Our Past and Current Projects
Lot’s Wife Publishing researches, writes, designs, and publishes scholarly yet readable histories for any organization, business, civic group, or association in need of a history.
Conformable to the Doctrine and Discipline: The history of Trinity Church, Augusta Parish, Staunton, Virginia, 1746-1996, by Nancy Sorrells, Katharine Brown, and Susanne Simmons, 1996. hardback, gold stamped linen cover, illustrated, and indexed. 332 pp.
This fully researched history of Trinity Church covers the years of early settlement in the Upper Shenandoah Valley when the Anglican Church was the established church of the Virginia colony to the end of the twentieth century. Includes biographical sketches of all the parish rectors, assistant rectors, and supply ministers. Includes a 37-page essay by art historian Sara Nair James on the historic stained glass windows of Trinity.
Christ Church, Lancaster County, Virginia. By Katharine L. Brown and Nancy T. Sorrells. Published for the Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2001, softcover, annotated, illustrated, with two appendixes, 64 pp.
This little volume is a guidebook to and history of an early-eighteenth-century church building that has long been recognized as one of colonial America’s outstanding architectural masterpieces. The story of the efforts to preserve this important structure is told in the book as well.
People in Profile: Christ Church Parish, 1720-1750, by Katharine L. Brown and Nancy T. Sorrells, Published for the Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2002, softcover, illustrated, and indexed. 176 pp.
Years of work by researchers at the Historic Christ Church Foundation uncovered an extensive body of material about the colonial parish of Christ Church, located in Lancaster County, Virginia, on the Northern Neck. The authors used that documentary material to create cameos or biographical sketches about 13 individuals and two families who lived in the parish during the first half of the eighteenth century. A broad spectrum of society is represented, including those from the upper class, tradesmen, an African-American, an overseer, a mariner, middling farmers, and a woman who found herself in trouble with the law after bearing an illegitimate child. The reader will be able to picture better everyday life in colonial Virginia after reading this volume.
Robert "King" Carter: Builder of Christ Church by Katharine L. Brown, Published for the Foundation for Historic Christ Church 2001, softcover, illustrated, indexed, and annotated. 107 pp.
This volume, one of a series of four produced for the Foundation for Historic Church under a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, is the only biography in print about one of colonial Virginia’s most important planters. The legendary “King” Carter, who owned some 300,000 acres and nearly 1,000 slaves at his death in 1732, was a Burgess, Councilor, and Acting Governor of Virginia. He built a church for his parish that is recognized as one of the finest Georgian buildings in America. The volume includes appendixes about the Carter tombstone inscriptions at Christ Church, his children and grandchildren, famous descendants, and Carter houses.
Landholders and Landholdings: Christ Church Parish by Nancy T. Sorrells with Historic Christ Church Staff and Research Volunteers, Published for the Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2004, softcover, indexed, 56 pp. with 22” x 26” four-color fold-out map inside back cover.
This volume in the series of four describes each individual landholding in each of the colonial church’s processioning precincts of the parish in 1750, with reference to owners from 1720 to 1750 as well. The map, by cartographer Jim Gearhart, locates the colonial holdings on a contemporary map.
The History of Old Providence Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church: Through Three Centuries of Faith, 1742-2001 by Nancy T. Sorrells, Katharine L. Brown, and J. Susanne Simmons, 2001. hardcover, illustrated, and annotated, 100+ pages of appendices, and fully indexed. 417 pp.
Directly descended from one of Augusta County’s oldest Presbyterian meeting houses, Old Providence retains a well-organized archives, although early session books are missing. The church actively preserves a rare eighteenth-century stone meeting house and two cemeteries, one the final resting place of Revolutionary war veterans and the other containing the graves of several Confederate soldiers. The Old Providence congregation witnessed American’s defining moments of Revolution, Civil War, Great Awakening, Depression, and World War. That the Old Providence is the home church to Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical reaper, and of Samuel Carson, one of “the Immortal 600” is of particular interest and historical significance.
The History of Second Presbyterian Church, by Katharine L. Brown, 2002. hardcover, illustrated, and annotated, with name-subject index. 246 pp.
Written to commemorate the 125th anniversary of this congregation, this book examines the rich history of one of Staunton’s few remaining “downtown” congregations. Of particular interest is the fact that Jed Hotchkiss, mapmaker to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson during the War between the States, was the founding father of this church.
The History of Christ Church, Frederick Parish, Winchester, 1745-2000: “Building a Faithful Future” by Katharine L. Brown, Nancy T. Sorrells, and J. Susanne Simmons, 2001, hardback, gold-stamped linen cover, and indexed. 343 pp.
This carefully researched history of an important Episcopal Church from its origins to the present details its early significance as a frontier parish of the established church in colonial Virginia, at which time it was associated with both Lord Fairfax, Proprietor of the vast Northern Neck, and George Washington. Its evangelical rector, William Meade, future Bishop of Virginia, influenced the parish to be a center for the revival of the church in post-Revolutionary Virginia. It was also an important center in the Civil War and has been a leading parish in the twentieth century, when another rector, John Baden, became bishop. An appendix contains a biographical sketch of each rector and assistant rector.
This Heritage: The Story of Lutheran Beginnings in the Lower Shenandoah Valley and of Grace Church, Winchester, by William Edward Eisenberg, 1954. Expanded edition edited by Dorothy A. Boyd-Rush, 2003. hardcover, gold stamped, illustrated, and indexed. 630 pp.
Originally written to mark the 200th anniversary of the Lutheran experience in the Shenandoah Valley and the origins of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winchester, Virginia, the expanded edition incorporates newly discovered information, corrections, additional illustrations, a new index, and the recent history of the church and her thriving congregation. Drawing upon the splendid archival material housed within the church, the contributions of the early Lutheran ministers come alive. Beginning with the Muhlenbergs, Christian Streit, and John Casper Stoever, Senior and Junior, and extending to the present day, 1753-2003, this 630 page expanded edition makes Eisenberg’s classic work, which was long out of print, again available for a new generation.
Books Bring Adventure: The History of the Staunton Public Library by Katharine L. Brown, 2000, softcover, illustrated, and indexed. 90pp.
A carefully researched and annotated history of a major local institution from its beginnings as the YMCA library in 1875 to the start of the twenty-first century was prepared for the Friends of the Library's 125th anniversary celebration. This book received the Library History Award of the Virginia Center for the Book of the Library of Virginia in 2001.
Celebrating Eighty Years of Rotary, by Katharine L. Brown, 2000, saddle-stitched, illustrated, and indexed. 64 pp.
The history of the first and largest of Staunton’s civic clubs was researched and written for the 80th anniversary of the organization in the year 2000 and illustrated with photos from the club archives. The book was distributed to club members at the anniversary banquet and is not available for sale. It is an example of the kind of brief work that could be done by Lot’s Wife for any similar organization.
The History of First Presbyterian Church, Staunton, Virginia, 1804-2004, by Dorothy A. Boyd-Rush and Katharine L. Brown, 2004, softcover, illustrated, and indexed. 248 pp.
While Staunton’s First Presbyterian Church is widely known because its manse was the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson, whose father was pastor of the congregation from 1855 to 1857, it deserves to be known for a great deal more. Its rich history goes back to the founding of Staunton in the 1740s. Intimately linked with the founding of the Augusta Female Seminary (today’s Mary Baldwin College), the nurturing of other Presbyterian churches, and the scholarship and service of her pastors, the history of First Church is, indeed, the history of Presbyterianism in Virginia and beyond. Fully illustrated and indexed, with appendices that include lists of all elders, deacons, and ministers, this handsome edition is a welcome addition to the growing list of Lot’s Wife’s publications.
Two Hundred Years of Serving Our Lord: Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1802-2002 by Nancy T. Sorrells, 2003. Anniversary edition: softcover, gold foil stamped, illustrated, and indexed. 144 pp.
Salem began as a Lutheran-German Reformed union church in northern Augusta County. The church's earliest records and cemetery inscriptions are in German. Of great historical significance is the fact that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's mother, Ida Elizabeth Stover, was a member of this church until she moved to Kansas as a young adult.
The History of the Alleghany Foundation: From Hospitals to Foundation by Nancy T. Sorrells, 2002. paperback, illustrated, and indexed. 108 pp.
In the 1890s, at Clifton Forge in Alleghany County, a hospital was formed to serve all the employees of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad from Ohio to eastern Virginia. Three decades later a community hospital was formed in Covington to serve that community. After the tragic death of the doctor who founded the Covington hospital, the community took over the facility's operations. In the 1970s, those two older hospitals were closed and merged into a state-of-the-art regional facility built at Low Moor, which was the site of an
old ironworks. In the 1990s the regional hospital was sold and the profit from
that sale was rolled into a foundation that continues to serve the
Allegheny Highlands community.
Virginia's Cattle Story: The First Four Centuries by Katharine L. Brown and Nancy T. Sorrells, 2004, hardcover, illustrated, fully indexed, large 10” x 12” format, four-color printing throughout, 368 pp.
This full-color history details the 400 years of bovine history in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sponsored by the Virginia Cattlemen's Foundation and the Virginia Dairymen's Association, this attractive book pulls together a variety of resources from documented archaeology for the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to extensive oral histories for information about the twentieth-century cattle industry. Two types of sidebars – one detailing specific stories and the other examining various resources used for the book – are scattered throughout the volume. The importance of cattle during Virginia's eighteenth-century wars and during the Civil War, the influence of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson on the cattle industry, the rise of great cattle drives, the fat cattle export business, the specialization of the dairy and beef industries, and modern scientific innovations such as artificial insemination are among the many topics discussed at length.
Lot’s Wife Publishing writes and edits the text of unfinished manuscripts, handles layout and design, indexing, publication, and printing in order to bring forth a memoir or history any family or organization can give or sell with pride.
Port Republic: The History of a Shenandoah Valley River Town by George Elliott May, edited by J. Susanne Simmons, 2002, softcover, illustrated, annotated, and fully indexed. 311 pp.
This volume fulfilled the dream of the Society of Port Republic Preservationists to publish the town history penned in the early twentieth century by one its leading citizens, George Elliott May. May left behind three manuscripts, sketchy footnotes, and a skeletal bibliography. Although an amateur historian, May meticulously collected and recorded stories about the businesses and personalities of the Shenandoah Valley’s most important antebellum transportation and commercial center. Given May’s birth in 1869, he grew up knowing many Confederate veterans and witnesses to the Battle of Port Republic. Of particular interest in this book is a rare account of the Battle of Port Republic, fought during Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign, the campaign that claimed the life of General Turner Ashby.
Later Maybe: A Taste of the Tropics by Beryl Gutnick, 2000, softcover, illustrated by the author. 222 pp.
At age 68, Gutnick accepted a one-year Peace Corps position in the Philippines. Her letters home chronicled her observations of people and places, her culture shock, her activities, and her new friendships. Lot's Wife helped her edit those letters and
prepared the text for publication by handling the layout, design, and printing.
And then there was more: Reminiscences, by Edith H. Paxton, edited by Katharine L. Brown and Nancy T. Sorrells, 1998. softcover, illustrated, and indexed. 125 pp.
Edith Paxton, born in Lexington, Virginia, and raised in southern Augusta County, was educated in the Augusta school system and attended Madison State Teachers College (now James Madison University). In 1951 she was appointed Clerk of the Court, then was re-elected in a contested race, making her the first woman to hold an elective office in Staunton. She served as clerk until the last day of 1978. This well-illustrated volume comprises Mrs. Paxton's reminiscences of her youth and her years as a public servant.
Jahresringe: A Journey of My Life By Herbert Winckelmann, edited by Nancy T. Sorrells and Katharine L. Brown, Lot’s Wife Publishing, 2001. softcover, 97 photographs, maps and documents as illustrations. 200 pp.
Born in the Berlin of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Winckelmann’s memories include his father’s departure to fight in World War I and the difficult postwar years. As the Nazis extended their power, Winckelmann realized that as the grandson of a Jew, his own status was perilous. Drafted into the German army in 1941, he married, and met his infant daughter on furlough in 1944. He was captured by the Russians in 1945 and spent three years in Soviet POW camps before being reunited with his family. The second half of the book tells the story of immigration to America to join his brother, a Lutheran minister in Texas, the difficulties of establishing a new life, and the loss of his possessions that survived the 1945 fire bombing of Dresden in Hurricane Camille. It is a tale of a courageous and interesting life. Out of print. This is an example of the kind of memoir that Lot’s Wife is interested in publishing because of its historical context.
Rising Expectations: The Times and Life of the Blacksburg Sports Club by James R. Nichols, hardcover with four-color dust jacket, 468 pp., indexed, illustrated, 2004.
Dr. Nichols, now retired as dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech, is a former president and longtime member of the Blacksburg Sports Club. This tells the story of the group’s support of the athletic programs at Virginia Tech and at Blacksburg High School, their close relationship with the coaches and athletic directors from both institutions, and their program of recognition of outstanding student athletes.
Lot’s Wife Publishing handles the editing, layout, design, and/or printing for community, vocational, and civic organizations or the prolific individual author.
Shenandoah Valley Theatre, 1990-2002: Ninety Play Reviews by Carl Larsen, 2003, softcover, indexed, and illustrated. 198 pp. Published for the Staunton Performing Arts Center
Carl Larsen covered literary, artistic, culinary, and cinema for the Daily News Leader for 18 years, and delighted readers with his humor and insight. This volume brings together a body of his most entertaining reviews. Plays reviewed were produced
by groups such as Oak Grove Players in Verona,
in Staunton, James Madison University Theatre in Harrisonburg, Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, Waynesboro Players, and Blue Ridge Theatre Festival.
History of the Blue Ridge Committee of The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1924-1970, by Olivia Taylor, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1971, reprinted 2000; and History of the Blue Ridge Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in The Commonwealth of Virginia, 1970-2000 by Betsy Tremain (Charlottesville, 2000). softcover. 69 pp.
This book is a reprint of an earlier history of this organization. It presents the history of the Virginia Colonial Dames for the past three decades in a single volume. Members of the organization prepared the text; Lot’s Wife Publishing handled the layout, design, and printing.
Staunton, Virginia: A Treasury of Historic Tales by Charles Culbertson, 2004, hardcover with dustjacket, indexed, illustrated, selected bibliography. 230 pp.
This is a true pirate’s hoard of pieces of gold from Staunton’s past. Everyone from the Civil War buff to the Statler Brothers fan will enjoy unique local characters and dramatic events from Staunton’s colorful past carefully researched and written by one of the area’s most popular journalists. Thirty-five individual tales of events or persons who added color to local history,
One Who Served: Elder John Nesselrodt of Shenandoah County, Virginia by Terry L. Barkley. 3rd edition, 2004, softcover, illustrated, and fully indexed. 101 pp.
This book tells the story of Elder Charles Nesselrodt, one of the last “free” and one of the first “set apart” ministers among the Brethren. A farmer and laborer, he served both the Stony Creek and Flat Rock Church, the oldest Brethren congregation in Virginia. Barkley’s engaging style conveys a colorful Valley history, rich in genealogy. The reader quickly becomes absorbed in the lives of the people who lived among the isolated valleys and hills in the Shenandoah Valley in the late nineteenth century.
Mills of Augusta County. Compiled by Janet and Earl Downs with assistance from Nancy T. Sorrells. Published for the Augusta County Historical Society 2004. Illustrated, indexed, and hardcover. 368 pp.
Building on the success of their four volumes of memorabilia and documents on the mills of Rockingham County, Virginia, Janet and Earl Downs have compiled a similar volume for Augusta County. Hundreds of historic photographs of mills long vanished serve as important reminders of the significance of wheat in Valley agriculture and of milling in the regional economy from colonial times through World War II.
Portals to Shenandoah Valley Folkways, edited by Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg. Published for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society and the Augusta County Historical Society, 2005. publication pending.
This collection of four essays was intended for a conference at Blue Ridge Community College that did not take place. The papers were of such interest that the two historical societies joined together to make it possible for the information to reach the public. John Heatwole writes of folk beliefs; Nancy T. Sorrells about cattle drives; Scott Suter about crafts and craftsmen in the Valley, and Danielle Toriskey about foodways.
Thrilling Trilies and Captivating Cattails: Ethnobotanical Essays of Mid-Appalachia by Dr. Elwood Fisher, (with an introductory essay by Nancy T. Sorrells, and illustrations by Anita Cooper), publication pending.
This paperback volume includes a series of ethno-botanical essays by retired James Madison University professor Elwood Fisher. The book is sponsored by the Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) and James Madison University. Fisher published most of the articles previously either in a local newspaper or in VNPS publications. Fisher learned much of the folklore about plants from his grandmother in West Virginia. That, coupled with a Ph.D. in biology, gives him a unique perspective on the properties of plants in the Mid-Appalachian region. Sorrells, the editor of the VNPS statewide newsletter, conducted an oral history with Fisher before writing the essay.
And sometimes Lot’s Wife Publishing just does something for fun and personal fulfillment. Bon Apetit!
Family, Friends, and Food: Recipes for Memories by Katharine L. Brown, 2003, softcover, illustrated, and indexed. 150 pp.
This volume, prepared by Brown as a way to preserve and pass down five generations of family recipes to her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, and as a tribute to friends who shared their family favorites, will also appeal to a wider readership who enjoy preparing and eating good food from an old Virginia family.