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Oct. 29, 2013
Northwest Missouri State University Professor of History Dr. Michael Steiner and graduate student Brent Trout are the authors of a new book that highlights Maryville’s past, “Images of America: Maryville.”
The book consists of 128 pages presented as a pictorial history with short essays that provide a historical context to each photo. The images date as far back as the 1870s, while newer images featured in the book were taken as recently as the 1960s. The majority of the images depict Maryville between World War I and World War II.
“Images of America: Maryville” was published this fall by Arcadia, a leading publisher of history books, including the iconic “Images of America” series.
“I get a kick out of doing something that people at my church or elsewhere come up to me and say ‘Hey, that was fun to read,’ and that’s what, to me, local history is all about,” Steiner said. “I can use my craft to do something for local people.”
While authoring a similar book, “Images of America: Nodaway County,” in 2008, Steiner accumulated an extra 150 images he didn’t use. He sought to incorporate those leftovers in a book specifically about Maryville and began collecting additional photos during the summer of 2012. Trout, wanting to take on a graduate research project, joined Steiner to begin writing and researching information for the book a few months later.
The book features images from the collections of the Nodaway County Historical Society and Northwest Missouri State University Archives as well as private collections.
“Hopefully folks will learn something about Maryville history, but at the same time it’s a photographic book,” Steiner said. “One can enjoy the book without reading a word if they want. After I finished the first book, I had dozens of folks come up to me and say, ‘Well I did it twice. I went through and looked at all the pictures. Now I’m reading it slowly as I go through.’”
While producing the book was another publishing opportunity for Steiner, the professor also saw the importance of opening a door for one of his students. Steiner and Trout divided the workload equally with both taking on photo editing and writing duties.
“Every time you go to apply for your first job they want you to have experience, and you get in that conundrum where until someone gives you experience you can’t say, ‘I have experience,’” Steiner said. “It seemed like a perfect win-win situation where I could get help doing this and provide an opportunity for Brent. When he’s finished with his degree and goes on to the next stage he’s not caught when they ask, ‘Have you published anything?’”
Trout, a second-year graduate student from St. Louis, said researching the history behind the photos was among the most difficult research he’s conducted. Some photos had nothing more than a date scribbled on the backside. For other photos, Steiner and Trout had only the context of the image to rely on.
“I spent a lot of time in the library, just going through the reels, trying to find something relevant,” Trout said. “Every time we found something it was like a little reward.”
In addition to discovering the rewards of researching local history archives, Trout says he’s caught the publishing “bug” and looks forward to producing a book about his hometown.
“As soon as we were done (with the Maryville book), I was going through images of my hometown and my wife’s hometown,” Trout said.
“Images of America: Maryville, Missouri” is available for $20 at the Nodaway County Historical Society, located at 110 N. Walnut St. in Maryville, as well as the Nodaway News Leader on the Maryville square. All proceeds support the historical society.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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