In To Granby, with Love, author Faith Tyldsley takes readers on a poignant journey through the history-rich writings of Carol Laun. This editorial tribute is dedicated to the memory of Laun, an extraordinary woman who was viewed by many as “Granby’s history personified.”
Laun joined the Salmon Brook Historical Society in 1970 and went on to wear a respectable assortment of hats during her tenure, including genealogist, archivist, and curator. For fifty years until her death in 2021, Laun shared the history of Granby, Connecticut in the town’s newspaper, The Granby Drummer. Her monthly column, Historic Footnotes, provided vivid descriptions of the life, people and customs from Granby’s past. In describing her writing style, Laun stated, “I don’t write a broad overview of events; my articles present a close-up view of one incident in the past. I try to make the people and the time come to life for the reader.” (from Collections IV, 1989)
Compiled over half a century, Laun’s Drummer contributions exceed 400 articles. To Granby, with Love lists each article by title, offering readers a chronological snapshot of Laun’s subjects. These works are also presented thematically, revealing the amazing breadth of Laun’s historical contributions. While the list could be endless, Tyldsley has distilled the subject matter into thirty-nine categories such as Christmas, Civil War, Houses/Places/Streets, Poverty/Paupers and Tobacco.”
A highlight of To Granby, with Love is the curated collection of 15 of Laun’s Drummer articles, commencing with her poetic paean to her town from whence this book is named. These selections, reproduced in their entirety, showcase the variety of topics Laun touched upon, often laced with her own subtle slant of humor.
Included in the appendices is a reprint of Salmon Brook Historical Society Celebrates Platinum Jubilee: 1945-2020 (The Granby Drummer, May 2020) a piece Laun asked Tyldsley to write to commemorate the society’s grand anniversary. As the story unfolds, Laun’s emerging and passionate involvement becomes strikingly evident. She stands as one of the central characters, shining specifically as the visionary of the Society’s Preservation Barn that opened in 2007. She was always generous in her praise of volunteers—by name—in several articles over the years, and (beginning in 1976) recognized an outstanding member of the historical society annually when she presented the esteemed Ethel R. Linnell Award.
To Granby, with Love concludes with a soul-satisfying tribute by Todd Vibert, echoing the sentiments of those among us lucky enough to have worked alongside Laun. (The Granby Drummer, October 2021)
In Laun’s words, “The study of history is really the study of people. People created the artifacts; built the houses; caused and reacted to the events. One of the most endearing and enduring aspects of human nature is its universality. Our ancestors were not paragons on a pedestal nor were they ignorant rustics. They were both extremes and everything in between — just as we are today.”
(from The Controversy in the Choir, The Granby Drummer, April 1989)
To access a specific article, please call the Salmon Brook Historical Society at 860 653-9713.
Sierra Shepard is the publisher of The Hudson Connection.
To Granby, with Love is available from the author at ftsnouthouse.com