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Halfway woman has pictorial histories published

May 07, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Mary H. Rubin's bookshelves overflow with titles she's collected since she was a little girl.

But the Halfway woman is making room on her shelves for one more, very special book - a pictorial history of Washington County she penned herself.

Rubin, 34, said she has always enjoyed books and hoped one day that she would become a published author.

As she built a career with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Izaak Walton League of America, she didn't seem to be getting any closer to her goal.

That changed two years ago, when her parents came back from their 55th class reunion with a book about their hometown of Ossining, N.Y.

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Out of curiosity, Rubin said, she did some research about the book, part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series, and found there weren't any books featuring local history.

Her first proposal for a book about Hagerstown was accepted by the Charleston, S.C., publisher.

Last month, Arcadia published Rubin's second book, this one focusing on Washington County history.

Each book follows a similar format. They are filled with vintage photographs that Rubin selected herself. She also wrote the captions.

"There's really a lot of room to be creative," she said.

Since it came out in August, the Hagerstown book has sold about 3,300 copies and is going into its third printing, said Sara San Angelo of Arcadia.

It has sold well at Borders Books and Music at the Centre at Hagerstown.

The Washington County book sold 1,700 copies in the first month, she said.

"It's unbelievable," said her mother, Kay Rubin.

"She's always had a talent for writing. I just never believed that any of my children would do something like this," she said.

Charles Rubin never got to see the fruits of his daughter's labor. He died before the first book was published.

She's working on more possible subjects for the "Images of America" series, including railroading in Hagerstown and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.

She said she also hopes to write a more comprehensive history of the county.

One day, she may try to parlay the experience into a book with a wider audience, Rubin said.

A graduate of South Hagerstown High School and Hood College, Rubin will not get rich from the Arcadia venture.

She does get paid based on book sales and used her first royalty check to help finance a vacation to upstate New York for herself and her mother.

Rubin has scheduled book signings for June 8 at Books 'N Things in the Long Meadow Shopping Center in Hagerstown and June 15 at Borders in Hagerstown.

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