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Brian Jennings's blog

The Cube at the New City Library

Get a sneak peek from one of our interviews from this past weekend on Soundcloud Picture a ten-foot stainless steel cube, balancing on its edge. The surrounding area are mirrored in the metallic sides of this beautiful piece of modern sculpture. Suddenly the door opens to reveal a comfortable, soundproof recording booth. Welcome to The Cube.

The Civil War and Clarkstown

We have a small exhibit in the library about Clarkstown and the Civil War through the end of November.  You can find it in the exhibit case past the DVDs heading toward the Rockland Room.   There is also an online exhibit with more information at http://rocklandroom.omeka.net/exhibits/show/civilwar.  Highlights include the story of General Louis Blenker who owned a farm in New City, a look at brothers who served in the Civil War from Clarkstown, and some information about African American veterans buried at Mt. Moor Cemetery which is surrounded by the Palisades Center Mall.
General Louis Blenker

Personal Digital Archiving

Last Friday I hosted an introductory class on the topic of Personal Digital Archiving.  The Library of Congress has been the leader in this burgeoning movement, so we started by watching a film by them which I am embedding below. As the use of technology for taking photographs, videos, etc. becomes more prevalent, it is important to begin to think seriously about how we will save and preserve those "born digital" memories.  In addition, many people who came to the class were interested in scanning their photographs and creating new digital images.  We discussed both of these scenarios and outlined the basic 4 steps to consider when beginning a personal digital archiving project:
1. Identify what you want to save
2. Decide what is most important to save
3. Organize your collection
4. Backup copies in different places

Embed Video: 

Historypin and Local History Online

On July 29th at 2pm I will be offering the second of a series of classes discussing the vast and ever-increasing local history resources available to the public online.  You can view the prezi for this course online here.   We will discuss local newspapers online, photographs and postcards, Ancestry.com, and what's coming soon.  One particularly interesting site I have been working with is Historypin, this site (and the accompanying app) allows you to pin images to a Google Map.  I used it to pin a photo of each of the Historic markers in Clarkstown to a map.   Learn more on July 29th.

Memorial Day and the Civil War Resources

Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was originally known began after the Civil War as mourners decorated the graves of soldiers lost in the war.  Grand review of the great veteran armies of Grant and Sherman at Washington, on the 23d and 24th May, 1865Approximately 620,000 soliders lost their lives in the war with about 60% of the casualties from the North and 40% from the South.   David Blight tells us of the beginnings of this holiday and more in his book Race and Reunion: the Civil War in American Memory on pages 65-70.   I recently created a guide that lists some of our best books on the American Civil War -

Fairs, Steamboats and “The Quota” : 150 years ago in Rockland County

What was happening in Rockland County 150 years ago? You can read the digitized issues of the Rockland County Messenger online at http://news.hrvh.org.  The editor of the Messenger bragged about the quality of the Steamboat service as the ships returned to service after the winter in an article entitled "Our Steamboats".  This weekly newspaper published the schedule for the steamships on the back page of each issue.

The Civil War and the Cemetery at the Palisades Mall

Mount Moor What’s that cemetery doing at the Palisades Mall?  What is the history behind it?  This is one of the common questions in the Rockland local history community which pops up from time to time.    The subject is the topic of Bill Batson’s excellent Nyack Sketch Log column today.   This segregated African American cemetery is a reminder of the bloody conflict which nearly tore our nation apart 150 years ago as there are many African American veterans of the Civil War buried there.

New Books on Local History and Culture

This is the first in a series of short audio book talks.  Click on the photo to listen.  The three books discussed are Judith Richardson's Possessions: the History aHistory booksnd Uses of Hauntings in the Hudson Valley, Terry Golway's Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Making of Modern American Politics, and

Before the Bridge Documentary

Genealogical Society of Rockland CountyOn Tuesday night February 25th at 7pm documentary filmmaker Steven Bretschneider will present his video Before the Bridge, a documentary about life in the riverfront villages before the Tappan Zee Bridge was built. Residents of the Nyacks were interviewed for the film. Thirteen residents speak about their lives growing up in a much more remote and rural environment than we know today. Topics covered include: The River, Fishing, Hiking, Ice, The Ferry, The Train, The Great Oom, School, and Moving Houses.  Afterwards, Steven will answer questions from the audience. This program is sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Rockland County.

New Local History Librarian

I am happy to join the staff here at New City Library as of MondThe New City Library Rockland Roomay January 27, 2014.   I will be taking helm of the New City Library Rockland Room which I consider to be the finest Genealogy collection at any public library in Rockland County.   I look forward to working with this collection and especially meeting patrons.   I will be looking for opportunities to add to the collection and highlight the wonderful materials already here. 

Brian Jennings
Local History Librarian
New City Library
220 N. Main Street
New City, NY 10956
(845)634-4997, ext. 127
bjennings@rcls.org

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