On Saturday, March 3rd at 12:30 pm, Norm Dann will describe and sign his new book Peter Smith of Peterboro: Furs, Land, and Anguish at the Smithfield Community Center in Peterboro, Madison County, NY.
In the preface of his new book, Dann hypothesizes why there has not been a published biography. Also in the preface Dann explains that his intent of this work is to focus, not so much on what Smith did, but to examine the kind of person that Smith was and how that influenced what he did. Investigating Smith in this way presents him as a tragic figure in the classical sense.
Peter Smith (1768-1837) had many business ventures on the frontier of New York State. His most successful businesses were with his partner John Jacob Astor in fur trading and land speculation with the Native Americans. As successful as his business acumen was, Peter’s personality disorders limited full actualization of his potential. In 1804 Smith built his office in Peterboro for land transactions. His son Gerrit carried on the land business in that office to support his antislavery activities. The Land Office is part of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark.
Matthew Urtz, Madison County Historian, will introduce the speaker. Norman K Dann PhD is professor emeritus Morrisville State College, head docent at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, and a founder and former Cabinet member of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. Dann’s biography Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform (2009) and other books are available at the publisher and at the Peterboro Mercantile, a community heritage shop that supports Peterboro Heritage.
The Smithfield Community Center I located at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 280-8828.