Edmond Authors Reception

The Edmond Historical Society & Museum honors Edmond authors each January in its historic location. Housed in the old Edmond Armory at 431 S. Boulevard, the museum exudes history, education and entertainment for the general public and for authors who write about history or use it as a backdrop for novels, poetry, movie scripts and stage plays.

The public is invited to the 10th annual Edmond Authors Reception on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 1 p.m. to 4 pm. The 2006 reception is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Reba Collins. Most authors will have books for sale and will autograph copies for readers.

Refreshments will be served and admission to the reception and museum is free. Overflow parking is available one-half block to the north at the former Presbyterian Church. The introduction of authors begins at 1:30 p.m., when guests will be treated to a brief update of each author’s latest publications and/or works in progress.

Oklahoma City attorney Bob Burke, with more than 60 published books to his credit, is among those who will discuss writing as vocation. Burke has chronicled the history of baseball in Oklahoma City, the state governor’s mansion, Phillips University, the Oklahoma City bombing investigation and the Burke family tree. He also has written numerous books on art and religion. The majority of his books focus on Oklahomans, including Wiley Post, Bill Teegins, former governors George Nigh and Dewey F. Bartlett, Mike Monroney, Judges Lee West and Alfred P. Murrah, Ralph Ellison, Ray Ackerman, Lyle Boren, W. French Anderson, Alice Robertson, Allie Reynolds, Alma Bell Wilson, Sam Cochran, Herman Meinders and Abe Lemons.

In 2004, Burke received the Governor’s Art Award for Excellence in the Arts in Oklahoma. Burke’s “The Traveling Timber Towns” (2004) was named Book of the Year in 2005 by the Oklahoma Museum Association.

As an author/historian, Burke is a lifetime member of the Edmond Historical Society and often writes with co-authors. His 2005 publications are with former Edmond Mayor Carl Reherman and former Oklahoma Gov. George Nigh and focus on various aspects of the state’s history.

The Edmond Historical Society & Museum highlights authors who live in Edmond or have included Edmond as major subject matter in their books. Edmond is home to more than 150 authors. Previous presenters and guests of honor include Dr. Reba Neighbors Collins, Dr. James Crowder, Jr., Dr. Dorothy Frosch, Claudia Miller, former Gov. George Nigh and Marcia Preston.

While touring the old building and browsing new books, people can visit the museum’s non-circulating research library of more than 1,500 books and periodicals plus a genealogical research area. For ages 5-12, The Children’s Interactive Center will be open with exhibits regarding early communication and transportation. Edmond authors have donated their books to a special section of the library and some are available for purchase in the museum’s gift shop.

The building itself dates to 1936. Through the WPA (Works Progress Administration), experienced stone masons and day laborers carved native sandstone boulders into large uniform blocks and cooked mortar to create the massive building at a cost of $39,501.00. The armory housed munitions and served as the regimental headquarters for the 179th Infantry of the famed 45th Division. Army troops deployed from the armory in 1940 for World War II and in 1950 for the Korean Conflict. Later uses for the building have varied, including a public skating rink, civic festivals, weekend art shows, and a circus winter home and training arena for black dancing bears.

For more information about this month’s event, visit www.edmondhistory.org.

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