Paula Lambert, Lois George and Wyner Phillips are loosening their writs to sigh their just-released book Saturday at the Randolph County Historical Museum In.
After months of work and eagerly awaiting publishing of the soft-cover book by Arcadia Publishing, they are unpacking books and preparing for the book signing from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the museum.
The public is invited to visit the museum as well as buy books. All profits from the books will go to the museum.
“I’m happy to visually see a finished project. It was a dream come true. I think my ancestors from long ago would be proud of this,” Lambert said.
Working on family genealogy, she traced her family back to the 1600s and her family’s settling in Randolph County in the early 1800s.
Unlike the other two, George never lived in Randolph County but she spent many happy hours here at the home of her maternal grandparents.
Although Lambert was born in Columbus, Ga., both of her parents were Randolph County natives. In 1975 she married Joe Lambert and moved to Roanoke where she has lived for 32 years.
Phillips, who is active in the life of this county and is president of the museum association, closed Phillips Brothers Hardware in November of 2005. George and Lambert had retired, giving them time to pursue their goals of writing a book and preserving history.
“The book is for the museum. That’s what the book was all about. There are a lot things on the museum. We’d love for them to see what’s there,” Phillips said.
Lambert said 1,200 books have already been sold, leading Phillips to say since Randolph County has basically the same population it had in the 1850s it is amazing they have sold that many.
If people have bought the book from Amazon.com on the Internet or from Books-a-Million the trio will still be glad to sign the copy people already have.
The salesman who was delivering books to various spots around Randolph County Monday told them they can have a second printing if they have 300 pre-sale orders, Lambert said.
Phillips said he has received plenty of phone calls from people telling him to save them a copy of the book. It is a book of black and white photographs with captions giving the history of the photograph.
There has been a lot of excitement about the book, he said, since it was featured in the Leader.
Lambert said she has received many e-mails wanting the book and she and the others will mail books to people who provided postage.
The book is selling for $19.99 and can be found at various places around town, including Phillips’ office, Classic Financial Service Inc.; Reliance Real Estate; The Randolph Leader and a the museum Saturday.
“The whole purpose of having it at the museum was so they can see how we’re trying to preserve this history,” Philips said.
“I want to brag on Randy and Tammy Gibbs, who are keeping all our records. They’ve been extremely nice since the money got short they are not paid as regularly as they used to be,” Phillips said of the drive to pay off Gibbs, who bought the old post office to save it when no one else was bidding.
“We hope to generate enough money to pay off this building and do renovations and maintenance. We want to buy partitions so items can be hung,” he said, mentioning how the many windows limit hanging spaces.
“I anticipate a good turnout because people say they want a book,” Phillips said.
Lambert said there has been some confusion about what kind of book it is. Some people thought it was about specific families and while there are a lot of family pictures in it it is far more than that.
Phillips said the book is categorized by churches, schools, businesses, groups and people.
She said photographs vary from a blind doctor to a local astronaut. This is just a different way to preserve history.
Phillips said history dies out with the deaths of people everyday.
The book celebrates 175 years of life through photographs primarily taken from citizens’ collections. The book has 222 pictures and 128 pages and the authors said they are pleased with how it turned out.
Phillips said they have a surprising amount of material left over, enough to do another book.
Arcadia was a very good company to with and very helpful, they said.
Publishing this book is one of Lambert’s 101 things to do before she dies, she said.
“That was one of my goals and I always wanted to do a book and be an author and that was on of Lois’s goals too. That is why we contacted Wyner,” Lambert said.
Lois Walls George’s mother and Lambert’s father, children of James Cody Burson, grew up on a Randolph County farm that remains in the family today.
George knew about the Arcadia series highlighting local history and was familiar with layout of the books.
In the fall of 2005 she said Lambert decided to record some of the lives of their relatives and area history. Phillips made the perfect third author, she said.
They had needed photos to go with the stories and subsequently visited a meeting where Phillips was leading a discussion on how to raise money for the museum.
Phillips’s ancestors were among early settlers and his father and uncle had run the hardware store for many years, as they had earlier run a variety of other businesses. He was a history buff who knew just about everybody in the county.
After Phillips closed the store the three met in the spring of 2006 “and began what proved to be a labor of love carried out by people who could not have been better matched for the job if they had been handpicked.” George said.
Phillips wanted to recognize all the people who furnished photographs because without their generosity the book would not have been possible, he said.
Lambert said they not only shared the photographs but the stories behind them.
Tax-deductible donations to the museum will be welcomed as well as fees from people who join the organization. Annual dues are $20 a year for an individual and $30 per family, Phillips said.
Available through a number of outlets the book is also available through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing.com
Arcadia is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the country.