The Norman Transcript

August 18, 2013

Residents release pictoral history of Norman from 1889 to 1949, with proceeds benefiting historical house museum

By Shana Adkisson
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The old saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover. In the case of “Images of America: Norman 1889-1949,” the saying should be don’t judge a book by its size.

A little more than 100 pages, the book, complied by Suzanne H. Schrems, Ph.D., and Lt Col. Vernon R. Maddux, ret. USMC, is published on behalf of the Cleveland County Historical Society and is chock full of Norman history.

The book, a pictoral history of Norman from the land run in 1889 to the end of a Navy town in 1949, took about a year to put together, Schrems said.

The book seemed fitting for the pair, since they are both Norman residents and Cleveland County Historical Society board members. And if that wasn’t enough qualifications, both are adjunct professors of history and authors of books on Oklahoma and the American West.

“Vernon and I, last fall, put together the photos we would use. Surprisingly, I got some good stuff off of eBay, especially on the Naval bases. There’s not a lot that I found of photographs of Norman during that time,” Schrems said.

Arcadia Publishing approached the historical society requesting the book be formulated.

“They have been asking us for a couple of years. They have the ‘Images of America’ series all over Oklahoma, all over the country. There must be 30 or more books just on Oklahoma,” Schrems said. “They wanted one on Norman.

“For the last couple of years, I didn’t think we could get the photographs. So when we started to look, Vernon and I went through what we had and how much we could afford to buy. We figured we had to have 180.”

Another benefit of the book is that all proceeds go directly to the Cleveland County Historical Society and its support of Norman’s Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum.

“The city owns the historical house, but we need a stream of revenue to keep it going as they cut back on our grants. We are starting to pay our own utilities,” Schrems said.

Schrems also is hoping that the book will generate interest to those in the community who would like to be involved in the Cleveland County Historical Society.

“If we don’t bring more members, more revenue stream, there won’t be a history house and there won’t be anyone telling the history,” Schrems said.

Social media websites were very helpful in not only gathering items for the book but also promoting the book. Schrems and Maddux relied heavily on a Facebook group, “You know you’re for Norman if …,” to get information.

The book now has its own Facebook page. But that doesn’t mean the promotion and selling of a book about the early settlers of Norman has gone totally high tech.

“We are still going the old-fashioned route with maybe the fair and the 2nd Friday Art Walk,” Schrems said.

Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum curator Erin Smith said plans are in the works for a book signing and sales event during the Friday Art Walk in September at MainSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., and in October at Tres Cantina, 305 E. Main St.

The book will be officially released to the public on Monday and can be purchased online at normanmuseum.org on Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble and at the Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum, 508 N. Peters Ave.

For more information on the book, call Smith at 321-0156.