By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 12, 2024.
More than 50 residents braved the freezing weather and icy roads to attend Thursday’s Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs session where president of the Lethbridge Historical Society Belinda Crowson spoke about their latest publication “Upon Further Reflection.”
Before her presentation Crowson spoke to the Herald about her topic and said she would not only talk about the book but also about the many authors who have contributed to previous publications.
“This is our 62nd book and the Lethbridge Historical Society has been publishing books since the 1960s, so almost any book you can think about on Lethbridge history, chances are may have been published by the Lethbridge Historical Society,” said Crowson.
Crowson said she would be talking about the reasons why they publish and how the previous books published tie to their latest publication.
“We publish for a variety of reasons. One is we’re trying to make sure these stories aren’t lost so we want to make sure they are there. We want to entertain and educate the public, so they have some good reading material sitting on the shelf, and then we also use this as a way to raise funds for the society with our books sales,” said Crowson.
Â She said with their book sales from more than 60 years of publishing, the society has managed to be one that doesn’t need to do casinos, and this is one of their biggest fundraisers.
Â “When the society is doing work in the community, when we’re donating to organizations, or donating to the Historical Society of Alberta grant program, or anything like that, all of those funds have been raised through our publishing, so our books are vital to what the Lethbridge Historical Society does,” said Crowson.
Crowson said it is vital to keep records of events and stories that are accurate, to make sure they do not lose any details from being told from person to person.
“These books allow us to really delve into a subject. This one is very much a picture book, so it allows us to show these different sites through the photographs. All of our publications share some different aspect but together they tell comprehensive history of this area,” said Crowson.
Â She said even though they still have more stories to tell, the society’s published books offer a snippet of history that helps people learn a little bit more with each one.
Â “Understanding our place, where we’re from, is very vital to our own identity, but it’s also vital to how we develop a community,” said Crowson.
She said the LHS is continuously keeping track of history – while it is happening – to make sure future historians have enough records to look through.
“We’re trying to document events, places and things that we think future historians will be interested in. We have files on the pandemic and things like that. We filed those away to eventually get them into an archive. It’s hard sometimes to imagine what will be of interest to the public in the future so we’re trying to make it as broad as possible,” said Crowson.
During her presentation Crowson spoke about some of the books previously published by the society, including “Legacy of Lethbridge Women” which talks about the women who have streets in Legacy Ridge named after them.
“When they first started that subdivision everybody who bought a new house got one of those books to tell why the streets were named that way.”
Â Crowson said when people go through Legacy Ridge there is a reason why those road names are so long.
Â “Because if we just had given the last names everybody would assume it was named after men and so they have chosen to put the entire names of the women, so people would know they were named after women,” said Crowson.
She highlighted the many people who contributed to the latest society effort as publishing a book is a team effort.
She highlighted Carol Megaw, chair of the publications committee who took the book from the initial idea right through to the publication process.
“She did everything from getting editors, to making sure everyone working on the book were getting things done,” said Crowson.
Another person highlighted was Bobbie Fox, the book designer. Crowson said she spent countless hours designing the book.
Others highlighted were Christie Thacker, Nicole Bosh and Lorien Johansen who were the editors.
“I don’t know about you, but as an author you hate your editors. Everything is perfect until an editor goes through your work. But you absolutely need the people that will tell you every comma you made a mistake on, check your punctuation and your spelling.”
Crowson also highlighted Mike Jensen, who alongside her, recreated the photographs from the original book that was published in 1980, and Robert Oakley who was in charge of book sales.