Posts Tagged ‘Whistlestop Bookshop’

Espresso Book Machine Going to Waste

October 26, 2009

This past Friday, I was in Ann Arbor doing research for a future book. When we finished our work in the archives, my wife suggested that we check out the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) that was installed at the University of Michigan over a year ago. The young special collections librarian was familiar with the machine and told us exactly where it is located. She looked up its hours of operations on the school’s website and noticed that the machine was in operation from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. weekdays. Because that is only ten hours a week, we decided that the website was in error; the EBM must be in operation from 10:00 a.m. to midnight. The Shapiro Library, which is better known to Michigan alums as UGLI (for Undergraduate Library), is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily, so 10:00 a.m. to midnight makes sense for the EBM. However, the website is not wrong.

We arrived a little after 5:00 p.m. to find the Espresso machine just inside the front door as advertised, sitting idle, also as advertised. An employee of the library explained to us that only two people were trained to use the machine and they only operated it two hours a day, weekdays. On the counter was a folder with a few pages of lists of books available to be printed. None of them interested me. I had expected to find a computer catalogue of thousands of pre-1923 books available to be printed. After all, Google famously scanned Michigan’s entire collection. There had to be numerous books in it that are in the public domain.

The gentleman handed us a stack of pre-printed books that could be purchased, but none of them interested us. The quality of the books looks to the naked eye to be about the same as that of print-on-demand books.

Some months ago, Jeff Wood, the proprietor of Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, PA, and I discussed the possibilities of the Espresso machine, particularly in a college town. One opportunity we envisioned was professors, unshackled from the need to find a publisher willing to invest in their books, writing their own texts for the courses they teach. The college bookstore wouldn’t have to inventory the books, other than a few copies to keep lines down at the beginning of the term. Researchers wishing to read dissertations wouldn’t have to strain their eyes and wrenching their bodies over microfilm machines.

But that is not to be at the University of Michigan. One hopes that other installations more fully utilize their EBMs. More on the machine, including a video of it in operation, can be found at

Puttin’ on my top hat …

October 13, 2008

This week promotion for my new book, Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs, kicks off with a book talk and signing at Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, PA. The timing is good because reviews are starting to come in. I can only hope they’re all as good as the one that ends:

 “Historians, sociologists and anthropologists will appreciate the exhaustive research, attention to detail, accuracy, authority, and integrity Benjey has put into completing this work. Sports fans and casual readers will be drawn into Benjey’s unique and compelling writing style. ‘Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs’ by Tom Benjey is destined to become a classic.”
My immediate challenge is to turn the reviewer’s last word into best seller.

Friday night I am in Reading, PA to accept Lone Star Dietz’s induction into the Albright College Hall of Fame for his family. I will, of course, wear a tuxedo to pay homage to Lone Star but could never look as dapper as he did. This long-overdue honor should be followed by another, induction into the College Football Hall of Fame for his record as a coach. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it is in the cards, at least for now.

I have been doing radio interviews across the country as of late and some stations place recordings of these interviews on their web sites. I will link my author page on to those that I can find. 




Lone Star decked out in Portland, 1915












The Greatest Reward Is Doing This

October 10, 2008

The greatest reward for writing these books and blogging about it has been meeting and communicating with people I would never have met before. In the last few months relatives of the men and women I write about have learned of me and have introduced themselves. I would never have known of their existence or how to contact them otherwise. Several have thanked me for making a permanent record of these people’s lives, but the pleasure is all mine.


Sometimes they know very little about their relative. Other times they know quite a bit and share information I was unaware of with me. Occasionally, make that frequently, they clarify something that was muddy for me. Often they provide information about a sibling of a person that I wrote about who also attended Carlisle.


The most unexpected thing that has happened is that, because of my books and/or blog, relatives that are unaware of the existence or location of other of their relatives utilize me as a conduit for making contact with each other. Family secrets have even been unwittingly uncovered as a result of putting people in contact with each other.


Lest someone be worried about their anonymity be divulged against their wishes, I have a policy to prevent that from happening. If I have contact information for Person A and Person B request that information, I send Person B’s contact information to Person A. That way, Person A can decide whether he or she desires to get in touch or not.


This coming Thursday, October 16 at 6:30 p.m., I am giving a talk about Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs at Whistlestop Bookshop which is located at 129 W. High Street in Carlisle, PA. Everyone is welcome. Surprise visitors show up at most of my talks. Could it be you?

Reconnecting Families

September 15, 2008

Something serendipitous has happened since I started this blog. People from different parts of the same family who long ago lost touch with each other have been able to reconnect as a result of my writing Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs and starting this blog. Typically, the people who contact me are grandchildren or great grandchildren but, especially in the case where the person had no children, grand nieces and nephews are the ones who write. It has given me great pleasure to assist in some small way in helping families reconnect or, in some cases, connect for the first time.


Generally the family member who initiates the connection submits a comment to a blog message. Because I have to review each comment that is submitted before it is posted, these comments are not made public. What I do is to email a member of the family with whom I have had prior contact, if I was fortunate enough to have located a relative, and send the information to that person. If that person wants to reconnect, he or she can then contact the person who made the request. If not, he or she doesn’t.


This has been totally unexpected but playing a small part in making it possible for families get reconnected gives me great pleasure. Keep those comments coming.


My first book talk on Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday October 16 at Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, PA. The next evening I will be attending Lone Star Dietz’s induction ceremony at Albright College in Reading, PA. He is being inducted into their hall of fame.