by Vicki Priest (c)
This is a continuation of St. Clair County Histories, A Consideration of Subscription Financing and Accuracy, looking at some factors that should provide an idea of the reliability of what locals know as Andreas’ history of St. Clair County (Michigan). Author credibility and biographies are emphasized. This second part in the series may be the longest one–indeed, it is quite long–but I hope you find it informative, if not amusing.
First, a note on the authorship of History of St. Clair County. Without some background information, the authorship and even publisher of this book are unclear. “Chicago, A. T. Andreas & Co, 1883” is found on the title page, with no other authorship or publisher obviously provided (an available reprint provides the author as “anonymous”). The Preface is written by Western Historical Company (WHC), which was a publisher of such works and is known as such; specific authors are not mentioned, including Andreas. Normally, WHC books have that firm’s name and date where Andreas & Co. have theirs (a note about the book being entered into the Library of Congress is usually inside, too). Searched collections of this company’s works didn’t yield the History of St. Clair County, Michigan, and writings on A. T. Andreas don’t normally yield this title either, making this history more obscure than those known by either author or publisher (in addition, Ristow 1966 doesn’t provide it in his list of Andreas’ county histories). However, it turns out that Andreas and WHC are one and the same (at least at this time)! It seems odd that he would use two different company names together, but in any case, Andreas is attributed as the author even though he may have written very little of the book. He appears to have been the compiler and final editor, but more on that below.