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Photos of historic Pittsburg featured in book
By Nikki Patrick   - 02/15/2009

The Morning Sun

Photos of historic Pittsburg, many of them never published before, are featured in a new book and postcard set published in the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing.

Co-authors are Randy Roberts, curator of Special Collections at Axe Library and university archivist at Pittsburg State University, and Janette S. Mauk, who is also employed in Special Collections.

The two will have a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Pittsburg Hastings store.

“Arcadia Publishing contacted Laura Carlson, and she referred them to me,” Roberts said. “This was in late January or early February in 2008. We signed the contract for the book in late February, and our deadline was Sept. 1.”

Roberts said that all the books in the “Images of America” series have a standard format of 128 pages containing 180 to 240 photos, along with 30- to 80-word captions with each.

“We have a little over 200 photos in our book,” he said.
He and Mauk didn’t have to go very far to find them — Axe Library Special Collections has a huge number of Pittsburg photos.

“We started a massive search and found way more photos than we could use,” Roberts said.

“What was hard was deciding which ones to exclude,” Mauk said. “We could have easily doubled the size of the book, but the size of the format was 128 pages.”

They also obtained about 15 photos from other sources.

“I obtained about 10 images from the Crawford County Historical Museum, as well as some from J.T. and Linda Knoll, Bill Powell and Bob Mishmash,” Roberts said.

The images all had to be digitally scanned, which was Mauk’s task. It was sometimes challenging.

“The quality of 1895 technology really lacked what we have today,” she said.

Roberts said the earliest images in the book date to 1887.

“We have no photos from 1876 through 1886, the first 10 years of Pittsburg,” Roberts said.

“Most communities would have had a photographer, or at least an itinerant who came through and took photos. If anyone out there does have some photos of Pittsburg from those years, I’d like for them to contact me.”

There are also a few more recent images in the book.

“History hasn’t stopped,” Roberts pointed out.

“I really think this book has something for everybody — history of Pittsburg, genealogy, costumes of the day, etc.,” Mauk said.

Sold separately is a set of 15 postcards. Arcadia Publishing chose the images used for the postcards.

“As far as we’re aware of, it’s been 30 years or longer that any new postcards have been produced of Pittsburg,” Mauk said.

“Pittsburg” the book costs $21.99, and the postcard set costs $7.99. They will be available at Hastings and the University Bookstore, as well as through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing.com.




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