Book About LeRoy
by Lynne Belluscio
Initially, the project didn't seem like much. Pick out 200 pictures or so and arrange them in some kind of order and write captions. So I signed the contract with Arcadia Publishing to put together the "LeRoy" book. For many years, people have asked "Don't you have a book on the history of LeRoy?" Well the last book was published in 1984 and it's out of print. So now there's a new book about LeRoy.
Right away I had to decide whether there would be a space between the e and the R, in LeRoy and that was only the beginning contrary to some sources, I decided to eliminate the space. Long ago, I looked at how the LeRoy family wrote their name, and most of the signatures did not have a space. It also became an issue of whether LeRoy was a one or two letter word, and that became important when I had to restrict each photograph caption to 75 words. If I include LeRoy twice in a caption and it was a matter of two words or four.
The next decision wasn't really up to me. I had to submit seven to ten photographs for the cover. The images had to be wider than they were tall - - horizontal not vertical images. And there had to be space at the top of the picture for the title. The quality and clarity of the image had to be just right. The editors at Arcadia Publishing made the decision about the cover and they decided on the photograph of the Ingham University students. It is one of my favorites because one student is holding a guitar, another a tennis racquet and a girl in the lower right is holding her tennis racquet as if it was a guitar.
Next I started going through the photograph files. There are five file cabinets of photographs. It became a matter of choosing photos that told the story of LeRoy. The first chapter is about the early history and the LeRoy family - - a time of few photographs. The second chapter includes images of the churches - - the first St. Mark's Church on Church Street and the Baptist Church before it was moved to East Main Street – the brick Methodist Church that burned - - and the Lutheran Church - - St. Peter's with its steeple - - St. Anthony's shortly after it was built and the Presbyterian Church before the columns were added. The third chapter is about schools - -with students in high button shoes and boys in knickers. There are images of students at the LeRoy Academic Institute and photographs of Ingham University.
Other chapters include Industry and Agriculture, Jell-O and the Woodward family, the Vanishing Landscape and images from the 1940 book. The truth of the matter is that I had too many photographs and not enough room in the book. So I had to eliminate some of my favorite images, but I think there are enough photographs to tell the story.
The photographs had to be scanned and saved and submitted to Arcadia. Five images were rejected because of the quality of the photographs. That screwed up the story line, so I looked for better photographs and sent them off. In the meantime, every night I would go home and write 75-word captions. The next night I would review what I had written and write some more. Every caption had to be written in complete sentences and no abbreviations. That was a challenge.
All the dates and information had to be checked and checked again. Then the grammar and punctuation had to be edited. This was tedious, but everything was ready to be submitted on time. Then I waited and waited to hear from the editors. I had five days to proof everything and to make sure that the captions were with the right picture. The final edit had to be done over a weekend, so hopefully everything is correct. Having been involved with other similar projects, I am sure there are at least a couple of typos or misidentified people, but at the end of June, I'll know for sure.
The books will be delivered sometime after the 28th of June. They will be on sale at the Historical Society, but if you want to guarantee a copy, (and so we might have an idea of how many to order) you can order the book now. The cost of the book is $23.75 which includes the sales tax. If you want the book mailed, it will be $26.00 total. You can use the order blank and mail it to PO Box 176, LeRoy, NY 14482 or you can call the office with a credit card number.
There will be a book signing on Thursday, July 1 at the Jell-O Gallery from 10 am to 4 pm and 7 pm until 9 pm. You can pick up your pre-ordered copies at that time. The books will also be sold at some local stores, but the profits from all those books sold at the Historical Society will go directly to the LeRoy House. If we have books left over, we will sell them at the Oatka Festival in July.
LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - MAY 30, 2010