A talk entitled “Steinbeck’s Wrath, 1936-1939: The Santa Clara Valley Years” will be given by noted author and Steinbeck authority Susan Shillinglaw on February 5 from 7-9 PM. The event will be held at the Foothill Club of Saratoga Springs (20399 Park Place) and is a fundraiser for the Saratoga History Museum (SHM). The cost will be $15 for SHM members, $20 for nonmembers. To purchase a ticket, call (408)255-1883 during regular business hours. Coffee and dessert will be served.
The public is invited to a panel discussion this Sunday, December 6th, at 2:00 pm at the Saratoga Library (13650 Saratoga Avenue in Saratoga Springs). Saratoga Historical Foundation Historian Ray Cosyn will moderate as veterans from World War II recount their memories.
Participating in the panel will be George Cooper who flew P47’s in the European Theater with 77 missions; Herbert Kwart who flew a Flying Fortress as part of the 8th Air Force with 35 missions; Ed Pack, with the 59th Signal Battalion and later the 8th Corp part of those liberating the concentration camps; Bud Rideout, on of the Flying Tigers; and Mac McCaughey part of the 94th Division who landed on Omaha Beach.
Light refreshments will be served. The event is free to the public. The Saratoga History Museum is sponsoring the event.
Photo: USS Saratoga During World War Two. From the collections of the Library of Congress.
The Albany Times Union is reporting that the New York State Veterans Oral History Project is being abandoned by the leaders of the New York State Military History Museum and Veterans Research Center (which is run by the NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs).
The man who had been running the oral history program from the basement of the Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, Michael Russert (cousin of the late broadcaster Tim Russert), retired at the end of June after having recorded nearly 1,500 interviews over the past eight years. His equipment was sold at a loss on eBay and the program’s space has been cleared out:
The state let it go for $1,200 without consulting staff after buying it for $14,000, Russert said.
“I was really crushed when I found the studio was going on eBay,” said Russert, a retired teacher who lives in Cambridge. “They looked at it as a waste of space, and that always bothered me because it was a very valuable program for the museum.”
The collection now contains 1,595 interviews, including talks with three World War I vets and three Medal of Honor recipients. The project aims to capture firsthand stories of veterans and make them accessible to historians and to the public.
The state Office of General Services sold the studio for the museum because it occupied prime exhibit space, museum Director Michael Aikey said. He wouldn’t say how much it was sold for, and an inquiry to OGS went unanswered…
The state is not rehiring for Russert’s position, said Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg, a spokesman for the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
Wayne Clark, the program’s videographer, has taken on an expanded role that includes identifying vets, coordinating meetings, doing interviews and publicizing the program…
The lack of manpower is slowing the archiving of stories from the state’s veterans at a time when many World War II vets die every day and New York service members are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Russert says.
The Military Museum is located on the web here, and the Veteran’s Oral History Program is located here. Neither sites have been updated recently (some stuff there dates from 2006, and there are currently no events scheduled for the museum). The museum has been closed for the past month while the heavy wooden doors on the building’s front entrance were replaced with new glass doors.
The 29th Conference on New York State History will begin on Thursday, June 5th at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.
Among the presenters will be the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Oral History folks who will discuss their current exhibit In Our Own Words: Portraits of Brooklyn Vietnam Veterans. [Read more…] about 2009 Conference on New York State History