A retired librarian, David is best known for his research and writing about Solomon Northup, the free black man who was abducted from Saratoga Springs, New York, and sold into slavery.
Northup’s story was told in the 2013 Oscar winning film, Twelve Years a Slave on which David consulted and was frequently interviewed about afterwards.
David was a co-author of Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave (2013) and his book, Solomon Northup’s Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War, was published in 2016.
His local history articles can be found in numerous local publications, including here at the New York Almanack, where he contributed more than 35 articles over the last 10 years. You can read those here.
David was also the author of Slavery on Stage: Black Stereotypes and Opportunities in Nate Salsbury’s “Black America” Show (2013) and Madame Sherri: The Special Edition (2014).
David also presented programs of local interest at many libraries and historical societies over the years, was the author of the Ballston Spa History Walkaround: A Guide to Historic Places and Interesting People (2013) and he led tours at the Ballston Spa Village Cemetery where he served as a member of the the board of directors from 2015 to 2018.
David was born in Bangor, Maine on February 24, 1954, and graduated from Cornell University. He studied library science at the State University at Albany, where he received his master’s degree. Professionally, David was a technical writer and librarian.
Before his retirement from the State of New York, David was employed at the New York State Library in library development and focused on NOVELNY (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library). After retirement David spent some time working at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs.
David was also an avid outdoorsman who introduced his wife, Laura, to many beautiful places in New England. They went on many adventures to various natural places in New England for pleasure and research. Many of their adventures became material for articles and the book, Forgotten on the Kennebec – Abandoned Places and Quirky People (2014).
David leaves behind his wife, Laura (Heacox) and his sisters Nancy Dratwa (Michael) and Megan Fiske and his brother Daniel Fiske. In addition to these immediate family members, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and the local Adirondack Mountain Club and the Taconic Hiking Club members have fond memories of David on and off the trail.
To view his full obituary or to leave a special message for the family online visit David’s page at www.mevecfuneralhome.com.
A celebration of David’s life and contributions to local history is being planned and will be held at the Ballston Spa Village Cemetery. Details when available will be located on David’s page.
Donations in David name can be made to the Saratoga History Center at Brookside Museum.