Historical Societies: News and Highlights

Historical Societies: News and Highlights presents news and information about Pennsylvania's regional and county historical societies.

Historical Society Notes

Some historical societies have not been receiving information on the new Market-Dyne insurance program de­veloped by the federation as a means of reducing insurance premiums (see “Historical Society Notes” in the Summer 1980 issue). Anyone having difficulty contacting the sponsor (the Insurance Company of North Ameri­ca) about the program should see his/ her local agent who can contact INA, or call Mr. Richard Odgers in Phila­delphia at (215) 241-4000 or (215) 241-2755.

The Blair County Historical Society in Altoona will host the 1981 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Federa­tion of Historical Societies on May 8-9. Highlights of the Altoona con­ference will include an historic tour of the new Railroader’s Memorial Mu­seum, workshops, awards and the annual luncheon. Please inform others in your society of the dates. Addi­tional details will be mailed to each society in March.


Publishing Local History

Many historical organizations en­counter severe financial obstacles when they seek to publish accounts of their local history. This problem is es­pecially widespread on the county level where much interest exists in up­dating histories printed nearly a cen­tury ago. The Taylor Publishing Com­pany of Dallas, Texas has developed a unique approach to finance local his­torical publications which warrants consideration from anyone interested in this problem.

According to Don Mills, Pennsyl­vania representative for Taylor, the central feature used by his company to meet publishing costs is to secure advanced payments so that the num­ber of books published equals the number ordered. Orders are promoted by encouraging individual families in a locality to contribute material to the publication, a procedure which leads to increased participation by com­munity members. With hundreds of people searching for facts and stories, years of research time are saved. Moreover, the book gives a broader picture or community life and a greater variety of interpretation.

The quality of the final product appears to be first-rate and the fact that Taylor handles almost all of the details from securing the copyright to promoting the finished product cer­tainly facilitates the entire operation. But, of course, even the Taylor com­pany cannot be successful without the enthusiasm and leadership provided by citizens in their local communities.

For further information about the program. contact Mr. Mills at Box 173, Salem, WV 26426, or call (304) 782-1179.


Grants Available for Historical Organizations

Historical organizations are eligible for a number of grant programs of the National Endowment for the Humani­ties and other such institutions. During 1979, for example, the NEH awarded grants to the following Pennsylvania societies through its program for Mu­seums and Historical Organizations: 1) the Valley Forge Historical Society ($13,900) for general planning, 2) the Mercer Museum of the Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown ($99,300) for interpreting museum collections and 3) the Historical Society of Berks County, Reading ($1,500) to extend museum services to the disadvantaged. The next grant application deadlines for this program are January 15 and July 15, 1981. Questions should be addressed to the NEH, Division of Public Programs (Mail Stop 402), 806 15th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20506, or call (202) 724-0327.

Recently, the NEH announced the following deadline for its State, Local and Regional Studies Program. Grant applications should be received by March 1, 1981, although contact with the NEH should be initiated well be­fore that date. Write the endowment at the above address (Mail Stop 405), or call (202) 724-0276.

Another program with annual deadlines in March may also be of interest. The Institute of Museum Services provides funding for museum operations as well as special projects. For specific details and dates, contact the institute’s Program Office, 200 Independence Ave., S.W., Room 326 H, Washington, DC 20201, or call (202) 245-6753.