Bexley residents can contribute to book on communitys history

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Bexley residents are being invited to rummage through their attics for photographs, and share their memories about life in the community for a book being compiled by the Bexley Historical Society.

"This will be a high-quality product," explained Bexley Historical Society trustee Mark Epstein of the book, "Bexley: A Special Place to Live, Learn, Labor, Laugh and Love," which the organizers hope to have available by the end of 2008, the community’s centennial year.

The book is meant as a follow-up to 1978’s "Bexley Images," compiled by Lavada Hogg and featuring drawings by Edie Mae Herrel.

The new book could include some drawings, "but we intend it to be heavily illustrated with photographs," Epstein said.

The society is making forms available that outline the parameters for contributions on its web site (which can be linked to at www.bexley.org), as well as at its headquarters at the cottage near the Bexley pool, which holds open houses the second Monday of each month from 6:30-8 p.m.

Forms will also be available at the Bexley Library and City Hall.

The authors are looking for stories and recollections about all aspects of Bexley life, concentrating on the first 50 years and also including the second half of the century.

This takes in businesses "that still exist and those that are long-gone," government figures, public and private schools, religious institutions, Capital University, clubs and social organizations and transportation, Epstein said.

They are also looking for stories about "famous people and not-so-famous people" who have called Bexley home.

The society will be accepting written recollections, and Epstein, a preservation specialist with the Ohio Historical Society, expects to record oral histories and plans to interview such prominent figures as former Mayor David Madison, who served for 32 years until last December.

He will also draw on the historical society’s extensive files.

Even if people aren’t sure of the historical significance of their own stories or photos, they are encouraged to submit them, as they may provide leads for society members to follow.

All photos will be scanned digitally and returned. Photos that do not make it into the book, which Epstein hopes to be a 200-page coffee-table style volume, could be included in the web site archives of the historical society.

Some submissions have already been received, after the form was printed in the society’s February newsletter.

Epstein hopes to have all materials in hand by May 1 to ensure publication by the end of the year.

Donations are also being accepted for the project, which is expected to cost around $75,000. Proceeds from the sale of the book, with an estimated price tag of $40, would go toward the historical society’s programs.

Ongoing activities include the open houses, with tours of displays about aspects of Bexley life, and the "Building Doctor" presentation April 24 at Jeffrey Mansion, which will provide information on how to restore historic homes.

Information about contributing to the book is available by calling 555-43260 or emailing info@bexleyhistory.org.

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