No Matter What the Future May Hold: Prisoners’ Rights to Learn

Authored by Kaitlen McPherson

While the confidentiality of College Guild Students is a priority, the way the program impacts them is important to share. Especially for those who have been sentenced to life and historically have been “given up on”. But College Guild is incredibly important to those who may have given up on themselves.

Criminal conviction affects the individual far past the surface level of physical incarceration. Qualitative interviews have shown that life in prison develops negative self-stigma. But higher education can counteract that and help develop a more positive sense of self (Evans, Douglas and Pelletier 2017, 260). The focus of most studies has been on using higher education to improve the mental health of prisoners, as well as make them less stigmatized once they re-enter society. 

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Certificate of Passage: Last Ride of “The Put”

Certificate of passage on "The Put"
A certificate of passage on the last Northbound passenger train of the “Put” on May 29th, 1958. The Putnam line ran from Brewster in southern Putnam County down to the Bronx for about 80 years. This small document, located in the Yorktown Museum at Yorktown Heights, an old station along the line, is only a testament to the once expansive railway that ran right through the center of Westchester County (above).

Reaching from the High Bridge area of the Bronx up and Brewster in Putnam County, the Putnam line is an old, and possibly forgotten part of history. In 1869, a group of Boston and New York investors sought to connect the two cities via a railway chartered a third set of tracks between the current Hudson and Harlem lines leaving New York City (Kelley 2005). This venture came to fruition in December of 1880, when the fifty-eight miles of track, serving towns that didn’t have immediate access to railways and passengers were able to use the new line by 1881 (Kelley 2005). However, the economic strain that existed on the Putnam line since its beginnings never really disappeared, despite its success as a passenger train. It was passed between companies, shifted around in purpose, and eventually the connection to Boston was removed by rival railways (Kelley 2005). By 1913, the line had undergone several administration changes before finally falling into the control of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, where it gained the name of ‘Putnam Division’.

In its early days, the Putnam Division was a well used rail line by the many growing towns along its path, providing new opportunities to workers and commuters. Daniel R. Gallo states in an interview that “between 1950 and 1955, the population between Ardsley and Yorktown Heights tripled” due to the use of the Putnam line, which allowed for easy travel between the Westchester County towns and New York City (Strauss 1981). Many of the stations along the Putnam Railway were close to parks and attractions, such as the Lincoln Station and Tibbetts Brook Valley, which in 1927 was developed into a park with swimming pools and walking trails (Brause 2007).

Finally, the financial strain of “The Old Put” lead to its eventual closing in 1958. By its seventy-ninth year of toting passengers, the train line had dwindled to around 300 and was accruing annual deficits of up to $400,000 (Folsom 1958). On its final passage north, Train 947 left the Bronx at 5:47 PM and arrived in Brewster at 8:37 PM: a total of five hundred passengers had boarded the train, celebrating and mourning the last ride of “The Old Put” (Folsom 1958; Kelley 2005). The oldest passenger was 81-year old Henry H. Wells, former Mayor of Brewster, the youngest a 12 year old Michael Fox of North Salem; it carried a variety of passengers from railway workers, schoolchildren, and even bankers (Folsom 1958). Despite the discontinuing of service for “The Old Put”, the party commuters and locals had left potent memories in all involved. This unplanned event demonstrates a small scale of the Vincentian desire to create “global harmony” in the world, and that it is possible for strangers to live harmoniously  (“Our Mission” 2019).

Although the passenger train had come to an end, the freight division of the Putnam line ran until 1981. The five stations along the passenger lines that remained, in Elmsford, Briarcliff Manor, Millwood, Yorktown Heights, and Mahopac, were maintained and used as libraries, museums, parks, offices, and even restaurants through the years (Strauss 1981). Various blog posts, outlining the echoes of the train on the land, and books, such as “The Putnam Division” by Daniel R. Gallo, that record its history keep the memory of this railway alive (Strauss 1981). Today the abandoned rail line is actively used as walking trails, parks, and history trails for those interested in learning more about the “Old Put” and its travels.

References

Brause, Richard. 2007. “Stations Along the Trail on the Putnam Division Right-Of-Way”. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from:
http://bikenorth.zisfein.com/putnamstations.htm

Folsom, Merrill.  1958, May 30th. “The Wheels of ‘Old Put’ Click Out a Sad Accompaniment to Riders’ ‘Auld Lang Syne’”. New York Times, pp. 23.Accessed on: March 17th, 2019
Retrieved from:
https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1958/05/30/79398160.pdf

Kelley, Ed. January/February, 2005. “‘THE OLD PUT’ Suburban New York’s Lost Railroad”. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from:
https://web.archive.org/web/20050914165131/http://www.bjwrr.com/ontrack/put.htm

“Our Mission.” 2019. St. John’s University. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.stjohns.edu/about/history-and-facts/our-mission

Strauss, Michael. (1981, September 13). “MEMORIES CLICK ALONG THE PUTNAM LINE”. New York Times, pp. 29. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/13/nyregion/memories-click-along-the-putnam-line.html

Aviation at Farmingdale State College: Bringing the World a Little Closer

Authored by Michael J. Krasnoff

Farmingdale State University of New York

Taken of an unnamed student at Farmingdale State University’s Engineering Technology program. This photo does more than portray a student and a plane, it is a living document of Farmingdale State University as a pioneer in creating a post-World War II college level aviation program that was previously only offered in vocational schools.

World War II played a major role in the evolution of the workforce. “The war left an altered economy that demanded a workforce whose education and training needed to be more technical in nature” (Cavaioli 2012, 139).

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Tales of the Chesapeake

Authored by Kate Yelland

Image of a first edition copy of George Alfred Townsend’s Tales of the Chesapeake, a collection of short stories and poems about the Maryland shore. Published in 1880.

Tales of the Chesapeake by George Alfred Townsend is a 138-year-old collection of stories and poems about the Delaware and Maryland shores. At the age of thirty-five, Townsend, or GATH as he often used as a penname, wrote Talesafter re-visiting the Eastern Shore where he spent time as a child. The book contains tales of the rural waterfront communities along the Chesapeake Bay (Wiebe 2014). The red, cloth-bound volume is one of just a few works for which GATH is still remembered.  Continue reading

L’Archivio del Commissariato Generale dell’Emigrazione (Part II)

Authored by Michael Tomaselli

Figure 1 “Archive of the General Commission of Immigration (Part 2) and the General Directorate of Foreign Italians” – Finding Aid, Center of Migration Studies of New York, CMS.034

The Commissariato Generale dell’Emigratione (General Commission of Immigration) was founded on the 10th of January 1901(“Storiadigitale Zanichelli Percorso Site,” n.d.). The goal, in conjunction with the Direzione Generale degli Italiani all’Estero (General Directorate of Foreign Italians was to regulate the transmission of ideas into the country that might destabilize the regime and to protect citizens abroad. With Italian Unification ending in 1870, the Italian regime had to use every possible way to control its citizens in this nebulous time. Italy saw the world changing. Connections were being made faster than neurons firing. However, Italy saw the misfires as well. Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1884, ending with the line, “Workers of the World, Unite,” while witnessing the wildfire of social revolutions and reforms take shape across Europe(Marx, Engels, and Toews 1999, 96). Regimes fell, splintered, and reformed; and Italy was determined not to succumb. In order to do this, the government tried to barricade against the rising tide of the social agenda. Continue reading

The Second Anniversary Banquet Commemorating the Enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

Authored by Laura A. Andrews

Program for the “Second Anniversary Banquet” commemorating the McCarran-Walter Act which honored newly naturalized Issei -American citizens of Washington D.C.

On Sunday, June 27, 1954 the Japanese American Citizens League in Washington D.C., held a banquet honoring newly naturalized Issei citizens. The event was held at the Sheraton Park hotel and commemorated the second anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality act of 1952. Better known as the McCarran-Walter act, the night featured speeches by its authors, Pat McCarran and Frances Walter.On the surface, this program may look like an ordinary event. However, in the context of its time, this banquet honoring these new American citizens was quite significant. The journey to this point, for those honored at this event was not an easy one, as the Japanese overcame many hardships to become American citizens. Continue reading

Werner Reich: Social Justice and the Oral History Interview

 

Authored by Kyle Auchter

Werner Reich participates in an interview

Werner Reich provides an interview for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County

By the time we reach college, it is taken for granted that we, as students, have been taught about the horrors and atrocities committed in the holocaust.  However, we cannot forget how important it is that we preserve the memory of the holocaust through those who experienced it, as without the recorded interviews of those who experienced it, future students will not have the ability to learn about this horrific event firsthand. One of the most important steps to take in preserving the collective memory of history is to record oral history interviews of those who have experienced the event, and Werner Reich has taken this important step, along with others, to ensure that humanity does not forget the values of tolerance and acceptance. Continue reading

History of a Holocaust Survivor: The Life of Steve Berger

History of a Holocaust Survivor: The Life of Steve Berger

History of a Holocaust Survivor: The Life of Steve Berger

Authored by Ashley Walker

Steve Berger, Holocaust Survivor, on the division between races in the United States today.

Steve Berger is a Holocaust survivor that was born and raised in Debrecen, Hungary. In the year 1941, Jews comprised 7.3 percent of the population (Shoah Resource Center n.d.). Growing up as a Jew in Hungary, Berger has always been aware of Antisemitism. The Jewish population was separated from the rest of the population through the numerus clausus. In fact, as Berger points out, Hungary was the first country after WWI to institute the numerus clauses in universities (Berger 2017). The numerus clauses were passed, “limiting the number of Jews in institutions of higher education” (Kenez 2001).  Additionally, Jewish men were removed from the Hungarian army, instead pushed into the labor services. This further separated the Jewish people from the remainder of the population.

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Selah Hulse Land Deed

Authored by Nicole Castellano

Selah Hulse Land Deed to Benjamin Flyde. Two page deed written in 1775.

Selah Hulse Land Deed (April 28, 1775), Brookhaven Land Transaction Between Selah Hulse and Benjamin Flyde, Courtesy Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries

Selah Hulse (abt. 1715-1775 or abt. 1757-date unknown) is the owner of the piece of land in Brookhaven, Suffolk County that is being signed away in this land deed, which was written on April 28, 1775. This land was originally owned by Ebenezer Hulse (Hoff 2001, 10), who may be directly related to Selah Hulse, possibly being his father or his uncle (Deitz and Lythgoe 2011). Selah Hulse is giving this land to a man named Benjamin Flyde, who, during the time of the Revolutionary War, was a loyalist (Hull, Hoffer, and Allen 2018). While Selah Hulse himself is not mentioned to be involved with the American Revolution in any way, what is interesting about this land deed is that, while Benjamin Flyde is a loyalist, it is signed by two people who are related to the Culper Spy Ring, which is George Washington’s group of spies that would inform on the British (Bigelow 2018, 2). Continue reading