On July 28th, a small group went on a tour of nearby West Point. We were fortunate enough to have gotten some pictures of the grounds…
…to compare to these pictures that are about 120 years old! The first four glass negatives in our collection are of West Point, taken sometime between 1895 and 1905 (by our best estimate, which is based on the dates on the negative folders).
While we can thank Michael Bennett for the crisp, color photos we have no idea who took the black and white photos. One of the many mysteries at our little museum. Whoever it was had ties to Putnam Valley and Peekskill, some of the slides are of the Barger family. But that’s another post for another day.
Our American History will return in September – we’ll be at Town Day in September – another trek to Bannerman is on Sunday September 24th, our Annual Meeting is in October, and plans for our Halloween Event are being made. Some smaller, community focused events are also being put together – keep an eye out here and on Facebook for more details – as well as plans for next year, when we celebrate our 50th Anniversary. In the meantime, visit the museum on Saturdays from 10:00AM – 2:00PM. You can check our our recent donations – 3 portraits of members of the Hadden family.
Our exhibit for 2017 is opening this Saturday, May 6th, at 10:00AM. Crossroads: The Cornerstones of Putnam Valley will offer residents both lifelong and new a glimpse into the general history of those well known corners in town. The original goal was to set everything up as a map that you could walk through but given the space constraints it had to be scaled back quite a bit. Equally challenging was narrowing down the photo selection. So many pictures, so little space! The photo on the flyer was one I knew I wanted to use, and I can’t remember if it’s been posted on here or Facebook yet. Do you recognize the corners?
May 13th is the next Our American History program, about slavery in New York.
May 20th is our highly anticipated tour of Bannerman Castle. Spots are going quickly so if you are interested in going, make sure you register today!
The day following the tour (May 21st) is a special program presented by The Reform Temple of Putnam Valley, the Friends of the Putnam Valley Library, and the Putnam Valley Historical Society at the library at 3:00PM featuring author Annette Libeskind Berkovits as she discusses In the Unlikeliest of Places – How Nachman Libeskind Survived the Nazis, Gulags, and Soviet Communism.
As you can see, we have a pretty busy month ahead of us. Hope to see you soon!
P.S. – We finally got our fire proof file cabinets, and boy are they heavy! They are in their new home in our back room, which is a mess right now with the exhibit prep. Starting May 7th, I’ll be diving right back into organization and scanning.
So…what’s been going on.
Next month brings the return of our continuing Our American History series with Eleanor Roosevelt: The Development of a Woman Activist on Saturday March 11th, 10:00AM at the library.
There’s also a genealogy workshop on Saturday March 25th at 10:00 at the library. There is a $10.00 registration fee, but both members of the Putnam Valley Historical Society and/or Friends of the Library have a reduced fee of $5.00. Speaking from personal experience – genealogy is fascinating and you NEVER know what you will find piecing together your family tree.
The schoolhouse will hopefully be reopening sometime in March, there will be a post here when we get a date. That post will also include information about the exhibit for 2017, and possibly the schedule of topics for Our American History.
Regarding the Where Are We houses – Some have been potentially ID’d by looking up tax notices in the newspapers from the 30s and 40s. This will be an ongoing project, as will the Who Are We pictures. Nobody has been identified yet, but some people in the photo collection that were labeled as “so and so’s grandfather” are now properly labeled with their own name. Again, another ongoing project.
We’ve been getting messages from people about helping out and volunteer opportunities. We’d love to have you! Once we reopen for the season, the house/people project will be ongoing, we are always scanning and transcribing documents…it may sound boring but I promise, it’s not. We are also interested in anything photo/document/story you may have that’s related to Women’s Suffrage or World War I AND is connected to either Putnam Valley or Putnam County. 2017 is the centennial anniversary of both Women’s Suffrage and the US entry into World War I. If you have anything, contact either us or the Putnam County Historian’s Office. We’d love to see what you have!
The response to the last picture post on Facebook was, in a word, awesome. Was not expecting that! We’ve gained 84 page likes since Wednesday morning – hello new people! Thanks for liking us!
We’re nearly a month into the new year – here’s what’s been happening behind the scenes.
- Plugging along with the picture scanning. We are well past 2,000 and the more I dig through files, the more I find. I would not be surprised if when all is said and done, we end up with 4,000 – 4,500 digital pictures. This does NOT include the documents that have been scanned (more on that below). We don’t know yet if all of these images will be available online in the future, or if we’ll just have the database available with a smaller, rotating digital album. Stay tuned.
- Genealogy files – another project that sounds simple,until you open the first folder (Adams, in case you were curious) and see that it’s not just genealogy papers inside. That’s been taking some work. Do we scan everything and call it a day? Do we just list what we have available for each name? How do we know what’s in there if we don’t list every individual name? Do we (way in the future – like, next year in the future) create family trees for each family? I’ve settled on a combination of scanning everything and making a very basic list for now.
- Updating the site here. If you click around, specifically on the Historic Putnam Valley menu at the top, you’ll notice there’s a new posting about the History of Putnam Valley. It’s a brief but informative writing from our past town historian Mr. Crimmins. Another document that we have 400 paper copies of that is now available to everyone. It was written 31 years ago so there are some things missing, namely the high school.Within that post (or if you hover over the menu) is a link to Historic Lake Peekskill. This was an oral history given by Bertha Gragert to Gladys Gragert Muller in 1990. I’ve started inserting pictures into the two pages, and more will be coming in the next few months. Another one of our back projects is getting all the old VHS tapes of the senior interviews onto the computer, and I’d like to get some clips of those up here and create a separate personal history section. That’ll probably happen over the summer or fall.
- Document scanning. We have everything from dental work receipts from when a “full upper and lower” was $30.00 and could be paid in installments (my guess is early 1900s) to original school tax receipts ($0.38 tax + $0.05 collector fee) and copies of wills. And that’s just in one genealogy folder! This will definitely end up being a later rather than sooner project, since the documents aren’t just in the genealogy folders but in our regular archives as well. And the scrapbooks of newspaper articles. So many newspaper clippings.
- Working on our upcoming exhibit. More on that in a few weeks. The opening is May 6th at 10:00AM at the schoolhouse.
Everybody’s heard of it, but what do you know about it? Join us at the Putnam Valley Free Library on Saturday November 12th at 10:00am, when guest speaker Thom Johnson tells all there is to know about this history of this local site.
Thanks to all that braved the torrential downpour and joined us for our Annual Meeting and Awards Reception this past Sunday. If you weren’t able to join us, there was a sneak peek at some more pictures that have been scanned in. Hopefully you’ll recognize the building! They were at the bottom of the fall update “newsletter” that was printed out for each table, these are probably much easier to see. (They were scanned in from large negatives and didn’t *quite* fit the negative portion of the scanner, so the very tops and bottoms were cut off.)
We’re very close to ordering our new fireproof file cabinets. In going through the existing file cabinets to figure out how to best empty them, I came across the genealogy folder for the Adams family. Aside from the cemetery plot listings and obituaries in the folder, there were also several handwritten notes from the 1980s from people trying to figure out if our Adams family of Putnam Valley were descendants of one Mr. John Adams, second president of these United States. Of course all this work was done well before the internet was readily available for such research quests, and there wasn’t a definitive yes or no. It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out now with so many genealogical resources available, and during our winter lull it will definitely be researched. Unless somebody already has the answer…please let us know!
Now that November is here, we’re also shifting gears and starting our annual Holiday Boutique set up. There are whispers of a certain jolly someone stopping by the museum – we’ll let you know when he’ll be making an appearance, so get your lists ready!
Edited – This was a post from two weeks ago that never got published! It was in the drafts when I logged in this morning to publish today’s post.
Just a quick reminder – this Saturday October 8th is the next installment of Our American History. This time we’ll be learning about the origin and history of Camp Smith with Paul R. Martin, III. Join us at the Putnam Valley Free Library on Oscawana Lake Road at 10:00AM to learn about this important part of our region’s history. It’s also the last day of our exhibit on 70 Years of the Putnam Valley Volunteer Fire Department, so stop by the museum afterwards if you want to check it out.
If you take a peek at our Facebook page, you’ll notice that a new album (and project) was started. Who are we? is an ongoing album of the unlabeled, unidentified photos in our collection. Most are carte de visite photographs about 150 years old, but there are a few tintypes mixed in as well. Some have little notes in the old handwritten database that they were found in the attic of the Tompkins Corners Store, but nobody seems to know who they were. Most were taken at studios in Peekskill, but there’s a bunch that were taken in New York City or New Jersey. We’ll be adding to the album every couple of weeks, and eventually will have a similar album for old house and building photos in our collection.
If you’re not on Facebook, the album (and the rest of the pictures on there) should still be visible.
See you Saturday!