit www.kyhumanities.org or call (859) 257-5932.

For more information on this event at Brescia University, contact the office of Academic Affairs, at (270) 686-4250.