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East Texas Historians To Share ‘Stories’ At Book Signing

May 7, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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East Texas is a distinct cultural and geographical region roughly the size of the state of Indiana.

"Just Between Us" coverThose who have lived and worked in East Texas share a common sense of place that has provided some of the state’s more colorful characters and most enduring landmarks, as well as richly layered cultural history, according to Dan K. Utley and Milton S. Jordan, editors and contributing authors of Just Between Us: Stories and Memories from the Texas Pines, published last October by the Stephen F. Austin University Press.

The region has also produced a large number of historians and storytellers who have successfully drawn upon their diverse and unique heritage to chronicle the past, the two said.

Utley and Milton will share some of that history on Wednesday (May 15), when they will visit the Sam Houston Memorial Museum for a book signing from 1-3 p.m. at Bear Bend Cabin, located on the museum grounds.

Just Between Us is, at one level, the inside story of a large community, where all residents comfortably share somewhat familiar stories about home; it is also, however, a regional record for others to enjoy, analyze, and celebrate, according to Utley.

“The stories are firsthand accounts by those who know the region best, and they serve as glimpses onto life in the Pine Belt that to this point have not been recorded or widely shared,” he said. “They are, for the most part, small stories that might not be found in general histories but that nevertheless collectively make a profound statement about the unique character of an important region.”

Some of the places included in the book are: Huntsville, the Neches and Angelina rivers, New London, Woodville, Rockland, Baytown, Lufkin, Liberty, Palestine, Ratcliff Lake, Bon Wier, Beaumont, Jasper, San Augustine, Dickinson, Tyler, Upshaw Community, Shankleville, Pittsburg, Kilgore and Reilly Springs Cemetery.

Other contributing authors include former museum director Patrick Nolan and local Huntsvillian Wendell Baker.

Utley, a native of Lufkin who grew up in Woodville, is a graduate of the University of Texas and Sam Houston State University.

Currently an adjunct professor and chief historian of the Center for Texas Public History at Texas State University, he served for many years on the staff of the Texas Historical Commission, is a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, and is past president of the East Texas Historical Association and Texas Oral History Association. He lives in the Austin area.

He has co-authored several books on Texas topics, including History Ahead, History Along the Way, and Faded Glory: A Century of Forgotten Texas Military Sites.

Jordan is a native Texan, born in Waco and reared in East Texas.

He graduated from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and received a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University.

Following many years in the ministry, he retired from Grace United Methodist Church, Houston Heights. A past president of the East Texas Historical Association, he now lives in Georgetown.

Just Between Us can be purchased in the Wigwam Neosho Museum Store for $35. On the day of the signing, the books will be sold for 20 percent off.

For more information, contact the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at 936.294.1832 or visit samhoustonmemorialmuseum.com.



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