Huntsville History Book Suggestions

The Huntsville History Book Suggestions is a list of books and other materials about Huntsville. If you click on the book title or image, you can view scanned images of the cover, title page and table of contents.

Those materials that are still in print are available from a variety of sources, including Shaver's Books and Harrison Brothers Hardware.

The Way It Was

From boot-legging to ghosts and everything in between, this collection of stories shows the other side of Huntsville and its development in unexpected ways. Utilizing illustrations and advertisements, anecdotes and stories, Tom Carney has created a virtual time machine that doesn't always land where you would expect it.
Author:Tom Carney
Publisher:    Old Huntsville, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama 35801

The Baby Boomers Guide To Growing Up in "The Rocket City"

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A compilation of the memories in the early Fifties and Sixties of Tommy and his classmates from Lee High School. Major items include memories of downtown Huntsville and the activities around the courthouse square on Saturday mornings, movies, transportation, dances, and garage bands.
"Tommy Towery is a faithful writer, famous rememberer, and gifted compiler of stories. He binds us together as he writes of the people, places, and things that comprise our early history in Huntsville. He takes us on memory trips where we can relax and enjoy the ride because he is such a great driver. Tommy is our friend, classmate, and chronicler. No other group lived the lives we shared and no one has collected or tells the stories from that era better than Tommy does." – Jim McBride, Huntsville’s own Alabama Music Hall of Fame Song Writer.
Author:Tommy Towery
Publisher:    Tommy Towery, 5709 Pecan Trace, Memphis, TN 38135

Hidden History of North Alabama

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What secrets lie hidden within North Alabama’s murky past?
The tranquil waters of the Tennessee River hide a horrible tragedy that took place one steamy July day when coworkers took an excursion aboard the SCltanic. Lawrence County resident Jenny Brooks used the skull of one of her victims to wash her hands, but her forty-year quest for revenge cost more than she bargained for. Granville Garth jumped to his watery grave with a pocketful of secrets did anyone collect the $10,000 reward for the return of the papers he took with him? Historian Jacquelyn Procter Reeves transports readers deep into the shadows of the past to learn about the secret of George Steele’s will, the truth behind the night the “Stars Fell on Alabama” and the story of the Lawrence County boys who died in the Goliad Massacre. Learn these secrets and many more in Hidden History of North Alabama.
Author:Jacquelyn Proctor Reeves
Publisher:    The History Press

Glimpses Into Antebellum Homes of Historic Huntsville, Alabama, Ninth Edition

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This is one of several similiar editions which descibe existing Huntsville structures built prior to 1860. "The architectural features, furnishing, and resident are present to the best of the organization's knowledge from information received from current owners and various other sources."
Author:American Association of University Women, Huntsville Branch
Publisher:    American Association of University Women, Huntsville Branch

Historic Huntsville from Early History of Huntsville, Alabama, 1804 to 1870

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This is a well-documented history of early Huntsville that was written while the author was living at 124 Walker Avenue in Old Town.
Author:Edward Chambers Betts
Publisher:    Southern University Press
Copyright:1909; Reprinted 1966

Changing Huntsville, 1890-1899

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This history of Huntsville in the late Eighteen Century was written as the author's thesis for her Master of Arts in History at Columbia University.
Author:Elizabeth Humes Chapman
Publisher:    Republished by the Historic Foundation, Inc.

Rocket City Rock & Soul: Huntsville Musicians Remember the 1960s

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"Set against the bitter backdrop of segregation, Huntsville musicians-black and white-found common ground in rock and soul music. Whether playing to desegregated audiences, in desegregated bands, or both, Huntsville muicians were boldly moving forward, ushering in a new era. Through interviews and these musicians, local author Jane DeNeefe recounts this unique and important chapter in Huntsville's history."
Author:Jane Deneefe
Publisher:    The History Press, Charleston, SC

Huntsville: A Pictorial History

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The story of Huntsville is covered "in over 300 carefully selected and captioned pohotgraphs, maps and illustration, accompanied by a lively and informative text."
Author:Dave and Sharon Dooling
Publisher:    The Donning Company

The Adventures of Riverboat John

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"Raised on the blue-collar banks of the Tennessee River in Huntsville, Alabama, Ferguson's homesphun memories are sure to resonate with anyone who remembers life in the 1950s."
Author:"Riverboat John" Ferguson
Publisher:    History Press

Built Upon the Fragments, In 1880's Huntsville, Alabama

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The story of how John Gideon Baker of Owego, New York, comes to Huntsville "to reopen the Baker Marble Yard, which his uncle, Albert Baker, had established back in 1851. The business had flourished until war raging in the area brought its collapse. After that, danger and near starvation forces the Baker family's return to New York state, yet memories of their pleasant years in Huntsville continue to call them back."
Author:Sarah Huff Fisk
Publisher:    Pinhook Publishing Company

Civilization Comes to the Big Spring

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"Visit the little town in the untamed southern wilderness where John Hunt built the first cabin near Big Spring in 1805. Meet the streams of settlers, builders, and merchants, who came to try their fortunes in the rich area. Learn how these capable pioneers built the early town from materials at hand: trees felled in the forest, wooden pegs for nails, clay baked into bricks, and the products of the blacksmith's forge."
Author:Sarah Huff Fisk
Publisher:    Pinhook Publishing Company

Found Among the Fragments, A Story of Love and Courage

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"Found Among the Fragments, in its authentic setting and framework of actual events, faithfully mirrors the excitement and hardships of life in a Southern town during the Civil War. The characters are a delight to meet in their day-to-day activities; and the book's pages are inhabited by numbers of enchanting and lively children,who help to soothe away much of the heartache."
Author:Sarah Huff Fisk
Publisher:    Pinhook Publishing Company

Lost Writings of Howard Weeden as "Flake White"

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"Howard Weeden, from her home in Huntsville, Alabama, achieved international notoriety for her paintings as well as national attention for her newspaper writings published under the pseudonym “Flake White.”
Collected here for the first time are over 40 writings that Weeden contributed to the Presbyterian Christian Observer and other papers between the years 1866 and 1896."
Author:Compiled and Edited by Sarah Huff Fisk and Linda Wright Riley
Publisher:    Big Spring Press, Inc.

Beside the Troubled Waters: A Black Doctor Remembers Life, Medicine, and Civil Rights in an Alabama Town

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This interesting autobiography tells the story of how Sonnie Hereford, III, rose from poverty to become a respected black physician who played a key role in Huntsville's struggle for civil rights. His son, Sonnie Hereford, IV, was the first black student to integrate an elementary school in the state of Alabama.
Author:Sonnie Wellington Hereford III and Jack D. Ellis
Publisher:    The University of Alabama Press

Historical Markers of Madison Country, Alabama

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Documents 79 history markers of Madison County. It includes photos and text of the markers along with other photographs related to the markers.
Author:Frank Alex Lluttrell, III, Editor
Publisher:    Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society

The Huntsville Historical Review, A History of Early Settlement: Madison County Before Statehood, 1808-1819

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This special issue of the Huntsville Historical Review was published to celebrate Madison County's bicentennial and contains 150 pages of articles covering the history of Madison County communities.
Author:Jacquelyn Proctor Reeves, Editor
Publisher:    Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society

Huntsville in Vintage Postcards

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"Celebrated within these pages are the landmarks of Huntsville, captured in the early part of the 20th century on vintage postcards. Old-timers and new residents alike will delight in this unique and engaging tribute to their hometown, lovingly crafted by loacl resident and postcard collector Alan C. Wright."
Author:Alan C. Wright
Publisher:    Arcadia Publishing

Maple Hill Cemetery, Phase One

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"Contains a brief history of the land tranactions which started and later expanded the boundaries of Maple Hill Cemetery, one of the oldest public cemeteries in Alabama. It also includes the location and descriptions of the markers and monuments in the fiftenn oldest sections in the cemetery."
Author:Diane Robey, Dorothy Scott Johnson, John Rison Jones, Jr. and Frances C. Roberts
Publisher:    Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society

The Farm in Jones Valley

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"A brief history of the Jones Farm from the time it was acquired by Carl and Edwin Jones in 1939 until the present time. It addresses the variuous agricultural endeavors the farm has pursued during these years and it describes the growth of the City of Huntsville, Alabama. The book is also an autobiography of the authors's life as it has intertwined through the years with the growth and changes of this farm which is the largest operating completely urban farm in America."
Author:Raymond B. Jones

Long Ago in Madison County

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"This story is based on the family of Levi Hinds, who settled near Berry Mountain about two miles north of Maysville. When the Federal Government put Madison County lands on sale on August 7, 1809, Hinds made the first purchase.

Allie Norris Kenney draws on her years of experience as a teacher of first grade to tell an appealing and adventurous story in words readable by a young child. She describes the life of early settlers, how they made soap and candles, and helped each other.
The drawings by Sarah Huff Fisk enhance the book’s appeal by continuing the adventurous tone and adding details that picture for a child many facets of life in pioneer days.
The first edition of Long Ago in Madison County was published by the Madison County School System as a social studies textbook for use in primary grades.

This book will help children compare the life of long ago with their own life today."
Author:Allie Norris Kenney with illustrations by Sarah Huff Fisk
Publisher:    Pinhook Publishing Company
Copyright:1964, 1970

Why Is It Named That?

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Contains "fun-to-read stories behind 250 of the names of towns, mountains, rivers, county roads, city streets, parks, buildings, schools, museums, and more, of Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County."
Author:Dex Nilsson
Publisher:    Twinbrook Communications, Huntsville, AL
Copyright:2003, 2005

Eden of the South: A Chronology of Huntsville Alabama, 1805-2005

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Two hundred years of Huntsville history, "are remembered by the people of the time. Over 700 photographs capture moments and commit them to immortality. Tragedies and triumphs, thought to be long forgotten, are recorded in one fascinating book."
Author:Raneé Pruitt, Editor
Publisher:    Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, Huntsville, AL

Sesquicentennial History of Church of the Nativity, Episcopal, 1843-1993, Huntsville, Alabama

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Chronicles the first 150 years of the Church of the Nativity. "It conveys the stories of many of the people of this church and their relatoinships to God and their neighbors."
Author:Frances C. Roberts
Publisher:    Church of the Nativity, Episcopal

Shadows on the Wall: The Life and Works of Howard Weeden

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'Acclaimed by Joe Chandler Harris, creator of "Uncle Remus," as the "bright light" of late nineteenth century Southern authors, Maria Howard Weeden’s works provide a rare view into post-Civil War life in Huntsville, Alabama.

A native of Huntsville, Miss Weeden was born in 1846, the youngest child of Dr. William Donalson Weeden and Jane Eliza Brooks Urquhart. Afforded the luxury of plantation life, Miss Weeden would receive a fine education and show an early interest in art. Her artistic ability would play a critical role in the family's well being when the Civil War left them in financial ruin.

Maria Howard Weeden started out as an illustrator of other writers' work but gradually began to illustrate her own poems. Before her death in 1905, she would publish four volumes of poetry and illustrations: Shadows on the Wall (1898), Bandanna Ballads (1899), Songs o f the Old South (1901), and Old Voices (1904). The present volume reproduces the poetry from Miss Weeden’s first three collections. It also includes some of the illustrations and paintings created by this unique artist and poet who signed her works "Howard Weeden."'
Author:Frances C. Roberts and Sarah Huff Fisk
Publisher:    Burritt Museum
Copyright:1962, 1996

An Alabama School Girl in Paris: The Letters of Mary Fenwick Lewis and Her Family

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Mary Fenwick Lewis was 17 years old, in 1842, when she traveled from Huntsville to Paris to complete her education. At the urging of her mother, she wrote a series on long letters from France which provide interesting insights about both France and Huntsville during the eighteenth century. This compilation by Nancy Rohr is complemented with family and historical photographs, essays and geneological charts.
Author:Nancy M. Rohr
Publisher:    Silver Threads Publishing, Huntsville, AL

Echoes of the Past: Old Mahogany Table Stories

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Originally written for The Huntsville Weekly Democrat in 1909-1910 by Virginia Clementine Clay, this collection of stories is a great source of information about early nineteenth residents of Huntsville and Madison County.
Author:Nancy M. Rohr
Publisher:    Silver Threads Publishing, Huntsville, AL

Images of Aviation: Huntsville Air and Space

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Full of photographs and captions which chronicle the role of Huntsville in aviation, from Will Quick's early flying machine to the Saturn V rocket which propelled humankind to the moon.
Author:T. Gary Wicks
Publisher:    Arcadia Publishing

Incidents of the War: The Civil War Journal of Mary Jane Chadick

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Chadick's diary contains "witty observations of life under military occupation and the social and cultural tensions of southern women living in a wartime world." Nancy Rohr's extensive annotations in this edition of the diary elaborate on the context in which the diary was written.
Author:Nancy M. Rohr
Publisher:    Silver Threads Publishing, Huntsville, AL

Cease Not to Think of Me: The Steele Family Letters

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A series of letters which chronicle the livee and times of the Steele and Fearn families of Huntsville and the Tracy family of Macon from 1835 to 1838.
Author:Patricia H. Ryan, Editor
Publisher:    Huntsville Planning Department

History of the First Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, Alabama, Sesquicentennial Observance, 1818-1968

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This brief book describes the ministers that served in the good times and hard times of the first 150 years of the First Presbyterian Church.
Author:Charlotte Forgey Shenk and Donald Hugh Shenk
Publisher:    Paragon Press

The Sins of Madison County

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Provides in depth information on a number of Madison County lynchings from 1878 until 1904.
Author:Fred B. Simpson with Mary N. Daniel and Gay C. Campbell.
Publisher:    Triangle Publishing Company

A Walk Through Downtown Huntsville, Then and Now

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"A pictorial history utilizing photographs from long ago and recreated, down to the exact weather events and locations, with a look at the same location today."
Author:Fred B. Simpson

Photographic Memories: A scrapbook of Huntsville & Madison County, Alabama

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Contains photographs with captions depicting Huntsville from the early years to the early 1990s.
Author:Elise Hopkins Stephens
Publisher:    Historic Huntsville Foundation

Twickenham Tables

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Drawings and descriptions of Twickenham houses are scattered throughout a collection of recipes from Association members.
Author:The Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association, Inc.
Publisher:    The Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association, Inc.