History Happenings | September 2015
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Rod Howe's Corner

From the Executive Director

I have been formulating a hypothesis that an 

intentional practice of
exploring the history of one's place can lead to deep connections which add texture and richness to one's life.

Consider two lives being lived out in this place. One has an interest in finding out about some aspect of the local history (Person A) and one does not have such an interest (Person B).  Both Person A and Person B love living here and take advantage of all the various amenities that their locality has to offer. But there is an important difference between the two. 

Barn in Newfield, New York (date unknown)
Person A has chosen to learn about the place from a particular passion. Perhaps it is a love of barns and he/she has started to learn more about the types of barns in the county and when they were built. This may have led to a greater understanding of the role of agriculture which in turn led them to a diary of a farm wife from the late 19th century. As a result of this new information, Person A started asking questions  of a neighbor farmer and  learned about that family's farming experience over the past 150 years and all the changes that they have had to undertake to be economically viable, including responding to renewed interest in access to local foods.
Person B is a totally fine and responsible citizen but for whatever reason has not taken a similar journey. My premise is that Person A because of their exploration has a richer, more textured connection to this place.
Person A has tapped into the wisdom of the place and is more likely to have respect for the blood, sweat and tears of previous individuals that lived and worked here. They have shown interest in the experience of others. They have grounded themselves in this place and opened themselves up to an educational process about local history.
The History Center in Tompkins County is a resource to help you explore, discover and connect.
We look forward to seeing you at the John Marcham Research Library, at an exhibit, at one of the exciting upcoming programs, out in the community and/or at the Eight Square Schoolhouse.

As always, feel free to contact me with your thoughts by phone (607.273.8284 x222) or email (Director@TheHistoryCenter.net).

A First Friday Gallery Night Event
Samuel B. Lupowitz & The Ego Band

The History Center in Tompkins County
Friday, September 4th, 2015
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

The History Center in Tompkins County is excited to host  Samuel B. Lupowitz & The Ego Band for a performance of songs from their most recent album  Ten Square Miles  on Friday, September 4th, 2015 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.
Recorded in Newfield's own Grammy-winning music studio Electric Wilburland, Ten Square Miles features songs about coming of age in Ithaca, New York, from songs inspired by the city's folklore and history ("Lucifer Falls," "Green Street Blues," and "The Haunt") to multi-movement epics about the town's unique culture and atmosphere ("Land of Peace and Love" and "City on the Hill").
"I wanted to write an album with a strong sense of place, like Born to Run or Sufjan Stevens' Illinois," says singer/songwriter/pianist/bassist Lupowitz. "But I wanted there to be something universal about the songs, too. So while the lyrics are inspired by Ithaca places and people, they're character-driven and internal. They're about battling your doubts, missing people you love, trying to understand the world you live in. Very personal stories about big themes."
About the band: Armed with male and female vocals, vintage keyboards, electric guitar, a hard-grooving rhythm section, and a roaring horn section, Ithaca, NY's Samuel B. Lupowitz & The Ego Band wave the flag of rock 'n' roll tradition while pushing stylistic boundaries with their original material. Though firmly rooted in 1970s soul-rock, the band has shown a willingness to try just about anything: jazz standards, '80s pop, Dixieland, even covering Led Zeppelin's entire Houses of the Holy album in a hometown show in the summer of 2014. The group's self-produced, crowd-funded debut LP, Songs to Make You Wealthier and More Attractive, made the list of best local music releases of 2012 in the Ithaca Journal. Since then, the group has steadily gathered momentum, opening for artists such as Boston's Jesse Dee and Brooklyn's X Ambassadors, and winning the grand prize of $2000 at the VF Outlets Corporation's annual Battle of the Bands. The Ego Band's newest album of Ithaca stories, Ten Square Miles, is available now on iTunes, Amazon, and samuelblupowitz.com.


For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call  607.273.8284 x227

Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend!
We will be OPEN on Saturday, September 5th from 11:00 to 5:00 PM so make sure to stop by!

Connecting to One's Own History
Ways to Discover and Share Your Family Story

The History Center in Tompkins County
Saturday, September 12th, 2015
2:00 PM

The History Center in Tompkins County encourages everyone to explore their own histories. The prompts that spark individuals' interest in their histories are varied as are the processes for research and the venues for capturing, archiving and sharing the information. The inspiring panelists at this event will share their journeys for connecting to their histories and will highlight what has been most rewarding for them personally.
Attend and gather ideas for ways to connect and share your own history.


Claire Perez writes a blog called itsaboutthestory, which over the last five years has covered many topics. The historical stories she writes are composed from a combination of stories her aunt told her and newspaper clippings she unearthed in 2008.  The stories are about her family, but also cover historical stories about her current home in Dryden, NY. Claire has taught in private and public settings, holds Masters Degrees in Communication and in Education. She currently works at Cornell University as a Communications Assistant in the Department of History. One of her blog themes was rural broadband, now chronicled in an Amazon ebook entitled My Rural Broadband Journey.

Dr. James Pratt is a retired agricultural economist who lives in Groton, New York.  After serving four years with the USAF in the 60's, James earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, a Masters degree from Purdue University in Indiana, and a PhD from Michigan State University, both in agricultural economics. He worked more that 30 years doing researching and extension in logistics and spatial economics for the dairy industry.  He also taught statistics and mathematical programming to economics and business students.
Accompanying his wife and daughter for a semester in Italy, James learned that the Italians knew much more about his father's, Captain Charles Pratt's, military service with the 366th Infantry Regiment than he did and he has endeavored to change that fact.

Michael Duttweiler, a career-long adult educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, has long-standing interest in local history of the Catskill Mountains, the Finger Lakes and other regions of New York. He holds degrees in natural resources and education from Cornell. Now retired, he lives with his family in Ithaca, his home for more than forty years. Current projects include photo-documentation of abandoned structures and municipal shorelines in the Finger Lakes.

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or 607.273.8284 x227

With Respect to Native American Artifacts
with Prof. Fredric Gleach, Cornell University

The History Center in Tompkins County
Thursday, September 17th, 2015
6:00 PM


Join us at The History Center in Tompkins County on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 6:00 PM for the presentation "With Respect to Native American Artifacts" with Professor Fredric Wright Gleach. Professor Gleach is a Senior Lecturer and the Curator of the Anthropology Collections at Cornell University. Best known for his work focused on the Powhatan Indians of Virginia, he has also done archaeological work in Illinois and Spain, and archival and ethnographic studies on Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the US. He grew up in Richmond, Virginia, completed graduate studies at the University of Chicago, and has lived in Ithaca for over 20 years.
"With Respect to Native American Artifacts" will feature a selection of artifacts from the collections of Cornell and The History Center. Prof. Gleach will lead the audience through an exploration of topics including:

-- How one recognizes, identifies, and interprets artifacts --
-- How North American indigenous peoples work with natural materials --
-- How traditional practices continue into the present --
-- Where one might turn to learn more --

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x227

Ithaca's Hidden Indigenous History

T he History Center in Tompkins County
Saturday, September 19th, 2015
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM


On Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 2:00 PM, The History Center in Tompkins County will be hosting Professor Kurt Jordan for his presentation "Destroyed, Forgotten, Never Noted: Ithaca's Hidden Indigenous History." Kurt A. Jordan is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at Cornell University. His research centers on the archaeology and history of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) peoples, emphasizing the settlement patterns, housing, and economies of 17th and 18th century Senecas.

Many observers have noted that little is understood about the history of indigenous peoples in the Ithaca area. This presentation both describes why this is the case, and summarizes what is known. Starting with the earliest American settlers, past Ithacans took a cavalier attitude toward the indigenous archaeological record. Mingling curiosity with disrespect for indigenous heritage, Ithacans documented almost nothing as the archaeological record was destroyed.  Despite this sordid history, quite a bit can be gleaned about how the Cayugas and their allies and ancestors dwelled on these lands. 
Jordan has conducted archaeological fieldwork in collaboration with members of the Seneca Nation of Indians since 1999.  His first book,  The Seneca Restoration, 1715-1754: An Iroquois Local Political Economy , was published by the University Press of Florida in 2008.

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x227

Getting Hitched!
How Tompkins County Contributed to Winning Marriage Equality

The History Center in Tompkins County
Thursday, September 24th, 2015
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

As the title suggests Ithaca and Tompkins County made a unique contribution to marriage equality. Even those that have been intimately involved have lost track of some of the details of this local history. This lively program will cover same sex marriage and related initiatives in the city and the county from legal, political and personal perspectives. The evening will be structured to be informational, conversational and interactive. The material gathered to plan for this event and forthcoming material will be archived at The History Center.

Participants will include:
Nancy Bereano, Carolyn Peterson, Jason Hungerford, and more!

Stay tuned for more information in our next installment. 


For more information, contact Rod Howe at Director@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x222

Annual Open House
at the Historic Eight Square School

The Eight Square School House
1748 Hanshaw Road, Off Rt. 13 N
Saturday, September 26th, 2015
(Rain Date Sunday, August 27th, 2015)
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Bring a picnic lunch and join us for a festive day of old fashioned games, scavenger hunts, presentations, demonstrations, and harvest refreshments! Come meet local archaeologists who will delight in 'showing off' what we found at this summer's adult archaeology camp! Meet some of the Eight Square's first Summer Camp for kids 'graduating class' and see what they created!


1:00 PM to 4:00 PM





For more information, contact Carole West at EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x229

Boom and Bust:
 America's Journey on the Erie Canal
A Film Screening

The History Center in Tompkins County
Saturday, September 26th, 2015
2:00 PM

On Saturday, September 26th, 2015 at 2:00 PM, The History Center in Tompkins County will present a screening of the new documentary film Boom and Bust: America's Journey on the Erie Canal.  Boom and Bust , directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner and co-produced by Steve Zeitlin of CityLore and Erie Canal Museum Curator Daniel Ward, tells the story of industrial expansion and decline along the Erie Canal and examines its impact on the lives of workers in steel, grain, textiles and shipping. The film looks at the enormous impact this inland waterway made on the growth of New York State and our nation, and examines whether the people of America's cities can find meaning and worth in the wake of industrial decline.
             The film compares two eras in the Erie Canal's history: the era from the opening of the Canal in 1825 through 1875, when the pioneering waterway made New York City the nation's center of commerce and created cities along its route; and the era from 1945-2000, which saw the Canal's decline and the loss of industry and livelihoods in many of its cities and towns. The film ends with the twenty-first century Canal, a scenic byway that seeks to use cultural heritage as an engine for tourism and development.

            Boom and Bust  is part of a nine-year initiative which generated extensive field research and numerous projects  in addition to the documentary film. The projects were supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Council on the Humanities, and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
This event will include a brief introduction to the film by Dr. Daniel Ward.


For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x227


In Memoriam:
Cemeteries of Tompkins County

The History Center in Tompkins County
Opening Friday, October 2nd, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

The places where we honor our dead tell as much about a community as do the homes of the living. In pioneer times, travelers were often buried trailside, perhaps with a stone or stick to mark the grave. In Tompkins County the earliest cemeteries were usually family burial plots. Many of these isolated sites are still extant, sometimes found by unsuspecting farmers as fields are plowed and earth turned. More often they are overgrown and hard to find. Gradually religious organizations became responsible for interring the dead, and in the late 19th and early 20th century private associations and municipalities also took on this role.
There are hundreds of cemeteries in Tompkins County, and The History Center will be featuring several of them in a new exhibit In Memoriam - Cemeteries of Tompkins County. We will examine the historical, genealogical, and architectural heritage of these places where we remember our past, our loved ones, and the people who came before us.


For more information, contact Donna Eschenbrenner at Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x224

It's Time to Go Back to School!
Classes at the Eight Square

Classes are about to begin for the fall semester at The History Center's historic One Room School House in Dryden, NY. Bring your home school or private school students for a full day of immersion in our 1892 program, which conforms to New York State Common Core standards.


Contact Eight Square Schoolhouse and Youth Education Director, Carole West at EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 ext. 229






A Cherry Timedive
Presented by A Cherry Artspace

Thursday, September 17th - Sunday, September 20th, 2015
A Cherry Artspace
102 Cherry Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

An open-air theatre origami flower; a lyrical and mysterious plunge into the histories of one storied corner of Ithaca, NY.  A hobo in an urban jungle has visions he cannot shake; a grieving mother receives a strange letter that calls her to the shore; a young duck is mesmerized by the glossy black loon at the center of the lake; and a poet charged with fictionalizing the history of her town finds herself in over her head.
Four of Ithaca's most prominent writers dance with the strange and compelling events that have occurred on and around Ithaca's Cherry Street. An outdoor, site-specific performance at once beautiful, strange, and transporting.
Written by:   
Austin Bunn: screenwriter,  Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe
Wendy Dann: accomplished theatre director (Hangar, Dallas Center, St Louis Rep, Alliance, etc.)
Saviana Stanescu: NYC Innovative Theatre Award-winning playwright, produced throughout the US and in Mexico, Sweden, Romania and elsewhere
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon: National Book Award-nominated poet, Open Interval
Carolyn Goelzer, Jennifer Herzog, Godfrey Simmons, and Seth Soulstein
Dramaturgy: Nick Salvato
Conceived and directed by Samuel Buggeln

Some resources were used from The History Center in Tompkins County for content creation.

Local History Tidbits
Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter

If you haven't been watching The History Center via social media, you've been missing out on our biweekly installments of LOCAL HISTORY TIDBITS. Twice a week, we post an interesting historical fact about Tompkins County with an image. Make sure to "LIKE" us on Facebook and "FOLLOW" us on Twitter to stay up-to-date with events, Local History Tidbits, and more!

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/tompkinshistory

TWITTER: @TompkinsHistory 




New Bookstore Items!
Postwar Cornell and Lost Souls

Make sure to stop by The History Center to browse our selection of books, postcards, images, and other items for sale in our bookstore. We've recently added two new items to our store: "Postwar Cornell: How the Greatest Generation Transformed a University" and "Lost Souls: Fading Structures in the New York Finger Lakes" (calendar).



A Request to the Community 

We take our role in providing programs, exhibitions,  research, and other  services to
all patrons very seriously. We strive to have a welcoming environment and necessary accommodations for every person who visits The History Center. Just this past week, a patron came to The History Center asking if we had a folding wheelchair he could sit in in order to take his time viewing our exhibition without the pain of standing for too long. Unfortunately, we could not accommodate him. 

This is why we are reaching out to you to kindly ask if you or anybody you may know has a wheelchair that could be donated to The History Center. 

Please contact, Rod Howe at Director@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 222 if you would like to make this donation.



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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

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