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Moffat Library of Washingtonville
6 West Main Street
Washingtonville, New York 10992
Phone: (845)496-5483
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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.

Update (as of October 30, 2021)

Update (as of October 30, 2021)


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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. 



“Albert Schoenhut & Company 1872-1935.” Schoenhut Dolls 1872-1935. Doll Reference, 2021.

Drinan, Susan. Encyclopedia of greater philadelphia. Accessed October 28, 2021.

“Figure Set: Schoenhuts Humpty Dumpty Circus: The Greatest Toys on Earth.” The Strong Museum of Play. Google Arts & Culture. Accessed October 28, 2021.

Weber, Carmen A., Irving Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick. “Albert Schoenhut (Toys).” Workshop of the World. Oliver Evans Press, 2007.

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.


“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.

“Retirements.” Erie Railroad Magazine, September 1954.