Late in the 18th-century, people began to head west in America in search of new frontiers and new lives. Many found their way down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, the “Queen City of the West.” In Oldest Cincinnati, Rick Pender tells the story of a ferry that enabled early settlers to cross the river at Augusta, Kentucky, in 1798; it’s still in business today. Likewise, an inn that provided shelter for early stagecoach travelers opened in 1803 in Lebanon, Ohio, and continues to welcome guests to this day. As one of the first settlements in the Northwest Territory — originally called “Losantiville” before it was dubbed Cincinnati — the city is full of firsts and oldests. The Museum of Natural History, launched in 1818, is the city’s oldest museum. The Cincinnati Art, organized in 1881 and opened in 1886, is America’s oldest art museum west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1866 the oldest bridge across the Ohio River connected downtown Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky. The city’s character dramatically changed in the mid-19th century as German immigrants came in waves, establishing new (and now historic) traditions and laying the foundation for a thriving cultural scene.

In this book, Rick Pender pays homage to more than two centuries of Cincinnati’s oldests, firsts, and finests. It’s a fascinating chronicle that takes the time to bring history and people to life.

Oldest Cincinnati can be purchased directly from the publisher Reedy Press (St. Louis, Missouri); no shipping charge: or 314-833-6600

ISBN  9781681063041paperback 8.5 x 5.5, 192 pages (softcover, 6 x 9), $20.95

In 2019 Reedy Press published the second edition of Rick Pender’s guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Cincinnati Before You Die, an updated version of his popular 2016 book. His revised list is even more comprehensive, fun, and quirky, celebrating the best ways to connect with the Queen City and nearby surroundings.

Cincinnati has intrigued adventurers since its founding in 1788 as the gateway to America’s western frontier. With a beautiful river valley reminiscent of Germany’s picturesque Bavaria and a centuries-old entrepreneurial spirit, Cincinnati offers a startling variety of attractions, history, and dining. 100 Things to Do in Cincinnati Before You Die explores dozens of them. It digs into the city’s German heritage of food, drink, and language from an authentic tavern from 1803 to the best places to find a genuine Belgian waffle. There’s a history of the beautifully restored Cincinnati Music Hall from 1878 as well as its intimate next-door neighbor, Memorial Hall (1908), venues that today anchor the revitalized Elm Street arts corridor in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

Cincinnati has numerous green spaces such as Washington and Ziegler parks in Over-the-Rhine Parks or the lush Krohn Conservatory in Walnut Hills. America’s oldest astronomical observatory can be found in Mount Lookout. Cincinnati is full of music, craft breweries, historic renovations, sports and more. This book is a great choice for new visitors as well as longtime citizens who haven’t taken the time to explore all that Cincinnati has to offer.

100 Things to Do in Cincinnati Before You Die, 2nd Edition can be purchased directly from the publisher Reedy Press (St. Louis, Missouri); no shipping charge:

ISBN 9781681062198, paperback 8.5 x 5.5, 160 pages, $16.00


“It’s a great, fun read.” – Brian O’Donnell, On-Air Host, Cincinnati Public Radio

“Get out your Cincinnati bucket list. Author Rick Pender is back to let us all know what we’ve been missing out on.” – WKRC Local 12

“Cincinnati has a lot going on, so the question is, ‘How can you explore our community to the very fullest?’ There’s a local author who has answered that question — twice!” – Cincy Lifestyle

“Anyone who’s been touched by Stephen Sondheim’s extraordinary body of work will be grateful for this bottomless well of facts, figures, anecdotes and insights. A remarkable and entertaining resource.”— John Weidman, librettist for Pacific Overtures, Assassins, and Road Show

“This encyclopedia is a remarkable achievement, essential for all students of Sondheim and all lovers of the American musical. I will devour it for years to come.”— John Doyle, director, of Tony Award-winning Broadway revivals of Sweeney Todd and Company

The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia is a wonderfully detailed and comprehensive reference volume devoted to musical theater’s most prolific and admired composer and lyricist. Entries cover Sondheim’s numerous collaborator from book writers and directors to designers and orchestrators; key songs, such as “Send in the Clowns”and his Academy Award winner “Sooner or Later” (Dick Tracy); and major works, including Assassins, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and West Side Story. The encyclopedia contains information about Sondheim’s mentoring by Oscar Hammerstein II and his early collaboration with Leonard Bernstein, and profiles numerous actors who originated roles and sang Sondheim’s songs for the first time — a Broadway hall of fame including Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Mandy Patinkin, and Bernadette Peters.

Featuring a detailed biographical entry about Sondheim, a chronology of his career, a list of his many awards, and discussions of his opinions on movies, opera, and more, this comprehensive resource will attract musical theater enthusiasts, stage directors, performers, academics, and musicians.


“Who needs an encyclopedia in the age of the internet? It turns out that when the subject is the inexhaustible career of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, nothing less than a capacious volume will do. Rick Pender, former editor of The Sondheim Review, has compiled a trove of detailed entries about nearly every subject Sondheim touched, bringing to life not only the man’s well-known collaborators and projects but also many names you may have glimpsed in programs or on cast albums, as well as gathering definitive descriptions of lesser-known works and influences that you’d have to search dozens of books to cull. What emerges is an indispensable 360-degree portrait not only of an essential American artist but of the culture that shaped him and that he in turn helped to shape.”— Rob Weinert-Kendt, Editor-in-Chief of American Theatre magazine

“A wonderful encyclopedia on all things Sondheim that you will love reading. You can start anywhere from A to Y. He’s still writing Z.” — Bernadette Peters, Tony Award-winning actor and star of the original productions of Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods.

The Sondheim Encyclopedia is impressive in its depth and detail and a fitting testament to Steve’s extraordinary work. It’s also a lot of fun for any musical theater fan to endlessly peruse.” — James Lapine, librettist and director of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Passion

“Rick has done an amazing job – it is always readable and is chock full of interesting tidbits. No matter how much you know about Sondheim and his work, you will learn new things in this book. I certainly did!”— Ted Chapin, author of Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical “Follies”; co-founder of Encores! at City Center; chairman of the American Theatre Wing, 2008-2012; president, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization

“Rick Pender did it right. Yes, this is an encyclopedia, and a damn fine one, but it’s delicious reading, too. Don’t be surprised if you go to it for a fact only to stay around to read for the next few hours or even days. It’s that entertaining – a term one doesn’t usually associate with an encyclopedia, but one that must be used here.”— Peter Filichia, theater historian, author of Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season • 1959 to 2009 and Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks, past president of the Drama Desk, and head of the selection committee for the Theatre World Awards


Hardback • 978153811586-2• $135 list price (sale price $94.50)

eBook • 978153811587-9• $128 list price (sale price $89.60)

To order, visit, or call 800-462-6420.