"The stories are both interesting and entertaining and provide a unique and very local perspective on how much our region had changed in the last 50 years," said Sharan Marshall, director of the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association, which released the book in November, in celebration of the organization's 50th anniversary.
Calvert County residents whose stories are in the book include former county commissioner Wilson Parran, Clara Mae Buckmaster, Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) of Lusby, MacArthur Jones and Sheriff Mike Evans (R).
The regional library association worked with StoryCorps, a national nonprofit group that collaborated with National Public Radio and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to collect many of the oral histories in the book.
It also includes stories collected by the Accokeek Foundation, the Calvert County Historic District Commission, the Calvert Marine Museum, St. Clement's Island Museum, the St. Mary's County government and the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions.
The project took about two years to finish, said Victoria Falcon, public relations and marketing coordinator for the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association.
It costs the association, which is primarily funded by the state, about $10,000. StoryCorps did its part for free.
The association took nominations from nonprofit organizations in the community to decide whom to invite to participate in the StoryCorps recordings. In addition, Falcon contacted other organizations that had oral history collections to request submissions that would "balance out" the histories they already had - ensuring that Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties were represented equally.
"They were looking for people to interview, and I knew that the subject was 'Changing Landscapes,' and I know that I'm a part of that, and I asked if they would consider me," O'Donnell said.
O'Donnell, 49, recounts the time he spent in Southern Maryland as a child and visiting a brother who was a sailor stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
He also talked about moving to Calvert County when he was offered a position at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, as well as about his journey to become an elected official. During the course of O'Donnell's life, Calvert County has grown from a sleepy farming community with a 1960 U.S. Census-estimated population of 15,826, to a prosperous county of 89,212 residents in 2009, according to Maryland Department of Planning.
For Parran, 59, the stories he shared about growing up as a sharecropper in Huntingtown still are close at hand - he lives about two miles from the farm where he grew up.