Genealogy And Local History From<br>The George S. MacManus Co.
Semira Phillips must have been proud of his (her?) hometown when writing Proud Mahaska, 1843-1900, which was published in 1900 at the county seat of Oskaloosa. Quick. What state is this from? If you guessed Alabama, you're wrong. It's Iowa. Tuscaloosa is home to the University of Alabama, but Oskaloosa is home to William Penn College. You probably thought that was in Pennsylvania. It's all very confusing. If you ever take the trip from Des Moines to Maharishi University and the beautiful New Age community of Fairfield, you will drive right through Proud Mahaska. Item 382. $85.
If you drive about 75 miles due west from Mahaska you'll reach Madison County. J.J. Davies' History and Business Directory of Madison County, Iowa, is a particularly interesting history. Published in 1869, it is filled with advertisements from local merchants, businesses, and doctors. Sometimes advertisements can give you more of a feel for the times than does regular text. Item 381. $450.
Here's another challenge. Where does The New Directory and History of Nevada...come from? Nevada, Ohio, of course. There are no casinos in Nevada, Ohio. If the oldest profession is practiced there, it is not done so with legal consent. You cannot attend a Wayne Newton concert in Nevada, Ohio, which is probably a plus for this Midwestern version. Nevada is a community of less than a thousand people not close to much of anything non-Ohioans have heard of, but it does have it's own book, published back in 1894. Evidently, it has not grown very much since. Item 1138. $75.
One of the most distinctive of American towns is Newport, Rhode Island. Newport was a major seaport in colonial times. It also was a place of unusual religious tolerance, having been formed by people who fled Boston and its Puritanism. At one point more than half of its residents were Quakers, frequently persecuted elsewhere, and it is home to the oldest Jewish synagogue in North America. The British destroyed much of its commercial base during the Revolution, but Newport would rise again with a new identity. In the 19th century, it became better known as a resort, a reputation that carries through to this day. It was the summer home for many of the most wealthy families in America, such as the Vanderbilts. Their mansions still dominate the landscape today. In 1857, John Collins published The City and Scenery of Newport, Rhode Island. Newport was already a fashionable resort by then and this work not only speaks of the town as it was a century and a half ago, but contains plates of some of its most notable sights. Item 1154. $6,250.
Now here is my favorite: Centennial History of Licking Co., Ohio, by Isaac Smucker. With a name like Smucker, it has to be finger-licking good. Actually, the county's name has nothing to do with Smucker's jelly or the Colonel's chicken. It was named after the Licking River, which runs through it. I have no idea where the Licking River got its name. Item 1133. $75.