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Father of Famed Barn Photographer Sets Record Straight

Father of Famed Barn Photographer Sets Record Straight
Mauri Williamson's quick wit zings though Christmas greetings.

Receiving Christmas cards is always pleasant, and if the number received from local business associates is any indication, the economy may be perking up, at least in ag country. It was a banner year for receiving Christmas cards here at Indiana Prairie Farmer.

One of those came from Mauri Williamson, the man with more than 80 years of experience on this earth who has retired from two careers- first from his long-time job as executive director of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association, and second, as official curator of Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair. Williamson turned the Purdue Ag Alumni Association into the premier group of its kind in the country, and was responsible for starting the antique machinery display at the Indiana State Fair 50 years ago, in 1961.

He also has a son, David, a Master Farmer, who operates the family farm in Wayne County, and a daughter, Marsha Williamson Mohr. His daughter has earned a reputation as an accomplished photographer, particular of still shots, and as an author.

In fact, a review of her latest book, "Indiana Barns" appeared here in December. You can also find a review of the book in the January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. Besides the excellent photos of all styles of barns, in all states of repair or disrepair, it's extremely valuable because she collaborated with an architectural historian who describes the history and style of construction of each barn in vivid detail.

Back to Mauri's Christmas card. His first sentence gushed about how he loved the article and publicity for his daughter's book. He's a proud father. But with Mauri, I sensed a 'but' coming. I wasn't disappointed.

Apparently in describing the Williamson family, I mentioned Marsha's parents were Mauri and Ruth. That's most likely what created enough stir to warrant the Christmas card. It was an error. Marsha's parents are Mauri and June. To make matters worse, Ruth is Quentin Williamson's wife. Quentin, well known in conservation circles in his own right, is Mauri's brother.

Also, we apparently implied Marsha resides in Wayne County, where her father and uncle grew up on the family farm. Instead, she lives in Tippecanoe County.

Now that we've set the record straight, let's cut to the chase. You can order the book from Indiana University Press by calling 1-800-842-6796 or visiting: http://iupress.indiana.edu.

Mauri, you made another good investment. For the price of a Christmas card and a 44 cent stamp, you earned another feature story pushing your daughter's book! And hopefully you got out of trouble with your wife and sister-in-law. Please accept my apology.

The book is a gem. If you're into barns and architecture, it's worth adding to your farm library.  

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