Bicentennial commission continues fundraising push; Book celebrating 200 years of New Albany due out in September
NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Bicentennial Commission isn’t waiting until 2013 to roll out historic memorabilia.
As the city prepares for its 200th birthday in 2013, the commission has been finalizing plans for a limited-edition book that will detail New Albany’s past in a way that officials said will hardly be dry and boring.
“It’s going to be a fascinating book,” said Bob Caesar, who is a New Albany City Councilman and a member of the committee.
Noted history author James A. Crutchfield was hired to write the book, though the narratives are only slated to comprise about one-third of the work. Color photographs will occupy most of the remaining space.
Why on earth would the New Albany Bicentennial Commission select a hired-hack author from Tennessee to “write the book” on New Albany?
Crutchfield is presently working with Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Robin Hood in producing a collection of top quality, four-color, coffee table books. Crutchfield does the research and writes the historical treatises for the books. He and Hood have produced books on Nashville’s Opryland Hotel, the Tennessee Walking Horse, the University of the South at Sewanee, historic sites and buildings in Tennessee, and Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. Works in progress are a book on the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
This decision runs counter to every imaginable precept of localism, but "respectable" elements approve, so ... this is what we get.
The very first name that comes to my mind is not James A. Crutchfield, but New Albany native Gregg Seidl. He’s a local historian and a published author, who leads tours of haunted and nefarious NA, and also writes “straight” when the occasion merits.
After I read the article linked here, I messaged Gregg and asked if anyone serving on the Commission had approached him about the book idea. He replied that no one had mentioned it to him, and he’d read about it in the newspaper just like the rest of us.
Jeff Gahan, are you or your advisors reading?
Yet again, the institutionalized banality of the departing England administration’s “same few people on all committees” results in divergent voices going unheard, and an opportunity utterly wasted, except this one quite literally is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. If the “official” bicentennial celebration is going to be the same old white-bread-and-Budweiser karaoke show, it’s time for the creative class to get to work on the underground version.
James A. Crutchfield?