The editors of Historical Wyoming have long realized that there are several untold stories throughout the county. These stories – about people, events, buildings and the everyday happenings of rural people – enrich the folklore and heritage of the county. Subsequently, they decided to “reboot an essay contest from 30 years ago.”
The contest is open to all current and former Wyoming County residents 50 years old and older. The entries must be submitted by Oct. 31.
Because our own lives have been spent largely in one area of the county, many of the stories have escaped our attention, say the editors. It is their opinion that every person has a story that is dear to them and when circumstances allow, they like to tell it.
“We are especially interested in our citizens in the 50-plus age group as their memories are more likely to reach further back into the past and it is from this past that traditions, folklore and our heritage are created,” said Wyoming County Historian Cindy Amrhein. “To encourage the 50-plus folks of our county to write down these stories, the editors of Historical Wyoming are sponsoring an essay contest.”
With the permission of each author, all prize-winning essays will be published in the magazine. Additionally, a chosen number of non-winning essays may also be published in the future with the writers' permission. All essays will be judged by a select committee.
The contest is divided into three age groups:
• 50 to 60 years old;
• 61 to 70 years old; and
• 71 years old and older.
All winning entries will be printed in the Historical Wyoming during 2017, which marks its 70th year. Winning writers are only required to grant first-time print rights for both the hard copy and digital editions. Four months after publication of your story, it story can be submitted elsewhere for reprint, crediting “First appeared in Historical Wyoming, Vol. XX No. XX, Month XX 2017.”
In each of the three age groups the following additional prizes will be awarded:
• First Prize – a three-year subscription to Historical Wyoming, 1870 Wyoming County Directory (reprint), and a copy of “Letchworth State Park” by Thomas A. Breslin, Thomas S. Cook, Russell A. Judkins, and Thomas C. Richens (Arcadia, 2008);
• Second Prize – a two-year subscription to Historical Wyoming, and the 1870 Wyoming County Directory (reprint); and
• Third Prize – a one-year subscription to Historical Wyoming.
1. Who may enter: This contest is open to all present and former residents of Wyoming County who are 50 years old and older.
2. Closing date: Contest entries must be postmarked on or before Oct. 31
3. What to write: The topic of each essay submitted must deal directly with Wyoming County.
4. Length of essay: The length of each essay submitted must be 750 to 3,000 words. The essays must be legible. Illegible manuscripts will not be accepted. If chosen, slight editing of punctuation or grammar may be done prior to publication.
5. Subject: Use only one subject per essay. You may enter more than one essay. Please number pages and write the title on top of each page.
6. Cover page: Each essay entered must have a cover. In the center of the cover page please type or print the title of the essay and underneath, your age or birth year.
7. Compile: Staple the corner of your essay together with cover page, and a small envelope in back with a slip of paper inside with your name, address, zip code, and telephone number (email address optional) on it. Do not put your name on the essay or cover page. You will be assigned a number. This will ensure that the entries are anonymous and the judges critique solely by the merits of the story.
8. Where to send entries: Send all entries – one essay per envelope – to:
Senior Citizen Essay Contest, Office of Wyoming County Historian, 26 Linwood Ave., Warsaw,14569.
• Farm life – planting crops, maple syruping, livestock care, milk industry;
• Nature and landscape – wildlife, hunting, parks, businesses, buildings no longer standing;
• School days – memories as a student, scouting, 4-H, and other forms of education;
• Experiences – during the Great Depression, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War;
• Influential people – family doctor, ministers, lawyers, teachers;
• Natural events – floods, tornadoes, snowstorms, drought;
• Cultural events –circus performances, traveling shows, plays; and
• Recreational – fairs, swimming, boating, camping.
Essays are not limited to any of the above topics.
The judges will select winning essays according to the following criteria:
1. Human interest – of interest to people outside your family and acquaintances;
2. Focus – must center specifically on some aspect of Wyoming County life and history;
3. Historical relevance – about Wyoming County and its people and history;
4. Conciseness – not long-winded;
5. Clarity – easily understood;
6. Narrative quality – a good story, well told; and
7. Accuracy – true and correct.
Keep a copy for your records. Essays will not be returned. If possible type all essays or print in legible handwriting.
Entrants will be notified by mail of the winning entries prior to Dec. 31. Winners will be announced in the January 2017 issue of Historical Wyoming.
For more information call the Wyoming County Historian’s Office at (585) 786-8818 during weekdays 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or email at firstname.lastname@example.org