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New additions to our collection

The Ticonderoga Historical Society is a member supported organization.  We are located in the Adirondacks snugged in-between two beautiful Lakes – Champlain and George.  Our “home” is the Hancock House, a replica of the Boston colonial mansion of John Hancock.  Since 1897, the Society has been collecting items that relate to the area; and, without an “Acquisition Fund” we have built our collections through the thoughtfulness and the generous consideration of its member’s donations; and, by a  great number of those persons who have an interest in the preservation of items relative of today and to the past.  It is through these donations that we have built one of this area’s great collections.

As we enter the New Year of 2015, we take a look back at 2014 and share with you a sampling of our new additions.

  One of biggest surprises to the Society was when we had an inquiry from an art dealer in England requesting information of a large Ernest Clegg mural/map commissioned especially for the Hancock House for its opening in 1925.  Through this dealer’s  assistance we were able to locate and have returned to our collection, without cost,  this painting which has been “missing” for several decades.

The large painting  shows the colonial and American Revolutionary era forts and battle sites from Crown Point to Saratoga and of western Vermont.  It has been placed in the same area in the Main Hallway as originally installed.  It needs a complete restoration to bring out the vibrant colors as painted.  ~  Funding  sought ~

Of the same time we received from Burt Garfield Loescher’s editor, who worked with him on the modern “Roger Rangers” books ~ Volumes 1 -4, the original manuscript of Volume Four (The St. Francis Raid) with the author’s handwritten notations.  The donation also included original artwork and maps for Volume 4 plus a manuscript copy of Volume 3 and miscellaneous correspondence.  A nice addition to our large  Loescher Collection. 

Our library collection grew greatly with a wide variety of themes and subjects.  The largest period collection was of the American Civil War with over 350 books added to this subject.   Books by two authors — Robert Newton Peck and Sloane Wilson — were initial acquisitions to the library’s titles.   Both authors have roots here.

Robert Newton Peck was born in Ticonderoga in 1928 to Frank H. and Lucille Peck (both natives). In his early years Robert was educated in the Ticonderoga schools.  The family house, which once stood just south of our parking lot, was acquired by Mr. Moses during the 1930s.  It later was torn down and  is now part of our west lawn.  He authored in many forms ~  young adults books, novels and non-fiction, songs, poems and television scripts. Mr. Peck included Ticonderoga personalities and themes from different time periods in his writings.  This collection consist of ten young adult books, hand written letters and photographs.

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Sloan Wilson (1920-2003) is another author with deep connections to this place.  His 1955 novel “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” gained bestselling status.  He was a 1942 graduate of Harvard and authored stories in the New Yorker and Time.  Sloan’s books also used local personalities as a source for his story characters.  “Small Town, written in part when he lived here is one of those books.   (From the dust jacket ~”A story of love, rivalry, and some very turbulent goings-on in a deceptively placid upstate New York town.”)  His family for a number of years were associated with the Rogers Rock complex.  Sloan’s brother, Geoffrey, wrote “The History of the Roger Rock Hotel, the Club and the Cottage Colony.”    (Available in Gift Shop.)

2015 is the 90th anniversary of laying of the Ticonderoga Hancock House’s cornerstone.  One of our new featured exhibits for this season will be the telling of the story of  our “home.”  Three tiles of period scenes of the original house located on Beacon Hill, Boston, was donated and are now on display in the Parlor.

The diversity of these new additions have broaden our existing collections and provide a means to better support our mission of preserving items that once were part of the lives and culture of those who proceeded us for many generations to come.

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Many more  items were donated in 2014, here is a sample list:   Personal diary of Gordon Cawley, a number of items related to area schools, business stationery, invoices and advertisements, postals, (including first day issues), post cards, a large collection of photographs, numerous items from Rathbun Jewelers, Ticonderoga area Kiwanis’ historical records, political buttons and badges, Fort Ticonderoga Musket Loading badges, ribbons and awards, Northern Lake George Yacht Club related items, “Ticonderoga, the First 250 Years Anniversary, Champlain’s 400th Celebration and Ti’s 200th Celebration, Ticonderoga Police Department uniform with lapel pins and badges, historic canoe race items, 1980 Winter Olympics, Christmas themed ornaments and related items, brick from Moses-Ludington Hospital, George Miller Family Holy Bible and family histories, Battle of Plattsburgh artifacts (1814), various tools and a two seater buggy.

Since the mid 1920s THS has been collecting original newspapers.  Complete newspaper issues of the Times of Ti, Lake George Mirror and the Hague Chronicle were added.  (Through the Northern New York Library Network the Society has provided for public use the balance of its micro-filmed collection of The Ticonderoga Sentinel.)

We thank you for your donations and welcome new ones during 2015.  If you have an interest in assisting with our collection we would welcome volunteers.

1/25/15 wgd

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