From left to right: 1) A photo by Verne Morton "C. Sobers and others stacking hay, 1906", from a Photo Collection at The History Center. 2) Ithaca Festival on the Commons, June 2016. Photo - courtesy of IthacaFestival.org. 3) Ithaca Farmer's Market. Photo - courtesy of IthacaJournal.com.
The History Center recently submitted grant proposals with the thought that Tompkins County has, generally speaking, a rural culture, an urban culture and a distinct and unique integrated county culture. We hope to explore this more fully as it may lead to further creating a sense of place as we recognize and celebrate our mosaic of cultures. Further, the work may suggest narratives to highlight in future exhibits and programs. There will also be opportunities for engaging with artists to help interpret these various cultures including utilizing a folk arts lens.
Executive Director, Director@TheHistoryCenter.net
Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights
*Items to be purchased in The History Center book store
Mention our newsletter and get 15% off from these selected titles!
"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.
"Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers"
by Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell
The History Center's bookstore now includes a recently published visual history of Pennsylvania's Railroad Lumbering Communities - Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers: The Photographic Legacy of William T. Clarke.
Discovered in a shed in upstate New York and a barn in Pennsylvania after decades of obscurity, Clarke's photographs offer an unprecedented view of the logging, lumbering, and wood industries during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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.
*The 15% discount does not apply for this item.
On Display through April 15th
The pictures in this exhibition are from the stereoviews collection at The History Center in Ithaca, New York. The photographs celebrate the unique local landscapes with water features and have been enlarged and turned into anaglyphs by superimposing a stereograph pair into a single image.
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.
League of Women Voters
On display through late Spring 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.
County Bicentennial Highlights
The Names on The Land project includes a new article "A Tavern at the Corners: The Van Dorns of Enfield, New York" written by Deborah Martin-Plugh.
Names on the Land - Tompkins County
In 1821, in the first year of the Town of Enfield's establishment, 27-year-old Peter Van Dorn built a tavern on Mecklenburg Road (State Route 79) on what was then known as the Catskill Turnpike. A New York state historic marker stands on the site. The road that runs north and south past Peter Van Dorn's inn was subsequently named Van Dorn Road.
Tompkins County Bicentennial Crossword
Eight Square Schoolhouse Announcement
DIGGING INTO CARRIE'S DIARY: A SUMMER CAMP
July 10-14 2017,
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM,
Co-ed Ages 8 - 13
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;
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.
Generation to Generation Initiative
Collecting and Sharing Stories
Last spring The History Center conducted a successful pilot program pairing teens and elders in Tompkins County to archive local histories. We are looking for interested teens and elders for this year's Gen to Gen program, which will take place from April through May. This year we will explore place names and to some extent Women's Suffrage. If you would enjoy sharing your life experiences and wisdom with a high school student, and have lived a significant portion of your life in Tompkins County, this is the program for you! If you are a local teen who would like to know more about the history of Ithaca and Tompkins County from those who have lived it, this is the program for you!
|From left to right: Robert Nobles and Aidan Peck (Youth Volunteer), Generation to Generation class of 2016.
For more information, contact Carole West, at
Celebrate Friday, April 7th
On April 7,1817, by act of the New York State Legislature, the counties of Seneca and Cayuga were divided, and Tompkins County was formed.
Henry N. Hinckley and the Hinckley Foundation Museum: A Remembrance and Celebration
Friday, April 7th, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (at The History Center)
The History Center will host a presentation about Henry Hinckley and the Museum named in his honor during the April 7th First Friday Gallery Night at 6:00 p.m.
Henry N. Hinckley was born in Trumansburg, NY. The family moved to Ithaca and Henry attended Cornell University, graduating with a degree in architecture in 1911. He worked as an architect and for the Thomas Morse Air Craft Corporation. During World War I, he served in the Signal Corps and with the Air Force in France. After the war, he returned to Ithaca and worked as an investment banker, city building commissioner, owner and manager of residential properties, and collector and authority on antiques. After Henry's death in 1969, his house became the Hinckley Foundation Museum. The museum closed in the 1990s.
HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturday, April 8th, 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.
Mapping Tompkins Sessions
||A completed Mapping Tompkins work, provided by TCPL.
Saturday, April 8th, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (at The History Center);
Saturday, April 15th, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (at TCPL)
In recognition of Tompkins County's Bicentennial, Tompkins County Public Library and The History Center in Tompkins County will partner this spring for "Mapping Tompkins," a community celebration of what it means to live, learn, work and play in Tompkins County.
Inspired by the book "Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers," "Mapping Tompkins," offers an opportunity for community members past and present to share-through writing and illustrating pre-printed, blank maps of Tompkins County - what makes Tompkins County a special part of their lives.
Participants are encouraged to preview the Tompkins County Map
and look at an
from the "Mapping Manhattan."
Crayons, markers and magazines for collage-style creation will be available for participant use during both sessions.
Thursday, April 13th, 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM (at TTC Study Room, Tompkins County Public Library)
Join Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen for these free monthly workshops on exploring and 'doing' local history.
Saturday, April 15, 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM (at
Alpha Delta Phi - 777 Stewart Ave, Ithaca New York, 14850
Victory Club is a celebration in honor of giving back to the Ithaca local community. They will be celebrating the 100th year of Victory Club on April 15, 2017 with proceeds from the event benefiting the Ithaca Public Education Initiative. With a history going back to WWI, Alpha Delta Phi is pleased to invite you to participate in a night of black tie, gambling, champagne, philanthropy and serious fun. The History Center will have a 1917-themed room with raffle, scavenger hunt and quick tours. Read more and buy tickets here.
he New Jim Crow
Monday, April 17th, 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
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
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,
, 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.
Ithaca Heritage Pub Crawl
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017, 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM
There are only a few spots left - act quickly! The History Center and Historic Ithaca are combining some of our favorite things: history, historic buildings and drinks! You'll be greeted at each location with a guide who will tell you about the history of the bar or building you're occupying. The "teams" will spend 20-30 minutes at each bar before rotating to the next location. The participating pubs are Simeon's, Watershed, Argos, Chanticleer, and Bandwagon. Find more information and sign up on the official website.
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.
Save the Date: 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." Also, as a part of the Spring Writes Festival,
Cornell Race and Empathy Project
will give a talk
and a demonstration of their project from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
Save the Date: 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.
Save the Date: Italian-American Community Forum
Saturday, May 20th, 2017 (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.
From the Collection
In the nineteenth century, lemon juice was prescribed extensively as good for the nerves and to produce a cheerful disposition. The first wooden lemon squeezer consisted of a handle with a spiral, corrugated head. The later wooden squeezer, pictured here, was hinged and accommodated one half-lemon at a time, allowing the juice to run out through holes bored in the bowl-like section. By 1897, wooden squeezers had disappeared from the catalogues of mass vendors like Sears & Roebuck. The metal 20th century squeezer in the photo featured a porcelain hollow more resistant to the acidic lemons. Lemon squeezers allowed for a faster way to extract juice from lemons well before the advent of bottled juice and frozen lemonade.