The Gage Foundation will celebrate the 185th birthday of Fayetteville, New York’s most famous women’s rights activist Matilda Joslyn Gage on Thurs., March 24, from 4-7 p.m. with an open house at the newly restored Gage Center, 210 E. Genesee Street, Fayetteville.
The event is free and open to the public. It will feature music and poetry written in honor of Gage. Winners of the annual Matilda Joslyn Gage essay contest will be announced at 4:15. Musical entertainment will follow, with local activist-artist Colleen Kattau performing a song she composed about Gage. The Eagle Hill Middle School girls’ chorus will perform music from Gage’s time, and Ed Nizalowski will play period flute music. Martin Willitts will read from his new poetry chapbook, “Protest, Petition, Write, Speak: Matilda Joslyn Gage Poems” and sign copies of the book at 6 p.m.
Visitors will be invited to “Write on Our Walls”: to share their ideas for programs and exhibits by writing on whiteboard walls in each room. All will be treated to birthday cake provided by Connie Decker of the Chocolate Truffle.
A place of ideas, the Gage Center relies on dialogue to explore the social justice issues that Gage found most important and that still challenge us today.
Beginning March 26, the Gage Center will be open to the public Saturdays and Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at other times by appointment. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Group rates are available. Watch their website to learn about upcoming events at the Gage Center. For more information contact (315) 637-9511 or foundation@MatildaJoslynGage.org.
In Pulling Strings: The Legacy of Melville A. Clark, musician Linda Pembroke Kaiser explores the extraordinary career of Melville A. Clark (1883–1953), a musician, inventor, entrepreneur, community leader, and collector whose colorful story is largely unknown. The story is told by Kaiser, a musician who performs on the harp, piano, and guitar. She has published articles in the International Folk Harp Journal and has published and recorded an album of harp music, Lullabies for Earth Children.
Beginning with an account of Clark’s musical family, Kaiser chronicles the founding in 1859 of the Clark Music Company, of which Melville Clark became president in 1919. Originally just a tinkers shed, the business ultimately moved into a six-story building in the center of Syracuse. The Clark Music Company celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2010. Clark also combined his talents as a gifted musician and astute entrepreneur to start the first Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.
Kaiser recounts the development of the Clark Irish Harp, the first portable harp manufactured in the United States, that could easily play accidentals. There were other Clark inventions, such as the first nylon strings for instruments. In addition, Clark designed balloons that the British used in 1918 to drop more than 1,250,000 pamphlets over Germany.
Clark’s story unfolds in detail: a musical encounter with President Wilson, entertaining President F. D. Roosevelt, a visit to Buckingham Palace to present Princess Elizabeth with a music box, and the journey of a Clark Irish harp to Antarctica with Admiral Byrd.
Pulling Strings uncovers the life of a musical genius and also sheds light on a forgotten chapter in Syracuse history.
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In 1911, Civil War nurse Lucy Blanchard died in Fenton, Michigan. Her remains were brought back to Syracuse and she was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. For ninety-nine years, her grave was unmarked and the memory of her service faded. Thanks to the efforts of Michigan historian Len Thomas, Lucy’s life story has been researched in depth. With the help of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, a government headstone has been placed on Lucy’s grave.
On Saturday morning, November 13 at 11 o’clock, all are invited to pay tribute to this courageous lady, so long forgotten. For more information and a map to the gravesite, go to:
Four new books provide readers with first person narratives of rural Upstate New York teenage life in the 1860s through the 1890s. These accounts of young peoples’ lives on the farm, or in the home, offers a unique perspective and serves as an important primary resource in the study of American history.
The first is A Darned Good Time by 13-year old Lucy Potter of Taylor, New York (in Cortland County) in 1868. She writes of classes, teachers, friends, boys, a new stepmother, an invalid aunt, and complains about upstate New York weather.
Second in the series is My Centennial Diary – A Year in the Life of a Country Boy by 18-year old Earll Gurnee of Sennett, New York (near Skaneateles) in 1876. He writes of school, family life, social life, farm life, girlfriends, and hard work. His teacher gets arrested for being too brutal to children, he juggles two girlfriends, he plows, cuts hay, cleans out the horse barn….then wonders why his back hurts!
Third in the series, My Story – A Year in the Life of a Country Girl, is by 15-year old Ida Burnett of Logan, New York (in Schuyler County) in 1880. Ida churned butter, milked cows, sewed her own underwear, canned fruit, but also had time for boys and parties. She lived in the country in Upstate New York and in the whole year did not venture any farther than twenty miles from home. The book will be released soon.
The fourth (forthcoming) will be Home in the Hills by 14–year old Edna Kendall of Altay, New York (in Schuyler County) in 1891. It will be available in early 2010.
You can check out these and more publications from the New York History Review Press at http://www.newyorkhistoryreview.com.
The New York Times is reporting that some quarter-of-a-million 78 records (one of the worlds largest collections of 78s) from the New York City vintage gramophone record shop Records Revisited will be headed to Syracuse University’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive:
Records Revisited was packed floor-to-ceiling with discs of a vintage and variety that drew a steady stream of record buffs to 34 West 33rd Street. The shop, more like an archive than a store, held approximately 60 tons of swing, big band jazz and other styles on vinyl, forming one of the largest collections of 78s in the world.
The shop has been closed since Mr. Savada’s death in February. Last Thursday, his son, Elias Savada, was poring over a cardboard box, one of 1,300 being filled with records and put on waiting trucks. The collection will be sent to Syracuse University’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, which will now have the second-largest collection of 78s in the United States, after the Library of Congress, university officials said…
The Syracuse University archivists couldn’t be more pleased with the obscure records arriving in numbered boxes. Not only is there a huge swing collection, but also recordings of country, blues, gospel, polka, folk and Broadway tunes. Suzanne Thorin, the university’s dean of libraries, said the truckloads of Mr. Savada’s records — at least, the tiny percentage sampled so far — has revealed fascinating auditory treasures, including Carl Sandburg reading his own poetry while accompanying himself on the guitar, and Hazel Scott, the pianist and singer. There are also many rare recordings preserved only on V-Disc records produced for American military personnel overseas in the 1940s.