Editor, The Messenger:
Recently, having shortly returned from a vacation, I had not had time to read the newspaper — so Wednesday morning, July 24, I was very surprised when two friends each telephoned to congratulate me on my photographic collection being upgraded and put on a film, which was to be shown at a theatre that night.
I had no idea what they were talking about. I had had no contact with anybody about putting the pictures from my book, “As Time Goes By: A Photographic Journal of Athens,” nor any other photographs I have, on film. I was then read the notice appearing in The Messenger that morning.
The film was to be an upgrade of the slideshow, “Athens Past in Athens Future,” with top-notch professionals working on the old slides and “fancying up the film.” Too bad a competent researcher was not secured to do the history of the slides. It was not my work. I know the interesting story of the slide show, however, and am embarrassed that it was attributed to me and Jo Prisley.
Anne Culbert, Jeanne Welles and another woman whose name I can’t remember, as a project for members of the 4-H club, of which they were leaders, developed that collection of photographs and had them made into the show — one or two cassettes of slides, with a well-researched and written script by Anne to be read along with the slides. My only connection was frequently sitting at the table with the friends and some of the club members as the many, many photographs were sorted through, selected and matched.
During the next several years the slide show was shown throughout the county, to schools, churches, clubs and any organization wanting a program. Sometime along the way, the machine the coordinated the slides and script was received. But, eventually, the club members graduated from high school and went on their way, and Anne and Jeanne became involved in other projects. The show had been seen enough, and it was put on the shelf.
Some years later, some members of the Board of the Athens County Historical Society & Museum decided to retrieve the slide show, have it put on tape and use for programs. The person chosen to do the upgrading and transferring to tape, had her own idea of history and scripting. When tape was finally done, Board members insisted on viewing whole tape before letting it go public, and that was when Jo Prisley and I became involved. We watched with Board members and we were horrified. It was terrible: garbled history, mixed-up slides, unsuitable selection of music. Board members refused to let it go out under the Board’s name and that ended that.
I want to say again, I did not do the slide show and am embarrassed that I was given credit for someone else’s work.
Editor’s Note: The Messenger reached out to the Southeast Ohio History Center regarding Stone’s comments. Tom O’Grady, the director of development and outreach as well as the director emeritus, provided this statement, which we’re printing in full:
”The old slide show, Athens Past in Athens Present, containing many images of Athens County at earlier times contrasted with later images, was reproduced about 30 years later with the incorporation of a narration, photographic cleaning, musical accompaniment, and digital production by local volunteers. The project was undertaken by an earlier administration at the historical society. Due to a transition in the administration the project was left unfinished several years ago.
In subsequent years the Board of the Historical Society was confronted with the issue of funding the production of numerous copies of the presentation for sale in the Museum store. For a number of reasons, the board declined to make that investment.
The History Center was approached earlier this year about sponsoring an evening showing of the digital presentation at the local theater, which we agreed to do.
I prepared a news release for this event with a misunderstanding that Mrs. Stone was involved with the earlier development of the slide show images. She contacted me to let me know that she was not connected to that production. That was my error. I take full responsibility for that. Joanne Prisley, an earlier Director at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, consulted on the reproduction for digitization.
The History Center does not take lightly its responsibility to present accurate information. We are in a period of time when a great deal of American history is being rewritten to get the facts straight. Our history is far different from what many generations of Americans were taught. I acknowledge the error.
I apologize to Mrs. Stone for miss-crediting her for involvement with the Athens Past in Athens Present presentation at the Athena Cinema.
The presentation was well-received by the audience in attendance.”