Moore designed the cover art for the Civil War book, which features letters on the front page as well as other important information.
The book is a collection of letters from Ann, Dougherty’s great-grand aunt.
“We had been talking about his book for a while, so I had some ideas from the beginning and we finally sat down and he asked me to do the cover for him,” Moore said. “We talked about what the book was about and what we wanted it to look like and who we wanted it to appeal so we decided to do antique letters. It’s been really cool to see my work through him and see all the accomplishments he’s gotten.”
Moore said throughout the design process, she received guidance from the Woodstock High staff.
“Isabel Mason is the graphic design teacher and she’s been teaching me for three years now and she helped me along the way when I had questions,” she said. “The whole graphic design program has been helpful in teaching me what I know. The principals, assistant principals and staff have been very supportive of everything that’s happened. They were all there for the awards ceremony.”
At a time when the postal service was a new form of communication, Dougherty said Ann probably kept the letters from her correspondences with Civil War soldiers for future generations to see.
Ann preserved the letters and passed them down to her daughter-in-law, Becky, who was married to Ann’s son, Jesse. Dougherty’s father, Hugh, was taken in and raised by his uncle, Jesse. Becky handed the letters down to Hugh’s wife, Lillian, who then passed them to her son, Gerald Dougherty, who decided to create the book in alliance with the 150th anniversary of the war.
Dougherty said the letters endured all extremes of conditions and is amazed by the quality despite the circumstances.
“They’ve been surrounded by hot, cold, wet, dry, humid and nice conditions, they’ve been around insects and varmints, but they’ve lasted,” he said. “As soon as I got to them, I put them in plastic to preserve them as long as possible.”
The 31 letters in the book are comprised of communication between four men, including two of Ann’s brothers, and one, who later became her husband. There are 19 letters from soldiers that were sent from sites in the southern U.S. from Nashville to Andersonville prison.
“There is no single character to follow,” he said. “Two of the guys never came back from the war, so there is no one story, except the Civil War itself. I organized the story through a timeline, which helps explain why each guy was where he was at each point in time.”
Dougherty said although the letters are from soldiers, he considers the true heroes to be the women and children who held the family and small Ohio towns together while the men were away.
He said he included a letter at the beginning of the book to show what life was like before the war.
“The letter is a girl writing a boy inviting him to come see her for the weekend,” Dougherty said. “It shows similarities and differences between life today. Then the war starts and the family starts reacting.”
In one letter, Dougherty said a family had last received a letter in November from one of the soldiers and by March, they still had not heard anything.
“Little did they know, he was captured in the Andersonville prison,” he said.
Dougherty said readers can infer more from what the letters leave out than what they say.
He said, as a former chemical engineer, he took a hands-off approach in writing.
“I let readers make their own decisions about what happens, so they can think maybe this or maybe that,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty said the reviews he has received so far are “better than anything I could have hoped for.”
He said it was the specific inflections and nuances that writers used that kept him intrigued, and he expects it will also engage readers.
“I’m blown away by how much interest there is in the Civil War, especially in Atlanta and Woodstock,” Dougherty said.
Moore said she has had a chance to read sections of the book and finds it interesting.
“I think it’s cool how these people are normal people and all of this is happening to them and we can read this today and see how times have changed,” she said.