During 2015 the History Center is shining a light on women in Yates County history in a year-long program emphasis: “Women Who Made a Difference.” Among this group are religious, woman’s suffrage, abolitionists, educators and anti-poverty workers, community organizers, artists, business leaders and sole-family bread winners. When purposely examined we learn about societal influences and expectations placed on women living in a male-centered world.
Our January program shown a light on those who worked in traditional roles with textiles and fashion, interweaving the story with our vast vintage costume collection. Selected items from the costume collection will be on exhibit throughout the year at both the Oliver House and Underwood Museums.
On February 14th, L. Caroline Underwood will be remembered as a highly regarded educator and benefactor of our own Underwood Museum. Local actor Patty Larzelere will portray Miss Underwood’s life as a teacher during the first part of the 20th century with information and items found in the Underwood collection.
On March 21st you will learn about the roles and expectations placed on young women in the nineteenth century in the presentation: “Young Mary Bitley of Jerusalem” presentation. Donna Copson portrays Miss Bitley using her personal mid-19th century journal, while the Bitley home will be discussed by a current co-owner, Carolyne Hunt.
On May 9th we will bring you “The Danes of Yates County”, with Stephanie Olsen, bringing to life people from her own family’s immigrant history in light of the larger story of the Danish people’s settlement in Yates County.
Additionally, as part of the “Women Who Made a Difference” year-long effort, we will make available certain audio-video recordings from the project “Through the Eyes of Women: Yates County.” These first-person recordings were made in the early 2000’s by members of the Yates County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and feature more Yates County life experiences from a women’s viewpoint.
The first two interviews are now available on You Tube. These are fun and informative of a women’s real life experience of the times past. As time progresses, we will add more.
Below, Bonnie Barney interviews Doris Scherer. Doris was born in 1903 and grew up in a house on North Main Street near the hospital and the railroad track. Doris witnessed the evolution of transportation from the train and horse and buggy to the automobile. She tells of attending the Sampson Opera House and dances in Electric Park, the Keuka Hotel and roller skating at the Lakeside Hotel.
Barbara Alconero interviewed Marge Cornell. Marge talks about her experiences working in Penn Yan’s Barden and Robeson Basket Factory and at Michaels Stern Corporation.