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Dear Friends and Family,
This is a long delayed letter to many of you. The year 2000 entered and fled. During this year, I finally published a book of the best of my Amana photographs plus produced an exhibition of 54 of the images, some very large. The photography show, The Amanas: A Photographic Journey 1959-1999, which after a summer showing at the Amana Museum and at the Arts Guild in the Colonies, will be at the University of Iowa Hospital’s Project Art this spring and later at the Senior Center in Iowa City from August to October 2001. Another photography exhibition is A Walk in the Woods, images of Pike’s Peak State Park behind our second home in McGregor, Iowa on the Mississippi River, 110 miles from Iowa City.
There are also other country scenes from my past work now printed in large digital format so, at age 72, I am displaying color images from decades ago due to the new archival quality of color printing which will last 75 years non-fade.
The State Historical Society of Iowa opened a new exhibition of Our Favorite Things from the 20th Century at their Museum in Des Moines using a great many of the photographs I donated to them when they accepted more than 500,000 negatives comprising my work, beginning in 1944. Additional photographs are in a catalog of the show. Due to weather, we missed the cancelled opening, and we have yet to see the exhibition which will last five to seven years at the State Historical Society Museum in Des Moines. Mary Bennett, archivist, said that about 80 percent of the photographs displayed are mine. The photographs include my own son Artie and friends, the John Huey children and their mother Margaret, and many others. The people are not identified. Mary Bennett and the SHSI exhibition staff selected the photographs. One photo is of my sons with Prof. Harry Oster at the Jones County Fair in 1965. The SHSI publications? editors repeatedly find images of use from my collection in their publications.
We continue to supply our books and those from other publishers for many ethnic musems including the National Czech and Slovak Museum and the planned African-American Museum in Cedar Rapids. We are pleased to release titles by the great Swedish writer, Selma Lagerlf, who won a Nobel Price in 1908. Our Penfield Press web site has had over 275,000 hits in the past year, and our great challenge is to see how many of those people will buy books from us in 2001 using a credit card in our secure site. Type in our name, Penfield Press, and a search engine will land you in our web site. Dwayne?s daughter Melinda, one of our editors, typed in her last name, Bradnan, and came out at the top of all 2,000 entries under Bradnan in the Penfield Press site. Obviously if you prefer privacy, don’t get listed as a Penfield Press editor.
Soon to be released is Joanne Asala?s Finnish-American Folklore: The Legend of St. Urho. Her Polish Folklore with Wycinanki by Alice Wadowski-Bak, the distinguished crafts artist, will be released in mid-year, 2001.
In July, we drove to Toronto for a Finnish celebration; took a cover photo for a book, and met a great many delightful Finnish-Americans and Finnish-Canadians. I was on a panel about publishing Finnish-American titles which we do for the love of the books involved and because we believe in the books we publish. Except for a couple titles which were commissioned, we publish only books we ourselves initiate.
One exception is A HOLE IN MY VISION: AN ARTIST’S VIEW OF HIS OWN MACULAR DEGENERATION by Lee Allen, former student of Grant Wood. We were commissioned by the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology to produce this meticulous 120 page title. We feel this book is a contribution to understanding of this affliction primarily among older people in industrial nations. We met some talented and dedicated doctors, including Tom Weingeist and H. Stanley Thompson. Another title, also commissioned is Stockholm Series 1: City of My Dreams, brilliantly translated by Jennifer Brown Böverstam, released summer 2000.
Dwayne and I flew to Norway in September with Vesterheim’s (Norwegian-American Museum) tour of architecture. We had a wonderful time for ten days but a terrible trip home taking over 25 hours, three of themon a runway in Amsterdam. Dwayne and I are both of Norwegian descent. Marilyn Skaugstad and her husband were on the trip too. Marilyn posed for the cover of Notably Norwegian: Recipes and Traditions, one of our first books by Louise Roalson published almost 19 years ago, We leave in February for Florida and a week of island hopping with Don and Mary Lou Hattery, our Cedar Rapids-McGregor friends. We depart as soon as we get off the press the book about grasshoppers and the Finnish Saint Urho who drove those hoppers out of old Finland to save the grape crop. Diane Heusinkveld, our daughter-in-law, has some great images of the hoppers. St. Urho’s Day is March 16, one day before good ole’ Saint Pat. And, there were no grapes and no hoppers in Finland.
We are working with Pat Martin on her book about Prague Saints of the Charles Bridge, using photos from our trip there with her in 1997. We still do a few cookbooks, now mainly with the Guild of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library such as Quality Dumpling Recipes and the upcoming Quality Czech Kolache Recipes due out in fall. We published Quality Czech Mushroom Recipes a year ago. We are working on a revision of Intriguing Italian Recipes which becomes License To Cook Italian Style to cover the Sonoma County wineries. With Cousins Larry and Shelly Carroll of Alaska, we are producing License To Cook Alaska Style. All this is with the fine editing of Dorothy Crum, Melinda Bradnan, and Miriam Canter; office management from John Johnson and Connie Schnoebelen; art work by Diane Heusinkveld, graphic design by Molly Cook; shipping manager Maybelle Mays with assistants Annie Kloubec and Mary Helen Miller. Edna Yoder who helped us with our home and office for almost 20 years moved to Kentucky and Florida.
We are delighted with the progress of our grandchildren. Holly Flame Heusinkveld spends several nights a week with us. She is a sophomore at the University of Iowa and her brother, Ahren, attends Kirkwood Community College. Holly is the third generation to attend Iowa. Grandsons Jordan and Forrest, sons of Carol and David, live in the Amana Colonies where Joan and Dwayne are Opa and Oma, and they are all doing great.
Our love to you and your families and our best wishes for the coming year,
Joan and Dwayne