The Historical Society appreciates The News-Times interest and support, but youve been missing too many meetings or you would have a better understanding of the facts concerning the publication of our new history book, To Seek A Newer World.
A Dec. 9 editorial mentioned that this book was published under less-than-ideal conditions. Not this book; working with Dr. Gerald Smith on this publication was a pleasure. It was our previous attempt to publish a history, working with Barbara Seaborn, when conditions were less-than-ideal.
When we contacted Smith, he agreed to do the research and write the book for us, with no advance payment. He is to receive a 10 percent commission on each $25 book when it is sold. When we began negotiations with the printer, attorney Richard Dunstan prepared a contract for us, at no charge, for the protection of the Historical Society. He also prepared a contract with Smith for us at the same time and for the same price. Maybe that would be considered hiring him, but he had done a lot of work prior to that time, with a gentlemens agreement.
He had some assistance from members of the Historical Society and from some others, but it was done as a labor of love. We have very little money. Smith is a very capable gentleman, and we had a book published within the year.
Not being actively involved with the Historical Society when they worked with Seaborn, I may not be as aware of what caused the confusion on that book. I do know that she was given a $6,000 advance from county funds to begin writing a history of Columbia County. She was also given some research material by some society members, which she still has.
Over a year later, Seaborn said she would need additional funding for further work on the book. The Historical Society and the Board of Commissioners wanted to see some results before more funds were advanced. We do not know how much work she has produced, but we were given approximately 13 pages, which we still have. We had no available funds at that time, we have received nothing further from Seaborn.
We owe Smith a debt of gratitude and we owe it to him to set the record straight on this matter. Without his help there would be no history of our county in print. We still look forward to Seaborns book being published. We enjoy her history articles in The News-Times.
The next meeting of the Historical Society will be on Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. in the old jail in Appling. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Columbia County Historical Society
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