FARMINGTON — One of the newest additions to the “Images of America” series came to town this week.
Author Tamara N. Hoke of Jay will sign copies of her work on the history of Wilton starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers on Broadway.
A publisher delivered a box filled with copies of the new book this week, just in time for Saturday’s book-signing, Kenny Brechner of DDG Booksellers said Wednesday.
The series, published by Arcadia Publishing, “features vintage images of small towns and downtowns across the state,” according to the publisher’s website. It is one of thousands already published across the nation.
The book series preserves the histories of communities, mainly through photographs, Brechner said.
“Hoke’s book archives the rich history of Wilton, starting in 1803, when it was a mostly self-sufficient agricultural community,” he said in a release.
Wilton was previously included in a book by Frank Sleeper titled, “Farmington, Wilton, Kingfield and Sugarloaf,” but this is the first one on just Wilton itself, he said.
Hoke completed a book on Jay a few years ago after receiving an invitation from Arcadia Publishing to write a book for their series.
“I guess they thought as the librarian for the Jay-Niles Memorial Library, I would have access to resources and maybe insight on the town of Jay,” she said.
She approached them with the idea of a second book on Wilton.
It is a town where she lived for a number of years and really loves, she said. Her mother and grandmother both grew up there, as did other ancestors, she said.
Her grandmother passed away last year before Hoke could ask questions about her memories of Wilton. Hoke dedicated the book in her memory, she said.
As one of the largest historical publishing businesses, Arcadia Publishing seeks “to create a photographic history through short captions and photographs,” Hoke said of the “Images of America” books.
There is little text, although an introduction to the book includes a very basic history of the town, she said.
Hoke acknowledged the historical accounts of the town written by others.
“It was not the intent to duplicate the work that was already done, but create a work that is different from those,” she said. “This is a more subjective work. I was able to pick what I felt was most interesting.”
The photographs chosen depended on what was available to represent certain things within the town.
Hoke credits the Wilton Historical Society with making its photos available for her to use. Al Kaplan and Pamela Brown of the Historical Society were helpful in finding the photographs she wanted, she said.
After reading histories of the town, she supplied them with a list of things that she found interesting and hoped readers would, too, she said.
A little research on eBay provided other special items for the book, including a program for the town’s theater, a ticket for commencement at Wilton Academy and two advertisements for businesses in town, she said.
When asked if any of the photographs really stood out to her, Hoke said her “favorites show how the town evolved over time, photographs of Wilson Lake and activities thereon, as well as photographs of farming and fishing.”
“I have always found Wilton very picturesque, and I tried to find photographs that would not only reflect that but also show some of how the topography has changed over time,” she said.
The book-signing provides an opportunity for an autographed copy by the author, just in time for Christmas, Brechner said.