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Preserving History

Local author recognized for definitive Annapolis book

Jane McWilliams has won the Maryland Historical Trust’s 2012 Maryland Preservation Award for Excellence in Media and Publications for her 478-page book Annapolis, City on the Severn: A History.
    “It is the first comprehensive history of Annapolis from settlement in the mid-17th century to modern-day maturity and the only one to fully reference the sources used,” according to the Trust.
    McWilliams knows her subject by experience as well as research. The lifelong Annapolitan writes with the intimacy and immediacy of a neighbor talking about neighbors.
    To complement Bay Weekly’s Annual Groundhog Movie Guide, sample her description of how movies helped move the already history city into the mainstream of American life: “Local residents not only saw movies in theaters, they could watch them in production,” she writes, naming silent films The Hero of Submarine D-2 (1916) and The Midshipman (1925) and “two of the first sound motion pictures,” Annapolis (1928) and Salute (1929), directed by John Ford.
    McWilliams’ award for Excellence in Media and Publications is one of 14 this year earning “the highest level of recognition for historic preservation and heritage education projects in Maryland.”
    “It is a great honor,” says McWilliams of her biggest independent project in a lifetime of archival research. “Taking on centuries of history, trying to interpret a town I’m very close to is a tremendous responsibility. Like the biography of a person, you have to do right by it.”
    Two other awards honor the work of Anne Arundel countians:
    The Clagett Family for Outstanding Stewardship of Tulip Hill near Galesville, a History Trust Easement Property.
    Carol Benson, Pat Barland, Donna Ware and Donna Hole of Four Rivers Heritage Area for Outstanding Organizational Leadership at the Local Level.