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Welcome Summer!
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Summer 2017

MISSION  STATEMENT

The Mission of The Indian and Colonial Research Center is to preserve and make accessible to the public, the collected works of Eva Butler and additional historical materials of the people of Old Mystic, Connecticut and surrounding areas


 

  “God Never Did Make a Better Berry”

`                                          – Roger Williams

                                            by Carol Sommer, ICRC volunteer
 
To me, strawberry season symbolizes the start of summer – shortcake of course, 4th of July picnics, and that light-hearted feeling that proclaims, “Wow! It’s great to be alive!”  Minus the flag waving and fireworks, Native Americans must have felt the same way.
            In 1960 Eva Butler wrote about a strawberry festival at the Tantaquidgeon Museum in Uncasville. She noted that traditionally these celebrations marked a time of friendship, even among people who didn’t usually get along. It was a joyous, amicable celebration – at least until the berries ran out!
            In this article Butler told how Indians made johnnycake by bruising strawberries in a mortar and then incorporating them into cornmeal for a delicious treat. Early summer was also a time for dining on roasted pigeons that were plump and juicy from their own consumption of wild strawberries.
            As noted in this title, Roger Williams was very impressed with the quality and abundance of this native fruit. Sometimes, he observed, strawberries were so plentiful that “they would fill a good ship.”
            So be part of this venerable tradition. Enjoy summer’s berry bounty and remember the Americans who enjoyed it first.
 
Check out Mrs. Butler’s narrative in ICRC scrapbook number 11, page 44, “Tantaquidgeon Valley Indian Museum,” 6/24/1960.    


 

Open House

 On June 10th the ICRC participated in the Connecticut State Open House
  Day.  Board members and volunteers welcomed guests and gave tours of
  the facility, showing some of the treasures our collection has to offer.
                            
 
 



 For Volunteers
by Carol Sommer

Speaking of volunteers, the ICRC has many interesting projects that will engage new volunteers while helping advance the goals of the organization.
For example, history lovers can come in and learn a bit about the collection and how it’s organized, and then serve as docents. An increase in the number of docents would greatly help and would potentially make it possible to have Saturday hours to reach a wider community.
Another activity that could use more helping hands is cataloguing the ICRC’s extensive scrapbook collection (over 100 albums) into Past Perfect, our inventory system. Visitors and researchers would then have easier access to the many newspaper clippings in these scrapbooks that chronicle over 40 years of local history. In the processing of doing this (and there are miles yet to go!), current volunteers have run across many charming articles that make the task a pleasure.
For someone who enjoys writing, there’s an opportunity to help with ICRC communiques, like this newsletter.  Some of the steps involved would include researching and composing articles, using Word, and learning a mail delivery software package that’s pretty intuitive.  
There’s lots more areas where your help would make a difference, Please consider it!
Call Tuesdays or Thursdays:  860 – 536 – 9771
 


 

                                     

Since our last newsletter, our membership roll has expanded to include Bruce Greene, Patrick McKenna, Orin Robinson, and Karen Routledge! Welcome!


                                                          Surfing the ICRC Website 

                                        By Carol Sommer, ICRC Volunteer
One of the cool features of the ICRC website is its site-search capability.  There is an amazing amount of information you can search on, and when you find what sounds like a promising book or document that you’d like to access, you can note its ID and request this very specific item, a real time saver for researchers. It’s quite an eye-opener how much is in the ICRC collections, and how much has been catalogued and its existence made known to the public.
For example I’m starting to research the Beebe family and their experiences during the American Revolution, so I did a quick search to see what the ICRC might have. To my amazement my search came back with 180 references in ICRC documents to the Beebe family. Wow! Each item is described in sufficient detail that I think it will be easy to hone in on the material most relevant to my project.
Check it out when you’re looking for local history information. It’s a very useful feature that many museums do not offer.

 

              


                       
               

 

 
 
Copyright © 2017 The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc., All rights reserved.
Membership applicationOur mailing address is:

The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc.
39 Main Street
P.O. Box 525
Old Mystic, CT 06372

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Spring 2017 Edition

MISSION  STATEMENT
The Mission of The Indian and Colonial Research Center is to preserve and make accessible to the public, the collected works of Eva Butler, and additional historical materials of the people of Old Mystic, Connecticut and surrounding areas

Dine and Donate

The Indian and Colonial Research Center invites you to join us for a unique Dine and Donate opportunity at two local restaurants:


     April 12, 2017 at the Breakwater Restaurant, 66 Water St, Stonington, CT.
  A N D    
     April 13, 2017 at the Steak Loft, Olde Mistick Village, 27 Coogan Blvd #24, Mystic, CT.

When you have lunch or dinner at the time and places above, J T Kodama Management Restaurants will donate 15% of the check’s total to the I C R C.  Just tell the wait staff that you
are there for the I C R C Dine and Donate. Oh, and please do bring a friend !
(Dine and Donate sales cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions)

Save The Date – Saturday, June 10, 2017    CONNECTICUT  OPEN  HOUSE  DAY
Each June, Connecticut sponsors a one day statewide event to showcase Connecticut’s
diverse world of history, art and tourism to Connecticut residents
 
Come visit the I C R C from 11 am to 3 pm on this day and explore our Historical Museum 
Board of Director members and volunteers will be on hand to meet and greet everyone

 

An April Surprise on Fishers Island
By Carol Sommer, ICRC volunteer


Sketch from “Wreck of the- Thelma-Phoebe”z

by  R. Shanklin

            I was searching Past Perfect, the I C R C ’s inventory system, for an article that would be timely for our spring newsletter. I guess I wanted tulips and daffodils, but instead I found one of Carol Kimball’s wonderful columns.* The topic is only tangentially relevant to the season, but it’s a dramatic story
            When Prohibition went into effect, the 18th Amendment wasn’t universally popular and a whole industry sprang up to circumvent its enforcement. So it isn’t surprising that in April 1923, an accident involving large quantities of alcohol impelled Fishers Island residents to exuberant action
            The Thelma-Phoebe, a British yacht owned by a wholesale liquor distributor, was transporting 2,400 cases of liquor from Nassau to Halifax. She wasn’t a rum-runner. Her captain, Harold Johnson, had no intention of unloading cargo at an American port, but some nasty weather overrode his plans
            For several days torrential rains and gale force winds had wreaked maritime havoc up and down the east coast.  Somewhere off Montauk Point, the storm disabled the Thelma-Phoebe, snapping her rudder and rendering her impossible to steer.  On April 30th, the helpless ship was blown 35 miles across Long Island Sound and crashed on Fishers Island near Chocomount Beach
            Tragically, the cook, Isaac Roberts, drowned trying to swim to shore; his body was found later and lies buried on Fishers Island. The rest of the 8-man crew made it to safety on a raft, and were housed for a time in the O’Leary Hotel on Green Street in New London
            John Allison was the first islander to spot some whiskey bottles that had washed ashore. Word spread quickly and residents came out in force to help clear the beach. (Sources put the tally at about 300 people from a population of 500).  Soon people were wading into the water to retrieve – and consume – this windfall. Things became so rowdy that Coast Guard patrolman Elias Miner, had to fire shots into the air to gain some semblance of crowd control
            Afterwards the owner of the Thelma-Phoebe hired the New London salvage company Richard C. Davidson, to search for the missing cargo. Davidson was only able to recover 869 cases out of the 2,400. The recovered spirits were stored in the Custom House while questions of jurisdiction – New York or Connecticut – were litigated
            So, here’s to spring and to the unexpected places you can travel when you start down one of history’s pathways
 
  * Come in and read Kimball’s article (and dozens of other equally enjoyable pieces) for yourself. This one is in I C R C scrapbook 3 – page 3
It was published in The Day in May, 1989

  A Unique Volunteer Experience
  Facebook Administrator

by Sharon I. Maynard, Board of Directors and Facebook Page Administrator

                                           

When I joined Facebook a few years ago, (about the same time that I began to serve on the ICRC Board), I was delighted to find many pages devoted to local historical societies, libraries, and old historic homes. I thought, what a great way to promote the I C R C – By becoming a Page Administrator for the I C R C we could send photos and updates about things happening at the I C R C and network with other organizations by sharing their pages of interest
It was a little work in the beginning. I had to learn the basic rules and settings, but along the way I learned how to promote our page and boost a posting. I found how to link the page to our I C R C website so that people could access our online collections and read more about our organization and its mission.
Now that everything is up and running, I only have to spend a half hour or so a week checking our messages and updating the I C R C page with photos and articles. Here are some interesting facts gleaned from our page
Most people are visiting the page during the evening hours, but we are receiving views as early as six a.m. with a small peak during the noon hour. (People in different time zones may skew that statistic.)
We currently have 892 “likes” or page members that receive information from our Facebook page in their news feed regularly. We reach even more people through members sharing our pages and by friends of friends viewing those member’s news feeds
Our Facebook membership is made up of people from around the globe. The United States provides the most members, followed by the U.K., the Netherlands and Canada. Other countries include Norway, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Chile, Argentina, India, Canada, France, and Germany. There is even one reader from Serbia
In our own country the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts make up most of the members for our page. Not surprisingly, a good number of our fans are from right here in Mystic and the surrounding towns, however, London, England also appears in the top ten list of towns with participants
We reach people of all ages.  Most of our page members are 45 + years of age,
although we have younger members as well

Now for the lesson I have learned from this experience

There are so many ways that you can volunteer for an organization. Anytime that you volunteer, be it a day or an hour, you make a big difference in the way an organization survives and grows.  By using a little imagination and thinking “outside the box” you too may think of some ways to contribute time and talent to the I C R C        We thank you once more for your support ! 

You can find the I C R C Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/IndianAndColonialResearchCenter/

 

 

  Welcome New Members

 
 I C R C extends a warm welcome to our newest members
Jane Bobruff, Kenneth Carr, Christine Murtha, Lee Morris,
Kitty McVitty  and  Howard Taylor

 

 

 

 

              Our speaker, James Quinn, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer

                  and Archaeology Program Manager for the Mohegan Tribe

 MEETING MINUTES OF
THE INDIAN & COLONIAL RESEARCH CENTER, Inc.
 I C R C  IS A QUALIFIED IRS 501c ENTITY
12 November 2016 – Annual Luncheon Meeting – Held at GO FISH

  • Meeting commenced at 11:35 a.m. Sharon Maynard welcomed everyone to the 49th ANNUAL MEETING of the Indian and Colonial Research Center.She noted that the first ANNUAL MEETING was held on November 28th, 1967, and that the ICRC was incorporated on December 9th, 1965.December 2016 will start the 51st year of the established ICRC.
  • She expressed the ICRC’s gratitude to Mr. Jon Kodama for hosting the ICRC again and for allowing all proceeds collected to go directly to the ICRC.The donation will be used to replenish ICRC’s operating budget. Kodoma’s staff was also thanked for their outstanding service. Volunteer Richard Guidebeck provided a slideshow tribute to Eva Butler. Guidebeck has been digitizing photos for the ICRC.
  • There was a moment of silence to remember and honor departed members and friends.
  • Current Board Members were introduced:Chris Rose (Board Director), Tobias Glaza (Board Director), Paul Grant-Costa (Board Director), Sharon Maynard (Board Director ), Robert Mohr (Board Director and Treasurer) and Allen Polhemus (Board Director), George Crouse (Board Director). Honorary Board Members: Joan Cohn, Joanne Fontanella, George and Theo Hamell, and Jack and Jane Pillar.
  • Chris Rose presented the ICRC Annual Report
  • A motion was made to accept the Annual Report and seconded. The Annual Report was accepted by unanimous vote by the membership.
  • Bob Mohr , Treasurer, presented the Annual Treasurer’s Report
  • A motion was made to accept the Annual Treasurer’s Report and seconded. The Annual Treasurer’s Report was accepted by unanimous vote by the membership.
  • ICRC Board Nominations:

      After thanking all Board Members (Active and Retired) for their faithful service and generous gifts of  time, resources and talents, there was a call for nominations to the Board. Allen Polhemus was   nominated for another term on the Board of Directors. The nomination was accepted and seconded. Polhemus was confirmed by a unanimous vote. Paul Grant-Costa was confirmed to serve for one more  year on the Board of Directors. It was noted that a Nominating Committee had not been formed this year.

A special thank you was given to all of our volunteers by Bob Mohr. Mohr mentioned each by name and offered a list of their accomplishments.

  • Maynard then explained to the Membership that the Board, by consensus, had decided to postpone the vote on the new by-laws scheduled for this meeting until further discussions have been completed. After further review of the document, the Board felt that the membership should have more time to review and that there were certain procedures that were not articulated that needed to be included in the final document.
  • The meeting then proceeded to this year’s program and speaker. James Quinn, -Mohegan Tribal Historic Preservation Officer; James Quinn is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Archaeology Program Manager for the Mohegan Tribe. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. Quinn has been involved in the Tribe’s archaeology program since 2001. Participating as an undergraduate student in the Tribe’s archaeological field school, Quinn returned to field school again in 2002 and interned the next three summers in the Tribe’s Archaeology Department. He began his full time work for the Mohegan Tribe as the Archaeological Field Supervisor in 2006. After becoming manager of the archaeology program in 2011, Quinn became the first Mohegan Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) of the newly created office. Mr. Quinn spoke about the role of the MTHP Office and outlined the accomplishments of the Tribe’s Field School.
Meeting Adjournment:
A motion was made to adjourn the Annual Membership Meeting of the Indian and Colonial   Research Center and seconded. Motion was passed unanimously. A buffet luncheon was then served. A 50/50 raffle was held. Marcus Maronn was the winner and recipient. Maronn used his winnings to purchase tools for the ICRC.Respectfully submitted,   Sharon I. Maynard  Board of Directors

 

 
Preserving a Small Part of What Has Been
By Richard Guidebeck  –  I C R C Volunteer
 

    We cannot know how much to learn
    From those who never will return
    Until a flash of unforeseen
    Remembrances fall on what has been.
      (Edwin A. Robinson)

First, let me introduce myself, as I am sure not many know who I am or what I am doing at ICRC.  When I first became a volunteer at ICRC, the extensive collections and the need to find a project where I could be most useful while learning about the ICRC and its mission led me to catalog and preserve the slide collection.  This took several weeks with the help and advice of Bob, Marcus, Chris, and others.  I finally settled on digitizing the slide collections as many are quite old and in danger of being lost just through the ravages of time.  I had last been the archivist at the Leffingwell House Historic Museum, where starting about 8 years ago, I had been faced with a disaster – to reorganize water-damaged collections with copious mold.  Yes, they also had a flood but theirs was due to a broken city water main.
Back to ICRC and the slide collection: most of the slides are 35mm from various eras but some are 16mm film frame clips that have been cut from the original film.  Most of these are 1920’s, 1930’s and are of the Western Indians Tribes.

Archives  Round Tables  Series

By Sharon Maynard  – I C R C Board of Directors
One of the more interesting aspects of serving on the Board of Directors at ICRC is the many opportunities that come to us that help educate us on the work being done here at ICRC.
On December 6, 2016, I attended the Basics of Archival Acquisition and Appraisal Round table Workshop. This workshop is part of the Archives Round tables Series on Paper-Based Collections sponsored by the Connecticut State Historical Records Advisory Board and Conservation ConneCTion.
            In this half-day program, we learned the fundamentals of acquiring and appraising archival collections, techniques for identifying records necessary for documenting our communities and how good collection policies and procedures makes this work easier to do. Our presenter was Martha Lund Smalley, Archives Consultant.
            How do you decide what to accept from an archival donation?  Are you comfortable in appraising archival donations to determine if the contents will add long-lasting archival value to your collection? These and other subjects were explored. Questions from participants were answered and guidance was given as to where to find support and information for the challenges an organization may be facing.  challenges an organization may be facing.               
Lebanon Historical Society
 

 Additionally, it was a great opportunity to network with people from various historical societies and libraries across the state. Held at Lebanon Historical Society, 856 Trumbull Hwy, Lebanon, CT., a behind-the-scene tour of Lebanon Historical Society Archives was provided after the program.
                                                                                                                                                     


 Seeking Volunteers


Looking for an opportunity to support the local community, learn new things, and meet new people ?  Please consider volunteering at the  I C R C – It takes many hands to keep our organization vibrant and moving forward, and there are many ways volunteers can help. 
Give a call Tuesdays or Thursdays at 860-536-9771 between 10 & 4 to learn more

5

          

2016 Treasurer’s Report

Our fiscal year runs from November 1 through October 31. On October 31,2015 ICRC had $18,369.26 in our checking account and $1001.17 in our savings account for a total of $19,370.43. On October 31, 2016 the I C R C had $25,058.00 in our checking account and $1001.76 in our savings account for a total of $26,059.22
We had income during the year of $16,377.45 and expenses of $9,638.66 for a net gain of $6,688.79
Major expense during the year included:
  • Building maintenance which included insulating the attic, increasing the lighting in the exhibition and staff work rooms and exterior trim painting.
  • Heating oil
  • Property and liability insurance
  • Electrical, telephone and internet utilities
  • Computer related expenses
Major sources of income included:
  • Donations from Pfizer
  • One time donation from Virgil Huntley
  • Many individual donors
  • Military Whist (Women’s Club)
  • Rosetto Builders
  • Jon Kodama
A detailed report is on file at the I C R C
Respectfully Submitted,
Robert Mohr, Treasurer                       
6
                                       
Recording Secretary’s Annual Report – Year 2016
 

2016 has been a year of growth and change with attention to our commitment to the mission of the I C R C. To this end our continuing activities over the past year have included:
* Providing research services to the public two days a week
* Improving the search capabilities on our website
* Maintaining our Facebook presence
* Participating in local community activities to increase the public awareness of the ICRC: Old Mystic community picnic, CT Open House Day, Groton History Fair
* Updating our preservation of photos, videos and audio records to digital format
* Continuing our fundraising efforts to insure viability of the ICRC.
There are activities that occurred this past year that were focused on insuring the future of the ICRC as we grow and expand our collections and services.
* Planning and presenting an exhibit of maps from our collection on the cultural changes to the Mystic River Valley 1620 – 1960
* Upgrading center computers to Windows 10
* Working to develop consensus to update ICRC bylaws
* Installing track lighting in the middle room
* Installing insulation in the building attic
* Monitoring temperature and humidity in our storage areas to better control the collections environment.
In addition the following occurred:
* George Crouse was elected to the Board of Directors
* Volunteer Joan Roberts retired from being an active volunteer
* The use of CALL SLIPS was introduced to help determine patterns of use of our research material.
* Documentation of items to be stored
* Eva Butlers’ nomination to the CT Women’s Hall of fame was renewed
* Streamlined communication for the development of the Newsletter was approved
* The Traveling Archivist Program identified collection preservation and security as a concern.
* The combination to the old bank safe has been determined
* Paul Grant –Costa was elected to the Board
* Barbara Fontanella, recording secretary, resigned from the Board
* Jane Schoonover started work on scrapbook maintenance
* Nancy Mitchell and Carol Sommer entered scrapbook information in Past Perfect
* A de-accession committee was approved by the Board
* A By-Law committee was formed and met
* Director’s insurance was secured
* The ICRC continued its membership with the Mystic Chamber of Commerce at their increased rate
* Joyce Tessier and Sharon Carlee resigned as volunteer’s at ICRC
* The Arts & Economic Prosperity Study were provided their requested data
* Karen Mohr was authorized to explore grants to support a part-time staff member
* Robert Welt, retired history teacher, past ICRC Board member and Board President has begun as a volunteer and is exploring high school volunteers
* A fire safety inspection noted several minor deficiencies and a plan to address them was developed
* A digital projector has been acquired for Center programs
* Exterior painting of doors.
Discussion continues on the following:
* Thank you notes and other secretarial responsibilities
* Rearrangement of ICRC rooms and space considerations
* Document security
* By-Laws
* Ideas for displays
* List of grant worthy projects
* Quarterly lecture series
* Off-site storage of Center for less sought items
* Web site security
* Development of an ICRC tribute wall in the middle room
* Staffing issues and communication.
Respectfully submitted,
Chris Rose

Copyright © 2017 The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc., All rights reserved.
Membership application Our mailing address is:

The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc.

39 Main Street
P.O. Box 525

Old Mystic, CT 06372

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Historic Desk Comes Home


   Volunteer Nancy Mitchell admiring our desk           

     Thanks to the generosity of I C R C member, Elizabeth Gaynor, the I C R C is now the proud owner of a desk that was used by the ancestors of her late husband, Edwin Schoonover Gaynor, when our building was the Mystic National Bank !
     Mr. Gaynor’s mother, Helena Schoonover, grew up in Old Mystic in the Schoonover house which stood right next to the bank until the 1970s when it was torn down. Helena’s father, Alpheus and her grandfather, John, were both bankers
   John Schoonover came to Mystic from Stroudsburg, Pa. and married Desire Matilda Hewitt in 1851.  Desire was the daughter of Elias Hewitt (b. 1792, married to Polly Miner in 1817); Elias may have been a banker, too. Banking seems to have run in the family!
John was president of the Mystic National Bank in 1879 and served until the bank closed eight years later. John owned and was president of the two banks that served Old Mystic: the stone bank that was moved to the Seaport and is now the Counting House there; and the other bank that now houses the ICRC collection. John and Desire’s son, Alpheus, was also a banker at one or possibly both of the banks

     Mrs. Gaynor felt that it was very fitting for the desk to be preserved and appreciated in the setting where it served a vital community function all those years ago

The I C R C is very grateful for Elizabeth’s generous gift and for her commitment to conserving heirlooms whose stories might be forgotten  –  but shouldn’t be ! !

 

Sources: Elizabeth Gaynor’s family memories and “A History of Old Mystic 1600-1990” by Kathleen Greenhalgh, Impact image, 1999

Introducing I C R C ’s Newest Board Members

 The I C R C is delighted that Christopher Rose and George Crouse have agreed to join the Board of Directors. Chris and George jumped right in, contributing their talents and energies to important projects such as refining the organizational bylaws and digitizing fragile, priceless documents. Here are short bios of our newest leaders

George Crouse

  George grew up in Mystic and attended Stonington public schools. He graduated from Stonington High School and went on to Central Connecticut State University where he majored in Social Sciences and Education. On completing his Masters concentrating in geography, George taught as a lecturer in the Geography Department at CCSU
After college George and his wife, Ann, returned to live in Old Mystic. Both taught in the Stonington school system. Ann taught at West Vine Elementary School, while George taught at Stonington High where he developed and implemented a course on local history. His career at SHS spanned 37 years
George continues to coach the high school tennis team. His mentoring over the span of 42 years has enabled his girls’ teams to win numerous ECC championships, making them frequent contenders for state titles. In 2010 George was named the United States Tennis Association New England High School Coach of the Year.
George’s civic contributions include serving as Stonington Police Commissioner and as Stonington’s Second and First Selectman.
George says that he’s very excited to be a director at ICRC because it dovetails perfectly with his enthusiasm for local history

Chris Rose

  Chris grew up in Waterford and graduated from Waterford High in 1964. In 1966 he joined the Army and served as an Army photographer in Thailand and West Germany. After the Army he attended Mitchell College and finished his BFA in sculpture at UConn. Chris attended Columbia Teachers College and received a Master of Arts in Art education in 1974
Chris was recruited to teach at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf at the Gallaudet campus in Washington D.C. During his ten years at Gallaudet he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics from George Washington University. He and his wife, Rosemarie, and their two children returned to Stonington in 1984 and Chris was hired to teach art at the three Stonington Elementary schools. He also taught elementary art in Colchester, New London, Waterford, East Lyme and Montville. During this time he attended UConn again to earn his Education Supervision credentials.
Chris also served as the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts for four years. After retiring from public education, Chris managed The Gallery at the Light House, Groton for six years. Now completely retired, he has come to the I C R C where he is working to digitize documents and photos in our collection

 

And speaking of the ICRC Board, we’re delighted that Paul Grant-Costa has rejoined the Board’s leadership team after a hiatus during which he was deeply missed!


A warm welcome to our newest members
:

Thomas Brown, Deborah Donovan, Michael Gillen, Joanne Snyder

Welcome aboard

       New Fee Schedule Approved

The Board of Directors approved a new schedule of fees involved with research assistance at their March 21 meeting. This new schedule takes into consideration the developments in technology and establishes appropriate fees for accessing and copying of documents, photos and artifacts. We will publish this new schedule of fees on our web page and make patrons aware of these changes as they visit our Research Center


ICRC to Participate in Connecticut Open House Day

The Indian and Colonial Research Center will be a proud participant in the 12th annual Connecticut Open House Day on Saturday June 11, 2016. The one-day statewide event showcases the diversity of history, art, and tourism that our corner of New England offers.  The ICRC will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with volunteers and ICRC Board members greeting visitors. Mark your calendars! Stop by and help welcome guests or re-familiarize yourself will all the special resources our center has to offer!


All the News That’s Fit to Print – and Preserve

By  Carol Sommer, I C R C volunteer

          After three years of volunteering at the ICRC, I haven’t even begun to comprehend all the priceless resources the center holds. Recently I wandered to the back of the library and took a look at the racks of scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings from The Day, the Mystic River Press, and other local papers. It was impressive.
I counted over 120 scrapbooks, but only had time to briefly scan four of them. Still it was wonderful to see the wide range of articles this tiny sample contained!
For example, I found a column by Carol Kimball about the circus coming to Mystic in 1897, complete with a picture of the circus parade crossing the Mystic Bridge as it looked before today’s bascule bridge had been installed. An article by Bill Peterson dated a picture of repair work to the bridge by a sign that read “Charlie Wang First Class Laundry.”  Mystic once had several Chinese laundries and Peterson’s knowledge of when they’d been in operation enabled him to date the photograph and the event.
Another column by Kimball told the story of school children who bought stock at 10 cents per share to underwrite the construction of a missionary ship to bring Christianity to Hawaii

Other articles that caught my attention included :

  • A first-hand account of the hell of World War I by a 100 year-old local veteran.

  • The opening of the Mashantucket Museum in 1998.

  • The quest for federal recognition by the Nehantics, a people declared extinct in the 1800’s.

  • Danish researchers finding a bracelet, decorated with Thor’s hammer, in Smiths Cove, raising speculation about Viking presence in the Niantic River area.

  • A Norwich book dealer finding a rare first edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

  • The theft of valuable antique drinking vessels, circa 1777, stolen from the Shaw Mansion in New London but recovered when an alert citizen found them discarded in a garbage can.

  • Two landmarks, the New London Custom House and North Stonington’s Randall’s Ordinary, officially recognized by the Freedom Trail Foundation.

  • The 1997 Green Corn festival in Montville, complete with many photographs.

  • Robert Ballard, of oceanic exploration fame, partnering with the Pequots to search for artifacts off Long Island and New Jersey in 1996.

            This wasn’t even scratching the surface. I could have sat there reading and being entertained for weeks! In fact, I hope to do just that!
One person we have to thank for this treasure trove is Joan Roberts. Over the course of the last twelve years Joan has documented 39 existing scrapbooks that had not been indexed (many contain 100 pages with multiple newspaper clippings per page). Additionally she has kept an eye out for current newspaper articles of historical interest and clipped, pasted, and indexed those as well. Come and browse the scrapbooks and take a look at all the 3X5 index cards in the cabinet drawers. You’ll see what a labor of love this represents.

Joan Roberts preserving memories


Editor’s Note:  Readers are cautioned that by today’s standards, the use of some herbs as pharmaceuticals may be unsafe and possibly toxic. Use of any plants for medicinal purposes should be pre-approved by your doctor

The Indian and Colonial Research Center Library has scores of notebooks with information to suit almost any interest or occasion. At this time of year when winter-weary New Englander’s begin garden plans for the coming season, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the many herbs and flowers used in colonial times for food as well as for medicinal purposes. If you are buying seeds for spring and want your choices to reflect this heritage, listed below are a few varieties from which you might choose.

The list, with benefits expected by the colonists, includes:

  • Chamomile – used in baths, as it eases pain and as a tea for settling the stomach.

  • Lavender – can be used to “bathe the temples and forehead with its juices.” Also the smell of the herb helps “swoonings” (sic). Popular as a massage lotion or chopped up in sachets.

  • Liverwort – excellent for inflammation of the liver and yellow jaundice.

  • Mint – provokes hunger and is wholesome for the stomach.

  • Nettle juice – stops bleeding. “Boyle” (sic) in white wine to help a troublesome cough that the women call “chin-cough.”

  • Rosemary – helps stuffiness in the head, while it improves memory.

  • St. John’s Wort –  a good wound herb, given inwardly or applied topically.

  • Thyme – helps relieve coughs and shortness of breath.  

  • Dandelion – “one of our best greens for salads.” The leaves make an excellent pot herb.

  • Chickweed – “leaves or whole plant may be eaten raw, as a salad and cooked like spinach with spinach taste clearly duplicated. A handful of chickweed mixed with some mild mustard makes an acceptable emergency salad in almost any field trip.”

  Following are some “edible seeds” and berries:

  • Garden sunflower – a native plant which is of great importance as a stock and poultry food while it is also eaten by people. Plant is cultivated in Peru and internationally for the production of sun flower oil used as food, in soaps, and on leather.

  • Wild field strawberries – from wild plants. They are smaller than cultivated plants but much sweeter and more delicious.

  • Wintergreen, checker berry leaves – delicious in spring with fruits. Mixture of blueberries and wintergreen is marvelous. The wintergreen and berries are dry and palatable.

 These are only a few of the many herbs, seeds, and berries used in the colonies. Some may be found in natural food stores as ointments, lotions, oils, sachet choices and other assortments. A treat for the senses!

 

Reference: I C R C Notebook Plants for Ailments C NB#41 (pp. 98-113)

      

    Consider Volunteering at ICRC!

 

Have you considered volunteering a little of your time between 10:00 to 4:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays ? It would be an opportunity to become more familiar with our collections and to greet visitors to the center. Take it from members who already volunteer: it’s a great way to do something for the community, make new friends and contacts, and learn fascinating new things ! If you’re interested or would like more information contact us at

icrc06372@yahoo.com

 
 
 
 

Holiday Greeting

 

 
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I C R C Mounts Historical Photograph Exhibit
Celebrating  “Commonalities”
     During the month of October, beautiful images from the I C R C collection will be on view in the Ames Room at the Mystic & Noank Library (40 Library Street, Mystic). Charming pictures representing people, places, and events of the past tell the story of our community and the people who lived here, contributing to what it –  and we -are today.
Please join us for a reception in the Ames Room from 7:00 to 8:30PM on Monday, October 5th, but if you can’t make the reception, stop by and check out the exhibit which will be in place until the end of the month!
                                                                   
On the Web
 
     Thanks to member and volunteer, Marcus Maronn, the I C R C has an informative narrative and map on the website, ‘This is Mystic!’  The site features events, restaurants, and places to visit, sort of a one-stop shopping for fun things to do locally.  It’s great to have more community visibility!
Check it out at Thisismystic.com

                                                                  
6th Annual History Fair
Hosted by the Groton Public Library

at 2 Newtown Road, Groton
Saturday September 26th from 1 – 4 PM
 
 The I C R C will have a table at the Fair along with other organizations representing local history including the Hempstead House, the New London County Historical Society, the DAR, the SAR, the Groton Historical Society, the Mystic River Historical Society, the Stonington Historical Society, the Denison Homestead, the Avery Association, the Friends of Fort Griswold and many others. History books and other memorabilia will be available for purchase. There will be door prizes and a colonial magician!! This free event is open to the public.

                                                                  
A Call for Volunteers !

We thank all members for their financial support.  Consider volunteering a little of your time during our open hours from 10:00 to 4:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It would be an opportunity to get to know our collections better and to greet visitors to the center. If we could obtain interested volunteers we would consider opening on an occasional Saturday to attract those visitors that can not come during a weekday. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information contact us at: icrc06372@yahoo.com

 

                                                                  


The Journey of the Jonny Cake
By  Jane Schoonover – I C R C Volunteer

             The original spelling of the word “jonny-cake” was “journey-cake,” and was so named because it could be prepared quickly and could be carried very easily by the Indians when they were making a long journey.
According to Thomas Hazard in his book, “The Jonny-cake papers of ‘Shepherd Tom,’” these delicious portable goodies were the “favorite food of the gods.”  Hazard notes that after the War of Independence the name journey-cakes morphed into the more familiar jonny-cakes.
Old fashioned journey-cakes were first made by the Narragansetts of Rhode Island.   The cakes had to be made on a red-oak journey-cake board, an essential implement of frontier cooking. According to an 1863 entry in “An American Glossary,”  journey-cakes consisted of corn meal, pounded in a wooden mortar   …The dough, when prepared, was spread upon a piece of shaved clapboard 3-4” wide-15-20” long, baked upon the hearth. When both sides were perfectly done it was called journey-cake or jonny-cake.
“An American Glossary” continues, “This article of food was used by the Indians of the interior on their long marches to and from their summer resorts on the Southern shores of the Atlantic being Narragansett and Newport.” Sometimes on treks between Rhode Island and Cape Cod, the Indians would stop to rest in New Bedford where they refreshed themselves with the journey cakes they were carrying. The area behind that city’s historical society is aptly named Johnny Cake Hill. (Here in Connecticut we have our own Johnny Cake Hill Road in Old Lyme!)
Faith Damon Davison, I C R C member and former archivist for the Mohegan Tribe, has graciously shared the following recipe. Give it a try !

                                                     

Recipe for Journey Cakes
Ingredients

2 cups of water
2 cups of corn meal
2 tsps. Salt
2 tbls. of butter (probably used animal grease)
½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries) or chopped nuts.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in corn meal, salt, butter & berries or nuts. Place in the bottom of a greased 8” square pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. (Serves 6-8)

 

 Mark Your Calendars
for the Annual Membership Meeting
and Buffet Luncheon
November 14th from 11:30 – 2:30
at Go Fish in Olde Mistick Village
Exit 90 off I-95

We are extremely fortunate to have as guest speaker,
Dr. Brian D. Jones,
whose topic will be  “Five Things Everyone Should Know about the Native American Archaeology of Connecticut.” 

 

Dr. Jones began as Connecticut State Archaeologist in 2014. He has worked in the archaeology field for over 25 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Oberlin College in 1986. After living and traveling in Southeast Asia, he studied European prehistory at the University of Cologne, Germany; he returned to the U.S. in 1992 to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Dr. Jones was engaged in various archaeological positions including a position as Tribal Archaeologist for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Senior Archaeologist for AHS, Inc. in Storrs, Associate Director of UMass Archaeological Services in Amherst, and has taught as an adjunct in the Anthropology Department at UConn since 2004. His primary research focus is the archaeology of northeastern Native American cultures. His dissertation explored human adaptation to the changing climate at the end of the last Ice Age.

Hope to See You There!

Go Fish Mystic County's Sea Food Restaurant

 

   Welcome New Members

        Happy to have you on board       

A warm welcome to our newest members
Bruce Carpenter, Craig Cipolla, Alice Foley, Neil Goodenough,
Chad Jones, Keli Levine, and John Russell  

 

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P.O. Box 525

Old Mystic, CT 06372

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Old Mystic, CT 06372

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