The History of The Mamaroneck Public Library

Authored by Angelia Ferrara

Image of Construction of Mamaroneck Public Library. Nightingale. “Progress Photo of The Mamaroneck Library” – June 15 1927

Image of the Construction of The Mamaroneck Library

The image that is seen here is one of several images that were found undocumented in the archives of the Mamaroneck Public Library. This image, along with the others, will be incorporated into a presentation about the history and the building of The Mamaroneck Public Library and community center that will be posted on their website. This image (circa 1927) shows the construction of the original Mamaroneck Public Library on Prospect Avenue, which was completed by September, 1927. At the time, there were almost 7,000 books in the library. By 1966,a new wing was added, to include the current reading and reference rooms and children’s library (Fulcher 1947). Soon after, The Emelin Theatre and a lower level expansion were added. By 1987, a wing was added to allow The Emelin Theatre to move, and become a separate entity. In both 2008 and 2011, further expansions brought the library to its current size, almost twice its original size. It hosts an amazing 124,000 items, 83,000 of which are books (History of The Mamaroneck Public Library n.d.). It still serves as a major contributor to Mamaroneck as a cultural and community center, keeping the dream from back in the early 1900’s of a resource for all of the citizens of Mamaroneck alive.

The Need for Public Libraries in New York

Before the mid 1800’s, most substantial libraries in the state of New York were privately owned, built by religious organizations, or located in major cities such as Manhattan (The New York Public Library), White Plains, or Albany (The New York State Library). Local municipalities and public schools did not have the funding or the resources for books and materials for use by the general public. Exposure to books, music, art and other cultural and educational materials was limited for people who did not have the resources to access them. Over time, the idea that library resources should be made available free of charge to the general public took hold. People with means began to donate funds and books to help build public libraries (History of NY Public Library, n.d.).

The Village “Not Fit to Live in Without a Library”

The Village of Mamaroneck is one of the older villages in Westchester County. Purchased in 1661, it quickly was established as a trading post for smugglers who were trying to evade the harsh import penalties of the British Crown. While still small in population, and considered “the country” for those who lived in Manhattan, Mamaroneck began to become more concerned with the quality of life of its residents (Lippsett 1997). In 1922, resident Charles M. Baxter would begin his campaign to build a public library in Mamaroneck. Armed with the slogan “Mamaroneck is not a fit place to live in until it has a Library,” and a dedication to the people of Mamaroneck, Baxter would eventually see his dream of a public library come to fruition (LoGiudice 1995).

The building of a “Community Center”

It soon became obvious that the community of Mamaroneck wanted to build a center for their community. A small, store front building on West Post Road was quickly established with private funding and donated resources. Donations as small as fifty cents to thousands of dollars poured in. Baxter soon approached the Hegeman Estate (of the late John Rogers Hegeman of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company) and secured the sizable donation of forty thousand dollars to build the Mamaroneck Public Library on Prospect Avenue. Again, donations large and small from various sources poured in, allowing for the purchase of the property, the design of the architecture, and the building of the Library itself. The slogan “A book given to the Library is a gift to everyone who uses the library” netted thousands of donations of funds and books from citizens of all ages (Fulcher 1947). The new library was becoming a reality. Over time, this Library would serve as a Red Cross Headquarters, supply distribution center, emergency shelter, teen center, and a trusted resource for up-to-date, accurate community information, for people of all walks of life.

 

References

Fulcher, William. 1947. The Story of A Dream: The Mamaroneck Free Library: Town of Mamaroneck Publisher.

“History |.” n.d. Accessed March 10, 2018. https://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/history.

“History |.” n.d. Accessed March 10, 2018. http://www.mamaronecklibrary.org/history-3/.

Lippsett, Paula B. 1997. Mamaroneck Town: A History of “The Gathering Place”, 1661-1997. Mamaroneck, NY: Town of Mamaroneck Publisher.

LoGiudice, Mary P. 1995. Celebration: Village of Mamaroneck Centennial, 1895-1995. Mamaroneck, NY: Printcraft.

 

The Rise in Illegal Immigration in the 1960s

Authored by Elizabeth Paul

This is a hidden compartment meant to smuggle in illegal aliens from Mexico, taken in 1968.

In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson (Ball et al 2017). This act ended the quota system started in the 1920s that had been put in place that gave preference to those of European origin, and instead created a system that was meant to reunite immigrant families and attract skilled workers (History.com 2010). This original quota system, however, did not include Mexico (The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress 2015). Because of this, temporary workers from Mexico were often hired to work on farms as part of the Bracero Program (Ball et al 2017). However, even after the end of this program as well as the introduction of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, former workers that were part of the Bracero Program would still cross over the border to work these farm jobs.

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Hudson River Valley History; Reese Family Papers Collection- “Jefferson Letter”

Authored by Alyssa Alonzo

Image of Thomas Jefferson Letter

Marist College, (1806, May). [Image of Letter written by Thomas Jefferson], Reese Family Papers File 34, Archival Collection of James A. Cannavino Library.

Ebenezer Stevens, was a participant in the Boston Tea Party, commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Artillery in 1775, and fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. George Washington selected Ebenezer to raise battalions against Quebec to join the expedition against Canada. Ebenezer was present at the surrender of the British General Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York, on October 17, 1777. He served under the French general the Marquis de Lafayette in Virginia. He was later transferred to the New York artillery and in 1781 was one of the commanders at the siege of Yorktown. By 1805 he had risen to the rank of Major General and was involved in the defense of New York during the War of 1812. After his military career, Stevens was a successful merchant in New York and a member of the state Assembly (Reese 2010).  Some of his other titles include: Superintended the construction of the fortifications on Governor’s Island, New York, in 1800 he helped defend the city in 1812, and was Senior Major-General until 1815 (Boston 2008). Continue reading

Albert Payson Terhune

Authored By Molly Towers

Albert Payson Terhune pictures with wife Anice Terhune and three of their dogs

Courtesy of Emanuel Einstein Memorial Library: Pompton Lakes, New Jersey

Albert Payson Terhune was born on December 21, 1872 in Newark, New Jersey (2003). He is pictured here with his second wife Anice Terhune on the porch of their home on the Sunnybank estate property-now known as a literary landmark (and dog park) (Haggin, 1999). Terhune is an author (best known for his dog stories) with one of his more popular books being “Lad: A Dog” (1999).  He had a love of dogs and his stories made an impact on many of his readers in a profound way-“…in some ineffable way he transmuted his great loves into the hearts of other people so that they loved them almost as intensely as he did” (Irving, 1977: 7). Continue reading

Left to right, front: Thomas Genadio, VM. Left to right, rear: Dr. Edward R. Laux, Alfred Scotti, Osipee, New Hampshire, 1930

Authored by Sean O’Donnell

This is a photograph of Vito Marcantonio, Thomas Genadio, Alfred Scotti and Dr. Edward Laus at Osipee, New Hampshire.

Left to right, front: Thomas Genadio, VM. Left to right, rear: Dr. Edward R. Laux, Alfred Scotti, Osipee, New Hampshire, 1930 (front), from Vito Marcantonio Photograph Collection at CMS NY

Back of photograph, Vito Marcantonio, Thomas Genadio, Alfred Scotti and Dr. Edward Laus at Osipee, New Hampshire.
Left to right, front: Thomas Genadio, VM. Left to right, rear: Dr. Edward R. Laux, Alfred Scotti, Osipee, New Hampshire, 1930 (back), from Vito Marcantonio Photograph Collection at CMS NY

Left to Right, front: Thomas Genadio, vm. Left to Right, rear: dr. Edward R. Laux, Alfred Scotti, Osipee, New Hampshire, 1930 is a photograph in The Center for Migration Studies of New York’s Vito Marcantonio Records.  This is a black and white photograph that has been digitized as a digital image as part of a preservation partnership between The Center for Migration Studies and St. John’s University.  The physical collection, as described by Brown, consists of  “[p]rinted [d]ocuments,” “[p]apers and [p]ersonal [m]aterials” and “[p]hotographs” (Brown 1998, p. 3).  Brown states that the photograph series “contains 77 photographs spanning the years from Marcantonio’s birth to an exhibit held in his honor in 1956” (Brown 1998, p. 4).  This picture is listed by Brown as the fifth item in the Photographs Series as “Left to right, front: Thomas Genadio, VM. Left to right, rear: Dr. Edward R. Laux, Alfred Scotti, Osipee, New Hampshire, 1930. One 2 X 3” original print. Coll. #091, Print #3640” (Brown 1998, p. 7).  The photograph is of Vito Marcantonio with several other men in Osipee, New Hampshire, taken in 1930.

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Alex Pisciotta Photo Album Page

Authored by Giovanna Fiorino-Iannace

Alexander Pisciotta Photo Album Page

Alexander Pisciotta Photo Album Page

The American Expeditionary Forces in France were deployed to help the French during World War I in 1918. The severity of the situation during this period is difficult to imagine when viewing some of the personal photographs taken by Alex Pisciotta during his time with the American Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1919. In an article published in January 1919, Gregory Mason, the Staff Correspondent of the Outlook with the American Expeditionary Force, wrote about “How America Finished” and commented on the experience of the military men during World War I.  Continue reading

Alexander Pisciotta and World War I

Authored by Ellen Elsen

Center for Migration Studies

Page 1 of a letter from Alexander Pisciotta to his father, dated August 12, 1918.

 

Center for Migration Studies

Black and white photograph of fort, by Alexander Pisciotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This letter is part of the Alex Pisciotta Papers, 1918-1981 at the Center for Migration Studies in New York. Alex Pisciotta served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, and worked as a lawyer and local politician, incorporating the town of Lake Grove, Long Island and serving as its first mayor. Continue reading