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Books of Adirondack lore make great gifts

December 13, 2012 - Don Williams

One of my quests in life is to make holiday shopping stress-free and economical, and it becomes a reality when I publish another book and the publisher asks a reasonable price.

I found a strong market for Adirondack books when I wrote the Nick Stoner book “A Tale of the Adirondacks” in 1969 and sold 2,500 of them in less than a month before the Christmas holiday. (Thanks!) Apparently, they made great Christmas presents and continue to do so with the paper-covered version by North Country Books.

The quest continues; I have laboriously created six of the Arcadia “Images of America” books in the last 10 years, and the newest one, “Adirondack People and Places,” is fulfilling the demand. They sell for about $20 each.

A book becomes a gift that pleases the youngsters and the oldsters, the aunts and uncles, the siblings, the parents, best friends and almost anyone who might be on the receiving end. Each of the Arcadia books contain some 200 vintage photographs — many one-of-a-kind and never before published — meaning they become available to the reader for 10 cents a picture. It’s an unequaled, true bargain.

Those who have purchased the Adirondack “Images” books have been treated to not only a plethora of Adirondack photographs but also the “vivid bits of information” that accompany each picture. It has been said “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and with the Arcadia history books, readers get an additional 18,000 to 20,000 words. Reading all six Adirondack books, along with some of the individual settlement books, would equal a complete “Adirondacks 101” college course.

The six Adirondack books in the series cover every town “inside the Blue Line” in Adirondack country, extending from 1830 to 1990, from the Adirondack Trail Byway in Fonda to Malone, the Adirondack ventures, those man-made intrusions in the wilderness, the hotels and inns, and the people and places in the mountains.

Many of the rare photographs came down through our Adirondack families — the Whitmans, the Hosleys and the Buyces. Others have been collected and accumulated over the past 50 years. Postcards and stereograph cards were produced by the hundreds in the Adirondack heyday and offer vivid glimpses of the Adirondack past. And, interestingly, I found a rare photograph of the Rev. William Henry Harrison “Adirondack” Murray in a bookstore down south; PBS borrowed it to put in its documentary on “The Adirondacks.” It is on page 102 in my book “The Adirondacks, 1830-1930.”

You also have an opportunity this holiday season to add another book to this quilt of Adirondack history.

Peck’s Lake historian Alice Peck has completed her book “Peck’s Lake in the Adirondacks,” just in time to get it on the holiday market. The well-done, 118-page book, is well-illustrated with her vintage color and black-and-white photographs and tells the unique story of a family’s longtime stewardship of three Adirondack lakes that were combined into one in the early 1900s. Alice tells the story firsthand — she has been part of Peck’s Lake for more than 77 years. She led the efforts to create a museum in the restored Peck’s Lake schoolhouse.

Call Alice at 725-6236 to obtain a copy of “Peck’s Lake in the Adirondacks” if you cannot find it at your local bookstore. It is a limited edition and a story not often repeated in the Adirondacks. Thanks to Alice Peck’s work, it is now a part of the Adirondacks’ recorded history.

I wish everyone well for the upcoming holiday season and trust that my books, “The Adirondacks, 1830-1930,” “The Adirondacks 1931-1990, “Along The Adirondack Trail,” “Adirondack Ventures,” “Adirondack Hotels and Inns, and “Adirondack People and Places,” will bring joy to those who find them under the Christmas Tree.


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