Thursday, September 1, 2016

The following was originally published on the New York History Blog. Click the title below to go to that most fabulous blog on all things NY history! To contribute to the blog visit their Rally page. I am hoping to be at the conference!

New York Women’s Suffrage Centennial Conference Planned

By Editorial Staff on August 30, 2016
Night of Terror ProtesterOn Friday, October 7, the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network will hold a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Conference at the Holiday Inn in Seneca Falls/Waterloo. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of women voting legally in New York.

The Conference will take place from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who is also serving as Chair of the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission, has been invited to make the Keynote presentation.

Several special breakout sessions including:
– Promoting opportunities and locating funding sources
– How your local TPA can help drive business to your site
– How to advocate for women’s suffrage events and programs
Panel discussions about the suffrage movement from 1848 to present

Conference Outline

8 am – Registration, coffee and networking opportunities
9 – Welcome and introductions
9:10 – Welcoming Comments
Menzo Case, CEO, Generations Bank, Seneca Falls, NY
United States Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (invited)
9:30 – Keynote Address – Lt Gov & 2017 New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial Chair Kathy Hochul (invited)
10:00 – Devin Lander, New York State Historian
Jennifer Lemak, Chief Curator of History, NYS Museum
10:30 – Sally Roesch Wagner, Executive Director Matilda Joslyn Gage Center – Reviewing the past & planning the future
11: – Are you utilizing your Tourism Promotion Agent? Panel discussion
11:50 – Margaret Fuller Update from Beacon, NY – Michael Barnett
Noon – Luncheon (included)
1 pm – Old Songs Concert Series Presentation – “The American Women’s Suffrage Movement in New York State in Song and Story”
1:45 – Breakout sessions – “Beginning Work on a Regional Suffrage Trail”
Katie Macintyre – Generations Bank
3 – Panel Discussion – “Bringing History to the Classroom and Public Programs”
Kim Harvish, Chapman Historical Museum, moderator
Susan Lewis, Women’s and Gender Studies, SUNY New Paltz
Susan Goodier, Women’s and Gender Studies, SUNY Oneonta
Ganondagan State Historic Site representative
Laurel Ullyette, Harriet Tubman Boosters
4 – Review the day for 2017 Women’s Suffrage Centennial planning
4:30 – Conference concludes

Prices are $55 for Network Members and $65 for Non-Members. Click here to sign up.

Special Pre-Conference Tour

On October 6, Auburn and Seneca Falls Historic sites, including the Tubman Home, Seward House Museum, Seneca Falls Historical Society Museum, National Women’s Hall of Fame and Women’s Rights National Historical Park will hold visits and tours. Additional information coming soon.

For questions and more information, email or call (315) 521-3985. This conference is produced by the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Susan B. Anthony Memorabilia

All historians have a focus. & many of them have a reason for that focus. My particular research focus is the Suffrage Movement, & one of the main reasons is because Susan B. Anthony lived, with her family, in Battenville here in the Town of Greenwich for a number of years.

Here is a look at some of my personal suffrage memorabilia collection, with a specific focus on Susan B. Anthony.

Post card of Susan B. Anthony's birthplace in Adams, MA

Post card of Susan B. Anthony's birthplace museum, Adams, MA

Flyer, sticker, and button from Susan B. Anthony Days, 1970

Susan B. Anthony finger puppet
The Susan B. Anthony finger puppet  can be purchased from The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild.

Susan B. Anthony Doll by Hallmark, 1979

Susan B. Anthony envelope and stamp postmarked 1936

This stamped & postmarked envelope was unopened & appear to contain something inside. Being curious, I used steam to loosen the glue & open the envelope without damaging any of the paper. This is what I found...

Found inside Susan B. Anthony envelope from 1936

I wonder what items will be created for the upcoming NY state Suffrage Centennial in 2017, or the US Suffrage Centennial in 2020! #ny4suffrage

*All items presented here are from the private collection of Patricia F. (Tisha) Dolton

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rough & Ready: Part One- Fire Extinguishers

My fascination with glass fire extinguishers goes back to my days as a site interpreter with the San Diego Historical Society (now the San Diego History Center). One of the house museums I gave tours of was the Villa Montezuma, an amazing Queen Ann Victorian built for an eccentric, Spiritualist pianist named Jesse Shepherd. In the basement kitchen, lining the counter, were a number of brightly colored "bottles" filled with clear fluid. They were fire grenade fire extinguishers.

I hadn't seen more of these beautiful glass fire extinguishers until I stepped into the Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum in Greenwich, NY during the Whipple City Festival in 2010, but I didn't have a camera with me (& I wouldn't own a smart phone for another 3 years). So, last month, I made sure I walked down to the museum during Whipple City Days to snap some pics. Gary St. Mary met my mom & I outside & walked us around the main floor talking about the various artifacts, & chatting about the locals, then & now.

Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum, Greenwich, NY

Fire grenades were invented in England in the late 1700s & became very popular in the US when Alanson Crane obtained a patent around 1870. They were used widely for the next 40 years until gradually replaced by metal canister extinguishers filled with refrigerant. The idea behind the glass fire grenade extinguisher was simple. A glass container was filled with fluid, typically carbon tetrachloride (CCI4) until it was discovered to cause respiratory problems, & was changed to less effective salt water. Thrown at the base of the fire, the fluid spilled from the broken container, & extinguished the flames.

Harden Hand Fire Extinguisher Company of Chicago, IL

Harden Hand Fire Extinguisher Company of Chicago, IL appears to be the most common of these US made extinguishers. They are typically blue in color with either a quilted diamond pattern, or a star with vertical ribs. They were generally one pint or 1 1/2 pints in volume.

The red "light bulbs" a common extinguisher from 1900-1920, & came in a six pack. These had a spring release that would cause a metal arm to break the glass when the fusible link melted in the fire. 

Fire extinguishers at the Rough & Ready in Greenwich, NY

 For more information check out the Antique Shoppe. & be careful if you have any of these glass fire extinguishers. You probably won't know if you have one filled with a potent chemical like carbon tetrachloride. So handle with care. A leak could require a HazMat Team.

This post is Part One in a series about the artifacts in the Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum in Greenwich, NY.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Linen Thread Donation

I saw some familiar faces at the Battenkill Inspired exhibit a couple of weeks ago, but I also met some new people! One such person was Nancy Hand Higby, a garden designer from Salem. Nancy told me that her great-grandfather worked at the Dunbarton Mill & she had a bit of linen twine. Would the Town be interested in having it? Of course, I said "Yes!" & here it is...

Spool of linen twine from the Dunbarton Mill, Greenwich, NY

Nancy writes, "This spool of linen thread was given to me by my grandmother, Florence Wallace Hand, whose father managed the Dunbarton Mill where the thread was made."

In looking through William T Ruddock's book Linen Threads and Broom Twines... Volume 2- The Directory, I was able to find the man in question. James Wallace was born to Hugh & Elizabeth (nee Hunter) Wallace in Loughbrickland, County Down, Ireland (now Northern Ireland) in 1859. After graduation, Wallace spent 7 years at Dunbar, McMaster & Co. in nearby Gilford. In 1888, he was promoted to General Manager of the Dunbarton Mill in Greenwich, NY & married Jennie Arnold. The couple had one daughter, Florence (Nancy's grandmother). Mr. Wallace also held important positions after leaving the Dunbraton. He was director of the Mahican Pulp & Paper Company, Consolidated Electric, & the Adirondack Trust Company. He died in 1909 due to complications after contracting ptomaine poisoning. His wife, Jennie, died in 1940. (pp.376-8)

Ruddock's 2 volume set about the Dunbarton

For more information on the Dunbarton Mill & the people involved, I highly recommend William T. Ruddock's 2 volume set, Linen Threads and Broom Twines.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Greenwich Artifacts on Display at Crandall Library

When Todd DeGarmo, Founding Director of the Folklife Center, asked me if I had an artifacts pertaining to the Batten Kill to round out his exhibition I had to step back & think. As a public historian, not a museum, or historical society, I don't collect objects. This is mainly because there is little to no place to store anything properly, but I looked around my office & found a few items.

As you can see from the images below, there was a bit of adjustment until the objects were finally set, & the labeling complete.

First stage of setting the objects for display

Adding some maps

Some of the artifacts are from Hollingsworth & Vose Co. The paper company still operates two factories along the Batten Kill in Greenwich & Easton, has made many different kinds of paper products over the years. Featured here are automotive filters, paper used at the top of drapes, and a disposable bed sheet.

The layout is taking shape with maps, images, & labels

Also included is a painted serving tray attributed to the American Tea Tray Co, linen broom twine attributed to the Dunbarton Mill, & parts from the Eddy Plow Company. (There is an Eddy Plow on display, but it is not owned by the Town of Greenwich.)

To see the completed exhibit, which includes much more than the artifacts seen here, stop by the Folklife Gallery at Crandall Library during regular library hours. Or, better yet, come to the Open Reception on Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 5-7 pm. RSVP on Facebook.

See you there!

Battenkill Inspired exhibition at the Folklife Center of Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, NY

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

1907 Diary of Malinda Reynolds: Part One

Ther.    Tues. Jan. 1, 1907    Wea. Warm
Annual dinner & meeting at Ch I worked in kitchen
Ma down to meeting
seats sold in --- --- called at ------ Teffts -----most all gone

 Ther.    Wednesday 2          Wea.cold
Mr. S Homidia sick
I called at Cronkites  & Mr Dannings Re sick
I --- to meeting --- St John ---------

 Ther.    Thursday 2            Wea.Cloudy
and rainy at Ch all day
Julia and I  Hate Coffee
I cooked an -------- quilt
send down to office in eve
First diary entries

So begins the arduous task of transposing a diary...

Town of Corinth Historian, Rachel Clothier, contacted me via my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. She had come across the 1907 diary of one Malinda A.C. Reynolds of Greenwich, NY at a local antiques sale. She said I could borrow it for my blog.

Malinda Reynolds 1907 diary

Diary entries from October 1907

It's a small diary. Smaller than a 3"x5" card when it's closed. The writing is kind of difficult to read because it is small, the ink has started to fade, and there is some of this cross writing as seen above.

I need to do a bit more research in the Gill Room. Hopefully I will have more information in the coming weeks. In the mean time, if anyone has any info on Malinda Reynolds, please leave a comment below, email me ( or shoot me a message on Facebook.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

VOTE! Election Day is November 4, 2014

& now it's time for my annual election plea- VOTE!

2014 Voting poster from ERA Education Project

The above poster is a great example of election poster art. Designed for the ERA Education Project, it represents strong women, & the need for us to vote. & for true equality, all of us, women & men, need to exercise our right as citizens & vote!

2014 has three statewide propositions on the ballot
For the statewide propositions: click HERE.

2014 Ballot for the Town of Greenwich, NY (Washington County)
For the Town of Greenwich ballot: click HERE.

Washington County sample ballots.

Warren County sample ballots.

Saratoga County sample ballots.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Historic Preservation: Kate Mullany National Historic Site

Some of you may recall my daughter & I participating in a re-enactment of the Collar Laundry Strike of 1864 this past February. Well, on October 4, 2014 I was able to visit the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, NY with my aunt's DAR chapter.

The Kate Mullany House was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 1998 and designated an affiliated unit with in the National Historic Site Congress on 2005. It is located at 350 8th St. in Troy, NY. It is the home of the American Labor Studies Center. The site is undergoing restoration and does not have regular visiting hours. For information on visiting the site, call the American Labor Studies Center at (518) 331-4474. 

 The house at 350 8th St. is under renovation. The other half of the building at 352 8th St. is in foreclosure, and the ALSC is hoping to acquire it as well. Until that time, the renovations continue, as does the fundraising. For more information on supporting the restoration project, please click HERE.

The Kate Mullany house became a National Historic Landmark in 1998

My mom on the steps of Kate Mullany's House

The back yard has been recently landscaped

Kate & her Irish parents arrived in Troy in 1853

One of the exhibit panels at Kate Mullany NHS

Another of the exhibit panels at Kate Mullany NHS

Kate was inducted National Women's Hall of Fame 2000
 Read Kate Mullany's bio at National Women's Hall of Fame website.

Staircase leading to the 3rd floor

Original floors under modern bathroom linoleum

Lathe & plaster and modern plumbing

New old windows

Renovating the ceiling

Turquoise plaster over the brick fireplace

More renovations 

Me at the top of the stairs

3rd floor plan

Me in my "Don't iron while the strike is hot!" tee

Kate Mullany's grave at St. Peter's Cemetery in Troy, NY

Leaving a token to show I was there
The house is not open for regular tours during renovation, but call the ALSC for more information about scheduling your group visit.

Also, check out the PowerPoint presentation for more information on Kate Mullany & the Collar Laundry Strike.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Accessible History: Let the Visitors Linger

There are some interesting things going on in the history/ museum communities at present. They all seemed to be centered around one idea; "How do we engage more people in history & museums?"

One way, is the allow more access to historic sites. On his blog Twisted Preservation, Frank Vagnone writes about what he calls "fingerprinting." Read more here: Fingerprinting: A Defense of Leaving Your Mark. When it's all said & done, the self professed "Museum Anarchist" is saying let people take selfies & post them to instagram, pinterest, & tumblr. It can only increase the visitor experience, plus give your site some added exposure (pardon the pun) & free advertising.

But the other point he makes is even more provocative; let people have time in the space. Let them truly feel what it was like to live in a house museum, for example. Let them feel the history, the magic if you will, that we as site interpreters, tour guides, museum educators, guardians of the past, feel when we open up the site for the day. My favorite thing to do in all the house museums I worked at (the Schuyler House & Neilson House in Saratoga National Historical Park, the Marston House, & Villa Montezuma in San Diego, CA, and Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY) was to walk in before the first tour of the day. Opening the curtains, or shutters to let the light in was almost poetic. I reveled in lingering on the staircase, glancing out an upstairs window, perusing the books on the historically accurate bookshelves. This is why I love house museums. As a visitor, I linger behind the group, so I can snatch a few fleeting moments without the constant chatter of the guide. This is the kind of thing we need to allow, & encourage. Our history NEEDS to be accessible. It belongs to all of us, not just a chosen few.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movement on the NY Suffrage Centennial Front

Well, after yesterday's post (a coincidence I'm sure) I received some interesting news- an ad hoc committee is forming of people interesting in the New York State Suffrage Centennial in 2017! So, I have been included in the email blast by my friend, & fellow suffrage devotee, Teri Gay. Right now it looks like there is a monthly conference call of like minded individuals. I will keep you updated on the progress, but if you are interested, please email Marguerite at to be included in the list.

Reblogging from Marguerite's Suffrage Wagon News Channel:


Envision a NYS suffrage centennial celebration in 2017

The first stage is the dream, and then comes the planning and reality of a New York State suffrage centennial celebration in 2017. The facts are being collected and the dreamers called into action. Every month I’m on a conference call with others who are stepping up to the plate in terms of making sure that New  York State celebrates its 2017 suffrage centennial, and by this, I mean, big time. There’s a great deal to celebrate, and of course, in 2017 I’ll pull out the stops in terms of telling suffrage tales of old. If you’re interested in working on a suffrage centennial ad hoc committee, let me know at suffragewagon at gmail dot com... click HERE to read the entire post.


No New York State suffrage centennial planning (yet): News notes and videos during “Hot Tea Month”

Suffrage film buffs in the UK are busy preparing to go into production for a suffrage movement major motion picture, “Suffragette,” in February. And the UK suff sit-com “Up the Women” has been pleasing audiences over the past year.

But what about your local community, your friends and associates who are itching to get started with suffrage centennial planning? In the US during 2014, Nevada and Montana have their centennials underway. And don’t forget the necessity of advance planning for the 2017 suffrage centennial for New York State... click HERE to read the entire post.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Women's Equality Day 2014

In my last post I discussed the lack of planning for the NY Women's Suffrage Centennial. This is not to say that there are not efforts being made throughout the state, but they are typically individual women's history sites going about there regular business, which is FABULOUS! but more effort is needed if we are to get a fire started.

That said, Women's Equality Day is fast approaching. What is Women's Equality Day you ask? It is the anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment's official inclusion in the US Constitution guaranteeing that the right to vote will not be denied due to gender. The Amendment was ratified one week prior on August 18, 1920 when the Tennessee legislature voted in favor of ratification. The House passed it by ONE VOTE!

19th Amendment stamp 1998- 150th anniversary of Seneca Falls Convention

Women's Equality Day, August 26th, is approved by resolution every year as it is not a national Holiday. This year marks the 94th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Here are some places in NY commemorating Women's Equality Day & the 94th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (all times are EDT). If you know of any others, please let me know...

The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro, NY (near Syracuse) will present a program "Legacies of Equality" on Sunday, August 24 at 2:00 p.m.

*Foundation for the National Archives in conjunction with the Sewell-Blemont House are presenting a live stream via YouTube- Women's history on the horizon: The Centennial of Women's Suffrage in 2020- Tuesday, August 26 at 7:00 pm.

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association in Johnstown, NY is hosting a garden party on Monday, August 25.

Women's e-News is hosting a live stream of the 1972 documentary "The Hand hat Rocks the Ballot Box" on Tuesday, August 26 at 6:00 p.m.

 Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY does not have a specific commemoration, but the M'Clintock House is open, and Ranger Programs are offered all weekend.

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, NY held their event last weekend, but it is always a great place to visit.

If nothing else, invite some friends over & have a suffrage tea. Tea parties were a frequent fundraising event for the later half of the suffrage movement. I even have a Votes for Women tea pot & tea towel. There is a great collection of china displayed on the Suffrage Memorabilia page. For event kits & balloons, check out the National Women's History Project.

Here are some women's suffrage blogs you might be interested in as well:

Suffrage Wagon News Channel
Suffrage Centennials
Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement
Woman and Her Sphere
Suffrage Memorobilia

*added 8/20/14 at 3:57 pm

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where is the NY State Suffrage Centennial?

WARNING: This may well be a bit of a rant, but something I believe NEEDS to be addressed. What are we doing about the upcoming Suffrage Centennial? Anyone? (I hear crickets chirping...) Bueller?

Meme I created. Isn't Inez Milholland fabulous?

So, what is NY doing to commemorate one of the single most important social history movements in our history? Chances are, nothing. If anything, it will be one of those mandates coming down from the governor's office (& I know Mr. Cuomo loves our history & wants to promote it as much as possible- Path Through History anyone?) with no real plan & no budget, leaving municipalities to foot the bill. So, it is up to private citizens, & businesses to step up & say, we want this! Social history is just as important as military history! Women's history belongs to EVERYONE!

My mother & I went to a great event in March 2013 at the Rosendale Theatre near SUNY New Paltz, where I earned my BA in History. It was a kind of play/ living history event called Brimstone, Booze, & the Ballot: Susan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage & was presented by the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, & Votes for Women 2020. In the 16 months since that event, I have been expecting a bunch of similar events: events that could be seen as dress rehearsals for the NY State Suffrage Centennial. Unfortunately, I have yet to see that.

Don't get me wrong, there are sites, & organizations catering to the Suffrage Movement, but they are places that do that on a daily basis, like the previously mentioned SBA House, MJG Foundation, as well as Seneca Falls. The Women's Rights National Historical Park just wrapped up their convention commemorating the 166th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention. & I am sure there are others. (Please let me know. I would LOVE to hear about them.) But we need more. We need living social history demonstrations to be as prevalent as Revolutionary & Civil War re-enactments. We need more women & girls involved in re-enacting.

& I need to put my money where my mouth is! I am currently working on a living social history project related to the Suffrage Movement. I am also making my own 1895 bicycling costume! Me who just recently learned how to sew...

1895 Bicycle Costume- Work in Progress

“Brimstone, Booze and the Ballot; Susan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage” - See more at:
“Brimstone, Booze and the Ballot; Susan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage” - See more at:
What do you say? Anyone interested?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grand Opening of Trail Commemorating Battle of Bennington

On June 7, 2014 I attended a great event hosted by the Washington County Historical Society: Grand Opening of the Road to the Battle of Bennington.

In a nutshell: As General Burgoyne was slowly making his way to from Fort Ticonderoga to his eventual defeat at the Battles of Saratoga (The Turning Point of the American Revolution), he sent Col. Friedrich Baum to Bennington (Walloomsac) to commandeer the provisions the rebels (i.e. us) had stored there. This trail contains a series of markers, starting with the new one installed at the Lock 6 rest area on US Route 4 in Fort Miller, detailing the route. *Spoiler alert* Col. Baum & his Brunswickers (or Braunschweigers. There was no Germany at this time. & the Hessians, contrary to most school social studies textbooks, never made it this far north.) were defeated by the rebel forces lead by Gen. Stark, Col. Herrick, Seth Warner, & Col. Nichols.
Baunschweigerswere defeatedIt was nice to see so many groups collaborating for a common goal.

Program for the Grand Opening

It was great to see so many organizations working together to complete this project.

Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership:
The Partnership’s mission is to preserve, enhance and develop the historic, agricultural, scenic, natural and recreational resources and the significant waterways within the Partnership region. Through the tradition of municipal home rule, the Partnership will foster collaborative projects with pertinent non-profit and governmental entities with an emphasis on both agricultural and open space protection, economic and tourism development, and the protection and interpretation of our natural and cultural heritage.

Lakes to Locks Passage:
Midway between Manhattan and Montreal, this inter-connected waterway shaped the destiny of the United States and Canada. By bike, foot, boat, train or car, Lakes to Locks Passage provides access to charming cities, rural landscapes and Adirondack hamlets. Through all four seasons, you can travel through numerous historic, natural, cultural and recreational experiences along the scenic waterway that links upstate New York to southern Quebec.

Kingsbury Historian Paul Loding representing His Majesty's 53rd Regiment of Foot

NYS Senator Betty Little

Janet Kennedy of Lakes to Locks Passage

Joe Craig of the Saratoga National Historical Park
Saratoga National Historical Park:
Here in the autumn of 1777, American forces met, defeated and forced a major British army to surrender.  This crucial American victory in the Battle of Saratoga renewed patriots’ hopes for independence, secured essential foreign recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world.
William Krattinger, Trustee of the Washington County Historical Society

Senator Betty Little cuts the ribbon

The panels finally arrived

Panel #2

Panel #3

Front page of the Washington County Historical Society newsletter

If you are interested, a brewery in Troy, Browns Brewing Co., has created a limited edition beer to commemorate the Battle of Bennington: Braunschweigers Mumme Ale.