History Happenings   Late April - Early May 2017
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
The Corner
Tompkins County Public Library Book Truck, late 1920s. Photo from the Collection of The History Center. 

Go Local with History

This spring when people across Tompkins County are commemorating Tompkins County's bicentennial, students in Jevon Ballard's and my Social Studies classes at Boynton Middle School in Ithaca will be exploring connections between national and local historical events. With support from the Ithaca Public Education Initiative and collaboration with The History Center, the project will provide students with the opportunity for civic engagement. By contributing stories to the Names on the Land project, creating maps for the Mapping Tompkins project, and utilizing primary and secondary documents from the archives of The History Center, students will gain an appreciation for the history of their community. Members of the community are welcome to attend a culminating event at Boynton on May 31st from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 pm. where students will celebrate local history by sharing what they learned along with their perspective drawings of buildings in Tompkins County.

Cindy Kramer, 
History Teacher, Boynton Middle School 
and Trustee, The History Center in Tompkins County
Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights 
*Items to be purchased in The History Center book store

"Smith Woods: The Environmental History of an Old Growth Forest Remnant in Central New York State"
by Warren D. Allmon; Marvin P. Pritts, Peter L. Marks, Blake P. Epstein, David A. Bullis, Kurt A. Jordan

This book is the story of how this little forest - known as Smith Woods - came to be, and how it persisted through the years when other old-growth forests met their demise by the axe and saw. Combining perspectives from geology, ecology, history, and anthropology, the authors weave a narrative history of the many influences - human and non-human - that have shaped this patch of land over the past 20,000 years since it emerged from the last glacial period. It is the story not just of Smith Woods, but of the forests that once covered almost all of northeastern North America.  Mention our newsletter and get 15% off from this selected title!

NEW Polydactyl Ithaca Kitty

The History Center has presented the long awaited new seven-toed Ithaca Kitty -  Ceaser Grimalkin 2017 Take a look at the  story line  of this nationally famous toy to find out the importance of updating its design. On April 22nd, the toys will be sold with a 10% discount for the talk "Polydactyl Cats in Ithaca" by Dr. Bruce Kornreich, DVM, PhD. 

Tompkins County Bicentennial Tea Towels

Celebrate Tompkins County's Bicentennial with a commemorative - and useful - keepsake tea towel!
Want to see what our county looked like in 1866, then see the county map featured on the tea towel.
Carol Kammen inspired the tea towel idea, while Alanna Congdon designed and worked with a local printing company to bring the idea to fruition.
Each towel is made in the US and is available for $10 at The History Center, the Tompkins County Clerk's Office, and Ithaca Town Clerk's Office.
Upcoming Exhibition

Tioga Street in 1920s and modern days. Photo montage from the Collection of The History Center.
Main Gallery Exhibit
The Altered and Preserved Landscape
On display from May 5th through August 26th, 2017
This exhibit by students at Tompkins Cortland Community College examines the local landscape and is part of the larger celebration of the 200 year anniversary of Tompkins County. The artworks explore the visual and functional conditions of Tompkins County over time by drawing on primary source materials from The History Center. 
Faculty:  Harry Littell,  Keith Millman,  Christine Shanks,  Mark Grimm,  Cynthia Kjellander-Cantu.

Current Exhibitions

Looking West down Main Street, Trumansburg, NY. Early 1900s
Our Municipality Display Case
The A, B, C of James McLallen's Ulysses
On display through early June 2017
The History Center has a display in the Exploring Tompkins County series featuring the Agriculture, Business, and Churches of James McLallen's Ulysses. We thank John Wertis, Town of Ulysses Historian, for providing the invaluable material, knowledge and time to bring this display to life.   

Our Community 
League of Women Voters
On display through mid-May 2017
In this centennial year of women earning the right to vote in New York State, The History Center has a photograph exhibit highlighting the history and work of the Tompkins County League of Women Voters. Learn about this vibrant organization that works for good government through education, advocacy and community engagement.

Website Highlights

Oral History Resources
The History Center in Tompkins County places a great deal of value on sharing our stories. We all have a history, a story to share, and are part of the community's collective history. Over time we will be reviewing the intersection of sharing personal stories, inter-generational dialogues, and conducting oral histories for groups and organizations. Read more on the new website page.

Women's Suffrage Educational Materials
Rural Voices on the Path to Women's Rights Exhibit is celebrating Tompkins County's rural women and their influence on their communities and the 1917 Suffrage victory. 
This is a collection of some materials on the history of suffrage and notable women in the rural communities in parts of Tompkins County taken from the time of the landmark vote. The exhibit, which will travel to each of the rural libraries in Tompkins County, consists of nine panels that explore daily life for women in rural areas, the pro and anti-suffrage sentiment and notable stories of women in each area. View the page. ( Courtesy of The Southworth Library)
County Bicentennial Highlights

County Bicentennial Municipal Brochures
New town municipal brochures for Caroline, Danby, Dryden, Enfield, Groton, Lansing, Newfield, Ithaca and Ulysses in honor of Tompkins County's bicentennial. Check out the brochures here.

Tompkins County Bicentennial Crossword
Crossword  (hard copies are available at Pastimes) by Adam Perl ( solution).
Eight Square Schoolhouse Announcement 

July 10-14 2017, 
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM,
Co-ed Ages 8 - 13
There are only a few spots available! Join us for a week of immersion into the 19th century life of 13 year old Carrie Manning, as told through the words of her 1869 diary. The Manning farm was near the present day site of Northeast School in the Town of Ithaca. A sampling of the topics and activities for this summer include c
rafting your own journal; w riting with pen and ink; h omespun activities; g ardening & local herbs; N ative American crafts;  Women's Suffrage;  Civil War History; n ature walk and crafts; i ntroduction to Archaeology; p lus guest presenters! For more information visit the website page or contact EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net.
Ithaca Festival Parade: March with The History Center
Theme: Women's Suffrage Centennial 

Come and walk with The History Center in the Ithaca Festival Parade as we re-enact a Women's Suffrage March reminiscent of the early 1900's! Long black skirts and high collar blouses were the fashion of the day ~ The History Center will provide placards to carry to proclaim our hard won victory at finally securing the vote for women in New York State in 1917. We also invite men and children to walk with us to show  their support for the women in their lives!  More details about the meeting place and time will be in the next History Happenings If interested, please contact: 
Carole West at EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net, or
Ksenia Ionova at Community@TheHistoryCenrter.net .
  Upcoming Events

Ithaca Fringe Festival (at The History Center)
Friday, April 21st, 5:30 PM - 6:20 PM 
Saturday, April 22nd, 5:30 PM - 6:20 PM
Sunday, April 23rd, 11:15 AM - 12:10 PM 
Ithaca Fringe Festival will present the act "The World Will Stop if We Make a Mistake" by New Vintage Ensemble out of Scranton, Pennsylvania. "Judy and Zack are just like you. They have loving relationships, families of their own and full-time jobs. When Zack finds a box containing several notes, cards and letters Judy has sent to him over 25 years, they discover a comic strip they created as kids. The characters Sunny and Cloudy come back to life as the friends find that their childhood selves have a lot to offer. Judy and Zack then begin to believe that they'll be able to weather their uncertain futures with courage and good humor." Tickets are $10 ($8 for students with ID) for one show, and multi-show passes are available at discounted rates. Tickets to this and the other shows in this year's Ithaca Fringe are available at the door, at Fringe Central, at the Visitors Center on the Commons (opening April 18), or online. See the full lineup of shows and schedule at http://www.ithacafringe.com.

Ceasar Grimalkin, late 1800s. Photo from the Collection of The History Center. 
Talk "Polydactyl Cats in Ithaca" by Bruce Kornreich, DVM, PhD
Saturday, April 22nd, 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM (at The History Center)
Ithaca is famous for its concentration of polydactyl cats, that is cats with extra toes. If you do not own such a cat, you may have seen one or two wandering down the street or in a local SPCA center. In fact, Ithaca Kitty, a staple Ithacan stuffed animal toy, impersonates one of those mitten-pawed cats.
One narrative suggests when cats were shipped on boats from Britain to the New World, those cats had to develop extra toes to better balance on board the ship. On April 22nd, Dr. Bruce Kornreich from Cornell Feline Health Center will confirm or debunk this myth by providing insights into the history and genetics of this local anomaly. 

Shaker "Great Barns": 1820s - 1880s
 A Book Talk with author, Lauren Stiles
Tuesday, April 25th, 7:00 PM (at Dryden Village Hall) 
Doors open at 6:30 PM Come early to meet the author and chat. There will be copies of the book, Shaker "Great Barns" for sale. Free and Open to all. 
Historic Ithaca partners with Dryden Town Historical Society to present Shaker "Great Barns." Barns have been the subject of many DTHS programs. We've looked at structure, styles, uses, agricultural practices, and farm families. This talk by Lauren Stiles will discuss interesting details about the Shaker "Great Barns." Learn more here.

Smith Woods, image provided by PRI.
Smith Woods: The Environmental History of an Old Growth Forest in Central New York State

Wednesday, April 26th, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM (at Ulysses Philomathic Library)
Join us to celebrate the publication of the Paleontological Research Institution's (PRI's) new book celebrating this remarkable forest, Smi th Woods: The Environmental History of an Old Growth Forest in Central New York State. Combining perspectives from geology, ecology, history, and anthropology, the authors weave a narrative history of the many influences that have shaped this patch of land over the past 20,000 years. It is the story not just of Smith Woods, but of the forests that once covered almost all of northeastern North America. Read more information about the book here

HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturdays, April 29th & May 13th, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (at The History Center)
Come volunteer at our next transcription bee!  Light refreshments will be served with lots of fun and an educational opportunity that will make Ithaca history come alive. Be sure to bring your laptop. Sign up to volunteer here

Wharton Studio Museum Presents: Silents Roar! Film Fest for Tompkins County Youth!
May 2017
Wharton Studio Museum is pleased to present Silents Roar! Tompkins County's 1st Film Festival for youth, coming this Spring. Inspired by the role Ithaca and the region played in silent movie history a century ago, Silents Road! is an exciting opportunity for high school age students throughout Tompkins County to create a short silent film. Entrants must be residents of Tompkins County and between ages of 14 and 18. Entrants will be asked to produce a silent film, 3 minutes in length and in a genre of their choosing. No previous filmmaking experience is necessary!
Film submissions will be accepted until May 7, 2017 at midnight.
For registration details and information, please visit www.silentsroar.wordpress.com. For more 

T he New Jim Crow  Community Read 
Monday, May 1st, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM (at BJM gym) 
"Taking action to End the New Jim Crow." Next steps for addressing mass incarceration locally. Find out more information on the  official website.

Tioga Street in 1920s and modern days. Photo montage from the Collection of The History Center.
First Friday Gallery Night: Opening of the New Exhibit
Friday, May 5th, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (at The History Center)
In conjunction with the First Friday Gallery Night, The History Center will present a new exhibition with a 6.30 PM presentation "The Altered and Preserved Landscape" by the faculty and students of Tompkins Cortland Community College. 
This exhibition by students at Tompkins Cortland Community College examines the local landscape and is part of the larger celebration of the 200 year anniversary of Tompkins County. The artworks explore the visual and functional conditions of Tompkins County over time by drawing on primary source materials from The History Center. 

Spring Writes Festival (at The History Center)
Friday, May 5th, 5:30 PM - 6.30 PM 
Presentation & Q&A: Cornell Race and Empathy Project
Saturday, May 6th, 11.00 AM to 2:00 PM 
Cornell Race and Empathy Project listening booth on display 
Sunday, May 7th, Readings & Discussion Panels
11:00 AM to 12:15 PM - Panel: "World Building: If You Build It, They Will Come" 
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Reading: "Chicken Feathers: Stories and Poems," Zee Zahava 
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM - Readings: NY Votes for Women: A Suffrage Centennial Anthology 

Presentation: Timeline of Women's Suffrage in Central New York State
Saturday, May 6th, 11.00 AM to 12.00 PM (at The History Center)
The History Center's staff will present a recently compiled timeline of events in the Women's Suffrage movement in Central New York State. This timeline is a part of the digital educational materials developed for the Women's Suffrage centennial, and will be available at TheHistoryCenter.net.

Talk on Harriet Tubman National Historical Park with Karen Hill
Saturday, May 6th, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (at The History Center, in partnership with Historic Ithaca)
Karen Hill is the executive director of the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, New York. The site recently received final federal approval to become the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park (NHP) to be operated by the National Park Service and the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. The new park will recognize Tubman's significant role and involvement in the Underground Railroad, Women's Suffrage and other causes. Karen Hill will talk about Harriet Tubman, history of the site and the process it underwent in becoming a National Historical Park.

Stories from the Senior Troupe of Lifelong: Music and Memories
Tuesday, May 9th, 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM (at The History Center)
The Senior Troupe of Lifelong presents Living History Theatre, which centers on the theme of "music" featuring stories from the troupe's lives that are both humorous and serious. For more information about the Senior Citizen Troupe of Lifelong you can contact Lifelong at 607-273-1511 or go to the official website. This project is supported with grant support from the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County. Watch the trailer here.

Ithaca Trolley, 1887. Photo from the Collection of The History Center
Ithaca Street Railway Bus Tour

Sunday, May 14th, 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM (to start at The History Center)
Ithaca was served by a street railway from late 1887 to the summer of 1935. After several twists and turns this transportation system has grown into today's TCAT. At its furthest extent lines ran between the two Lehigh Valley Railroad stations (downtown and East Ithaca), to Renwick (now Stewart) Park, a loop around the Cornell campus and Cornell Heights, and an extension into Cayuga Heights. A few physical remnants of the system can still be seen, and the route can be traced. 
The History Center is organizing a bus tour of the system, with commentary by David Rossiter, on Sunday, May 14th at 1:30 PM, leaving from the History Center. The tour will follow the entire route and view all remnants of the system. The tour includes five stops with some walking; we estimate the total time at about 2 1/2 hours, including an introduction in the History Center to view the railroad component of the "Altered and Preserved Landscape" exhibit. Cost is $20 to cover the bus rental.  If interested, visit the registration page to sign up or contact Ksenia Ionova at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net.

Save the Date: Women's Suffrage Plays
Tuesday, May 16th and Wednesday, May 17th, 7:30 PM (at the Kitchen Theatre Company)
To celebrate the centennial of the Women's Suffrage in New York State, the Hangar Theatre, Kitchen Theatre Company, Civic Ensemble and The Cherry commissioned an evening of new short plays.  Inspired by the Women's Suffrage movement and funded in part by the New York Council on the Humanities, these plays will be performed together on May 16th and 17th, 2017 at Kitchen Theatre Company. Read more here. Tickets: Call 607-272-0403 for information.

Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Save the Date: Italian-American Community Forum
Saturday, May 20th, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (at The History Center)
Save the date for an Italian-American Community forum day to be held on May 20, 2017 at The History Center. An Italian-American event held in 1983 resulted in the acquisition of many family stories and photographs. The community forum's goals include understanding the experiences and roles of Italian-Americans using 1910 as a starting point, exploring a sense of place, connecting people across the generations, and adding new archival material. For more information, visit the event page. Please register for the event here
From the Collection
World War I Poster

WWI Poster. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
The US government finances its tremendous day-to-day operations by various means including taxation and the sale of Treasury Bills. In wartime the financial need is even greater and more innovative measures are routinely taken. During World War I the government sponsored the sale of War Savings Certificates and Stamps. These were available at post offices, banks, and other designated locations. In late 1917 each stamp cost $4.12 and each certificate had space for 20 stamps. For people of more modest means, Thrift Stamps could be purchased. Costing only 25 cents, 16 of these could be accumulated to purchase a War Savings Stamp. Wealthier people could purchase bonds of higher denominations as part of the Liberty Loan program. There were five such Liberty Loans, including one after the war was over in 1918-1919, meant to pay off the tremendous indebtedness of the country, and to "bring the boys back home." These bonds were redeemable by the purchasers at a later date with accrued interest. Read more... 

Rod Howe | Executive Director | Director@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 222
Donna Eschenbrenner | Archivist | Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 224

Carole West | Educator, Eight Square Schoolhouse | EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 229

Ksenia Ionova |  Community Outreach & Visitor Services | Community@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 227

Karen Binder | Bookkeeper & Administrative Services | Admin@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 225

Cindy Kjellander-Cantu | Design & Support Specialist | Design@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 223

STAY CONNECTED @TompkinsHistory