Meet Your Neighbor
A name that I would consider somewhat synonymous with Thomas Township history, probably even Saginaw County history would be that of Roselyn Ederer. For this segment of “Meet Your Neighbor” I spoke with Roselyn about her family history in Thomas Township and those wonderful history books she is so passionate about writing.
Roselyn’s great-grandfather, Wolfgang Ederer, came from Germany in 1855. A carpenter by trade, he built several houses while residing in the city of Saginaw. He bought his farm in Thomas Township in 1866 and began living there in 1871. In 1906, his son Joseph who was also a carpenter/builder constructed his home and farm on River Road in Thomas Township. This is now a Centennial Farm where Roselyn and her sister, the third generation, make their home today.
In 1989, Ms. Ederer was working at the Social Security Administration in downtown Saginaw. It was at that time that she was also volunteering at the Castle Museum when she offered to take on the task of writing history articles for the Society’s monthly newsletter. She was gathering information for an article based on turn-of-the century postcards of Saginaw that had been preserved by her grandmother. She sought information at the Hoyt library and was surprised by the lack of useable books dedicated to Saginaw History. It was at that time that Roselyn discovered the historic information she needed was all on microfilm. A three month project then turned into a ten year “labor of love” as she was hooked on Saginaw History.
In 1999 she began publishing all of her researched material with the start of her “Building a Michigan Lumber Town” book series. It was at this same time that she began her own company, Thomastown Publishing Company and began publishing her books. Each year for over twelve years she has published a book. A few of the list of titles include,” Where Once the Tall Pines Stood” (2000), “To Live and Learn” (2002), “Church Bells in the Valley” (2006) and in the year 2011 Ms. Ederer penned “Indiantown: An Ojibwe Village Becomes a Farm Community”. It was for this book she received a prestigious award from the State of Michigan Historical Society in 2012. A book that was reflective of the Native Americans and the German immigrants who followed to farm land in Buena Vista.
Her works have also included a Thomas Township history book. It was on this book she worked along with the Thomas Township Historical Society and Ron Picardi, who scanned the photos for the book. This “Images of America” book, part of the series by the same name, was published by the Arcadia Publishing Company. She also wrote “Saginaw County Michigan” and in researching the book contacted several local historical societies to obtain its images. This book was also published by Arcadia and has been in print six times.
Another noteworthy book of history, Ms. Ederer published “From Your Valentine in 2002”. The material used in this book reflects a 50 year history of Valentine’s Day cards from her own collection. A colorful variety of Valentines that were saved by her grandmother in the early 1900’s when her father, aunts and uncles attended the Liskow School at Short & State Roads as well as cards saved from her and her sisters when they attended the Liskow School located at State & Miller Roads years later. Along with these she also used Valentines her mother had saved from the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Roselyn is presently volunteering for the Saginaw County Fair and writing a 100 year history of the fair. Its centennial will be celebrated in July 2013. The book will be available at that time being used as a fundraiser for the fair at its Chesaning fairgrounds. Ron Picardi will once again be scanning the photos that will be a part of this publication. It is sure to spark a lot of memories when “A Family Fun Affair” is completed.
With all that she has written and all that she continues to write, Roselyn still finds time to teach a local history class for the Saginaw Valley State University’s OLLI program, volunteers twice a month at Covenant Hospital and mentors with the after school reading program at Shields Elementary, where sister, Mary Lou once taught and now supervises the program. She also has numerous public speaking engagements based on Saginaw History to local groups. Upcoming on January 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm at the Thomas Township library a discussion will be held about her book “Indiantown”. In the month of February on the 12th at 6:30 pm she will be at the Butman-Fish library where she will present and discuss a 100-year power point history of the valentine featuring her own collection.
Her passion for history will no doubt continue on and as she told me, “once you are hooked on history, you are hooked for good” and I know myself after reading just one of her books I am hooked and can’t wait to read the rest.
Community Development Department