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Museum Guild to Host Release Party for 'Best Dearborn Stories' Sequel

Stop by the book signing party between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at The Center.

Don’t look for Elmore Leonard, Mitch Albom or Joyce Carol Oates. But more than 100 “famous authors” are expected to gather Saturday for the official release of the Dearborn Historical Museum’s Best Dearborn Stories: Voices From Henry Ford’s Hometown, Volume II.           

The public is invited to the book-signing party, to be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.

The Center is located at 15801 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn.

Published as a fund-raiser by the nonprofit Museum Guild of Dearborn, the book will be available for purchase in soft cover at $19.95. All profits will go to the museum.

“The first volume of Best Dearborn Stories has made more than $10,000 for the museum since it was released last December,” said L. Glenn O’Kray, vice chair of the Dearborn Historical Commission and coordinator of both publishing projects. “The Guild considers it one of its best fund-raisers for the museum—and maybe the best ever."

“And there’s a good reason why we know that ‘famous authors’ will be on hand for Saturday’s book signing," he added. "At last year’s signing, we gave out T-shirts identifying all our writers as ‘famous authors,’ so that proves it’s the truth.”

Like the first volume, the sequel is an anthology of brief reminiscences written by Dearborn residents and former residents on such topics as growing up, going to school and working in Dearborn. Chapters also cover topics such as Henry Ford, Camp Dearborn and the Dearborn Police Department.

“This year there are more ‘famous authors,’ more pages and a lot more photos than the first volume had,” O’Kray said. “It’s filled with personal and archival photos that, needless to say, have never been published before.

“Best of all, it’s here in time for Christmas shopping.”

While the first book was written, edited and published in a narrow, 65-day window last year, the second volume was more than a year in the making.

“We began collecting stories for the sequel in October of 2011 and actively collecting them in May of this year,” O’Kray said. “I am always looking for a story. I found that people would cross the street to avoid me rather than admit they hadn’t yet written their story. People would suddenly take an intense interest in their shoelaces to avoid making eye contact. But here we are.”

O’Kray said the Museum Guild authorized a printing of 1,200 copies of Volume II.  A limited number of copies of Volume I are still in stock, and both volumes will be offered for sale Saturday, along with other items from the museum’s gift shop.

The books will both be available online at www.thedhm.com and at the museum’s McFadden-Ross House, located at 915 S. Brady, as well as other locations to be designated.

The book projects are among several initiatives under way to help keep the museum’s doors open in the years to come even though the budget adopted by the City Council this year provides no general fund subsidy for museum operating expenses. The Museum Guild, a nonprofit group of more than 20 clubs that support the museum, is planning a major fund drive to augment a museum membership campaign begun in 2011.

For information, call the Historical Museum at 313-565-3000.

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