History Happenings April 2018
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
The Corner
James Baldwin at the Africana Center, Cornell University, 1979.
Courtesy Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library. 

"James Baldwin's America" Reading & Discussion Series

The History Center in Tompkins County and the Africana Library at Cornell University will be offering a series of readings of the works by noted novelist, essayist, social critic and public intellectual James Baldwin. Participants will be reading selections from Baldwin's Collected Essays. This is a compilation of the complete book of essays of Baldwin's early works. Included in this collection are Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1961), The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972) and The Devil Finds Work (1972). Baldwin once wrote, "It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive." It is hoped that this series will give people a chance to gain a greater understanding of humanity. Included in this series are the showing of two films which highlight the work and contributions of Baldwin, James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket and I Am Not Your Negro. The series will run over a six week period.

Eric Acree is  Director of the Africana Library, Cornell University, and  Trustee at The History Center in Tompkins County.
Fundraiser: Johnny Russo's East Hill Classic Jazz Band CD  

East Hill Classic Jazz Band. Photo provided.

The History Center in Tompkins County, in conjunction with members of the East Hill Classic Jazz Band, including co-directors Johnny Russo, Doug Robinson, Brian Earle, London McDaniel, et. al., have teamed up for an Ithaca Our Home: A Forty Year Musical Odyssey in Tompkins County project reflecting the run of this remarkable group in Ithaca and Tompkins County. It will include a book, which will have photos, remembrances by Johnny and the musicians, and a seventeen song CD of original songs with printed lyrics inspired by the community, institutions and business that nurtured and supported their long remarkable career. These songs include Aurora Street Blues, College Avenue Strut, and the Mystery of Taughannock with various photos of the band in action in diverse settings from the Ithaca Farmers Market, Cornell's Fraternity Row, Alumni Events to weddings and Carnegie Hall in 2003.

This project is expected to be ready by this summer, with The History Center benefiting from the proceeds of the sales. Though Johnny & the Band have donated all this material to benefit The History Center, there is a cost associated with the physical production. The goal is to raise $3,500. Please contribute by  following this link or contacting Ksenia Ionova at 607-273-8284 Ext. 227, and if you would like to be noted as one of the supporters be sure to leave your name. If you would prefer to contribute by check you can make it out to The History Center in Tompkins County and note that it is to be used for the Russo CD project and mail to 401 E. State Street, Suite 100, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Listen to Johnny Russo talk about this project on WHCU.

Thank you for your support!
The History Center's Volunteers are Recognized 
by the Museum Association of New York

HistoryForge transcription session. Kristin Yarnell and Judith Kinney are sitting next to each other on the right.
Kristin Yarnell and Judith Kinney will receive an "Achievement Award" as part of the Museum Association of New York's 2018 conference "Visioning Change." The Award Ceremony will take place at 8:00 AM on Monday, April 9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester.

Individual Achievement awards recognize devoted staff and volunteers who are instrumental in moving their organizations forward over a sustained period. 

Volunteers Kristin Yarnell and her mother, Judith Kinney, have each made truly inspirational contributions to the success of HistoryForge, an interactive web environment for exploring local history (https://historyforge.thehistorycenter.net) that is being developed in open-source software to provide insights into the history of any community. Kristin had a critical role in getting the project underway and now consults on all aspects of the overall design and data acquisition effort; Judith Kinney contributes as a tireless transcriber and transcription trainer. Their dedication and hard work is bringing history alive for contemporary Ithacans, and sets the foundation for all communities adopting the product.

Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights  

Mention our newsletter and get 15% off from this selected title!  
The Towns of Tompkins County: From Podunk to the Magnetic Springs,  Edited by Jane Marsh Dieckman

The book draws on historical accounts, public records, newspaper stories, and recollections of residents, especially those who have lived in the county for many years. Illustrated with more then 100 photographs and maps, this volume will make informative, useful, and entertaining reading for residents and friends of the region.

Fading Finger Lakes Structures: Images and Verse
By Michael W. Duttweiler
The 24 structures depicted here have seen better days. All are located in the central Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Each image is paired with a poem conveying the allure and intrigue of deserted and abandoned structures. Poems by Conant, Kilmer, Frost, Dickinson, Whitman, Tennyson and other well-known authors are included. The photographer is Michael W. Duttweiler, a career-long adult educator with Cornell University Cooperative Extension. He has a long-standing interest in the local history of the Catskill Mountains, Finger Lakes, and other regions of New York. Now retired, he lives with his family in Ithaca, New York.

The Architectural Heritage of Tompkins County
Richard Corth (Photographer), Lynn Cunningham Truame & Carol Kammen (Historians), Fred Muratori (Poet)
This book celebrates the structures built by the people of Tompkins County, New York. Some of the examples within are typical of the Finger Lakes region; others exemplify significant architectural movements; still others testify to the eccentric whims of their owners or architects. 
Current Exhibitions

Main Gallery Exhibition
The Maps of Tompkins County
Maps are powerful and engaging forms of visual communication. They show us our world, and the myriad smaller places within it. Maps simplify, scale down, and organize what otherwise would be too large, too distant, or too complex to be seen. 
Maps fulfill a multitude of functions, and are used for a variety of purposes. Political maps, railway maps, waterway maps, soil maps; from cross-sections of lake water depth to trolley routes; maps are irresistible and invaluable resources for learning about our environment in all its tremendous diversity. 
This exhibit displays a sampling of The History Center's map collection from the 19th through the 21st centuries.
Peter Webb & Phyllis Webb of Caroline, n.d. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Our Community Corner 
The Webbs - A Tompkins County Family
In honor of our county's bicentennial in 2017 The History Center is celebrating one long-established family from Caroline, the Webbs and their descendants, who exemplify the strength, character, and dedication to family and community that highlight the best of Tompkins County. Peter and Phyllis Webb were both born into slavery sometime in the 1790s and brought to New York as children. Phyllis (she had no last name) was born in North Carolina. Peter Webb, who was born around 1792 in Virginia, was brought here by John James Speed, a slave merchant who settled in Caroline on Level Green Road. Through tremendous hard work and perseverance Peter bought his freedom in 1818; Phyllis would be freed when slavery was abolished in New York State in 1827.
This photograph exhibit tells the moving and enriching story of one family's triumph over extreme hardship and their prosperous and vibrant descendants. 

Former Map Room 
The Many Names of Fall Creek
Names tell a story. Known to the Cayugas as Nogaene, Fall Creek flows past Tompkins County places whose names acknowledge the many connections we have with the creek--from business success to technical triumph, and even personal tragedies. 
The exhibition is co-sponsored by: 
Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission  and  Names on the Land--Tompkins County

Exploring Tompkins County: 
A Municipality Display Case
Town of Ithaca: Early Days
Exploring Tompkins County display is a collaboration between The History Center in Tompkins County and Tompkins County's municipal historians. This new exhibit samples artifacts of early Town of Ithaca. We thank David George, Town of Ithaca Historian, for providing his knowledge and time to create this unique exhibit. In  the photo: Town of Ithaca Board Minutes, 1821. Photo Courtesy of David George. 
Upcoming Events

James Baldwin Film Series
Thursday, April 5, 6:30 PM (Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell, Multipurpose room)
"James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket"
This film uses striking archival footage to evoke Baldwin's formative years. (87 min.)
Thursday, May 3, 6:30 PM (Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell, Multipurpose room)
"I Am Not Your Negro"
Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions a book about Medgar Evers. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. that James Baldwin started, but never finished. (94 min.)
Free to the public and free popcorn to the first 50 people!

First Friday Gallery Night: Sharing Our Stories
Friday, April 6, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (at The History Center)
In conjunction with First Friday Gallery Night and ongoing oral histories project, there will be a  6:00 PM presentation Sharing Our Stories.
The History Center is committed to the idea of capturing and sharing the stories of our eclectic community. We feel it is important for older generations to make connections through sharing their stories and passing them on to younger generations, not only to archive family histories but to add to our collective community history as well. Please join Youth Education Director Carole West for this FFGN presentation to hear about the exciting Oral History programs that will be taking place this spring, and how family members of all ages can participate! 

Engaging Local History
Thursday, April 12, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (at Tompkins County Public Library)
Join Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen for these free monthly workshops on exploring and 'doing' local history. 

HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturdays, April 14 & 28, 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!  

Ithaca Heritage Tasting & Cocktail Tour
Saturday, April 14, 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM (starting at various locations, see online registration site)
Join us on the Ithaca Heritage Tasting and Cocktail Tour, Saturday, April 14, 2:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m., for a visit to four historic Ithaca establishments. W e've expanded on last year's wildly popular Ithaca Heritage Pub Crawl to offer a tasting menu in addition to the beverage sampling. Partnering this year with Ithaca is Foodies Culinary Tours. Learn the history of Ithaca's downtown buildings and the evolution of its vibrant culinary scene as we taste our way through Bar Argos, Mahogany Grill, Moosewood, and The Watershed.
Cost is $40 per person ($35 for students). Visit the Ithaca Heritage Tasting and Cocktail Tour web page (http://www.ithacaheritage.com/tasting-cocktail-tour/) to register. Register soon--spaces are limited.  Sponsored by Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons, Whitham Planning & Design, and Tompkins County Tourism Program. Share this event on Facebook!  

Southside, 1930. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Southside Neighborhood Evolution: HistoryForge 1900-1930
Saturday, April 21, 9:30-11:30 AM (at Southside Community Center)
The Southside Community neighborhood will provide the context for looking at families and their relationship to that community in the early 20th century. We will hear from individuals whose families settled in the neighborhood during that period and participants will be invited to share their family connections to the community. After the discussion we will walk to three nearby houses to delve deeper into family-community narratives to learn about families from 100 years ago.
This event is a collaboration of Southside Community Center and The History Center in Tompkins County and is sponsored by M&T bank. This program is the first in a series that will culminate in an African-American community forum in the fall of 2018. The title of the series is "African-Americans in Ithaca: People, Place and Time."

The Loneliness Project
Thursday, April 19, 7:30 PM ( Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts)
Friday, April 20, 5:00 PM (Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts)
Saturday, April 21, 2:00 PM (The History Center in Tompkins County)
Saturday, April 21, 7:30 PM (Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts)
Civic Ensemble, Cornell's Department of Performing and Media Arts, and The History Center in Tompkins County are proud to present four staged readings of The Loneliness Project.  This new documentary play uses interviews with LGBTIA+ youth and seniors to chronicle  the rich history of Chicago's LGBTQIA+ activist communities and to make sense of their fracturing over the past 20 years. This is a tale of fierce activism, profound loneliness, and remarkable resilience, The Loneliness Project employs the documentary method as not only a mode of artistic creation and preservation but also as a mode of collaborative problem-solving.  In a  moment when recent legislative advancements may be in peril and urgent community needs continue to be overlooked, how do artists, activists, and organizers maintain focus on and respond to the most immediate needs of our communities?

"Historians' Perspectives: Bringing Forward Insights From the Past"
Saturday, April 28, 2:00 PM (at The History Center in Tompkins County)
The discussion will include municipal historians Bea Szekely (Cayuga Heights), John Wertis (Ulysses), and Bruce Brittain (Forest Home). They will share perspectives on  development in their communities. What are some historical drivers of development and who, traditionally, have been the decision makers? Is there "intelligence" from the past to inform the current development dialogue? These are some of the questions that will be addressed about the built environment in our communities.
This is the first program in a year-long series entitled, Development in Ithaca/Tompkins County: The Past, Present and Future that represents a broad collaboration of entities and organizations.

The Thomas-Morse Scout--built here in Ithaca--played an enormous role in the early years of aviation, and was affectionately known as "Tommy." IAHF (Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation) acquired an original 1918 Thomas-Morse Scout in 2009. Since then their volunteers have devoted countless hours and remarkable skills to returning the Tommy to flying condition. Please support Tommy's Centennial Flight Celebration by visiting IAHF's website at www.tommycomehome.org or mailing your tax deductible donations to Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation, 200 East Buffalo Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Find IAHF on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tommycomeshome/
Generation to Generation: Collecting and Sharing Stories

Gen to Gen Orientation, 2017. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Tompkins County is a hub of vibrant community members who have many stories to tell!   We are looking for interested elders for this year's Gen to Gen program who would like to share their stories with the community by having local teens interview them.  These interviews will be archived at The History Center for future generations to access in order to learn about the history of the county in the 20th and early 21st centuries. 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! Here are a couple poignant comments from several participants:

"All of Bob's stories about his experiences as a prisoner of war...had a lot of impact on me".
"It was fun to exchange words and feelings with a...teenager, and I learned that it was easier for me to talk than to write".

This spring's program is scheduled to take place from early April until early June.

For more information and to find out how you can participate, contact: Youth Education Director Carole West, 607 273 8284 X229, eightsquare@thehistorycenter.net
PEGASYS Presents: Tompkins Center for History and Culture

Left to right: Jennifer Tavares and Rod Howe talk about the plans for the new Tompkins Center for History and Culture.
Watch this issue of PEGASYS Presents to learn about the plans for the new home of The History Center -- Tompkins Center for History and Culture. The History Center is planning to move in January, 2019. 
We are Moving!
Packing Highlights 

Barr-Morse Typewriter. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Barr-Morse Typewriter

Morse Chain Company was incorporated in 1898 in Trumansburg to build springs for carts and bicycle chains. After moving to Ithaca in 1906 the company branched out into numerous other industries including airplanes, clocks, and typewriters. 

This Barr-Morse portable typewriter may date from as early as the late 1920s, when the Barr-Morse Typewriter Company began production. It was recently packed for our move to the new Tompkins Center for History and Culture. 

Watch this space for more updates on packing our collection!

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

Nancy Menning | Bookkeeper & Office Manager  | Admin@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 225

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

STAY CONNECTED @TompkinsHistory