History Happenings | February 2016
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Rod Howe's Corner

From the Executive Director

The History Center is proud to be part of the  Discovery Trail and  Kids Discover the Trail (KDT). If you need a reminder about the "trails" here are links to the websites:  http://www.discoverytrail.com/  and  http://www.kidsdiscoverthetrail.org/ .
At a recent Discovery Trail directors' meeting, Charlie Trautmann, Sciencenter Executive Director, offered that our collective contributions are in education, culture and entertainment. The Discovery Trail and KDT are unique and enrich Tompkins County. As you think about what else is representative of this community's culture, what comes to mind? You might think of the Ithaca Festival. But there are numerous possibilities. We are a mosaic of mini-cultures. 
Please share what comes to mind for you by e-mailing me at  director@thehistorycenter.net .
As always, feel free to contact me with your thoughts by phone (607.273.8284 x 222) or email (Director@TheHistoryCenter.net).

What's Hot!

An Update from the Discovery Trail

See what's happening at one of our community partner's sites. 
Click HERE for more details!

Book Store Highlight of the Month!

Suffrage Reconstructed:
Gender, Race, and Voting Rights in the Civil War Era

  The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, identified all legitimate voters as "male." In so doing, it added gender-specific language to the U.S. Constitution for the first time. Suffrage Reconstructed is the first book to consider how and why the amendment's authors made this decision. Vividly detailing congressional floor bickering and activist campaigning, Laura E. Free takes readers into the pre- and postwar fights over precisely who should have the right to vote. Free demonstrates that all men, black and white, were the ultimate victors of these fights, as gender became the single most important marker of voting rights during Reconstruction.
Look for this book in our bookstore! 

In Memoriam:
Cemeteries of Tompkins County

The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY
October 2nd, 2015 - February 20th, 2016

February 20th, 2016 is the last day to fully view " In Memoriam : Cemeteries of Tompkins County ". The following Monday, February 22nd, the exhibition will close.   
This month is the last chance to tour the exhibition with a pamphlet guide and check out the Exhibition Resource Table, where you'll find a fiction and non-fiction cemetery book list compiled by the Tompkins County Public Library. There are also four scavenger hunts: an Adult and Youth Cemetery Scavenger Hunt, and an Adult and Youth Exhibition Scavenger Hunt, as well as frequently asked questions with answers from the Department of State, Division of Cemeteries, and a driving tour of Enfield cemeteries.

For more information, contact Donna Eschenbrenner at Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 224

A Lunchtime Series with Rod Howe

The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
12:00 PM

Third Session: Culture

This series will be held the first Tuesday of each month at noon (starting in November and ending in March), and will be held at The  History Center. The format will build off of P.L.A.C.E. as an acronym: People, Land, Architecture, Culture and Enterprise. Each session will focus on one of these themes and how they have contributed to instilling a strong commitment to this place. The sessions will be interactive as participants share their perspectives on these themes and place. Select local  historical information will be shared to foster discussion.
This session will focus on culture.  The guest presenter will be Ben (Barnaby) Greenberg, Ithaca Festival Executive Director, who is thrilled to be back to this community that he considers home. He began his career in Ithaca in the late 90s managing Donna the Buffalo and assisting with the Grassroots Festivals and since then has worked with an impressive list of artists and musicians. The Ithaca Festival provides a window into the unique culture of Ithaca and Tompkins County.

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 227

A February First Friday Gallery Night
Club Essence and the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library
A Kick-Off to Black History Month

The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY
Friday February 5th, 2016
5:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM

Join us at 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM on Friday, February 5th, 2016 as we celebrate Black History Month! 
Founded in 1973, Club Essence is a grassroots organization that promotes unity, fellowship, and support among African-American women. Stop by The History Center at 5:30 PM for a presentation on the club by  Martha Smith President of Club Essence. 
Cornell University's John Henrik Clarke Africana Library is responsible for providing reference and library instruction/consultation in the area of Africana Studies. Stop in at 6:30 PM for a presentation about the library by Eric Acree, Director of the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library. 
Alpha Phi Alpha was the first African-American inter-collegiate Greek-lettered fraternity. It was founded on December 4th, 1906 at Cornell University. Current members will give a presentation on the history and current endeavors of the fraternity at 7:30 PM.

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 227

Green Burial:
Living and Dying Sustainably

The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY
Saturday February 6th, 2016
2:00 PM

Stop by The History Center on Saturday, February 6th, 2016 at  2:00  PM  for the  presentation  "Green  Burial:  Living  and Dying Sustainably" with Ithaca College
Professor Nancy Menning and CoFounder of Greensprings Natural Cemetery 
Preserve,  Jennifer Johnson. 

What we do with the bodies of our deceased loved ones has varied over  the  centuries.  We've  put  our  dead  in  family  burial  plots,  church graveyards,  municipal  cemeteries,  and  mausoleums. Cremation,  a longstanding tradition in non-Western cultures, has become increasingly popular in the modern west. Our burial practices reflect ecological conditions and technological possibilities as well as shifting societal needs and changing cultural beliefs. This program will place Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve (in rural Tompkins County, outside Newfield) within this historical framework.
In addition to telling the story of the origins of this unique cemetery in the local landscape, Nancy and Jennifer will analyze how green burial both responds to environmental sensibilities and shapes possibilities for both living and dying sustainably.
While  living  in  Costa  Rica  in  the  1990s,  Jennifer  Johnson participated in a one kilometer walking funeral procession from a small village to the local cemetery. She observed people healing during this procession and her heart was touched deeply. She carried this experience back to the United States, and now the walking procession remains an important part of the burial process at Greensprings. Jennifer is a Cofounder of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve in Newfield, NY. She has worked as the burial coordinator there since 2008, guiding families, friends and funeral directors through approximately 200 burials. She cares deeply about people and nature, working with others to restore natural habitat on the 130 acres of the Preserve.
In her position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ithaca College, Nancy Menning teaches a course that introduces world religions through the lens of beliefs and practices surrounding death. Drawing on her background in environmental studies, she has also developed a freshman seminar on "Death of Nature: Mourning Environmental Losses." In early 2016, Nancy will begin a collaboration with environmental historian Michael Smith (Ithaca College) to produce a religious and environmental history of three cemeteries in Tompkins County. 


For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 227

Exploring and Doing Local History
A Local History Lunch Series at the Tompkins County Public Library

Fifth Session:
Tompkins County Public Library
101 E. Green Street, Ithaca, NY
Thursday, February 11th, 2016
12:00 PM

Tompkins County Public Library and The History Center in Tompkins County partner for "Exploring and Doing Local History," a hands-on monthly history program facilitated by Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen.
These free 75-minute drop-in sessions will be held at noon on the second Thursday of each month from October 8th through April 14th, in the large study room at the Tompkins County Public Library.

No registration is required, and participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch.  Beverages will be provided.

For more information, contact Carrie Wheeler-Carmenatty at (607) 272-4557 ext. 248 or  cwheeler@tcpl.org

Preservation and Maintenance Issues
The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY
Saturday, February 13th, 2016
2:00 to 3:30 PM

Join us on Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 2:00 PM for a presentation on the preservation and maintenance of cemeteries. As a companion piece to the exhibition  In-Memoriam: Cemeteries of Tompkins County , the event will  include a panel presentation on  preservation  and  maintenance  issues, additional comments by individuals with unique perspectives, time for questions and an open discussion to explore enhanced collaboration strategies for addressing the many issues related to cemeteries. The event is open to the public but particularly geared to members of cemetery associations and municipal leaders concerned about cemeteries.
This is the last event associated with the exhibition "In-Memoriam: Cemeteries of Tompkins County."

Presenters and resource individuals will include: 

Michael Seelman NYS Dept. of State, Division of Cemeteries
Randy Ruth Historic Ithaca affiliate 
Sherene Baugher Cornell Univ. Dept. of Landscape Architecture 
Jeanne Grace  City of Ithaca  
A s well as municipal and cemetery association representatives

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 227

Our Relationship to Land, Agriculture, and Food
The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY
Saturday, February 27th, 2016
2:00 PM

On Saturday, February 27th at 2:00 PM, The History Center will screen clips from the recent documentary   Harvest The screening will be accompanied by a panel that will facilitate dialogue on our local connection to land via agriculture. 

Panelists will include:
Brian Frey  Award-winning filmmaker of  Harvest
Scott Peters Department of Developmental Sociology, Cornell University
Monika Roth Agriculture Program Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension
Dan Carey Fourth-Generation Local Farm Owner of Carey Farm, Founded 1899
Harvest is now available to watch on-line at http://wskg.org/history/harvest-2/

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 227

From the Collection:
A Monthly Featured Artifact

The History Center's extensive collections are the foundation on which we build our entertaining and educational exhibits, programs, and research services. Many thousands of objects, photos, maps, and documents tell the rich story of Tompkins County's history. Each month we will highlight one item from the collection to give a glimpse into all the wonderful things we preserve.
This month.....

Ambered Candy Dish
Ambered glass is said to have been discovered by accident when a child dropped her mother's glass slipper into an open mineral spring.  Days later, upon retrieving the slipper, the child discovered that it had turned an iridescent amber color. This accident led to the marketing and sale of Slaterville Springs Ambered Glass, sold at Macy's in New York and Rothschilds in Ithaca. Ambered glass was created by allowing mineral-rich spring water to flow over porous glass. As the glass absorbed the minerals, it turned a permanent iridescent amber color.

The candy dish pictured here was clear glass when it was purchased by Beatrice L. McDaniels, who later "ambered" it in her home in Brooktondale.  Her house had an artesian well that was 147 feet deep with a constant overflow. By piping this overflow into her basement, she created an ideal place to amber glass. Two shower heads were attached to the overflow pipe and drained into a small sink.  The glass object was then placed in the sink and a constant stream of water flowed over it.  For this piece, McDaniels left the dish in the sink for two days.  After removing it, she washed and scrubbed the dish with detergent to remove any deposits in the design that could dull its coloration.  McDaniels' end result was a beautiful, iridescent, amber-gold candy dish. She continued to pursue ambering as a hobby, often presenting friends and relatives with gifts of her creations for Christmas and birthdays. This candy dish was donated to The History Center by McDaniels in October of 1983.

Sources Cited:  DeWitt Historical Society (THC) files; Accession file

For more information, contact Donna Eschenbrenner at Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 224

Historic Ithaca Celebrates 50 Years!
A Brief History and Exhibition Announcement

Loss After Demolition Inspires Pride and Preservation
Ithaca's City Hall is pictured here. It was razed in 1966.
"In 1844 Ithaca's early citizens built a stone and brick Greek Revival-style city hall on the corner of Seneca and Tioga Streets. Built to last, the building stood for 122 years until it was demolished in 1966.
That loss stirred community members to organize in order to save other historic buildings from the era's urban renewal plans. Following the advice of an officer of the National Trust Historic Preservation, a small group of Ithacans formed an affiliate group under the name Historic Ithaca, Inc.
Pride in Ithaca's history and architecture inspired early proponents to preserve additional buildings and structures, share their appreciation of Ithaca's built environment with others, and recognize outstanding preservation projects - all efforts that continue today as Historic Ithaca celebrates 50 years."

Excerpt taken from "Historic Ithaca Celebrates 50 Years: Loss After Demolition Inspires Pride and Preservation".


March 1st, 2016 - March 27th, 2016
It Takes More Than Nostalgia:
Celebrating 50 Years of Historic Ithaca and Community Preservation
This exhibition at The History Center in Tompkins County will highlight key moments and contributions from Historic Ithaca's history to demonstrate how this non-profit organization has contributed to the preservation of historic resources in Ithaca and Tompkins County. Learn more about Historic Ithaca's 50 years of service to our community.


For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 227
Call for Entries!
A Sense of Place: Exploring Ithaca's Built Environment

As part of their 50 th  anniversary celebrations, Historic Ithaca is partnering with the Community School of Music and Arts to host a juried exhibition, "A Sense of Place: Exploring Ithaca's Built Environment," to be held during the month of April, 2016.  Please share this information with your students and colleagues.
The call for entries can be found here: 

Interested artists can scroll down on the right hand side of the website to the area "A Sense of Place" on the CSMA website http://www.csma-ithaca.org/ to learn more and download the pdf of the gallery entry form.

A Donation Request
The History Center is looking for a lightly-used and relatively new computer with the memory and system requirements to handle photo, video and sound editing. In order to produce digital and print media for promoting events and exhibitions, THC would benefit from the addition of a reliable computer. This will aid us in our work as we engage with different communities to collect and archive oral histories, record and share presentations and events, and capture our three-dimensional collection digitally.
If you or someone you know may have a computer that can be donated, please contact Rod Howe, Executive Director, at director@thehistorycenter.net or call (607) 273-8284 x 222.
Thank You for Your Support!
Please Consider a Donation to The History Center

The History Center's trustees and employees are very appreciative of the support we received as a result of our end of the calendar year appeal. We are committed to being a robust, impactful and innovative  Generation to Generation Education and Research Center  by  providing quality programs and engaging exhibits, supporting local history research and offering venues for learning about fellow county residents and the issues that have a past, present and future in our lives.

Thank you for your support!
Gifts to The History Center are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Questions? Call (607) 273-8284 or e-mail director@thehistorycenter.net.
Mail to: The History Center, 401 E. State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Or, make your gift online at www.thehistorycenter.net

Thank you for subscribing to History Happenings, the e-newsletter of The History Center!

For feedback, comments and suggestions please contact director@thehistorycenter.net. 


The History Center in Tompkins County

401 E. State/MLK Jr. St.
Suite 100 

Ithaca, NY  14850

In the Gateway Center, just one block from The Ithaca Commons.
Free parking available in the rear lot.


Phone. 607.273.8284  


Hours: Tues, Thurs, Sat from 11-5pm and by appointment

The History Center is a proud member of the Discovery Trail 

With support from