Produced by Pacific Northwest writer, photographer and composer, Jerry Mader, Carnation Verbatim—A Snoqualmie Valley Memoir is a fine art coffee table book documenting oral histories of elder citizens native to the Snoqualmie Valley and the community of Tolt/Carnation, Washington with photographic portraits of the elders by Jerry Mader.
This elegant publication is an over-sized, 9” X 12”, 168 page, case bound book with full page reproductions of the original gelatin-silver portraits. In addition to the original photographs by Mader, there are vintage photographs of the community of Tolt/Carnation and generational, family album pictures from each of the elders presented. Published by Tolt River Press, Nov. 15, 2008, $65.00.
Mader began the project in 2005 and since then has photographed 28 elders, octogenarian and nonagenarian, and recorded 27 life histories. In 2006, Mader received a grant from King County 4Culture Heritage Special Projects. The grant provided funds to transcribe 75 hours of audio recordings and to mount a traveling exhibit of the photographs. Two subsequent grants from 4Culture Heritage and 4Culture Arts have made this publication possible.
The oral histories in this collection were edited from over 1000 pages of transcript. The process aimed at providing the most succinct portrait of each individual as well as the most relevant historical data about the period. In addition to editing the transcripts, Mader wrote a brief history of Tolt/Carnation (including the tale of its double name) and an epilogue containing commentary on the process of oral history and its relevance within the scope of regional history.
The elders presented in this volume came of age in the small rural community of Tolt/Carnation where they remained, married and raised their families. Their parents and grandparents were among the first settlers in the valley who ultimately founded the township of Tolt in 1912. Now, as octogenarians and nonagenarians, they offer a unique perspective on Pacific Northwest rural life during the first half of the 20th Century. Their stories record the minute particulars of daily life in a small community supported by dairy farms, subsistence agriculture, the timber industry and the railroads. The combined record of their collective narrative presents a world few can now recall; a world with deep roots in the 19th Century and a world anticipating the transformations of the 20th. Most of these elders were born into a world lit only by fire, powered by human and animal muscle and the moral persistence of immigrant parents.
Tolt River Press was founded by Jerry Mader in 2007 and he is the current editor, designer and publisher in one. As his latest artistic venture, Mader hopes the press will continue designing fine art photography books as well as publishing regional fiction, nonfiction, poetry and oral history. Carnation Verbatim, was his first offering. It is a unique blend of photography and narrative that he has long wanted to present. “The book is, in the end, the culmination of three years of intense work and an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life,” he said.
The portraits are permanently installed at Pete’s Grill & Pub in Carnation, Washington. The entire collection, photographs and oral histories, is archived in the Tolt Historical Society Museum collection, Carnation, Washington.
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