Newly Donated Publication Available: Letters to My Grandchildren by William J. Lammers

Special Collections and Archives received a special gift in October from author William “Bill” J. Lammers, who presented us with signed copies of his newly available two volume family history titled Letters to My Grandchildren.  Bill grew up in Mercer County, Ohio, in a family with deep multi-generational roots in the area. His family is a prime example of why archival institutions document not only the well-known figures of history, but also those of us considered “ordinary citizens.” All of us are impacted by, participate in, and respond to the events and geographic, social, and economic environment of our times. The stories of Bill Lammer’s family are told within the context of historical events of each generation, and as the pages turn, one can see how the experiences of one generation continue to impact the lives of the next.

Bill’s great-great grandfather emigrated from Germany to America with his sons in 1846, coming up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, and on to the Ohio River into Cincinnati, eventually settling in rural Mercer County, Ohio.  In less than two decades’ time, Bill’s great-grandfather and great-grand-uncle would become Civil War veterans who fought for the Union in their new country of allegiance.  While they survived, they struggled with addiction, mental health, and anger that would affect not only themselves, but those around them; each generation with threads of the last, forging their story, to be woven into the lives of the next. 

When family stories are revealed in such a historical context, it shows how powerful the study of history is in understanding our current circumstances in life.  The books also reveal the power of second chances, and how uncovering suppressed history can help overcome detrimental repeated patterns.

The books are available to read in the Special Collections and Archives’ Reading Room and to check out from the Libraries’ general collection.  

Author William Lammers and Archivist Toni Vanden Bos holding Lammer’s newly published books titled Letters to My Grandchildren

About Toni Vanden Bos

I manage preservation efforts in our department, which includes implementing our preservation plan, monitoring environment, assessing collection conditions, improving housing, prioritizing reformatting of vulnerable materials, and developing and implementing the electronic records program with the Collections Manager. I also catalog our manuscript collections, and manage the gift books and journals. Additionally, I arrange and describe collections, provide reference assistance, create exhibits, give presentations, and assist with special events as needed.
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