Retired Region 12 English teacher, lifelong photographer and Southwest Connecticut Arts Council member Emery Roth will lead the third installment of the Wilton Library Association and Wilton Historical Society 10th annual scholarly lecture series Sunday, March 12, at Wilton Library. Deriving from his 2015 book Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry, Roth\u2019s talk will focus on the rise and fall of the brass industry in Connecticut\u2019s Naugatuck River Valley \u2014 also known as Brass Valley \u2014 and share historic and more recent images of the area to tell its story. Roth was inspired to write his book after teaching in Connecticut\u2019s Northwest Hills for 40 years and becoming fascinated with Connecticut\u2019s old mill towns and their history. Roth began following tracks through old ruins until he was led to the last working brass mill in Brass Valley. \u201cMy wife and I sometimes call ourselves time travelers. As teenagers, we became fascinated by an old tax map that showed people and houses, but which had no date,\u201d he said. \u201cWe began visiting cemeteries to try to date the map, and eventually began visiting and photographing the houses and interviewing the people who were living in them then.\u201d After he retired, Roth saw how the farms were vanishing in the Northwest Hills and began making friends with farmers and \u201cphotographing anything [he] could\u201d to find out more. \u201cAs I expanded my photo territory, I eventually became interested in the Naugatuck River Valley. When I asked about Brass Valley, people told me I was too late,\u201d he said. \u201cHowever, a photographer friend and I began photographing whatever ruins or relics we could find of old Brass Valley.\u201d In 2011, the two got in touch with John Barto, of Ansonia Copper & Brass, and discovered the factory was still casting three-ton billets of metal at the old American Brass casting shop in Ansonia. \u201cThe billets were trucked to an old American Brass factory in Waterbury, where ancient machines were used to turn the billets into specification-critical metal tubes for nuclear subs,\u201d said Roth. \u201cWe photographed in those mills and the adjacent empty buildings of American Brass until the company went out of business in December 2013.\u201d Roth said he quickly became aware that he had been given \u201ca rare opportunity to photograph the end of an industry, which went back to the decades after the Revolution when Connecticut\u2019s industry was just forming.\u201d \u201cThe geographic proximity of the brass industry and the old iron industry made clear that this geography had been central to giving Connecticut its predominance in the development of early and lasting dominance in metals and machine tools industries,\u201d he said. \u201cNew Britain was known as \u2018Hardware City.\u2019 Meriden was the \u2018Silver City.\u2019 Southington was the \u2018Bell City\u2019 \u2014\u00a0but brass had a whole valley.\u201d From Bridgeport and New Haven to Winsted, brass was made and transformed into things like \u201cclips to clocks to the fittings for industry and weapons of war,\u201d said Roth. With his photographs, Roth created his book \u201cto honor and raise awareness of this region,\u201d he said. \u201cIts importance became a responsibility, as well as an opportunity. I am grateful to the men who proudly told me about what they did, and who gave me a story to tell in pictures and words.\u201d As a photographer, Roth said, \u201cI\u2019m led by my eyes, which are drawn to anything that speaks to me of the layers of time.\u201d \u201cIt can be a quality of light, a wilted flower, rust, peeling paint, old machines, or the technologies and skills demonstrated in making things,\u201d he said. \u201cMy pictures often lead me to think and write about the forces that shaped those layers and what they mean. What I found of special interest in the valley\u2019s history was that as I was telling its story, I was telling the story of a civic culture that \u2014 even as it fought bitterly over ideas of what society should look like \u2014 forged relationships and laws and expectations of behavior that made society more civil.\u201d During his scholarly series lecture, Roth said, he hopes for an \u201cinterested and interesting audience\u201d that will not only \u201cask good questions\u201d but also \u201chelp put the phrase \u2018Brass Valley\u2019 back onto people\u2019s lips and raise awareness of all that happened in this important region.\u201d Lectures This year\u2019s scholarly series will run through April, with all talks taking place from 4 to 5:30, followed by Q&A sessions. The next lectures are: March 26: Navigating the New Digital Landscape of Knowledge, with Julia Adams at Wilton Historical Society. April 2: 9\/11 and America\u2019s World View, with Matthew Warshauer at Wilton Historical Society. Receptions will follow each lecture. There is no charge, but registration for each lecture is required. Information and registration: www.wiltonlibrary.org.