ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Blair County Historical Society is selling new paperbacks and books sold by local authors and Altoona Area High School students at its Baker Mansion gift shop.

The books spotlight the history of the county, soldiers who have fallen including those that are native to the area, local celebrities, and more.

The book profits will benefit society, according to the treasurer of the board of directors Julia Schokker. She also mentioned that theirs the opportunity to learn a little something along the way.

“They really dig deep,” Schokker said. “They know the history, they grew up here. They have the sensibilities of Blair County. And so, I think you’ll learn things you didn’t know if you were just reading a regular history book or if you go outside of Blair County. These authors know our county, and that’s the gem.”

One of the shop’s newest books is “These Honored Dead,” written by former Altoona Area High School history teacher Jim Lowe along with his students. The book honors local veterans and soldiers who served in all wars from World War I up to the war on terrorism.

Two books titled “They Came from Blair County,” written by Altoona native Eric Shields, showcase celebrities who grew up or lived in the county.

“They could be musicians, artists, actors and actresses. They could be sports figures,” Schokker said. “You’ll find volume one and volume two [at the gift shop], and I suspect Eric is currently working on volume three.”

Here are some other books at the gift shop written by local authors:

  • “Hang Tough” by Jared Frederick (Penn State Altoona professor) – Biography on Band of Brothers officer in charge during World War II
  • “Fierce Valor” by Jared Frederick – Biography on Band of Brothers
  • “Dispatches of D-Day” by Jared Frederick – Letters from soldiers who wrote about D-Day
  • “Altoona’s Historic Mishler Theatre” by Dr. Michael G. Farrow (Altoona Area High School Class of ’57 and current resident) – History of Mishler Theatre
  • “Festus Hollinger” by Dr. Michael G. Farrow – Story of a freed slave who lived in Altoona
  • “10 Blair County Mysteries” by John Hunter Orr (Altoona Area High School Class of ’57) – Stories based on folklore and is the only fiction book on sale

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Baker Mansion History Museum and gift shop is open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.