Tonight I have some exciting news about something that’s taking place tomorrow morning in Belleville, Ont. It is the official launch/unveiling/dedication of a new, expanded edition of the classic history of Hastings County, Historic Hastings. The book was first published as a project for Canada’s centennial in 1967 (not exactly yesterday!) and has now been expanded, updated and republished. Tomorrow morning there will be a launch ceremony at Hastings County council. Good stuff!
And you know what’s really cool? The author of the new and expanded Historic Hastings (who just happens to be a faithful reader of this blog) is Gerald (Gerry) Boyce, a mover and shaker in Hastings historical circles for many years – and the same guy who wrote the original.
(Here I have a confession to make of how dopey I can be: Gerry alerted me to the book launch in a comment he made on my post of a couple of days ago, but being the modest type, he didn’t mention the important fact that he is the author. And I totally failed to figure it out! At first, anyway. Then when I went poking about online, it all came clear. Sorry for not being more on the ball, Gerry!)
Historic Hastings is a book that was on the shelves of most Hastings County households (including ours) back when I was a kid growing up at the Manse in Queensborough. I don’t know what happened to my family’s copy, save for the fact that I didn’t end up with it. For quite a while I’ve been meaning to try to rectify that critical gap in my local-history collection thanks to my friends at the used-book site abebooks.com. (The original has been out of print for many years.) But now I can get a brand new one, with improvements including a full index and updated maps. And there’s more to come! The book being launched tomorrow is just Volume One; Gerry has also been working on Volume Two, with information on all that happened in Hastings County between 1967 and the present day.
While in this recent article about the project in the Belleville Intelligencer Gerry modestly pays tribute to those who helped him with the research work – and I think we must not fail to make mention of one of them: his wife, Bev – I can only imagine how many hours he must have devoted to Historic Hastings, both the last time around and now with the new edition. (In between writing other works of local history and being a driving force behind the preservation of that history, I might add; Gerry is a charter member of the Hastings County Historical Society.) But what a wonderful thing to be able to say you produced in your lifetime: the definitive history of an entire county, something that has been a reference for thousands of people in the past and will continue to be into the future.
Congratulations on a job very well done, Gerry!
And to those who, like me, would like to get their hands on a copy: I am sure it is being offered for sale in the bookstores of Hastings County, but you can also order it (print version or CD version) here. And Gerry, if there are other points of sale we should know about, please send details! (And P.S.: Can I get my copy autographed?)