Why we sell what we sell….

Many of our customers at Between the Lakes Group are primarily interested in genealogy, and they can be pardoned for occasionally wondering why we sell what we sell. Yes, occasionally we do some “original” history — history that has not been told before — but most of our business consists of republications of old and out of print material.

Amy Johnson Crow is a professional genealogist who has written an article (and created a podcast) about why genealogists need to be concerned with material that goes beyond “names and dates” — why genealogists need to put meat on the bones, so to speak. We were sufficiently impressed by her article that we wanted to refer to to you. You can find it HERE.

The podcast, in case you are into podcasts, and we know that many people are, the link to the podcast is there as well.

One point she makes in her article is the importance of finding out organizations to which your ancestor may have belonged. They can tell you a whole lot about your ancestor. For example, does your ancestor’s obit say he was in the GAR? Well, that’s an easy one — it stands for Grand Army of the Republic, and it means that even if you cannot find any other documentation of the fact, your ancestor was a Civil War veteran.

However, there are a zillion other organizations, and many are not quite as easy as the GAR. We know that because we kept track of how many people downloaded our old free list of abbreviations for organizations — how you make the jump from the initials of the organization that appear in the ancestor’s obit to the full name of the group.

Suffice it to say that this is a two part assignment. First, read Amy Johnson Crow’s article, and then consider whether you actually can identify all of those organizations your ancestors belonged to that were only identified by initials.

We modestly offer a book we prepared a couple of years ago that can help with that task. Acronyms for Organizations is a great compendium of initials for organizations, and for each there are the organizations those initials stand for, and have stood for in the past.

You can get Acronyms for Organizations via Amazon, and we think that after reading Amy Johnson Crow’s article you might decide that you actually need it.

Acronyms for organizations
Here’s the front cover! Here’s more about it.

Here are a couple of ideas if you don’t want to spend quite that much money. First, consider the Kindle version. This is one book that is probably as accessible on your portable electronic device as it is in book form, and it’s cheaper too. Furthermore, you’re more apt to have it with you the next time you’re stumped by a set of initials that stand for an organization.

There’s one more alternative that will also save you some money and quite possibly answer most of your questions about acronyms for organizations. The book pictured above is actually the second (and greatly expanded) edition of this book:

The first edition — but still available at Amazon

We know it’s a bit unusual to be offering two editions of the same book for sale at the same time, but we considered that What Does That Stand For? might just be sufficient for many people’s needs. It’s also at Amazon, and it also is available in a Kindle edition at a savings.

Well, that’s a long way of saying why we sell what we sell — or at least why we sell a couple of things that we sell — but we hope you find it helpful!

Libertas Yearbook for 1950

The yearbook of Liberty High School, Liberty, Sullivan County, NY

We at Between the Lakes Group are happy to make this Item of New York State history available once again. We acquired it on eBay, and hope that some find it useful.  Given the age that living 1950 Liberty High School grads now are, we expect that this is now of more genealogical interest than it is food for reminiscence.

High school yearbooks are one form of history within which everyone is recorded when they graduate from high school. They, and their community, are frozen at a point in time that the yearbook captures and keeps. Haircuts, clothes, friends, teachers, the sense of humor of the era, the area businesses – they are all captured as they were, not as we choose to remember them or tell our children they were back in the good old days.

The senior this year were born circa 1932-33.  The Great Depression was here; the happy times their parents remembered from their own childhoods likely seemed a distant memory.  They were in school during World War II, and likely most could tell you how they heard about Pearl Harbor.  All knew World War II veterans, and some of them may have had memories of soldiers and sailors who did not make it home from that war.  Boys graduating from LHS this year stood a good chance of being drafted or enlisting for the Korean War.  And at this writing, surviving class members are 85 or 86 years old.

There are a number of interesting aspects of this yearbook.  First off, it was soft covered.  Hard covers were still a year or two in the future.  The interesting blotches of pink on the pages just inside the cover are not some form of abstract art – they are simply color that has over the decades bled from the covers.  Under 70 pages in length, counting covers, it was not an extravagant effort, but it was carefully done.

Something this yearbook has that we’ve not noticed in other yearbooks was the class “Last Will and Testament” – yes, they were a yearbook commonplace back then, but this is the only one we can remember seeing in poetic form.  Shakespeare it is not, but it is an interesting touch.

Gender roles were pretty absolute in 1950.  Girls took home economics.  Boys took shop, with long-time shop teachers AuClair and Burnham already in place.  There don’t seem to have been any shop clubs for either boys or girls, but we note that there was a “Charm Club” that presumably was intended for girls who wished to improve their prospects in the matrimonial department.  Something interesting here:  there were two clubs for boys, the Bachelors Club and the Chefs Club, in the Home Economics department.  These clubs, which sought to teach boys to cook and to keep house, seem to be a bit discordant.  With sex roles still tightly defined, the popularity of these is hard to explain, even in retrospect.

Cheerleading remained the only sport for girls.  Basketball, which had been a girls’ sport as well as one for boys decades earlier, seems to be long gone at this point.  The boys’ sports: football, basketball, wrestling, track, baseball, and golf, were Liberty’s traditional mainstays.  One interesting addition to this book: people occasionally used yearbooks to collect clippings about graduates.  One such – a sad one – is the last page of this file.

At the same time, the Golden Age of the resorts was dawning, and fast.  While we see no references to Liberty’s place in the resort community, it was certainly well established by this time and was growing.  The O&W Railroad was still in business, although fading fast.  The Route 17 Quickway was not yet there, and the trip by car to NYC was a four-hour adventure, likely with a stop at the Red Apple Rest.

Telephones were black, had coiled cords, and were usually found one to a household – and your parents overheard every word you said.  Your neighbors may have as well, on the party lines that were still common.  Television sets, on the other hand, were still scarce, and reception, such as it was, was entirely in black and white, and often snowy.

1950 was genuinely a long time ago.  This yearbook captures it nicely, we think.

Want to capture this bit of history for yourself? CLICK HERE to go to our Liberty, New York page.

A full catalog of our offerings can be found at our main website, http://www.betweenthelakes.com. We invite you to visit us there.

Meanwhile, enjoy this bit of New York State history!

Libertas Yearbook for 1950

Lakeville Crucifix interview podcast

There’s now a Lakeville Crucifix interview podcast!

We were delighted to be interviewed by Dan Dwyer, host of “Offscript with Dan Dwyer”, on WHDD-FM in Sharon, CT “the smallest NPR station in the nation.” And the subject was Lakeville Crucifix!

Dan is a first-rate interviewer who knows his local history! WHDD is an extraordinary local resource — one we are uniquely fortunate to have in our area.

WHDD has generously made a podcast of the interview available — and here’s a link to it!

To listen to the Lakeville Crucifix interview podcast, simply CLICK HERE!

More information about Lakeville Crucifix is HERE

Lakeville Crucifix

The book is available locally at Johnnycake Books in Salisbury, CT, or via Amazon.

Lakeville Crucifix — News!

We announced the availability of Lakeville Crucifix — A Religious War in 19th Century Connecticut, by Geoffrey Brown, a few weeks ago.

Lakeville Crucifix
Lakeville Crucifix, published by Between the Lakes Group LLC

Now we have some more news!

Lakeville Crucifix is now available in the town where the events happened! We are grateful to Johnnycake Books for offering this volume (the paperback edition) for sale in their Salisbury store, located at 12 Academy Street in Salisbury. You can visit Johnnycake Books’ website HERE for more information on when they’re open and a lot more information about their wonderful inventory of rare and collectible books.

–The paperback edition remains available on Amazon, and now there is a Kindle edition available there too. One word of warning: the Kindle edition places all the footnotes (there are more than 350 of them) at the end. For some this may be a serious inconvenience. Be forewarned!

We are also happy to announce two opportunities to learn more about the Lakeville Crucifix and the 19th century in Connecticut.

–Geoffrey Brown, the author, will be speaking about Lakeville Crucifix on February 23, 2019, at 4 PM, in the Community Room of Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury, CT. The talk is sponsored by Scoville Memorial Library and the Salisbury Association, and admission is free.

–Lakeville Crucifix will be the book of the month for the book group of Trinity Episcopal Church, Lime Rock. Learn more about that church at their website — HERE

Lakeville Crucifix

Our latest book, entitled Lakeville Crucifix, is now available from Amazon.

It’s local history about a subject area that has gone largely unstudied in the part of Northwestern Connecticut that was considered to have an iron industry that was second to none for much of the 19th century.  A number of people have written thorough, careful, and fascinating books about the iron industry itself.  But Lakeville Crucifix takes a different tack.

Basically, Lakeville Crucifix is about the people who made the iron industry function and how they interacted with each other when you add nativism, Irish immigration, changes in the Roman Catholic Church, vestiges of New England Puritanism, and electoral politics to the mix.

In 1882, the Roman Catholic priest in Lakeville erected a 12-foot crucifix on the lawn of his parish church.  The following summer, the local Protestants, offended by this structure, petitioned him to remove the Lakeville Crucifix.  His parishioners retaliated by boycotting the Protestant merchants, and the merchants retaliated for that by calling on the local iron magnate, William H. Barnum, who also happened to be the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to ask him to fire all his Irish Catholic workmen.  It also happened that an ally of the aggrieved merchants was a former Governor of Connecticut, Alexander H. Holley.

The story of the Lakeville Crucifix does NOT end there!  The New York Times ran the story on page 1, it was covered in depth by the Hartford Courant, and the relatively new Associated Press spread the story all over the United States.  And, the tensions continued to mount as the local ladies organized with the intent of firing all of their Irish Catholic household help.  There are many other elements in the story, and we would be poor salespeople if we let all of the surprises out of the bag here.

At any rate, Lakeville Crucifix is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and we suggest that you have a look at it there.

CLICK HERE to see Lakeville Crucifix on Amazon!

Lakeville Crucifix
Purchase direct from Amazon.com as a paperback book or as an eBook for Kindle.

 

Thanks for visiting Between the Lakes Group!

See what else we have in our catalog!

 

 

Libertas Yearbook for 1964

Continuing our offerings of high school yearbooks from Liberty, Sullivan County, New York, we’re happy to present the Libertas yearbook for 1964.

High school yearbooks are one form of history that records everyone when they graduate from high school.  They, and their community, are frozen at a point in time that the yearbook captures and keeps.  Haircuts, clothes, friends, teachers – they are all captured as they were, not as we choose to remember them or tell our children they were back in the good old days.  The class pictured in this yearbook – their yearbook, the Libertas yearbook for 1964 – was born just after World War II ended, and had come of age at a time when Liberty, as one of the hubs of the “Borscht Circuit”, was near its peak (although few, if anyone, in this class at the time of their graduation, had any inkling that things in their home town were not going to get better and better.)

For a few things did get better. We like to track the career of Alan Gerry, the Liberty entrepreneur who built the Cablevision empire and who was the foundation of the arts center in Bethel commemorating the Woodstock festival (as well as many other good works throughout Sullivan County) from year to year.  In 1964 his business is “Alan Gerry’s TV & Appliance Co.” while it had been “Store” in the previous year’s Libertas.  Was he thinking bigger?  In the photo in the ad, a young man with a crew cut is holding a 12 string guitar – a bit of disruptive technology in the music world, and not something one would have seen in Liberty two years earlier.  Who knew?  Would these well-scrubbed Liberty kids eventually would be in enthusiastic attendance at that Woodstock festival Gerry subsequently memorialized?

In Asia, while this class was receiving their diplomas in Liberty, things were ramping up.  Although it would be nearly a year before conventional US forces were deployed in Vietnam, the Special Forces and Military Advisors were already at work when this class graduated.  Still, few in this class had focused on that part of the world.

In terms of real change in Liberty, perhaps most important was that this class was the first to graduate from the new Liberty Central School on upper Buckley Street.  They kicked the envelope by choosing white and yellow for their class colors, and created a yearbook that would stick out like a sore thumb in a stack of Libertas of previous years that tended to run to maroon and silver for their color schemes.

Bob Dylan’s second album, The Times They Are A Changing, had been out for a bit over two months when this class walked down the aisle for the first-ever graduation in the Buckley Street building.  Yes, the times were indeed changing, but in ways that few if any realized.

To go directly to our Liberty, NY page, where, if you are so inclined, you can buy and download the Libertas yearbook for 1964, simply CLICK HERE.

A full catalog of our offerings can be found at http://www.betweenthelakes.com.  We invite you to visit us there as well.

Libertas yearbook for 1964

 

To The Homeward Bound Americans

To The Homeward Bound Americans

By B. Van Vorst

Here is a document of World War I history that addresses problems all nations have faced (or ignored) whenever their forces have been on the victorious side in a war or military occupation.  It’s especially true in cases where most of the forces are not professional soldiers, but, of course, even professional armies tend to deal poorly with the aftermath of victory.

If you’re on the losing side pamphlets like this one are, perhaps, less needed than when victory had been achieved.  When the national ethos has been aroused, and the general populace is highly supportive of the war effort and of the soldiers, perhaps this sort of pamphlet is more needed than, for example, when U. S. forces returned from Vietnam to a hostile or indifferent population.

The underlying objective of To The Homeward Bound Americans is to try to make the boys behave themselves, difficult as that may be.

The design reinforces this message.  Inside the front cover is a place where the soldier is to paste a photograph of himself, and a box below it where he is write his name.  It’s a very clear effort at personalizing what follows.  Drawings of President Wilson and General Pershing, as well as heads of allied forces and nations, together with quotations intended to inspire cooperation and good conduct, occupy the next few pages, followed by an inspiring passage by Field Marshal Foch of France.

Perhaps anticipating that returning troops, on their way back through France, would find themselves interacting with troops and civilians of allied countries, especially France, some history of American involvement in the Great War itself follows, beginning with a section about the American arrival in Paris, and continuing with material about the logistical support, both organic and French, the American forced initially provided.

The battles in which American troops were involved are then recited, with statistics where applicable (and one wonders whether these might not be included to aid in resolving barroom arguments before they turned nasty, as men of one unit might be expected to offer accounts of engagements that inflated the accomplishments of their unit and diminish those of other units).

In the Armistice chapter, the remarkable educational efforts, in which 6000 American troops took courses at French universities and 10,000 more at a hastily assembled American University at Baume.  It continues to compare and contrast American culture versus French culture, in an effort to create at least limited understanding among American troops that while the French do not behave exactly as Americans might in any given circumstance, there are excellent historical reasons for the differences.

We suspect the next chapter, “The French Woman,” may have been one of the principal reasons the pamphlet existed.  For American soldiers, who months ago lived in a relatively free-wheeling culture where women were steadily achieving something beginning to approach equality with men, the change to the then-rather traditional French culture with most young women kept closely monitored must have been a surprise, must have been jarring, and no doubt was responsible for social missteps that created ill-feeling – and worse, as well.  The chapter is as delicate as the times dictated.

Again, to help American troops recognize that while they may have been critical to success in the final stages of the war, other countries suffered greatly, and were at this – on their own turf – for years before the American arrived, are chapters entitled “What Others Gave” and “What France Gave”.

All in all, To The Homeward Bound Americans is an effort to get troops to behave themselves, in our opinion, without providing a set of rules to follow.  Military discipline ostensibly provides that, but this booklet hopes to offer justification for better behavior than might otherwise be expected of a conquering Army.

We think To The Homeward Bound Americans is potentially useful in better understanding the cultural differences between the American Expeditionary Forces and the French citizenry at a time when problems could be foreseen, and in some cases did occur.

Between the Lakes Group is happy to offer this addition to our Military History collection, and to the part of it devoted to World War I.  We encourage you to visit our Military History page as well as our general catalog and consider which of our downloads might be useful to you.

To download To The Homeward Bound Americans, please visit our World War I page CLICK HERE.

To The Homeward Bound Americans

Libertas yearbook for 1963

The Libertas yearbook for 1963, from Liberty Central School, in Liberty, Sullivan County, New York, is another in the series we have been publishing from that school.   Of course, it’s not “just” a high school yearbook, it is also an item of New York State history, and now it is once again available.

High school yearbooks are one form of history that records everyone when they graduate from high school.  They, and their community, are frozen at a point in time that the yearbook captures and keeps.  Haircuts, clothes, friends, teachers – they are all captured as they were, not as we choose to remember them or tell our children they were back in the good old days.  The class pictured in this yearbook – their yearbook – was born at the end of World War II, and had come of age at a time when Liberty, as one of the hubs of the “Borscht Circuit”, was near its peak (although few, if anyone, in this class had any inkling that things in their home town were not going to get better and better.)

For some it did get better, and quite a bit better at that!  As an example, Alan Gerry, the Liberty entrepreneur who built the Cablevision empire and who was the foundation of the arts center in Bethel commemorating the Woodstock festival (as well as many other good works throughout Sullivan County), is mentioned in these pages as “Alan Gerry’s TV & Appliance Store” among the advertisers.  Who knew?  And how many of these well-scrubbed Liberty kids eventually would be in enthusiastic attendance at that very Woodstock festival, for that matter?

In Asia, while this class was receiving their diplomas in Liberty, the United States was beginning to get seriously involved in what became the Vietnam war – but who in this graduating class realized that this war and its social manifestations on the home front would shape the nation for the next half century and more?  Who had any sense that the shiny new high school currently under construction on upper Buckley Street would be graduating seniors who looked far different from this class in not so many years, and that Grossinger’s would be gone, along with most of the resort industry and most of the tax base that financed Liberty Central School in 1964?

Yes, there is emphatically some history in this yearbook, the Libertas yearbook for 1963 – and particularly in this one yearbook in the long series of Libertas.  We think it is emphatically to the credit of the editors of this yearbook that they seized upon the fact that this was the 50th graduating class from Liberty High School (at this time, Liberty Central School) and projected the sense of history that this anniversary merited, if for that reason alone.

Please CLICK HERE if you would like to see our offerings from Liberty, New York, which now include the Libertas yearbook for 1963.

A full catalog of our offerings can be found at our main website, http://www.betweenthelakes.com.  We invite you to visit us there.

Libertas yearbook for 1963

Annual Report for Montpelier, Vermont 1908

We are happy to bring you the Annual Report for Montpelier, Vermont 1908!

Annual reports of towns (and cities) are a frequently overlooked historical resource.  While they seem still to be regularly produced in New England, they are less common elsewhere in the United States, but in New England they are a very useful snapshot of a locality at a specific point in time.

Unfortunately, they are a bit difficult to locate unless you happen to be in the town you are researching and can stop by town hall and see a copy.  The local library will likely have a collection of them as well, but they will not have the annual reports for other area towns, and there is always the risk that someone seeking to “freshen up” the library’s collection will have disposed of the historical reports, keeping, perhaps, the most recent few.

One tends not to find them very often in the used book arena, perhaps because few people perceive much value in them.  When we see one available we tend to grab it and, in time publish it.  But we’ve also noticed that, because they are under-appreciated, they tend not to sell very well for us.

This particular annual report is one of the better ones.  It – like most – includes a report from all governmental agencies and from agencies that are quasi-governmental, like libraries and cemeteries.  We were fascinated by the report of the Health Officer.  Topics of note in 1907 included epidemic diseases, getting decent plumbing in residences, and cleaning up the milk supply.  A table provides analysis, both chemical and bacteriological, of the various water supplies and springs.  Most notable is a breakout of mortality from diseases, and that analysis is five pages long (sorry – it does not name names; however, it does provide gender and age of each deceased person for each disease, so if you are trying to figure out what an ancestor might have died from, and you know they died in Montpelier in 1907 you can make an educated guess.)

Less hidden or disguised are the names of recipients and dollar amounts of support provided to the poor who were not housed on the city farm.

Another tidbit from this report.  In what appears to be the public works department report, it shows regular expenditures for prison labor, evidently to work on the roads.  For those who associate prison labor with chain gangs in the Deep South, this appearance in Vermont comes as a bit of a surprise.

We also noted with interest that back in the day of unpaved streets, Montpelier seems to have provided wooden crossings and maintained them at some expense.  Of course those were the days before gasoline or diesel-powered construction equipment, so one finds abundant references to renting teams to power the public works projects.  However, not all streets were unpaved!  Main Street, South Main Street, and State Street all had macadam roadways laid in 1907, and concrete sidewalks were laid on Summer Street, Elm Street, North Street, Liberty Street, Winooski Avenue, and Northfield Street.  Possibly Main Street, South Main, and State already had them – or perhaps not.  That is one of the frustrations of dealing with annual reports.  One gets a view of a specific year with little in the way of reference points to what had already been done or what was to be done in the next year.

However, we do appreciate what they can tell us!

You can purchase this download on our Vermont pageCLICK HERE to go directly to that page.

Annual Report for Montpelier, Vermont 1908

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesquicentennial Historical Address — Sussex County, NJ

Sesquicentennial Historical Address — Sussex County, NJ sounds like a solemn and impressive bit of history.

This address, By Francis J. Swaze,  part of the sesquicentennial observance of Sussex County, was delivered at Newton, NJ on September 2, 1903.  While it claims only to be accurate through the Civil War, it’s interesting that the extractive industries (iron and various other minerals) get short shrift here despite their role in American history beginning with the Revolution – or even before; “The Old Mine Road” is one of the oldest thoroughfares mentioned in colonial-era literature.  As we look at the history of this county today, we see these industries as perhaps the most important part of the county’s history.

That said, we understand and appreciate the traditional emphasis on farming and related aspects of country life, and exploits with regard to the native Americans and in the Revolution as being of greatest interest to the audience for these remarks back over a century ago.  In addition to the history captured in this address, one can read it to get a better sense of priorities in American thought over a century ago.   Further, considering this was an address to people who lived in the county a long time, and whose ancestors were likely among those mentioned, this would have been a crown-pleaser.

All in all, it’s a useful document!  And it’s now available for download.

Read more about it on our New Jersey page!

Sesquicentennial Historical Address -- Sussex County, NJ