History Happenings March 2018
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
The Corner 
From left to right: Stained Glass window created in Elizabeth Beebe's honor, ca. 1910. Elizabeth Beebe, August 1874. The photos are from the Collection of The History Center.

March is National Women's History Month!

2018: Theme - "Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women." In 1987 the US Congress designated March as National Women's History Month. Each year there is a special theme and women whose lives exemplify that theme are selected as National Honorees. 

The 2018 National Women's History theme presents the opportunity to honor women who have shaped America's history and its future through their tireless commitment to ending discrimination against women and girls. The theme embodies women working together with strength, tenacity and courage to overcome obstacles and achieve joyful accomplishments. To see the 2018 National Women's History Project honorees: http://www.nwhp.org/2018-theme-honorees/

Last year we hosted a bus tour to the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY. Follow their progress in moving the Hall to the 1844 Seneca Knitting Mill here.

Finally, if Tompkins County had its own Women's Hall of Fame let us know who you think should be honored and why (using the 2018 theme for National Women's History Month).

Executive Director of The History Center in Tompkins County
Last Call!

Thursday, March 1st, 2018, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
at First Unitarian Society of Ithaca
306 North Aurora Street

The History Center in Tompkins County is pleased to announce its third annual Celebrating History Awards Gala scheduled for Thursday, March 1 at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca. The History Center's trustees and employees view the awards as a way to honor those who are making history, engaging with local history, interpreting local history, and/or whose work resonates with our mission statement. 
The event is to benefit The History Center and will be festive with well-deserved recognition, music  by "The Brian Earle Trio," hearty hor d'oeuvres and drinks by Serendipity Catering, and conviviality.


Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation 
Louise Bement 
Historian, Town of Lansing 
Diana Riesman
Executive Director and Co-Founder, Wharton Studio Museum
Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell
Director of Programs & Outreach at Ithaca College and Tompkins County Heritage Ambassador 
And Stuart W. Stein 
will be recognized posthumously  as the Founder of Tompkins County Heritage Tourism 

Register for the Gala by filling out this online registration form,
 or by contacting Ksenia Ionova at 607-273-8284 Ext. 227.
Johnny Russo's East Hill Classic Jazz Band CD Fundraiser

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. The book will include 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!
Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights  
Coming up soon:

Maintaining the Bridges
Quarterly Newsletter of the Newfield Historical Society
By Alan Chaffee and the Town of Newfield Historical Society

The History Center is selling copies of this particular Newfield Historical Society newsletter. This issue includes many enlarged great images of Newfield, an enlarged color 11'x17' 1853 Newfield village map, and articles about the covered bridge. 

Mention our newsletter and get 10% off from this selected title!  
Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State By Susan Goodier and Karen Pastorello
*Limited number of copies

Women Will Vote celebrates the 2017 centenary of women's right to full suffrage in New York State. Susan Goodier and Karen Pastorello highlight the activism of rural, urban, African American, Jewish, immigrant, and European American women, as well as male suffragists, both upstate and downstate, that led to the positive outcome of the 1917 referendum. Goodier and Pastorello argue that the popular nature of the women's suffrage movement in New York State and the resounding success of the referendum at the polls relaunched suffrage as a national issue. If women had failed to gain the vote in New York, Goodier and Pastorello claim, there is good reason to believe that the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment would have been delayed. 
Current Exhibitions

Traveling Exhibit
"Journey to the North; New York's Freedom Trail"
February 2 through March, 2018

Journey to the North is a six panel traveling exhibit about the Underground Railroad. This exhibit uses the story of one fictitious character to convey the real events experienced by many freedom seekers (escaped slaves) during their journey to freedom. Much of the narrative is told from the point of view of Sarah, a fifteen ­year ­old fictional escaped slave. As visitors read the text they are challenged to imagine themselves in her situation and faced with her decisions.

This exhibition was developed for the New York State Historical Association by the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies.  Generous support for the exhibition came from the New York Council for the Humanities and Heritage New York. This exhibit is owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

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

HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturdays, March 3rd, 17th, and 31st, 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!  

Talk "Blanche Hazard: Pioneering Local Suffragist & Women's Studies Educator"by Corey Ryan Earle
Saturday, March 3, 3:30 PM (at The History Center)
A pioneering historian, educator, author, and civic leader, Blanche Evans Hazard taught in the Department of Home Economics at Cornell University from 1914 to 1922. Hazard's achievements include development of innovative courses on industrial economics, labor management, and women's studies, and she was among the first women published by Harvard University Press. During the women's suffrage movement, Hazard educated thousands of New York women on their duties as voting citizens through a widely-distributed bulletin titled "Civic Duties of Women," a Cornell course titled "Woman and the State," and various lectures and extension programs.
Corey Ryan Earle is a Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University, where he teaches a 400-person class on the history of Cornell. He serves as a Cornell history resource person for departments and organizations on campus and is the former president of the board of trustees of The History Center in Tompkins County.

Engaging Local History
Thursday, March 8, 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. 

Left to right: Dominic Versage, Jerry Drolesky.
First Friday Gallery Night:  Accordion Music Night 
Friday, March 2, 6:00 PM (at The History Center)
In conjunction with First Friday Gallery Night, The History Center will host an Accordion Music Night featuring local accordion players Dominic Versage and Jerry Drolesky. Dominic has been performing in and around Ithaca since 1965 including Rochester and Syracuse; he has a connection with The History Center through his grandfather, Luigi Massucci, who was a local blacksmith for many years and who created beautiful ornamental works in iron, some of which are part of The History Center's collection. Jerry Droleski, an accordion extraordinaire, entertains his audiences by playing a variety of lively tunes from big bands to Pink Floyd and in between. Come and enjoy local music, light refreshments and current exhibitions. 

Talk "Town of Ithaca: Early Days" by David George
Saturday, March 10, 2:00 PM (at The History Center)
In conjunction with the new Municipality Display Case exhibit "Town of Ithaca: Early Days," David George, Town of Ithaca Historian, will give a talk about the years following Town of Ithaca's incorporation in 1821.

Tompkins County Railway Bus Tour
Saturday, March 17th, 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM  
The History Center is working with David Rossiter to organize a bus tour of Tompkins County's past railway system. Tompkins County today is served by one railroad - the Norfolk Southern branch from Sayre PA to the AES Cayuga power station and the Cargill salt mines, both in Lansing. We will visit structures and railroad grades of this industrial past and present, from Trumansburg to Newfield (the ill-fated Pennsylvania & Sodus Bay railroad) to Willseyville (just over in Tioga County) to Freeville to Lansing. Spring Railway Tour Fee - $25.00. Please register by filling out an online registration form or contacting Ksenia Ionova at 607-273-8284 Ext. 227. The bus will start boarding at 1:15 and leave The History Center at 1:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Rod Serling and Carl Sagan: Bridging Imagination and Science
Saturday, March 24, 2:00 PM (at Cinemapolis, Ithaca, NY)
Rod  Serling and Carl Sagan seamlessly bridged imagination and science and cultivated a sense of wonder. They had strong connections to Ithaca and this region. Panelists Anne  Serling and Nick Sagan will incorporate the personal sides of their respective fathers and be joined by Andrew Polak, President of the  Rod  Serling Memorial foundation. Moderator Mason Peck, Professor  of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, will lead a facilitated discussion with all three panelists about these men and their views about the world as we explore how their legacies are relevant today. Their shared interests and passions will be highlighted. The program will delve into questions such as the interrelationships among science, imagination and culture. The goal is to leave attendees with a sense of hope. There is a long arc of integrating science into our daily lives. Where are we currently on that arc? Dialogue will be interspersed with video clips, images and quotes. There will be time for Q&A.
Nick Sagan and Anne  Serling will be available after the panel to sell and sign books in the lobby.
*To guarantee a seat you may pre-register prior to March 17 here.
Admission Fees: 
Pre-registration Fees (online and in person through March 21, 2018):
Online ticketing fee: $16 general admission ($18 including the online registration service fee) / $13.25 for student and retirees ($14.90 including the online registration fee).
In-person fees: $18 general admission; $15 for students and retirees.
Ticket Fees after March 21, 2018: 
Only in-person registration: $20 general admission; $17 for students and retirees. 
**Please note that if you are buying tickets with a student/retiree discount, the ticket holders will be asked to show their IDs at the door.  
This is a benefit for The History Center in Tompkins County.

Register for the Reading and Discussion Series: James Baldwin's America
The first reading and discussion will start on Tuesday, April 3rd, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at The History Center.
Schedule and Locations:
April 3rd, 17th and 24th, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (at The History Center, 401 East State Street, Suite 100, Ithaca, NY 14850)
April 10th, May 1st, and 8th, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (at the Hoyt Fuller room of Africana Studies and Research Center, 310 Triphammer Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850)
The History Center is pleased to offer James Baldwin's America, a reading and discussion series developed and sponsored by Humanities New York.
At The History Center and the Africana Studies and Research Center, participants will come together over the course of six sessions to discuss a variety of thematically linked texts with Eric Acree, Director of the Africana Library, Cornell University, who will be joined by Kimerly Cornish, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Office of Human Rights, and Marquis Bey, Ph. D. Candidate, Cornell University. Participants in James Baldwin's America will explore Baldwin's major essays, including Notes of A Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, and The Fire Next Time, as well as much of his previously uncollected nonfiction.
To register, please fill out this online form or contact Ksenia Ionova at 607-273-8284 Ext. 227 or community@thehistorycenter.net.

SAVE THE DATE: 'Conducting Oral Histories' Workshop 
Late March / Early April, 2018 (at The History Center)
Check our website thehistorycenter.net and/or our next History Happenings newsletter for exact date and time as we finalize plans for this informative community program! Contact Carole West for more information: eightsquare@thehistorycenter.net 607-273-8284 X229.
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
A Notice from Historic Ithaca

Every year Historic Ithaca, Inc. presents awards for sensitive restoration and preservation projects within Ithaca and Tompkins County. Any preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive reuse project completed within the past two years may be nominated for a 2018 award. Nominations will be reviewed by a panel of preservation professionals and awards made based on such considerations as the importance of the project to the long-term preservation of the building; adherence to basic preservation principles as outlined in the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation; and the impact, or potential impact, of the project on the surrounding community.

Historic Ithaca encourages consultation with their staff before submitting an application, and they are happy to provide guidance in preparing the application. Awards will be presented at Historic Ithaca's Annual Preservation Awards Ceremony in May of 2018.  Nominations must be received by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 30, 2018.

Full Information and nomination forms can be found on our website:

Please contact christine@historicithaca.org with questions.
We are Moving!
Packing Highlights 

Railroad Lantern. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Railroad Lantern

Railroads were one of the earliest modes of transportation to operate at all hours, including at night. Since night trains included a large headlamp on the locomotive, they could be seen from a distance, but workers also needed some indication of a train that had passed by. Even more, railroad workers needed to signal each other for various operations: when to stop, when to start, when to back up, and so forth.

It didn't take long before lanterns were created to do these jobs. Candles were out of the question, since nighttime operations were often out in the cold, wind, rain and snow. Lanterns burning either whale oil or some other oil were put to use and became common during the Civil War era. It was only after the discoveries of oil in western Pennsylvania in the 1870s that refineries began to produce kerosene, which then became the fuel of choice for lanterns.
Read more here...

This railroad lantern 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