Thursday, February 19, 2015

Local History Collection

Items found in a local history collection at a community library can stir fond emotions of our town and county. In the Somers Library, our local history collection offers books, journals, maps, brochures, pamphlets, and audio visual media items all waiting for the curious patron to peruse.  Since this important collection is housed in a beautiful antique cabinet, space at a premium.  

Recently, Reference Librarian Valerie Herman went through the entire local history collection to reorganize and reevaluate the materials. She removed duplicates and items in such poor condition that they were no longer legible. More importantly, she re-cataloged the items so they are easier to find and explore.

Here are a few of the interesting items available for review:       

Between the Lines: Stories of Westchester County, New York, During the American Revolution by Susan Cochran Swanson (1976); Junior League of Pelham, Inc., Pelham, New York. This small paperback book retells the history of Westchester County, New York, during the American Revolution. Most of the material found in this booklet is drawn from interviews conducted and compiled after the war by a John M. McDonald and his friend and old Westchester guide, Andrew Corsa between the years 1844-1850. These interviews, 407 in all, were from 241 people aged 70-96 who had lived through the incidents during the Revolutionary War.  Perhaps the story Delancey Raids American Post at Pines Bridge, May 13, 1781 (p. 62-69) would be of particular interest to some who live in the south Somers area. 

The Somers Library Association Program; Fund-raiser program from the event held December 4, 1976 for benefit of the Somers Library Association. Back in the earlier days of the Somers Library, the library was not a public library, but an association library formed in 1875. It was located at the intersection of Routes 202 & 116. At one time, its funding came largely from a thrift shop called Elephant’s Trunk Thrift Shop for the Somers Library. This is a program from a fund-raising event held at the Lakeover Country Club in Bedford Hills. This program holds a snapshot of the town during the mid-1970’s with ads placed by the Somers Chamber of Commerce with a listing of its members, the Somers Junior Women’s Club, the Mexican Shack, Billingsley Real Estate, Lakeland Lumber, Somers Cleaners & Tailors, and the Somers Shell Service Station, Armand Fourgeot, Proprietor. There are also ads from many generous families. Additionally, there is a President’s Message written by the then president of the Somers Library Association, Jean Reidy. Jean is now one of our current library board members.

Somers is Our Home Town (1976). This booklet is a result of a bicentennial project by a group of children in Mrs. Fowler’s 1975-1976 third grade reading class at Primrose School, Somers, New York. This pamphlet is illustrated by the children of this class and also includes old historic photos as well as photos of the class as they explore their town. There is a picture of the class as a group and a page with all their signatures.

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