By the time that Altoona native Jared Frederick graduated from Bishop Guilfoyle in 2006, he had already established in his mind that he wanted to do something with history. He says that he had known since fourth or fifth grade that he wanted to make a career in history.
Frederick says that there were a number of factors that led him down that path. A major one was that he saw the movie Gettysburg when he was seven years old. That made him conscious of the fact that there was such a thing as history.
"I had always been interested in stories about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. Seeing the movie Gettysburg, really opened up my eyes to the scope and power that historical stories convey", he relates.
Throughout his elementary and middle school years, while all of his friends were going to Disneyland and Myrtle Beach, his parents took him to historical sites such as civil war battlefields. that further nurtured his appreciation. "Neither one of my parents were history buffs but they wanted to accommodate my interests and lead me to my life's vocation."
When he was in about eighth grade, they went on a family trip to Gettysburg and he was browsing some of the books in one of the gift shops, books for kids more specifically. He turned to his mom and said that he could write something better.
Frederick says, "I prided myself on being a decent illustrator. So, my mom said 'Why don't you do something better.' "
So, he took that challenge. His sophomore year of high school, he self-published his first book. It was an examination of Civil War Generals. There were concise biographies scattered throughout and then he did an illustration of each general as well. It was meant for young adults and was meant to be a coloring book.
One thing led to another and he wrote and illustrated a sequel, which was published his senior year of high school.
Two years later, he did a similarly illustrated book on the history of Pennsylvania.
Starting in high school and continuing through his college years, he sold ten thousand copies of those three books. That was his summer job. He says that some kids work at the car wash or the grocery store, meanwhile he traveled around the mid-atlantic going to museums, reenactments and commemorative events and he would sell his books. "That was my beginning in the publishing world."
**To read the complete interview, check out the upcoming book release They Came From Blair County Volume 2 due out by the end of 2021
**Information for this article was obtained through a phone interview with Jared Frederick
**Photos were provided by Jared Frederick