Clarks Summit author reintroduces 1900-1920's Springwater, NY!
Author and history buff Julie Jeffery Manwarren and photographic glass plate collector Paul Holbrook have never met in person, but after meeting on Facebook they embarked on an amazing project. They have written and compiled century-old photographs into a new book, Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet (Arcadia Publishing). It is my pleasure to introduce you to Julie, my friend and writing colleague.
Julie, I'm thrilled to be chatting with you about Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet. (Arcadia Publishing 2021)
Thank you, Josette. It seems strange that in 2018 I didn't know Floyd Ingraham and couldn't even have told you where Springwater, New York was. Then I came across Ingraham's original glass plates and immersed myself in his life and his community of Springwater. As you know, I am passionate about writing and history and this project married those two passions.
Two years later I signed a contract with a publisher. Now that the book has been published, I am thrilled to see it all come to fruition!
This postcard features a view of Springwater, N. Y. from the early 1900's.
The photograph was taken by Floyd Ingraham.
Julie, your passion is evident. The essays and captions you've written reveal so many interesting personal stories about the people and places of Springwater. When did you first realize your love for writing?
I grew up in a home where reading was encouraged from an early age. My father loves great literature. My siblings and I were also educated to appreciate good writing.
In middle school I enjoyed writing poetry and short stories, and my 11th grade teacher, Mrs. Barbara Raught, told me she saw me as a writer. That stayed with me. I didn't believe in myself at the time but she did. In college I shared some of my poetry with the Dean, a woman named Carol King who also happened to be an English and writing professor. I remember her saying, "Why Julie, you're a writer!"
Since then I have pursued my writing in small ways, publishing poetry and spiritual devotionals, and writing for my church newsletter. Until recently I only considered my writing as a hobby.
Years later I signed up for Carol King's writing class at the Abington Township Public Library here in Pennsylvania. Suddenly, those seeds that had been planted years before sprang to life and I began to intentionally pursue my writing.
Some of my readers also know you as a baker. How did baking cakes bring you back to writing?
I enjoyed owning my own bakery, Frosted, for ten years. It was a licensed home kitchen and I baked and decorated wedding and special occasion cakes. Baking allowed me to be home with my kids and also do something I loved. During those years I learned to be self-motivated, to have good customer service, and to not be afraid of trying new things.
I started to experience a few health issues shortly after opening Frosted. Numerous doctor visits gave me no answers. Finally, a naturopath suggested that I might be allergic to gluten. Even though I found almost instant relief after I stopped eating foods with gluten, my allergy eventually became severe enough that I had to wear long sleeves, gloves and a mask when baking. I closed the business, but it was the right decision. I still miss Frosted. but I found a new career path a few months later. I remember the morning like it was yesterday.
I was standing in my kitchen with a cup of coffee, praying that I would be able to find a new job. I was a woman in her 40's and the mother of two teenagers and I still didn't know what I would be when I "grew up".
Owning and operating Frosted had spoiled me for any regular job. I asked myself, "What else do I love?" The answer was right there - writing, research, creativity and people. Could such a job exist?
My phone notified me of a message but I didn't read it. I just dashed out the door for my writing class. Sitting in the parking lot after class, I checked my phone and there it was, a message from an editor at the local community paper asking me to interview for a job as a writer...
Tell us what happened!
I wrote weekly for my community newspaper, the Abington Suburban, for over two years. That job married my love of writing, research and people. My passion for research deepened and every now and then my editor allowed me the freedom to write a history piece.
When the newspaper closed two years later, I was hired by Clarks Summit University as a freelance writer. I have been writing a variety of content and working with a variety of people. My interview skills have been put to good use and I have a wonderful editor.
How did you come to write a nonfiction book about a little town in upstate New York?
That is quite a story. How did a girl from Pennsylvania start researching and writing about a town that she had never heard of or visited before? Well, it began with a man from Ohio who also had never heard of that town.
Paul Holbrook is a glass negative collector. He has a wonderful Facebook page called 'Camera Americana' . Visit (20+) Camera Americana | Facebook. My love for history led me to follow the beautiful early 20th century photographs featured on his page. We became friends online and I began researching his pictures and blogging about them. He was finding great pictures and I had a knack for the research.
In early 2019 Paul contacted me about a large collection of glass negatives that was being sold on eBay. He eventually purchased what he could of the collection, even though all he knew at the time was that they were from one photographer in the Finger Lakes region. He wanted to share this rich history with others.
Paul sent me just a few pictures and I dove into researching them. Then, someone who saw the pictures posted on his site contacted him and identified the photographer as Floyd Ingraham. It didn't take long to track Floyd Ingraham to Springwater. The rest is history.
What have you learned about yourself through this project?
That is a really good question. Early on I wrote best when I cleared everything else away. Full immersion, I called it. I fully immersed myself in the subject matter for hours or days at a time to get the best of myself on the page. But then came the Pandemic...
With two kids home for school and all the distractions, fears and pressures of that year, I learned that even when life was overwhelming, writing was possible. I couldn't wait for the perfect scenario or the stroke of creative genius. It was brutally hard but I just did it.
I also discovered two new passions - working in historic preservation and writing this type of book. The neat thing about pictorial history books is that they aren't just books with stories and information about life at the start of the 20th century in a small town. Books like Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet also preserve the photographs and the history behind those photographs.
Think about it. We all have pictures stored in albums or boxes. Anyone older than 20 has printed pictures of their life and their family's history. What happens to those pictures? Often there is no information written about old photographs and sometimes the pictures are thrown out or sold or left behind. How much history have we lost on families and communities because we haven't worked to preserve it?
How have people in Springwater responded to you and to this project?
I've made numerous trips to Springwater. Many of its people have been very receptive. They've welcomed me and are grateful for me and my book.
At first there were probably a few skeptics; however, I think by now they can see how much I am committed to preserving this piece of their history. It is my desire to honor the legacy of Floyd Ingraham and their town.
Some of the people I've met in Springwater will be my friends for life.
Julie, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Don't be afraid. You will never regret following your passions and dreams. Be brave.
And finally, I have to ask... do you have plans to finish that historical novel you’ve been writing? Personally speaking, I need to know how it ends!
Yes, one day. YES. I put it aside to work on Floyd Ingraham's Springwater, but I intend to resume my work on my fictional projects soon. I just need a mental break for a bit. haha!
I would just add, thank you, Josette. I am so glad we met years ago. I always enjoy our conversations!
Me too, Julie! Thanks for joining me today. Congrats to you and Paul, and good luck with your book!
Julie Jeffery Manwarren is a 40-something mother of two, married to the love of her life, Phil. Raised in northeast Pennsylvania, Julie attended Clarks Summit University and began writing as a hobby. In 2018 Julie began her writing career as a journalist with a weekly column in the Abington Suburban, a community newspaper. She now works for Clarks Summit University as a freelance writer and content creator. Julie's passion for history and research have led her to become a member of several historical societies and to work to locate, research and preserve history. She also has a blog where she enjoys being a "history detective" and sharing her love of history and writing with others. Most recently, Julie is an author of the newly released book, Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet, published by Arcadia Publishing and History Press, 2021.
To buy the book: Visit JulieManwarren.com or Amazon.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JulieJefferyManwarren
Read more about Julie's research and writing projects at https://www.juliemanwarren.com/blog
On September 18, 2021 at 7 p.m. at the Little Lakes Community Center in Hemlock NY
Julie will give a talk about her book, Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet.
Cake and ice cream will be served to commemorate Floyd Ingraham's 140th birthday