authors record history
of Clark County, Ind., in new book
coffee table style book
contains more than 600 pages
(July 2008) Carl Kramer and Mary Kagin Kramer
teamed up as husband and wife to create This Place We Call Home:
A History of Clark County, Indiana, a coffee table book full of
photos and historical information about the county the Kramers call
The writing process began in 1999 with a proposal that Carl submitted
to community leaders who had also been clients of the Kramers
business. Kramer Associates Inc. serves the community with historical
research and writing.
and Mary Kagin Kramer
Carls original plan had been to release the book
in conjunction with the bicentennials of Clark County in 2001 and Jeffersonville
in 2002. However, with delays related to the publisher and a complex
researching and writing process that took more than three years, the
book was finally released in 2007.
Carl wrote all of the prose in the book, while Mary selected and edited
the 241 photographs and nearly 15 maps they included with the text.
Mary, who is also a photographer, took 35 of the photos in the book.
The couple split researching duties and helped each other with the captions
for the pictures. Mary was also able to help Carl put anecdotes, history
and locations into context for a broader readership than just natives
from Clark County, since she did not grow up there.
Im a Clark County native, so I had that personal interest,
One of the most challenging parts of undertaking this project was trying
to condense the whole history of the county in the photos that
they did choose, Mary said.
The Kramers work off of the understanding that a coffee table book cannot
weigh more than the coffee table on which it resides. Even with their
limitation, the book weighs in at just shy of six pounds, they said.
Part of Carls interest in the project stemmed from him being a
professional urban historian.
I was living and working for two years in Chicago,
becoming fascinated with cities, he said. Carl did his doctoral
dissertation on the history of Louisville, Ky.
Another reason for creating this book was a lack of many others like
it, Carl said. While there are many historical books written about large
and mid-sized cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Cincinnati
and Milwaukee, small towns have been neglected. Smaller cities are still
important in their own rights and fit into the grander scheme of our
lives and communities, Carl said.
In addition to focusing on the urban, Carl is also a social and political
The most interesting thing to me was what I learned about the
New Deal in Clark County, Carl said. Through his research, Carl
discovered that Jeffersonville created a National Recovery Administration
Army, organized by men and women to get local businesses and the community
to support the NRA. The organizers were a part of a bipartisan grassroots
movement to help improve the economy, Carl said.
Carls biggest challenge to overcome was to write a manuscript
that appealed to the average, informed citizen interested in understanding
how the community developed over time without getting into theory or
historiography, he said. It was a challenge knowing where
to strike the balance.
So far, the couple says they have received positive feedback from the
community they covered. The book has also garnered favorable responses
from local reviewers.
The Kramers book is available at several locations in Clark County,
including the Howard Steamboat Museum gift shop, the Clark County Historical
Society, the Southern Indiana Visitors Center in Jeffersonville,
Walden Booksellers in Green Tree Mall and Destinations Booksellers in
New Albany, Ind. The book is also available online through the Indiana
University Press website and other internet booksellers such as Amazon.com
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