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