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June 2002
Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society
by Harlan Hubbard

Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society (1974) chronicles the life that artist Harlan Hubbard and his wife Anna established at Payne Hollow, a tiny community on the banks of the Ohio River in Trimble County, Kentucky. They lived there for more than 30 years, building a house from available materials; keeping a large garden; and raising a herd of goats for milk, meat, and entertainment. Illustrated by Harlan’s whimsical pen-and-ink sketches and organized around the rhythms of work and changing seasons, Payne Hollow is an extraordinary meditation on two extraordinary lives. The Hubbards met and married late—he was 43 and she was 41. A few years later, in 1946, they began a five-year journey down the Ohio and Mississippi aboard a hand-made shantyboat. Then, in the summer of 1952, they settled down on seven acres at Payne Hollow. At first, all that disturbed their solitude was the visit of a neighbor or occasional trips into town for provisions and library books. But as the years passed, strangers began to come to Payne Hollow—perhaps, as Hubbard speculates, “to see if there could really be an escape into a way that is less complex and more natural.” The Hubbards are gone now, but Payne Hollow remains, allowing readers to join those other pilgrims in their search for simplicity and harmony with nature.

Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress review

Barnes and Noble review

Harlan Hubbard

Biographical information and photographs

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