A Vital Truth—Your Company’s Past Can Shape Its Future

May 15, 2017 / no comments

Looking back might sound counterproductive to a corporate executive. After all, the mark of a good leader is to lead an organization into the future, right? Actually, it turns out that a company’s past can be as important to its future in creating a sense of belonging and unity, as well as instilling purpose in its organization. And we’re not just saying that because we’re advocates of preserving your corporate history. The experts agree.

“Leaders with no patience for history are missing a vital truth,” states an article in Harvard Business Review. “A sophisticated understanding of the past is one of the most powerful tools we have for shaping the future.”

In fact, the article points out, “as a leader strives to get people working together productively, communicating the history of the enterprise can instill a sense of identity and purpose and suggest the goals that will resonate. In its most familiar form, as a narrative about the past, history is a rich explanatory tool with which executives can make a case for change and motivate people to overcome challenges. Taken to a higher level, it also serves as a potent problem-solving tool, one that offers pragmatic insights, valid generalizations, and meaningful perspectives—a way through management fads and the noise of the moment to what really matters.”

It makes sense. As one of the most popular hobbies in the United States[1], family history has captured our attention because of the sense of belonging we feel as we learn about the generations of family who have gone before. We dig deep to discover when and where our ancestors lived and died, as well as all the fascinating things that happened to them in between those two major life events. The more we learn, the more connected and inspired we feel, often looking back at their life experiences as we forge ahead on our own life’s journey.

That same sense of belonging takes place on a corporate level. When an organization captures its history—whether that history spans a couple of decades or a century or more—its employees feel connected to something bigger than themselves. They catch the vision of the company’s mission, they are inspired by stories and people from the past, and they develop a deeper sense of dedication to what they are doing.

A shared history unites us together into a community, reinforces a sense of identity, and creates a framework for growth and success moving forward. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and Harvard Business School professor Alfred D. Chander Jr. often asked his students a single questions: “How can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?”

Creating your organization’s history is the perfect answer to that question.

Custom Family History Books You Want To Open

March 17, 2017 / no comments

One of Legacy Books’ beautiful family productions.

“These books draw you to open their pages.”

 

“These are the nicest books I’ve ever seen.”

 

“This design is amazing . . . it’s just beautiful.”

 

These were just a few of the comments we heard this February at RootsTech, a family history and technology trade show held each year in Salt Lake City. The care and craft that goes into our work at Legacy Books is evident to those who see our work. We’re passionate about bringing your stories to life—and the end product shows it.

 

A client in Virginia was so impressed at our ability to make her research visually appealing that she included this note in her book, which is scheduled to be published this coming summer:

“Exhaustive research, good writing and an extensive document and photograph collection do not a book make. To John Catron and his team at Legacy Books go my praise and thankfulness. They took my manuscript and, using their layout and design magic, turned it into this family treasure.”

What’s our secret? Individual care and attention. We don’t try to force your unique resources and stories into a premade template. Instead, we design your book to showcase the specific files and resources you give us—your family photos, documents, memories, memorabilia, and lore.

Your history is unlike anyone else’s, and our design for your book shows that. Our team of designers and writers pores through your files to discover the precise color combinations, fonts, layouts, and book size and shape that will most effectively frame your story. All along the way, we work closely with you to ensure that the designs reflect your vision, sharing proofs and drafts to get your approval and feedback.

This same ethos continues through the publishing phase. These books are not made simply to sit on a shelf, but rather to be read, shared, and enjoyed. Cover materials and paper types are chosen purposefully for each project. We bind your books with a library binding that is built to last hundreds of years—and hold up under actual usage. Our Legacy Books open wide and lie flat so the pictures, stories, and memories on each page can be examined and treasured again and again. The legacy in each book is not just the precious content, but the book itself—a volume that can be passed down from generation to generation.

We are so grateful to all of you who have let us be a part of sharing your family story. And for those of you whose story has yet to be told, we can’t wait to help you create your own Legacy Book.

Hidden Treasures: Scanning, Sharing, and Archiving

January 13, 2017 / no comments

Recently, while cleaning out a closet in my parents’ basement, my sisters and I discovered a treasure trove of family history. Stuffed into folders and boxes were photos and documents and mementos that told the story of my family over the past 75 years. From amazing drawings my dad made as a boy, to letters sent by the federal government to my grandparents stating their intention to build an interstate through the best acres of the family farm, to my dad’s draft papers, to the program from a 1983 Seahawks–49ers game that my sisters danced at as part of the halftime show . . . all of these events—recorded in souvenirs and certificates and scraps of torn and yellowing paper, tell the story of where we came from, who we were, and how we became who we are today.

As we looked through those boxes, marveling at each new find, one thought continually resurfaced in my mind: “I need to get this to the Legacy Books office and have everything scanned so that it’s preserved.” I realized that scanning those items would preserve them for future generations, and also make it possible to share them with members of the family who don’t live nearby. My sister in Texas could see my father’s artwork in full detail, and cousins in California and New York could read a speech our grandmother gave to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1980 and see pictures of our fathers as boys with our great-great-grandfather. We had discovered the type of treasure that increases in value as the wealth is shared, and I couldn’t wait to pass it along.

This is why I’m so glad to be a part of the Legacy Books team: I help our clients discover, preserve, and share the pieces of their own histories—both large and small—that mean so much to them. It is a joy to make those heirlooms and mementos accessible to everyone in these families; to assist them in telling the story of who they are through the ephemera and photos that have been maintained and passed down, generation to generation; and to ensure that those items are recorded and archived with the highest professional standards so that future generations can continue to enjoy them. 

We recently finished such a project for the McCullough family in Tennessee, turning their loose collection of photos and memorabilia into a beautiful book that they shared with family for the holidays. Their comments illustrate why Legacy Books finds great happiness in the work that we do: “Words cannot express the gratitude of my family for your diligence and expertise in helping us put our ancestry heritage into a book that will be treasured for generations. Legacy Books was so easy to work with that you felt like family. It was so sweet to see my 90-year-old mother with dementia touch a picture and say: ‘That is mama and papa’ and smile. My brother and sisters were grateful and said they would enjoy it over and over again. There were many pictures they had never seen before. Time passes so quickly and Legacy Books has helped us remember how fortunate we are to enjoy the blessings of today because of those who have gone before us. Our memories are worth more than money can buy. Legacy Books helped us preserve those memories. It has been a joy to work with you and I will always be grateful.”

No matter how large, small, organized, or disorganized your archive of family history is we would love to help you preserve it and tell your story—the story of your family. We know that each family is unique, and that each memory is an integral part of the whole. With our services that range from simply scanning and archiving, to interviewing and writing, to designing a book that will remain in your family for generations, we specialize in going from “boxes to books,” and it is our mission to help you preserve your legacy, and share it into the future.

–Dax Bambrough