Flood Book by Local Author Finds New Home; Publication Date Announced

Publication Date Announced
Archived Release – Release Date: July 28, 2005

Ferndale, PA – Those who have been following the development of Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955, the latest book by local author Mary A. Shafer, will be pleased to learn that the book has found a new publisher and now has a definite publication date.

Devastation on the Delaware will be released to the public on October 1 by Word Forge Books, a division of the author’s freelance writing business. Originally scheduled to be published by Writers Room Books this summer, the project was dropped due to a combination of difficult circumstances. The situation has been resolved, with Writers Room Executive Director Jonathan Maberry wishing Shafer much success with the book and offering to help promote it, as the Writers Room does with many local authors.

The book will be a 6” x 9” softcover of 440 pages, and will contain 75-100 black & white photographs. 10 maps and diagrams will illustrate the extent of the weather event that caused the 1955 flood and its damage. The book will retail for $19.95 and may be pre-ordered now at its website, https://www.55flood.com/order. Those who pre-order will receive their copies before they hit store shelves, and are entitled to a custom inscription by the author.

Fifty cents from each copy sold will be donated to the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, to support their ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Delaware’s environmental health. Delaware RiverKeeper Maya van Rossum looks forward to her organization’s association with the book. “We’re pleased that the book has been written by an informed local author with both a passion for the river and an understanding of the challenges it faces in remaining a viable ecosystem. Mary’s book does a good job of connecting the causes and effects of the 1955 flood with issues we still struggle with today. And she does so while telling a heck of a good story.”

“I like to think the donations will make some small contribution to helping ensure there will always be a river worth writing about,” says Shafer.

Over the past three years, the author interviewed more than a hundred survivors and eyewitnesses of the record-setting flood caused by hurricanes Connie and Diane. In addition, she performed dozens of hour of research at many public and private archives on both sides of the river. “I also had a great deal of help from several people who are interested in seeing this book come to fruition,” she says. “I had a great deal of help from my summer interns Caryn and Casey Newton of Revere, and Noreen Wickert of Kintnersville. I couldn’t have completed my research without these amazing friends whose willingness to do a lot of the inglorious drudgery behind the scenes showed me how important this project is to so many people.

“H.J. Opdyke Lumber of Frenchtown, New Jersey, was actually born in the flood. Second-generation owner Jack Opdyke has generously agreed to sponsor the first printing of the book as a way to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary in business. I owe the ability to get the book to the press-ready stage to a number of private donors. Their kind and generous funding gifts have allowed me to pay for reprint permissions for historical photos, production and promotional costs. Local graphic designer and illustrator Laura Pritchard of Doylestown’s Pritchard Design (pritcharddesign.com) donated the cover art to give the title an attractive, professional look.

“I had access to many great stories and private photo collections, thanks to many others up and down the river,” the author continues. “I hope my work will please everyone who has made this truly a community effort. It’s been extremely gratifying.”

Shafer has developed a digital slide show about the flood, which she has already presented to several area organizations, with new appearances currently being added. The presentation consists of a 45-minute slide show and 15-minute question-and-answer session, and is ideal for libraries, historical societies and schools. Groups interested in scheduling a presentation, those interested in pre-ordering the book through the mail, or retailers wishing to sell the book when it comes out in October should call the author at 610-847-2456 or email her at floodbook AT thewordforge.com.

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Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author
Jack Opdyke, Opdyke Lumber – 908-996-2241
Maya van Rossum, Delaware RiverKeeper – 215-369-1188 or maya AT delawareriverkeeper.org

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing