Putnam County Makes History Accessible Online
Treasures of Putnam’s past to be published online with Hudson River Valley Heritage
April 13, 2016, CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Historian Sarah Johnson, Ph.D., have announced the County’s participation in the New York State regional scanning initiative called Hudson River Valley Heritage or HRVH (http://www.hrvh.org), sponsored by the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC) to bring images and records that document Putnam County’s history online and make them easily accessible and free to the public at www.hrvh.org/putnamcountyny.
“This collaboration is an exciting step in developing a digital library that celebrates the County’s commercial, agricultural, recreational and cultural history,” says Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “It is a virtual way to open the doors of the County Archives and share some unique treasures of Putnam’s past.”
Johnson says that the increased demand for digital resources underscored the need for the Historian’s Office to digitize, “We are contributing scans and metadata of our amazing heritage by making primary source material more accessible online to all researchers–from genealogists to educators and students.”
Initial contributions of local business and architecture images were made to the site by volunteers of the Patterson Historical Society and its president Ron Taylor. Recent additions from the Historian’s Office and Archives include images of the factory workers of the Borden Condensed Milk factory in Brewster, gorgeous tourist photos from the late 1800s of Lake Mahopac hotels, pictures of the “Old Put” New York railroad line, snapshots of the Oscawana Lake community in Putnam Valley and images from the 1895 Aqueduct Commission’s Construction of Croton Watershed reservoirs, channels and dams.
The County’s collection will continue to grow with unique exhibits showcasing content from the Archives that will include naturalization records from the 1800s, World War I commemorative articles, and samples of the extensive map collection that help define present-day land boundaries, just to name a few.
In 2016, the HRVH membership will expand to the Consortia level and the Historian’s Office will work with local historical societies and museums throughout the County. “Our goal is to work our way around the county, helping all cultural organizations to work on their collections and management procedures so they are ready to digitize and post their incredible collections of documents, photographs, and artifacts.”
The Kent Historical Society will help debut Putnam County’s HRVH digital initiative when they host County Historian, Sarah Johnson, Ph.D., on Monday, April 25th, at 7 pm at Town Hall, 25 Sybil’s Crossing, Kent Lakes, NY, where she will deliver a presentation on the importance of digitizing historical collections and encourage volunteers and the public to contribute. “I want to encourage residents to go through their own personal archives in attics and basements that pertain to Putnam’s history and see what they can contribute to this important project,” says Johnson. “You’d be amazed by what people dig up and can add to the story and legacy of Putnam County.”
Johnson will also talk at the Patterson Historical Society’s meeting on Wednesday, May 18th from 7-9 pm at Patterson Library, 1167 Route 311, Patterson, NY 12563 on the topic “Exploring Local History: How to Research & Be a Part of Recording History.”
SENYLRC is a member of the Empire State Library Network whose mission is to bring together open access digital collections from libraries, museums and archives from all over the state. They serve as a gateway to hundreds of distinct digital collections that celebrate the Hudson Valley and reflect New York State’s long history.
Many Hudson Valley institutions have joined in this effort, though to date; Putnam County has not had the representation it richly deserves.
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For more information, contact the Historian’s Office at 845-808-1420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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