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New area history book authored by Meadow Brook Hall staffers

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
New area history book authored by Meadow Brook Hall staffers
A new book featuring historical photographs and information about Rochester and Rochester Hills was recently authored by two members of the Meadow Brook Hall staff. And on Thursday, June 9, both will be available at a special event at The Hall to sign copies.

Meredith Long and Madelyn Rzadkowolski created “Images of America: Rochester and Rochester Hills,” after six months’ work combining historical information with rarely seen images of the area.

The book is available at Meadow Brook Hall’s Museum Shop. It will also play a part in a special community day hosted by The Hall to honor the rich history of Rochester.

From 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, a new summer tour, “Meadow Brook in Bloom,” will be kicked off with evening tours and a short presentation and Q-and-A with authors Long and Rzadkowolski. They will also be available to sign copies of their book. Cookies and punch will be served following the introduction.

Residents of the Rochester and Rochester Hills area can tour the Hall for an admission fee of $5 per person (a $10 discount). OU students, faculty and staff can attend and tour for free.

“The Rochester area has a deep appreciation for local history, so finding little-known images was not always easy, as many of them have become public,” said Long, who is curator at Meadow Brook Hall. Rzadkowolski is events and programs coordinator.

Research took the pair to the Ray Russell Post Card collection at the Rochester Hills Public Library, the Oakland University library, Detroit News Collection at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University, Meadow Brook Hall Collection, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester College and private family collections.

The book was published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its "Images of America" series. The series highlights the history of towns, corporations, buildings and even ethnic groups by using historic photographs accompanied by captions.

“Knowledge of history is very attainable to the general public in these books,” said Rzadkowolski. “You don't have to be a historian to flip through the pages, see a photo of interest, and read the caption to find out more about it.”

Besides a love of history, coincidence played a big part in the creation of Long and Rzadkowolski’s book.

Long had taken a tour of Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit, and afterwards purchased the Arcadia book written about the historic site. As luck would have it, the author had been the tour guide that evening. Long started talking with him about publishing.

“When he heard where I worked he asked if I was ever interested in writing one, because he heard from the regional editor that they were looking for someone to write the Rochester edition,” said Long. “The editor called me the next day. I brought on Madelyn as a co-author because of her solid researching and writing skills.”

Although “Images of America: Rochester and Rochester Hills” is the first book written by Long and Rzadkowolski, the pair are no strangers to writing about history. Both are involved in writing text for exhibits and marketing at Meadow Brook Hall.

For more information on Meadow Brook Hall, visit the website.