So, about this North Platte Canteen book we’re working on here at The Telegraph:

Do you have World War II photos of family members working or visiting there that you’d like others to see?

If so, we and our partners at the Lincoln County Historical Museum would love to borrow them for a couple of weeks for “Canteen: As It Happened,” which will mainly feature the museum’s Canteen photos and our own 1941-46 news stories from North Platte’s contribution to the World War II home front.

Representatives of our publishing partner, Pediment Publishing of Battle Ground, Washington, will be at the museum Dec. 10-13 to scan the museum’s Canteen photo collection for the book. But we want to cast as wide a net as possible for Canteen photos that might be owned privately by families with ties to North Platte or west central Nebraska.

That’s where you come in.

If you have such photos and are willing to share them, would you please do the following no later than Dec. 10?

» Call museum Director/Curator Jim Griffin at 308-534-5640. He’ll arrange with you to borrow your photos and return them to you afterward, so Pediment’s team can scan them while it scans the museum’s own collection. We won’t collect originals of private photos at The Telegraph, though we’re happy to talk to you about our project any time.

» If you do loan your photos to the museum, please tell Griffin how you’d like your name listed in credit lines in the book. Also, so we can write captions, we also need as much identifying information as you can provide — especially who’s in the photo, what their roles were and approximately when the photo was taken.

» If — and only if — you should wish to donate your original Canteen photos to the museum, Griffin will work with you on doing that. Otherwise, as noted earlier, he’ll return your originals to you once the Pediment team is done with them.

Copies of “Canteen: As It Happened” will sell for $44.95 after the book’s release in May. But you can order your own copy in advance for $29.95 — a $15 savings — through March 27.

You’ll find advertisements and order forms regularly over the coming weeks in the print edition of The Telegraph. You can order the book online here. Our news clerk, Chris Linn, will also take your order at 308-535-4733.

Finally, a few notes on what our Canteen book is and is not:

» The sample front cover you see in our ad is just that: a sample. The book’s cover will look something like that, but final photo choices won’t be made until after Pediment scans all the museum’s photos (and, we hope, yours).

» We’ve eagerly published letters and stories from Canteen workers and visitors in our newspaper’s pages for 75 years — and expect to keep doing so — but we will not be doing so in this book.

Instead, we’re re-presenting news stories written during the Canteen’s existence by the reporters of The Telegraph and the original North Platte Daily Bulletin (which merged with this paper in 1946). With very few exceptions, these stories have been buried in microfilm all this time.

» We can now bring those old stories forward in time through the searchable online database of old North Platte papers assembled on behalf of the North Platte Genealogical Society and with the help of the North Platte Public Library.

Until that database went online early this year (visit it at northplatte.advantage-preservation.com), it would have taken us many, many more hours to find the stories you’ll read in our book — many of which have been all but forgotten.

» The book’s middle chapters will present the Canteen story, in words and photos, essentially year by year from its birth after Pearl Harbor to its closing on April 1, 1946. But we’ll also include an opening chapter on North Platte’s World War I Red Cross Canteen — the true midwife of “Canteen Spirit” — and close with a chapter on the Canteen’s legacy.

We’re excited to unveil these long-obscured stories on those emotional but amazing war years. We hope you will be, too.

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