Images of America
Delray Beach History Book
An Interview With Book Author
Delray Beach history book author McCall Credle-Rosenthal fell in love with Delray Beach, Florida as soon as she was first introduced to Delray in 2001.
In fact, she was so mesmerized by this charming Village-by-the-Sea, she soon found herself writing the best-selling Delray Beach history book.
Follow along with me as I ask McCall questions about how she decided to write one of the best-selling Florida history book. Here we go with the interview...
Q: How did you come up with the idea of the Delray Beach history book?
A: I wrote the Images of America: Delray Beach history book as a result of being curious about how the past may have shaped the character of the present day community.
My interest in the city's evolution to present day was further inspired when Mr. Glenn Weiss, (former Director of the Cultural Loop Project), suggested that I write a history book of Delray Beach.
We did not have this specific type of history book. He gave me the information about Arcadia (the publisher), I contacted Arcadia and submitted a proposal as per their requirement and subsequently signed a contractual agreement.
Q: Where did you start gathering your information?
A: I spent many hours at the Delray Beach Historical Society, sorting through thousands of historical photos, newspaper articles, and letters made accessible by the Delray Beach Historical Society archivist.
Q: Were you able to find any local pioneers to interview and gather information from?
A: I interviewed and met with many of the descendants of the pioneers who shared some great historical pictures and stories with me.
I sat in their living rooms for hours hearing wonderful stories. As a result, I developed wonderful friendships and was able to have some of these descendants speak at my book presentations.
Q: Where did you get the historical photos to use?
A: Many of the photos came from the Delray Beach Historical Society who has been preserving documents and pictures since 1994. I also gathered pictures from people I interviewed who have been living in Delray for many years. It was so much fun to see descendants bring out treasured pictures from suitcases and albums that were obvious treasures.
Q: It must have been hard to decide which pictures to use. How did you decide?
A: It was difficult to decide what pictures to use. I gathered pictures from the Delray Beach Historical Society and from the families of the pioneers. Eventually, I selected approximately 200 photos and then wrote captions based on the stories that had been told to me. Based on the format of the book, I was able to use most of them.
Q: How did you obtain some of the more current photos of Delray today?
A: Pat Healy-Golembe, a nationally known photographer who lives in Delray Beach who worked very closely with the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation took some of the recent day pictures that were featured in my last chapter.
I showed her the locations and she photographed them for me. Initially, I had planned to use my own pictures, but decided that I wanted to encompass as many people as I could into the participation process of this book.
Photo Courtesy Pat Healy-Golembe
Atlantic Avenue at SE 4th Avenue
Q: How long did the project take?
A: It took me several months to get a perspective of how I wanted to use the many pictures that I had collected and the ones that I wanted to have taken for the Village-by-the-Sea chapter. After that it took at least three months to try to gather information for each caption.
I started reading about the pioneers and literally got “stuck” in that area for some time. I loved the era. There was so much courage during the period of such hardships.
The women came here and did not have kitchens for a long period of time. At any rate, when I finally ceased being mesmerized by that era, the project picked up momentum. I spent approximately five months on the project.
Q: What new things did you learn about Delray Beach from researching the book?
A: I learned so much about how this city has evolved and how charming it has always been. The sun seekers would flock here as well as the artists and writers perhaps starting “the artists and writers colony period” during the winters, they fell in love with the city and eventually became permanent residents.
It also became clear to me how closely the people in Delray Beach worked together to enhance the city not only esthetically but enhancing the lives of the people as well – which is why Delray Beach has won the All America City Award both in 1993 and 2001.
I learned that the women here in Delray worked very closely with the Suffragettes in obtaining the right of women to vote. After reading about the accomplishments of the Women of Delray, I was amazed by their contributions and participation.
Q: Do you think tourists as well as local residents will be interested in this one-of-a-kind history book on Delray Beach?
A: Absolutely! Many of us are fascinated with the history of cities. I have tried to give street locations with many of my captions so that one may look at a building now and visualize what was there before.
And, in many cases, the buildings are still standing -- although they may have a different name. Some will read the book and compare what was there then and what is there now and compare how the building looked previously and how it looks now.
Photo Courtesy Pat Healy-Golembe
Marriott Hotel - Atlantic Avenue at Ocean Blvd. (A1A)
Q: Do you think this book could also be a great gift idea or a souvenir for tourists?
A: The book serves many purposes. It is a book that may be sent to a relative as a gift to let them know a bit more about our lovely Village-by-the-Sea. Tourists are always seeking a souvenir from the city that they are visiting and this is an easy gift to slip into your suitcase or purse and take home with you.
It is also being used in schools and libraries. Many Realtors have used the book as a closing gift for their clients. Some of the hotels include it in a basket for the VIP guests. Also, instead of wine, my book is often used as a “dinner guest” gift.
Q: How would you describe your book?
A: The Images of America: Delray Beach book is an easy-to-read book with approximately 200 historical photos. It doesn't have to be read in any particular order. One can open it, turn to any page, and begin reading and learn something about the intriguing and rich history of Delray Beach.
I'm happy to say that this Delray Beach history book gained popularity as soon as it was first published in 2003, selling more than 1000 copies in less than one month! It continues to be a best-selling Florida history book for Arcadia Publishing.
You can purchase a copy of Images of America: Delray Beach at Hands Stationary Store on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach, Sandoway House, Spotted On Second at 200 N E 2nd Ave, the Marriott Hotel gift shop, Costco stores in Boca Raton and Lantana, and on Amazon.com.