Tamara Hoke, director of the Jay-Niles Memorial Library, will do signings of her new pictorial history book at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at Devaney Doak and Garrett Booksellers in Farmington and at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at Barnes and Noble in Augusta.
She will also do a book signing at the Jay library on Saturday, Aug. 6. Time will be decided.
JAY — Tamara Hoke sifted through about 400 photos for months before she decided which pictures would best tell the history of the town.
Hoke, 35, the library director of Jay-Niles Memorial Library in North Jay, picked 177 photos from the Jay Historical Society's collection to do the photographic history.
“It was hard to decide which photos to include and which ones to leave out. Honestly, I chose to leave out ones that I could not get enough information on,” Hoke said.
The book, “Images of America: Jay,” published by Arcadia Publishing, became available Monday for $21.99. It will be available at the library, Devaney Doak Garrett Booksellers in Farmington and Barnes & Noble in Augusta. Other bookstores may also carry the book.
Hoke, who grew up in North Jay and now lives in Wilton, was contacted by Arcadia Publishing to do a book on Jay, she said.
An editor told her there had never been an “Images of America” book on on the town.
As the library director, Hoke said, they thought she was a good person to do it.
She agreed and wrote up a proposal and it was accepted.
She had to do a lot of research before she started. The photos tell the stories of what life used to be like in the early days.
They give a glimpse of the immigrants and the local people who built the mills. It touches on the granite quarries, schools, corn shop, Yankee Dryer, and Jay High School Orchestra. It even has a picture of the Mountain View Hotel in 1899 that existed for a couple of years.
“The Jay Historical Society had done a photographic history for the bicentennial. Some of the photos are the same. They had brief captions which helped for some of the photos I used,” Hoke said. “However, I needed to do a lot of research to create longer captions and I used many photos that they did not have in their book. The library has a number of vertical files on the history of Jay. We also have three different history books which I listed in the acknowledgements. They were incredibly helpful.”
She had to do research on the history of certain fraternal societies such as the Knights of Pythias and the Knights of Columbus.
“I researched on the history of certain organizations such as Grange stores, and looked through old town reports to get information on town organizations and the schools,” Hoke said. “I know there are elements to the history I didn't touch on as there just wasn't enough space or available photos. I also had to create a cut-off date.”
She covered the town's history through the 1960s.
In hindsight, she wishes she had been able to include photos pertaining to the paper mill strike in 1987, she said.
Arcadia Publishing has certain guidelines to follow, an outline on what every book must have for its structure.
“The structure is theirs, but the individual chapter arrangement is mine,” Hoke said. “I chose categories that I thought were most important for the town of Jay and in which I was able to access the most photographs. That is also how I set up the chapters. For instance, industry was once the backbone of town, so I knew I needed a chapter on that.”
Other chapters cover agriculture, community, transportation, worship, business, education and learning, people, places, events and leisure and villages.
Hoke added some written history in her introduction in the book of earlier years in Jay that were not covered by photographs.