Somewhere in your attic, do you have a photograph of Mason’s V-Day celebration in 1945? Or maybe a shot of great-grandpa with his wagon near Fredonia in the 1890s? A brush arbor meeting at Art in the early 1900s? Flappers driving around Mason in the 1920s? Your high school gang gathered outside the Kreme Kup in the 1950s?
If you have anything along those lines, the Mason County Historical Commission would love to hear from you. We are thrilled to announce that Arcadia Publishing, a major national publisher of pictorial histories, has selected Mason County for one of its forthcoming titles. The proposed book will feature about 200 scenes of Mason from 1876, when the first known photo of the town was taken, until the county’s centennial in 1958.
If you have historical photos that you would like to submit for consideration, please contact Jan Appleby at (325) 347-6583 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide as much information about each photo as you can, such as the names of people, the location, and the date. The captions in the book will acknowledge the people who provided the photos.
If you would like to submit some photos but do not want them to leave your possession, we will make arrangements to scan them at a place and time that is convenient for you. Otherwise, you can leave them to be scanned under Jan’s direction and pick them up later.
The pictorial history will provide a visual overview of how ordinary people lived, worked and enjoyed themselves in Mason County during its first 100 years, both in town and in the outlying communities. Although it will include some pictures of special events, the collection will focus more on everyday life: how people lived, what they wore, how they traveled, and what they did for recreation. These may include shots of early business operations, farm and ranch work, school and church activities, club outings, athletic competitions, musical performances, and casual social occasions. The only requirement is that each photo must have been taken in Mason County no later than 1958. In selecting the photographs, the Historical Commission will follow three guiding principles:
(1) Action shots are better than photos with no activity.
(2) Candid shots are better than posed, formal photos.
(3) Photos with people, wagons, cars, etc. are better than photos of buildings only.
Thus, as a rule, studio photos would not be suitable for this book—for example, your great-grandparents’ wedding portrait. On the other hand, a picture of your great-grandparents’ actual wedding, showing guests milling about the family homestead and food on the table, would be good. Even better would be a shot of your great-grandparents operating early farm equipment or boating on the river. Of course, we realize that action shots and candid shots were rare prior to the 1920s, so don’t hesitate to bring in any old Mason County photos that you think would be of general interest.
Even if you have no photos to contribute, maybe you can help with identification. The Historical Commission has located several good pictures with missing names or locations. Two such photos are included with this article. As this project progresses, we will publicly display other “mystery pictures” at the Mason library and in the window of the Hofmann building. Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing what you discover in your trunks and closets.