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Matt Thorenz

Throwback Thursday: December 2, 2021

As fall turns to winter, we will be highlighting items from our collection that remind us of this festive season! This week we are looking at these ice skates worn by Anna Moffat in the late 19th century.

Ice skates belonging to Anna Moffat, late-19th century. Moffat Library of Washingtonville.

Skating is considered one of the oldest forms of recreational pastimes. One of the oldest pairs of skates was discovered in Northern Europe and are dated to be over 4,000 years old! Even the terminology used dates to the dark ages, and early-medieval period as the word “skate” is itself derived from the Old English word Schake, meaning leg or shank.

Early skates were made from elk, reindeer and oxen bone and lashed to the wearer’s boots via leather or twine. By the 19th century, ice skates were more refined and consisted of a steel blade mounted to a wood board. These skates have a screw in the heel so they can be mounted to a boot or shoe before being secured with a strap. With practice, skates such as these allowed the wearer to carve intricate patterns, in the ice, leading to elaborate “ice writing” competitions, the forerunner of modern figure skating.

 

 

Advertisement for R.B. Drake’s Broadway Fish Market, Newburgh, New York. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

 

During the winter, locals took full advantage of frozen rivers, like the Hudson, creeks, such as the Moodna, and even local farmer’s ponds for winter entertainment. In 1866, historian Benson Lossing recorded “Even in winter…Newburgh Bay presents a lively scene almost every day, for ice boats and skaters are there in great abundance”. Writing of his experiences fifty years later, E.J. McLaughlin III noted “when frozen over [the Moodna Creek] provided a good mile of ice skating and many impromptu hockey games”.

Bibliography

MacKay, Jenny. “A History of Figure Skating.” In Figure Skating, 8-23. Science Behind Sports. Detroit, MI: Lucent Books, 2012. Gale eBooks (accessed December 2, 2021). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX1756900008/GVRL?u=nysl_se_moffat&sid=bookmark-GVRL&xid=11189ca3.

McLaughlin III, E. J. (1994). Around the Watering Trough: A History of Washingtonville, N.Y. Washingtonville Centennial Celbration, Inc.

“Seventeenth-Century Footwear.” In European Culture from The Renaissance to the Modern Era, 2nd ed., edited by Sara Pendergast, Tom Pendergast, Drew D. Johnson, and Julie L. Carnagie, 525-530. Vol. 3 of Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear Through the Ages. Detroit, MI: UXL, 2013. Gale eBooks (accessed December 2, 2021). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX2760000102/GVRL?u=nysl_se_moffat&sid=bookmark-GVRL&xid=3ed24ce0

Throwback Thursday: November 18, 2021

Remember having gelatin salad for dinner growing up? Do you want to relive the experience, or better yet, share it with your guests? This week we serve up not one, not two, but three recipes for salads with extra jiggle courtesy of Kitchen Loves Cook Book!, compiled by members of the Sarah Wells Garden Club in 1976. 

 

File:Congealed salad cranberry.jpg

A cranberry jello salad made in a ring mold. Wikimedia Commons, 2007.

 

Kitchen Loves! Cook book by the Sarah Wells Garden Club, 1976. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

The Sarah Wells Garden Club was founded in 1971 and was named after Sarah Wells, the first European settler in what is now the towns of Campbell Hall, and Blooming Grove, New York. According to the introduction to Kitchen Loves Cookbook, their meetings included “programs and workshops on the advancement of gardening; the development of home grounds; the stimulation of cooperative gardening; and aid in the preservation of forests, plants and wildlife”. Although the club is no longer in existence, the mission of this group carries on through organizations such as the Master Gardeners of Orange County, Friends of Orange County Arboretum, and other local garden clubs. 

Considered by critics as one of the most recognizable, and popular dessert products in American cuisine, Jell-O was invented in 1897 by Pearl B. Wait, who improved the concept of powdered gelatin, invented fifty years earlier, by adding fruit flavoring to the recipe. Francis Woodward bought the patent from Wait in 1899 for $450, or $11,000.00 in today’s money, and began production through the Genesee Pure Food Company, located in LeRoy, New York. More than just a tasty treat, Jell-O democratized gelatin desserts, taking an otherwise labor-intensive dish served only to those who could afford it, and making it convenient enough to make in a working class home. 

This is partly the reason for the popularity of jellied salads in the first half of the 20th century. It was convenient, not messy, and economical, perfect for a household on the go! With the Great Depression of 1929, Americans had to use what resources they had in order to make sure their families were fed. The post-war years also saw an explosion of gelatin salads as women began to balance domestic roles with work outside of the home. According to food writer Sarah Grey, women “added labor back into the process…instead of cooking from scratch, they used prepared foods, but “doctored them up” with additional ingredients or dramatic presentations that made it clear the’d spent real time and effort on the meal” This was all in an effort to put “love and care” back into prepared foods, whether they were needed or not. By the 1980s, however, the women’s movement saw a larger number of women with careers and as heads of households. The variety of pre-packaged foods, along with dieting and nutrition trends that shunned gelatin for tossed salads made these recipes below a thing of the past.We’re not sure how these recipes tasted, but we agree that the experience was a memorable one regardless.

 

Kitchen Loves! Cook book by the Sarah Wells Garden Club, 1976. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

 

 

GELATIN SALAD by Emily S. Akers, Washingtonville, N.Y.

2 packages of lemon jello
3 cucumbers
1 pint half and half
1 onion
1 green pepper

[Directions]

Warm light cream or half and half; dissolve gelatin in it.
Cool; add salt, vegetables ground or finely chopped.
Put in mold: 1 large or 2 medium sized.
Preparation ½ hour. Serves 8. Will keep several days in refrigerator. Serve with mayonnaise mixed with sour cream.


VEGETABLE SALAD by Adele Brodhead, Campbell Hall, N.Y.

Serves 6.
Wonderful for a buffet.
Easy to do the day before, takes about 15 minutes

3 oz. package orange gelatin
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup chopped green pepper, optional
1 medium onion

[Directions]

Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water; add salad dressing (have it at room temperature). When cool add cheese and vegetables. Turn into a 4 cup mold. Chill until set.
To serve, cut into squares or invert mold onto serving platter and garnish with greens, olives or other vegetable decorations.

CORNED BEEF SALAD by Mrs. Alice Andrews Pelosky, M.

2 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup boiling water
1 package lemon jello

Combine.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 – 8 ounce cream cheese
1 – 3 ounce cream cheese

Beat together and add to jello, mixing, beating until smooth.
Add: 

2 cups celery, finely chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
2 – 12 ounce cans corned beef, cubed
4 hard boiled eggs, cut up

Chill overnight.

Serves 12.

Bibliography

Grey, Sarah. “A Social History of Jell-O Salad: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon.” Serious Eats. Dotdash, August 10, 2018.
https://www.seriouseats.com/history-of-jell-o-salad.

Sarah Wells Garden Club. Kitchen Loves! Cook Book. Circulation Service, 1976.

Schnakenberg, Robert E., Tina Gianoulis, Rob Edelman, and Edward Moran. “1900s: Food and Drink.” In 1900s-1910s, 2nd ed., edited by Cynthia Johnson and Lawrence W. Baker, 55-70. Vol. 1 of Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th- and 21st-Century America. Detroit, MI: UXL, 2012. Gale eBooks (accessed November 17, 2021). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX1303400014/GVRL?u=nysl_se_moffat&sid=bookmark-GVRL&xid=d0bcc99b.

Throwback Thursday: November 11, 2021

To commemorate Veterans Day, we don’t have a cookbook to share this week, but to keep with our theme this week’s post is food related! We’re all familiar with the image of the U.S. “Doughboy” of World War One, but what about what they ate? Fortunately for us, local First World War veteran David Wright Hudson (1893-1971) recorded some of the things he ate, and prepared while serving as a Mess Sergeant in Company L, 6th U.S. Infantry.

David Wright Hudson (2nd row, left) and four kitchen assistants at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, 1917. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

Although November 11th has been associated with commemorating U.S. veterans of all wars since June 1, 1954, when the Act of 1938 was amended, prior to the amendment, the day was set aside to commemorate Armistice Day, when on November 11th, 1918 news of a cease fire which ended “The Great War”, also known as the First World War, was announced. Outside of the U.S., other countries involved in the war, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Germany, and France still recognize November 11th as Armistice Day.

The Moffat Library’s Hudson Collection contains many items related to the First World War, and specifically David Wright Hudson, who served as a sergeant and cook of Company L of the 6th U.S. Infantry from 1917 to 1919. David’s letters home and his diary give us some idea of what it would be like cooking meals for over 100 hungry soldiers at bootcamp and the Western Front. On December 24, 1917, when David was at basic training at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, he wrote to his family in Washingtonville about the Christmas dinner he and several other cooks were preparing:

“We are trimming and preparing the dinner for tomorrow, I am on to roast the turkeys. To day [sic] the company received a barrel of 125 lbs of turkeys, so I helped clean them, we had twelve. Our Mess Sergeant made mince pies about 30 and the same of a three layer coconut cake. We have in our company eleven Lieutenants we can hardly step inside unless you run across there, and it keeps us at saluting.”

One year later David was on the front lines of Northeastern France where he worked in one of the many field kitchens that helped feed the men of the 26th Division, American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.). During the First World War, U.S. troops had three main rations to draw from: The “Trench Ration”, which consisted of canned meats, such as salmon, and corned beef and sealed in tin cans to prevent exposure to gas attacks, the “Reserve Ration”, which included fresh bacon or canned meat, two 8-ounce cance of hard bread, also known as hardtack, a packet of pre-ground coffee, a packet of sugar and a packet of salt as well as a “tobacco ration”. Finally there was the “Iron Ration”, which had three three-ounce cakes made of beef bouillon and wheat, three one-ounce bars of chocolate, and salt and pepper sealed in a tin. The lack of variety and nutritional value of these staples meant David had to rely on local farmers for fresh produce when the opportunity presented itself. On October 24th 1918 he wrote his father:

“ A month ago we passed through a part of the country that we had stoped [sic] at when we first arrived over here. While here I went out through the country to buy some green vegetables, and I found potatoes were plentiful, as well as larg and big ones.I bought them at two (2$) a bus[hel].Then I bought cabbage, and tomatoes, as we were (225) men strong it takes lots to eat.”

No photo description available.

Inventory of rations for Company L, 6th U.S. Infantry [1918]. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

Two months later, David was preparing a Christmas dinner in occupied Germany. The menu included Clam Chowder Soup, Young Roast Pork with Spanish Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Peas, Stewed Apples, Hot Biscuits and Butter, Sponge Cake, (Mother’s Style), Hot Cocoa, Cigarettes and Tobacco. Truly everyone who had survived the horrors of trench warfare had something to be thankful for that day.

Bibliography

Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. “History of Veterans Day.” Go to VA.gov. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, March 20, 2006. https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp.

“World War I Rations: Full Belly, Fully Ready.” Army Heritage Center Foundation. Army Heritage Center Foundation, September 9, 2020. https://www.armyheritage.org/soldier-stories-information/world-war-i-rations-full-belly-fully-ready/.

Throwback Thursday: November 4, 2021

This month we will be looking at historic cookbooks from our library’s collection! We hope these recipes will make your mouth water for some fun historical facts in time to impress your guests around the holiday table! 

Today we’ll be looking at the 1889 edition of The Variety Cook Book of Washingtonville, N.Y. published for the Ladies’ Society of the First Presbyterian Church in 1889. The book was originally published in 1880 but “the edition was soon exhausted”. This newer version of the book was published following a high demand and was revised. The fly-leaf inset states “some recipes rejected and many new ones added, so that it is herewith presented to the public in much better shape than before.” Although some recipes were posted anonymously, others were attributed to local women associated with the First Presbyterian Church.

 

The Variety Cookbook of Washingtonville, 1889 ed. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

 

One recipe for Corn Pudding is attributed to Emily Beaumont (1840 – 1906), who owned property to the south of Brotherhood Winery. Her home would become the summer residence of wine company president Edward R. Emerson (1856-1924).

 

Corn Pudding

 

Two dozen ears of sweet corn
One half pint of milk
Heaping tablespoonful of flour
Two tablespoonfuls of sugar
One teaspoon of salt
Four eggs

Draw a sharp knife through each row of corn; cut the kernals off; scrape the remaining pulp; add the above ingredients and put into a buttered dish; have a steady heat in the oven, not too hot, and bake from two to three hours; serve hot with butter.

Throwback Thursday: October 28, 2021

“Humpty Dumpty Circus”, Albert Schoenhut Dolls, c. 1901. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

 

This week we are highlighting these early 20th century clown dolls from the Hudson Family collection. Known as “Schoenhut dolls”, these fully articulated figures were produced by Albert Schoenhut & Company sometime around 1900. 

 

In 1866, woodcarver Albert Schoenhut was invited to America from Wurtemberg Germany to repair toy pianos for the Wanamaker Department Store, located in Philadelphia. Six years later Schoenhut opened his own toy company on Frankford Street, specializing in toy pianos and musical instruments. As his reputation, and array of toys, grew so did Albert’s company. By 1901 Schoenhut’s company had moved to a larger building, off present-day Hagert Street in Philadelphia, and had 125 workers. It was around this time that these dolls, known as the “Humpty Dumpty Circus Set” began to appear in store windows and catalogs. 

 

Circuses were an established and popular form of entertainment in the United States at the turn of the century, so a doll set focused on acrobats, clowns, and exotic animals was a natural selling point! It also kept customers wanting more as the buyer would need additional sets to complete the series, which included a ringmaster, band, tent, animals and performers, all sold separately. In addition to the intricately detailed costumes of the performers, the early circus sets included animals with glass eyes and real hair!

 

Albert Schoenhut passed away in 1912, but the company continued under his six sons, who continued to produce a variety of dolls including baby dolls, walking dolls, “sleepy eyes” dolls, dolls based on popular comic strip characters, and even a doll of Theodore Roosevelt. The company continued to produce toys through the Great Depression of 1929, but was unable to recover its losses and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1935. However that wasn’t the last act of these circus clowns! 

 

In 1950, fifteen years after the last Schoenhut “Humpty Dumpty Circus” sets were produced, Nelson B. Delavan, a toymaker from Seneca Falls, New York, was granted permission by one of Albert Schoenhut’s sons, Otto, to reproduce the sets under the “Humpty Dumpty” title, which he did until ceasing production in 1952. Despite this, we believe the circus dolls in our collection are the original ones produced by Albert Schoenhut’s company between 1901 and 1935. As for their owner, we believe these dolls were owned by Clara Hudson, an avid collector and enthusiast who displayed many of her creations at the Moffat Library. 

Bibliography

 

“Albert Schoenhut & Company 1872-1935.” Schoenhut Dolls 1872-1935. Doll Reference, 2021.
https://dollreference.com/albert_schoenhut_dolls.html.

Drinan, Susan. Encyclopedia of greater philadelphia. Accessed October 28, 2021.
https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/artifact-toy-schoenhut-company/.

“Figure Set: Schoenhuts Humpty Dumpty Circus: The Greatest Toys on Earth.” The Strong Museum of Play. Google Arts & Culture. Accessed October 28, 2021.
https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/figure-set-schoenhut-s-humpty-dumpty-circus-the-greatest-toys-on-earth-the-humpty-dumpty-toy-co/QAH67RjqJUIZNg?hl=en.

Weber, Carmen A., Irving Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick. “Albert Schoenhut (Toys).” Workshop of the World. Oliver Evans Press, 2007.
https://www.workshopoftheworld.com/kensington/schoenhut.html.

Throwback Thursday: October 21, 2021

This week for “Throwback Thursday”, we look at a true story of horror and heroism that unfolded at Washingtonville’s Erie Depot on September 16th, 1914. The headline of Elmira’s Star Gazette on the 21st of September read “ENGINEER DIES WHILE AT POST: Fortunately, Fireman Discovers Dangerous Fact in Time to Prevent Wreck – Years With Erie Railroad”.

On Wednesday, September 16th, Engineer James O’Brien, who “had complained a little recently of not being in the best of health, but there was no sign of this” boarded his train at Newburgh and made the run through Washingtonville to Greycourt, near Chester. On the return trip, Fireman Theodore Balmos, who was responsible for making sure the engine had enough fuel to maintain its speed, noticed that O’Brien didn’t whistle as the train was passing a road crossing. Sensing something was wrong, the fireman noticed engineer O’Brien doubled up and unresponsive. The fireman immediately gained control of the train and brought the train to a halt after turning off the steam and applying the brakes as the train pulled into the Washingtonville depot.

“Without knowledge of the grim tragedy which had been enacted in the cab of the engine which was drawing them, the passengers on a Newburgh branch train of the Erie road into the Washingtonville station Wednesday night, each intent upon his or her own interests. It was not until their attention had been drawn by the unaccustomed delay and the scurrying about of the railroad men that they came to a realization of the peril through which they had passed, for only a moment before death had been at the throttle of their locomotive, and a faithful old engineer had passed away”

Engineer James O’Brien’s body was returned to Port Jervis and was buried on Monday, September 21st. Fireman Balmos continued to serve the Erie railroad for many years after and retired as an engineer in 1954 after serving the railroad for 50 years.

James O’Brien’s unfortunate death wasn’t the only one recorded by the Erie in 1914. One month earlier, William T. Hineman was killed after his train collided with another engine at Deposit, New York, and engineer William B. Burt was killed as a result of a boiler explosion near Corning, New York in July.

Bibliography

“Engineer Dies While At Post.” Star-Gazette. September 21, 1914.

Sponholz, James. “ICC Reportable Accidents and Other Events – Erie Railroad.” The Erie Railroad, Linking Chicago and Jersey City-New York Erie Logo. Rootsweb, 2006. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~sponholz/genealogy/iccerie.html.

“Retirements.” Erie Railroad Magazine, September 1954.

 

 

Throwback Thursday: October 7, 2021

Copy of “Cowboy of the Ramapos” by Marjorie Sherman Greene (1956). Moffat Library of Washingtonville.

This month we are looking at the strange, unusual, and legendary every “Throwback Thursday” in October! This week we are highlighting this 1956 copy of Cowboy of the Ramapos by Marjorie Sherman Greene. In this work of historical fiction, main character Geoffrey Blackburn, a scout for George Washington’s army, must find the hideout of Claudius Smith, the leader of a band of Loyalist outlaws known as the “Cowboys”. Although this is a work of fiction, Claudius Smith, and his Cowboys really did exist!

Claudius was born on Long Island in 1736, but settled in present day Monroe New York in 1741. In 1762 he enlisted in Colonel James Clinton’s Company of Ulster County Militia and served in the French and Indian War. Following the end of hostilities in 1763, he made a name for himself as a criminal and was imprisoned for “debt, theft, and rioting”. During the American Revolutionary War, both Blooming Grove, and Monroe were on the periphery of a conflict that engulfed the thirteen rebelling colonies. Many individuals took advantage of the fractious nature of this war to settle old scores and take advantage of others who they disliked prior to the opening of hostilities on April 19, 1775. Those who supported the cause of independence were known as “Patriots”, and those who adhered to the authority of Great Britain were known as “Loyalists”, but the degree and motivation of an individual to adhere to one principal to another varied greatly, especially when state sponsored bounties were placed on the heads of officials and local community leaders.

Claudius and his two sons Richard and James remained loyal to the crown, while his other son sided with the Revolutionaries. Despite his allegiance, Claudius socialized with the Brewster and Gale families, the Brewsters being adherents to the Patriot cause. On October 6, 1778 when Smith and his gang robbed Ebenezer Woodhull’s property and murdered Major Nathaniel Strong, who is buried in Washingtonville Cemetery. A description of the event was recorded following a coroner’s interview with Ebenezer’s wife Abigail:

A coroner’s report for October 8th: “Mrs. Woodhull being duly sworn saith that on the night of the sixt of this instant, Claudius Smith and a party of armed men came to hur [sic] house about twelve O clock, and did rob hur [sic] and wish hur [sic] Husband was at home for he would have him ded [sic] or a live.”

Nathaniel Strong’s wife recounted “about One O Clock she heerd [sic] sum [sic] men knocking at the dore [sic] and braken [sic] the windows, on which hur [sic] husband got up and askt [sic] who was there; they answered a friend; on which they ordered him to lay down his arms and open the dore and they would not hurt him; he answered he would if he could; they told him to lay down his gun; he said he had; on which he stept forred [sic] and was shot by the party that had attackted [sic] the house and further she heared hur [sic] husband say it was Claudious Smith”

A reward for $1,200 for Claudius and $600 for his sons and John McArthur as well as $300 George Davis and Nathaniel Biggs was ascribed by the state legislature. Despite pleas of help from New York Governor George Clinton, Claudius and his gang continued raiding and harassing prominent leaders who identified as Patriots, including the home of Robert Erskine on November 11, 1778. Smith was eventually captured by Major Jesse Brush while hiding on Long Island, then occupied by the British, and executed January 22nd, 1779. His son Richard continued as gang leader until fellow members William Cole, and William Welcher confessed their crimes to authorities, as the war was winding down and it became clear they would be on the losing side. This resulted in the outing of those who harbored the gang and thus undoing their support network.

There are many stories that revolve around Claudius Smith, but perhaps the most unusual, and gruesome is the story that Claudius Smith’s head skull was embedded in the masonry of the 1841 Goshen Courthouse. This incident is the subject of a Legends & Lore marker, which was dedicated on October 30th, 2016. On May 1st, 2021, a related marker was unveiled at Washingtonville Cemetery, noting it as the final resting place of Major Nathaniel Strong.

 

Bibliography:

Bellamy, Lana. “Murdered patriot’s grave, Washingtonville Cemetery marked with new sign” Times Herald-Record, May 3, 2021
https://www.recordonline.com/story/news/2021/05/03/washingtonville-cemetery-historic-marker-major-nathaniel-strong/4920344001/

Croswell, E. Documents of the Senate of the State of New York, Vol. 12. Albany.,1900

Dewey, Charles. “Terror in the Ramapos” Journal of the American Revolution, March 25, 2019.
https://allthingsliberty.com/2019/03/terror-in-the-ramapos/

New York Colonial Muster Rolls, 1664-1775: Report of the State Historian of New York, Vol.2. Baltimore

Sweetman, Jennie. “Historic marker dedicated for Smith, ‘Cowboy of the Ramapos’” New Jersey Herald, November 5, 2017.
https://www.njherald.com/lifestyle/20171105/historic-marker-dedicated-for-smith-cowboy-of-the-ramapos

 

Throwback Thursday September 23, 2021

This week’s Throwback Thursday is this 1995 edition of “A Life of Quiet Dignity: Naomi Sewell Richardson” by Alice Jefferson Marshall, Estella Henderson Boyd, Leola Murray Mason, and Karen J. Wilson. Naomi Sewell Richardson (1892 – 1993) was born to Perry W. Sewell, and Florence Snowden Sewell in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania on September 24th, 1892. Naomi’s father, a minister, would move the family to Washingtonville in 1901, when he took became Reverend at the Bethany Presbyterian Church. Naomi would be the first African American to graduate from Washingtonville High School, before attending Howard University in 1910. There, she was one of twenty-two founding members of Delta Sigma Theta, one of the first Black Sororities to be founded in the United States. 

Compiled by members of Mid-Hudson Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., “A Life of Quiet Dignity” includes anecdotes and interviews with, as well as memories of , Naomi Sewell Richardson, who was a member of this chapter from 1979 to her death in 1993.  Today, the sorority that Naomi helped found has 300,000 initiated members, and 1,000 chartered chapters. Naomi’s headstone at Washingtonville Cemetery is noticeable for its red-granite appearance and the Greek letters of the sorority she helped found. The area where her home once stood is being developed into a park in her name, across from the modern -day Washingtonville Middle, and High Schools where a new generation will learn her story. To learn more about our local history collection, visit our Local History Guide here  or call (845) 496-5483 x 326!

Throwback Thursday September 16, 2021

1908 Washingtonville Union School Commencement Pamphlet. Hudson Collection, Moffat Library of Washingtonville

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” is this commencement brochure for the Washingtonville Union School Class of 1908 belonging to Ethel Wright Hudson (1891-1936). Before the construction of the Washingtonville Central School in 1932, School plays and ceremonies were often held at Moffat Library in what is now the building’s Adult Wing. According to one article “The hall had been prettily decorated, including in large letters W.H.S. 08,” and the class motto, “Through Difficulty to Grandeur”. Despite there being only four students in the graduating class and “excessive heat” of June, the library hall was “crowded to the doors”. The graduates were Ella Bull, Howard Conklin, Harold L. Sitzer, and Chadwick Gerow; who delivered the salutatory and oration on “Heroism and Bravery”. Sadly, Chadwick would be killed in action on September 29th, 1918, the only soldier from Washingtonville to be killed in action during the First World War.

 

At this time, Ethel Hudson was a Junior, graduating the following year. However she did attend this ceremony and inscribed on the cover “Mr. Smith told me he loved me on the 25 of Nov, 1908. He asked me to tell him first which I did. These are Mr. Smith’s words: “Ethel – Ethel I love you”. Whether this was true love or just a fantasy we can only guess.

To learn more about our Local History collection, visit our resource guide here , or call us at (845) 496-5483 x 326!

Throwback Thursday, September 9, 2021

Title Page of “Elements of Written Arithmetic” by Charles Davies LLD, A.S. Barnes & Company, 1873. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” is this 1873 copy of Elements of Written Arithmetic textbook kept by Grace L. Wright (Hudson). Originally published in 1863 by Charles Davies (1798-1876), this book was part of a series of six books Davies produced to “present to the mind of the pupil the art, and to some extent the science of arithmetic, by a series of carefully constructed formulas of operation, with simple and concise rules”. Davies himself was a West Point Graduate (Class of 1815) and taught Mathematics, and Natural and Experimental Philosophy at his alma mater from 1816 to 1837, before teaching at Trinity College, Hartford, University of New York and Columbia. He would write and edit textbooks on mathematics until his death on September 17, 1876.

 

 

Grace Alma Wright (Hudson) (1864-1950) carried this textbook when she was probably eight or nine years old. Like students of later generations, Grace personalized her

Inside cover of “Elements of Written Arithmetic” by Charles Davies LLD, A.S. Barnes & Company, 1873. Moffat Library of Washingtonville

textbook by covering it and writing her name on the inside cover. The book is covered in scrap linen that would have been used in making shirts and attached to the book by a basic stitch that can be seen on the inside cover. Grace would go on to marry William J. Hudson (1861-1946) and raise a family of six children at the Hudson home on Hudson Road in Blooming Grove, New York.

To learn more about our Local History collection, visit our resource guide here , or call us at (845) 496-5483 x 326!