On Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m., Harvey Payne and James Ronda will be at Brace Books and More in Ponca City to sign copies of their new book titled “Visions of the Tallgrass.”
This beautiful coffee table style book captures the essence of the Tallgrass area just east of Ponca City. The text is written by James Rhonda and the photography is by Harvey Payne.
In 1989 the Nature Conservancy purchased a part of the famous Chapman Bernard ranch near Pawhuska which is now known as the Tallgrass Preserve.
In 1990 James Ronda was invited to be the first holder of the H G Barnard Chair in Western American History at the University of Tulsa. Because of this connection to the Chapman Bernard ranch he was invited to visit the Tallgrass area. While on this tour he met Harvey Payne who is well known as an outstanding photographer. Following his visit there he tells this story.
“I always say that Harvey is the native and I am the newcomer. He is the teacher; I am the lucky student. My rule has been to never write about a place I’ve not seen. And thanks to Harvey I’ve had the chance to see a great deal of the Preserve. I admit that I have a deep personal attachment to that place — and to the book. My editor at the University of Oklahoma Press suggested that I write the text in the first person — something that historians rarely do. I think that writing in the first person made me even more attached to the Preserve and the book. More than any of my other books, I think that Visions represents my true voice as a writer and scholar.”
Many will remember Harvey Payne’s first book showing his photography of the tallgrass area titled “Big Bluestem” which was published in 1996.
Harvey grew up in Oklahoma, graduated from Shidler High School, received a BS degree from Oklahoma State University, and then a law degree from the University of Tulsa. He served as assistant district attorney for Osage County for 2 years and then practiced law in Pawhuska until he retired in 2008.
He also served as the Director of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve from 1990 to 2008. He still serves as Community Relations Coordinator for the Tallgrass Prairie. Payne also continues to serve as a municipal judge for Pawhuska, Hominy and Barnsdall.
Over the years Payne’s nature and wildlife photos have appeared in many newspapers, magazines, and calendars. Over 100 of his photographs are stored at the Smithsonian in their permanent prairie exhibit in Washington DC.
Former bookstore owner Jerry Brace says this book published by the University of Oklahoma Press is likely to be the favorite gift book this Fall at Brace Books & More. Nov.11 will be a great time to meet these two men who have created this wonderful local interest book.
If you are unable to attend the book signing you may call the bookstore at 580-765-5173 to request signed copies.