The Donald W. Reynolds Community Center and Library began hosting a book signing for “Images of America: Durant” yesterday.
Author Donovin Arleigh Sprague began signing books at 5 p.m. Thursday and will be back at the library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
The Images of America book series is comprised of books from different local authors and historian around the nation.
Each book holds approximately 200 images from the area it focuses on. This is Sprague’s seventh book in the series.
The Durant book contains photos that touch on subjects such as Indian territory, Oklahoma statehood, the history of Durant and culture and business.
He said most of his books in the series focus on North and South Dakota where he is from. One previous book is on the Choctaw Nation as well.
He said that this book sold very well and it looks promising for the Durant book. He said he hopes that this book will do much to promote Durant and Bryan County.
Sprague said he feels it is important as the author to be present at the debut of each book in the city it is based off of.
Sprague traveled more than 1,000 miles to be in Durant this week.
Sprague said this book took about one year to complete. He said he received 175 photos from 30 to 40 people to use in the Durant book.
Sprague said each person is accredited under the photos they gave to the book. As the author, it was Sprague’s duty to create captions for each photo to tell the stories they depict.
He also scanned each image himself and was in charge of the layout that had to fit within the series’ strict format.
He said that he has connections to each place that he has written a book about. Sprague lived in Durant for three years and has in-laws still in the area.
Sprague said he liked the area and thought it would be worth being in the series.
“I thought it was real interesting,” said Sprague.
Sprague said that he got interested in history early in his life. He said that he grew up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota in the poorest county in America.
He said that he grew up learning about his history. He said he is descended from people such as Crazy Horse and Chief Hump.
His family was involved in historical events such as the battle at Wounded Knee. He said he grew up seeing others write stories on his heritage and getting stories wrong.
“It was like the history was in our family,” said Sprague. “When you have that kind of stuff in your family, you can’t help but get interested.”
Aside from authoring such books as the ones found in the Images of America Series, Sprague is also a part-time instructor at Black Hills University in South Dakota and a historical speaker.
Sprague said he wanted to thank everybody in the area who gave photos for the book for their help and friendship because “it’s really their book,” he said.
The book “Images of America: Durant” is now available to purchase at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center and Library as well as book store chains for $21.98.