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The Times
  • Historical society seeks photos for book on Frankfort

  • The Herkimer County Historical Society is looking for historical photos for another “Images of America” series book.

    This time the subject is Frankfort — both the town and village — and plenty of photos will be needed before the project can be completed.

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  • The Herkimer County Historical Society is looking for historical photos for another “Images of America” series book.
    This time the subject is Frankfort — both the town and village — and plenty of photos will be needed before the project can be completed.
    “We knew we wanted to do a book on Frankfort,” said Caryl Hopson, administrative assistant at the historical society, noting the village will celebrate its sesquicentennial this year. “Before the end of the year, we sent an e-mail to Arcadia.”
    Arcadia Publishing has published several books the historical society has put together about local communities.
    Hopson and Executive Director Sue Perkins weren’t quite prepared for the quick response: “That’s great. Can you have your proposal in by tomorrow? That’s when we’re meeting about our titles for next year.”
    The book proposals usually include 10 to 15 photos with detailed captions, Hopson said, but because the society has worked with the publisher in the past, they didn’t require that many.
    “I think we wound up sending three or four,” said Perkins.
    “We were scrambling,” said Hopson. “We put the proposal together in a day.”
    Perkins said she came back from vacation to find out that the proposal had been accepted and they would need to come up with 180 to 220 photos for the project.
    The society has nowhere near that many in its collection.
    “We have about 30,” said Hopson.
    They have made a good start though.
    Hopson noted society volunteer Mary Haefele’s grandparents lived in Frankfort and she has some contacts. They have also been in touch with Kristine Russell of the Frankfort Free Library and she is on board with the project.
    “We know people have photos tucked away in boxes,” Perkins said. “They just need to get those boxes out.”
    In order to be used, photos must be of good quality, according to Perkins. No newspaper clippings will be accepted; they must be original photographs. They will reject a photo if it doesn’t meet their standards.”
    Perkins and Hopson hope to collect enough photos for the project by early April. Proposed cover photographs are due in April and, while the final deadline is later, writing captions for the photos is no easy task.
    “It takes a long time to research each picture,” said Hopson. “We over-research each one to get a good caption.”
    Perkins said researching one photograph took her two days.
    Doing the research, though, uncovers more stories.
    One story Perkins is eager to include is that of Paul Spina. During World War II, he was in a plane that went down over Greenland. He and several other crew members lived for five months in their airplane until they could be rescued in the spring. They had been able to get out a radio message and supplies were dropped to them along with letters from Spina’s mother back in Frankfort, who never gave up hope for her son’s safe return.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Is that a movie or what?” said Hopson.
    Perkins said she is hoping to obtain a photograph of Spina.
    Another interesting story is that of Bud Fowler, the earliest, known African-American player in organized professional baseball, who is buried in Frankfort.
    “Pictures tell a story,” said Hopson. “We just need pictures.”
    The book is expected to be available for purchase by December.
    Anyone who has historical photographs of Frankfort (the town and village) that they would like to submit for the book is asked send them via e-mail to herkimerhistory@yahoo.com or stop in at 406 N. Main St., Herkimer, Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Photos can be scanned while the owners wait.
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