Archive for the ‘Craighead Naturalists’ Category

Book Talk in Florida

February 4, 2017

 

The publisher of Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists,University of Montana Press, reports that copies of the book are now in the hands of the distributor, Farcountry Press. The distributor supplies books to libraries and bookstores.

http://www.farcountrypress.com/details.php?id=708

People desiring copies of the book signed by the author can get them at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/.

Those on Florida’s west coast can attend a talk given by the author at 3:00 pm Wednesday, February 8 at Collier County Museum, 3331 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34112.

More about the Craigheads’ connections with Florida can be found at: http://www.colliergov.net/your-government/divisions-f-r/museums/collier-county-museum.

 

 

 

New Article on the Craighead Naturalists

December 27, 2016

The January/February 2017 issue of The Penn Stater, the Penn State University alumni magazine, contains an article titled “Three of a Kind.” The three of a kind are Frank Jr. and John, the Craighead twins, and their younger sister Jean, best known by her married name, Jean Craighead George. The three siblings all graduated with bachelors degree from Penn State College, well before it became a university. However, they were far from the first members of the family to attend the school. Several Craigheads have matriculated there, including the father and two uncles of Jean and the twins, as well as two of their first cousins The Penn Stater needs to run a piece that explores the careers of Frank “Rattlesnake” Craighead, who accomplished more in retirement than most do during their active careers, his brothers Charles, an eminent metallurgist, and orchard entomologist and fly fisherman extraordinaire Eugene, who was also the father of two Penn State alums, Sam and Bill. Bill and Sam also pursued careers involving the study of nature.

If Penn State had royalty, the Craigheads would certainly be a family of high ranking.

2017-penn-stater-jan-feb-1

 

 

Time for Christmas

November 28, 2016

Halleluiah! Copies of my latest book have finally arrived, just in time for Christmas. Signed copies can be ordered at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/. A review follows:

preorder-cover-tinyForeWord Reviews

Summer Issue 2016

In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.

The tale of the Craigheads begins with the dawn of the American colonies, but the book itself begins with the engaging tale of two Craighead brothers capturing and training hawks in Depression-era Pennsylvania. This story-oriented style typifies Glorious Times, which recounts the lives of the historical Craigheads in lively detail, bringing readers into close, personal proximity to the subjects’ lives. Roughly chronologically, the book describes each significant Craighead chapter by chapter, always highlighting their nature-loving and environmental points. Since the family’s story begins so early in American history, the book spends several chapters working through older relatives, who predated what modern activists would recognize as environmentalism, before getting to the generations that produced the more famous conservationists and natural scientists. However, the theme of the Craigheads as nature-lovers, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople remains a powerful thread throughout the book. The author’s research on the topic could not be more meticulous, incorporating typical genealogical sources, such as newspapers, as well as personal interviews with Jean Craighead George and family documents, such as diaries.

Particularly valuable to book people may be the insight that Glorious Times provides into the mind and personality of Jean Craighead George, who is presented as at once more liberal and ambitious than other Craighead women and fully in step with her family’s environmentalist tradition. Fans and critics of her work and of the roots of the twentieth century environmental stewardship movement will find this work a fascinating insight. Genealogists may also be interested in the book as an example of a family history well executed.

Glorious Times Now Available for Pre-order

October 30, 2016

preorder-cover-tinyPre-orders for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists are now being accepted for delivery in early December just in time for Christmas. I will inscribe and sign them with the inscription requested at the time of purchase. For those who are not familiar with the Craighead family of naturalists, here is what the publisher has to say about the book:

Glorious Times… tells the fascinating story of an American clan of Scots-Irish origin that settled in and near the South Mountain “Cradle of Conservation” close to nature, with the Yellow Breeches Creek flowing past its backyard, woods just beyond fields and meadows, and the mountain within walking distance. Since the early 1700s, this remarkable family called and still calls “Craighead Station” Pennsylvania its “home,” even though many of its members more recently have made other homes elsewhere in the country. But they always return. In Tom Benjey’s engaging telling of the Craighead story through the centuries and generations, he focuses special attention, for good reason, on the generation of Craigheads we know best: that of the twins Frank Jr., John, and their sister Jean Craighead George; but he doesn’t neglect the earlier generations of Craighead naturalists either. Their father, Frank Sr., also an important scientist and naturalist—as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins who were important outdoorsmen—and women themselves—get well deserved attention, too.

To order your signed (if you prefer that) copy, mail a check to this address:

Tuxedo Press
546 E Springville Rd
Carlisle, PA 17015

OR

email your credit card information and mailing address to orders@Tuxedo-Press.com

OR

Phone 717-258-9733 with your credit card information and mailing address.

Credit card information needed
Credit card number, CVV/CVV2 (the little number usually on the back of the card), 
expiration date, and your billing ZIP cod

OR click on the book cover to order on-line.

Cost

Glorious Times:                   $18.95
Shipping:                        $  4.00
Total (non-PA residents):         $22.95
PA sales tax:                    $  1.38
Total (PA residents):             $24.33  

ForeWord Reviews Now On-Line

May 28, 2016

Summer 2016 ForeWord Reviews cover 1 in

The Summer 2016 edition of ForeWord Reviews is on-line as of midnight. The Spotlight section on Climate Change, in which my book is featured, hasn’t been uploaded as yet although it is in the print version.

The full review of my book can be found in full at: https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/glorious-times/

First Review for New Book

May 20, 2016

Summer 2016 ForeWord Reviews cover 1 in

The first review of my new book, which is to be released in late June, arrived in today’s mail. It received a prominent position on a Spotlight page but the last sentence and a half of the review were cut off. One would expect the entire review to be in the on-line version at ForeWordReviews. com when it is released.

 

 

 

 

 ForeWord Reviews

Summer Issue 2016

 Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists

Tom Benjey

University of Montana Press

Softcover $16.95 (370pp)

978-0-1-9909748-7-1

In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.

The tale of the Craigheads begins with the dawn of the American colonies, but the book itself begins with the engaging tale of two Craighead brothers capturing and training hawks in Depression-era Pennsylvania. This story-oriented style typifies Glorious Times, which recounts the lives of the historical Craigheads in lively detail, bringing readers into close, personal proximity to the subjects’ lives. Roughly chronologically, the book describes each significant Craighead chapter by chapter, always highlighting their nature-loving and environmental points. Since the family’s story begins so early in American history, the book spends several chapters working through older relatives, who predated what modern activists would recognize as environmentalism, before getting to the generations that produced the more famous conservationists and natural scientists. However, the theme of the Craigheads as nature-lovers, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople remains a powerful thread throughout the book. The author’s research on the topic could not be more meticulous, incorporating typical genealogical sources, such as newspapers, as well as personal interviews with Jean Craighead George and family documents, such as diaries.

Particularly valuable to book people may be the insight that Glorious Times provides into the mind and personality of Jean Craighead George, who is presented as at once more liberal and ambitious than other Craighead women and fully in step with her family’s environmentalist tradition. Fans and critics of her work and of the roots of the twentieth century environmental stewardship movement will find this work a fascinating insight. Genealogists may also be interested in the book as an example of a family history well executed.

ARCs Are Here

February 4, 2016

ARC front cover 150dpiAdvance Reading Copies (ARCs) for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists have arrived and I’ve sent copies to the important prepress reviewers. Reviews from some of them could assure significant orders from bookstores and libraries. Arriving just ahead of the ARCs was a huge increase in postal rates. Earlier this year, I could mail books in padded Priority envelopes anywhere in the U.S. for $5.75. Now it costs $6.80! That’s an increase of over a dollar for each potential reviewer. These costs assume postage is purchased on-line and that you print the label yourself on a large sticker. It costs more than this if you pay at the post office.

Regional A boxes, which must be ordered on-line and aren’t available at post offices just like padded envelopes, now cost $8.15, which must be paid on-line. Post Offices aren’t allowed to sell postage for them. They are a good size for larger books and can be used to hold a few smaller ones. So, they are handy for shipping books to individual buyers. However, they are not as sturdy as the Priority boxes available in the post office. So, additional packing material is needed to protect books shipped in them.

Writing books isn’t all about research and struggling to find the best words to use. It’s also about a lot of mundane things one wishes he never had to learn.

 

A Great Book Cover for $100

December 15, 2015

Glorious Times front cover lores zealousAs my book on the Craighead Naturalists inches toward publication, a cover is needed. Using a single photo for a background image wouldn’t work because the Craigheads are identified with so many things. A collage of several photos would be too cluttered. Original artwork is needed. The rub there is that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. References to a site named Fiverr.com piqued my interest. Each job (gig in Fiverr parlance) starts at $5 and goes up from there with addons, typically such things as higher resolution, commercial license, color, etc. After spending $31.50 (Fiverr charges a 50 cent commission, sometimes more, on each gig) on an unsuitable cover, I decided that going with the basic five dollar gig to see if the artist would likely generate something useful before purchasing any addons. Those can be bought later once you’ve decided the artist is the one you want to use. To speed up the process, I ordered basic gigs from three artists to see if any of them would likely create a useable cover design. Soon, I saw that a book cover designer wasn’t what I needed. Fiverr book cover designers do not usually create artwork for you, they use stock photos or artwork you provide.

After realizing it was artwork I needed, I looked at samples of art done by various artists, I selected one whose samples included one for Denali I especially liked and thought he’d be a good fit for creating something that says “Craighead.” In a few days, he sent me a back and with drawing that included a wolf and a hawk. Perfect. Except the drawing didn’t allow enough bleed area for trimming when used on a book cover. Unable to get across what I needed, I created the bleed area myself, which wasn’t too hard to do because the area that needed to be replicated was black. I gladly paid for the necessary addons and shifted my focus to overlaying the title, subtitle and author’s name onto the cover.

I experimented with various shades of green and came up with nothing useful. I went back to Fiverr book cover designers and tried a few five dollar gigs. All were duds but one. And it jumped off the page at me. He extended the black area at the bottom of the artwork an inch more than I had to allow space there for the author’s name. He put the first word of the title and the author’s name in a piercing red and the rest of the title and subtitle in black. His first choice of fonts and placement of the title and subtitle against the artwork didn’t work but, with a few adjustments, a cover I like immensely emerged. This experience taught me that, with some patience, even I can have a great looking front cover for a hundred dollars.

 

 

Preserving the Craighead Kitchen Artwork

July 13, 2015

A photo of your humble blogger explaining the “Hooping Cough” piece on the north wall of the Craighead House kitchen adorns the front page of today’s Carlisle Sentinel—above the fold, just below an article explaining how the county poor house evolved into a “modern care facility.”

The reporter conducted the telephone interview for the last article of his career at The Sentinel (he’s already moved on for an editor’s position at another paper) Thursday morning . The photographer came out later that day to shoot video and still shots of the art. This article discusses the fact that Craighead House Committee is cataloging the over 250 drawings, paintings, sketches, and doodles that cover the four walls of the kitchen. To date, I have identified each of them—a few probably mistakenly because I couldn’t figure what they’re supposed to be—and am now trying to determine who made each one, when, and with what. Several have stories behind them that I’m also trying to recover.

If you have information, especially if you were one of the artists or observed someone adding a piece, please contact me. Two donors have given enough money to preserve the west wall, the one in the most perilous condition, but more is needed to do the rest. To help, send a check to:

Craighead House Committee
PO Box 335
Boiling Springs, PA 17007

-OR-

Donate on-line at: http://www.CraigheadHouse.org.

Link to article: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/communities/boiling_springs/committee-looks-to-preserve-paintings-on-walls-of-craighead-house/article_0679f764-047e-5f7d-9269-dfd471cdb143.html

Link to video: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/multimedia/videos/video-craighead-house-art/youtube_5371f85a-a0ab-5c7c-8489-f027e8462686.html

Villie and MIllie Discovered

July 6, 2015

Villie and Millie

This daunting task of cataloging the artwork on the Craighead House kitchen walls gets more interesting all the time. This morning, Isabel Carpenter Masland, a frequent visitor to the house when she was a girl and the daughter of Don Carpenter, who wrote Memories of Craighead, the song about life in Craighead House in the first half of the 20th century, solved one of the mysteries related to the kitchen art. A pencil drawing of two women wearing aprons, one holding a dishpan and the other a pail, labeled, “Villie and Millie the Wash Up Twins,” had befuddled me for some time. I knew of no on family member or frequent visitor whose nickname would likely be Villie and the only possible Millie was Mervin Coyle’s wife, Mildred. The only problem was that Mildred’s grandchildren had never heard her called Millie. The sketch did look sort of like her.

Mrs. Masland was a young girl when this drawing appeared somewhere between 1938 and 1941. She didn’t see it drawn and doesn’t know for sure who drew it but suspects that it was Joseph House, Millie’s husband. Villie would have been Villa Stroh, whose husband Charles was a judge and lived in a mansion on Front Street in Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River. Gene and Myra Craighead lived in Harrisburg at the time and had a circle of friends who socialized together both in Harrisburg and at Craighead Station.

Isabel’s parents were part of that circle. She remembers the adults having parties at the house when she was young. She also remembers the ladies who prepared the food noting that they weren’t honored with a drawing or a painting. In the 70-plus years that have passed since then, no such drawing has appeared.