50 easy pieces


Not my best cover..i’m trying something new. Basically the images I have at my disposal are dictating the designs. i wanted a regulated series ‘look’ but i may change them all. hell i haven’t sold one yet. anyway.
but i kind of drew a line under a few of them and said : “YOU’RE done pal”. THAT took a while to get right with, being the indecisive person i am, i KNOW i could take any of these local histories and make them better..add original research, add images, footnotes more data…etc…but then that kills the project. I am shooting for a deluge of history books where there had been nearly nothing…yes i realize i can revisit some titles down the road…but i don’t see it happening. While i was poking around looking for things that aren’t there anymore…i found this scrap book in the library. full of clippings by one of the local writers..a minister from 1920s …he liked local history and wrote columns…probably based on material like the Carleton which was written in 1863…so once i finish with the one from 1888 that i am working on at the moment….Hayward’s columns will have to be transcribed..good thing I type fast.

I have been pushing to get 12 books done by june…and i am within reach..i have a couple beyond that i think. but then i have a long list of stuff AFTER that…nearly all are not as easy as taking a book and copying it out. The local historical collector i have been working with has some 18th century handwritten court cases he’s hot to get transcribed, i have a road trip planned for a theology school library in June..they have a bunch of Baptist church material i need to read and photography. There is an item in the New York Public Library system i have my eye on…so there’s a bus trip in my future.

I made a map…basically it’s a bibliography of everything published in or about Methuen. it’s giving me a lot of ideas..data leading to other data.
I started with one short town history by Howe from 1876 which has been reprinted so many times locally, that the library has had faded photocopies bound and cataloged and in the non circulating section…for real. And a short illustrated article from a 1900 New England magazine which is basically the ONLY local history that exists in the minds of the locals. Hell even most of the people who profess to care about local history think it began with the millionaires of the industrial age who built the buildings that they are letting fall down. To my mind and a lot of others’s the cupboard was bared, so I turned to Lawrence histories (3 nice fat ones, which should sell well) – Lawrence was made by slicing out the heart of Methuen. Which led me down the path of special collections… and addresses, speeches, clippings, excerpts. I pulled a couple of chapters out of a civil war regimental history for a stand alone title..not a profound little book, but interesting. The other day I did a 1927 church cookbook…no transcription just a reproduction…instead of indexing the yummy sounding recipes, I indexed the women. I put together the few william barnes addresses, because he deserved it, i am putting aside the robert tewksbury collection of addresses, because he has turned out to have unknown depths..busy scribbling little bugger. That may be a multi-volume project. The volume of historical society addresses may have to wait. If I keep poking I may find more, but the ones i am looking for are still missing, and i will find others well after i publish it, so that will DEFINITELY be a multi-volume set. The most interesting volume so far is a very long article from one of those multi-volume county histories where each chapter is written by someone else. it’s a version of Howe’s history but with 12 more years of research..in it he bemoans the fact that it’s not longer. In certain circles this undiscovered article would be a big deal..in Methuen who knows…they may wipe their bum with it.

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