“Haywood County: Portrait of a Mountain Community,” was awarded the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award and the President’s Award at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Society of Historians in Mooresville on Oct. 23. The Peace History Award is given to encourage the writing of histories of N.C. counties, institutions or individuals. The President’s Award was presented near the conclusion of the day’s events to the most outstanding entry for 2010.
This year there were 729 entries and a total of 95 awards.
The county history book was one of five writings with Haywood County ties to win an award. Sarah Queen Brown of Clyde and Carroll C. Jones of Pace, Fla., also received Peace History Awards. Brown was honored for her “Clyde High School, 1918-1966.” Jones received the honor for “Rooted Deep in the Pigeon Valley – A Harvest of Western Carolina Memories,” a book based on the history of Canton and Bethel communities and drawn from his youth. Evelyn Coltman of Waynesville received a Paul Jehu Barrings Jr. and Sr. Award of Excellence “for her efforts to collect, document, write and preserve the Bethel Community history and for her 6-volume set of books in her Pigeon Valley Heritage Collection,” according to the awards program guidebook. Bill Lowry of Lake Junaluska received the Ethel W. Twiford Religious History Book Award for “The Antechamber of Heaven: A History of Lake Junaluska Assembly.”
In presenting the President’s Award, which is chosen from among the most high-ranked entries, Society President Elizabeth Sherrill described “Haywood County: Portrait of a Mountain Community” as “the most interesting, well-researched history…. I loved all the visuals in every aspect of the work. Judges described the book as “a credit to the history of Haywood County and its people. This is a textbook example of how we envision all bicentennial history books to be … complete, readable, articulate, clear and authoritative.” The judges praised the book’s “delightful and interesting information about the county,” its “amazing vintage photographs” and its endnotes and bibliographies, which make it, the judges wrote, “a researcher’s dream.”
The project was begun in 2006 by the Historical Society of Haywood County for the celebration of the county’s bicentennial. Curtis Wood, Emeritus Professor of History, Western Carolina University, was the book’s editor. An advisory committee chaired by Bruce A. Briggs oversaw the project and included Bette Hannah Sprecher, Joan Routh, Kenneth F. Wilson and Robert Busko. Six writers researched and wrote the 15 chapter of the work and helped select the hundreds of photographs included with the text. Writers were: Kathy Nanney Ross, Michael Beadle, Patrick Willis, Leon M. “Chip” Killian III, Christina Fulcher Osborne and Richard D. Starnes. The book was published in December 2009 and is currently available at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. Cost is $40.
The three-year project included a comprehensive collection of photographs and documents that were digitally scanned by the Haywood County Library. The images are housed there as a permanent collection. The Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University created a permanent exhibit titled “Haywood County” A Family of Communities” in support of the project, based on the writers’ research. The exhibit is currently traveling in the Haywood County school system.
Other local award recipients also received high marks from the Society of Historians for their work.
Regarding “Clyde High School,” judges wrote that Sarah Queen Brown has put together “as complete a school history as any we have seen. It was a delight to judge this entry.” Brown received praise for the book’s photographs and their arrangements as well as her written history of the school and history of Clyde. This book can be ordered from Brown at P.O. Box 97, Clyde, NC 28721. Cost is $10 plus $5 shipping.
Lowry’s “Antechamber of Heaven” received the Twiford Religious History Book Award, given for “the indepth historical account of the founding, growth and development of religious movements, houses of worship or religious institutions within North Carolina.” The book was “the result of an author who has paid meticulous attention to every detail,” the judges wrote. “He has done an exemplary job of taking a colossal amount of data and condensing it into 188 pages; but the icing on the proverbial cake is the timeline he has provided that begins in 1899 and ends with 2005.”
The book is available from Lake Junaluska Assembly, P.O. Box 726, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745. tel. 452-2881. Cost is $27. Shipping is $5.50.
Coltman’s books on the Pigeon Valley can be purchased from the Bethel Rural Community Organization, P.O. Box 1333, Waynesville NC 28786. Cost is $5 for book 1, $10 each for books 2 and 3; $15 for book 4 and $20 each for books 5 and 6. Add $5 for shipping.