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Standing proudly on Main Street in Penn Yan is the anchor building of the Yates County History Center, the Oliver House Museum, one of three buildings comprising the YCHC. The Center, formerly Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society, is one of the oldest in NYS, has been actively collecting, preserving and interpreting history since 1860. Continue reading about us...

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Yates County History Center is proud to offer for sale a variety of history books, prints, photos, postcards and an assortment of items for children including coloring books, old fashioned toys, hats and candy.

Purchases may be made by visiting Heritage Books & Gifts in the L. Caroline Underwood Museum, by calling 315.536.7318 or by using the Heritage Books & Gifts Order Form.

Accepting Visa, Mastercard



Yates County 1876 Atlas
This is an amazing opportunity! The New Historical Atlas of Yates County New York Illustrated by Everts, Ensign & Everts originally published in 1876 was reprinted by YCHC exactly as the original with the exception of a slightly smaller size. This 114 page, approximately 14" x 17" book has a stamped hardcover and will contain 28 individual colored maps of each of the townships, villages and hamlets within Yates County's borders. Also included are many line drawings of places and people as they were in 1876. Poorer copies and well used originals are fetching more then this on the historic market. Now you can have the look of the original with the strength of a newly created book. What a wonderful addition to your historic library or gift for the historian on your list. On sale now at $100, reduced from $175 and below cost, plus $8.00 NYS sales tax. New York State residents must add sales tax.

The Historic Yates County Afghan measures 52” X 70”, now available for $49.95. Postage additional. Click on the image for a larger view.

A Walk Along Main Street
by Susan U. Lange
Spiral bound
Retail price $23.95

Another winning book from publishers, Yates Heritage Tours! This well researched and easy to enjoy book includes many photos from the archives of YCGHS. Includes history, tour map, timeline and separate tours of Penn Yan's commercial and residential districts.

Admiral Frank H. Schofield: A Portrait In Letters of An American Navy Family (1886 - 1942)
by Richard S. MacAlpine
Published 2016
Retail price $27.95

A book on Admiral Schofield's family came about because of a long-forgotten stash of letters found in an upstate New York barn and a recently retired history teacher with the curiosity and time to weave them into a wonderful story of a struggling farm family and a son who wen ton to become the Commander-in-Chief of America's fleet.

America's First Rushville
by Robert E. Moody
Published 1991
Retail price $35.00

A wonderfully thorough study of the village of Rushville, on the border of Yates and Ontario Counties. Many maps, photos and documentation included.

Architecture In A Small Town
Retail price $8.00

This delightful guide covers the popular architectural styles found in the village of Penn Yan, NY from the period of the village's early settlement in the 1790's through the present. Take this book with you when you visit other small towns. Produced by the Yates Heritage Tours Project, LLC.

Aspiring Christians: Histories of Yates County Churches
Compiled by Linda J. Jackson
Published 1998
Retail price $8.00

A compilation of the histories of Yates County's present day churches. All of the stories go back to the founding of these churches and religions in Yates County and are full of genealogical references as well as interesting perspectives on the changes that have taken place within the religions and the specific church families.

Back In Time
Text by Virginia Gibbs, Photography by John Carroll
Published 2002
Retail price $35.00

An architectural journey through Yates County with text that blends architectural styles and local history. Included are rural structures, commercial, industrial, residences, education, churches, public buildings, summer homes, adaptive reuse and structures that have been razed. Superb images by photographer John Carroll.

The Beddoe Tract
by Jane P. Davis
Published 2005
Retail price $10.00

The Beddoe Tract is made up of 7,000 acres in Central Western New York State. This work reviews this tract’s history from 1792 to 2004. The result of extensive research by Jane P. Davis, this book is based on primary and secondary sources to document the history of what became known as the Beddoe Tract in the town of Jerusalem.

by Raymond W. Copson
Published 2013
Retail price $15.95

In a West African village, Abeni, a willowy fifteen-year old, awaits the initiation that will complete her journey to adulthood. A world away, in a Baltimore tavern, Caleb Lawson – a striking young man from a small town in western New York — is being plied with liquor by two crafty southerners. The year is 1859, and the United States is edging ever closer to disunion. A clandestine plot to revive the Atlantic slave trade brings the lives of the African girl and the Yankee together, forging a love that challenges slavery, imprisonment, and the violence of the Civil War.

Caught In Time
by Leona Jensen

Enjoy the sights of Penn Yan and Yates County from 1890 and 1990 in this delightful little book.

Changes & Returns: Chapters in our County's History
by Frances Dumas
Published 1998
Special YCGHS 150th Anniversary Promotion and stock reduction.
Now FREE of charge at our gift shop, or $5.00 postage and handling anywhere in the US.

A look at Yates County's history every 25 years from its incorporation in 1823. Perspectives on themes that have spanned the last 175 years complemented by local photographs and drawings, plus a look at news around the country for each year studied.

Crooked Lake and the Grape
by Richard Sherer
Published 1998
Retail price $34.95

A beautifully appointed book, full of photographs, some color, reproductions of grape labels and documentation. Mr. Sherer gives an overview of the wine and grape industry surrounding Keuka Lake and gives information on every known winery along its shores.

Escape From Dixie
By John F. Ball
Published 1996
Retail price $10.00

Captured with the entire Union garrison of four regiments at Plymouth, NC, on April 20, 1864, 1st Lt. John Lafler refused to accept his fate. It was a period when few prisoner exchanges were taking place, so he presistently escaped four times from Confederate prisons until he finally succeeded in reaching friendly lines.

The Father of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry and the Universal Friend
by Donald E. Kneeland
Retail price $12.00

Fight All Day, March All Night
by Wayne Mahood
Published 2014

The courageous story of Captain Morris Brown, Jr. is told through his personal letters and the author’s vast knowledge of the Civil War.  Brown was posthumously awarded the congressional Medal of Honor after he was killed at Petersburg.

Finger Lakes Postcard History Series
By House & Mitchell
Published 2008

These postcard images capture the lively and dynamic atmosphere that has kept visitors flocking to the area for years, eager to mail a piece of their memories back home.

Finger Lakes Wine Country
by Sarah Thompson

For more than 150 years, Finger Lakes Wine Country has played a major role in American wine history.  Enjoy this delightful combination of text and historic photos many from the collections of YCHC.

Historic Penn Yan: A Coloring and Activity Book
Retail price $ 4.00

Kids will delight in learning more about the village of Penn Yan and its history with pictures and activities. This little book covers agriculture, commerce, social change and the environment in a fun format for kids. Produced by the Yates Heritage Tours Project, LLC.

History of Yates County, New York
by Stafford C. Cleveland
Hardcover - 2 volume set
Published 1873
Retail price $75.00/set

Contains a sketch of Yates County's original settlement by the Public Universal Friends, the Lessee Company and others, with an account of individual pioneers and their families; also of other leading citizens. Includes church, school and civil history. For genealogists and history buffs alike, this book is an unsurpassed informational source concerning the early history and settlement of this area.

How Should We Then Live? The Groffdale Mennonites of Yates County
by Tracia Noel and Ivan Martin
Published 2020
Retail price $10.00

Forty-five years after the first Mennonite family migrated from Ephrata, Pennsylvania Yates County History Center creates an exhibit explaining the customs of these deeply religious people. Extraoridnary images of this beautiful Finger Lakes county and its unique citizens who promote understanding and neighborly love create a stirring book based on the exhibit.

Images of America: Keuka Lake
by Charles R. Mitchell
Retail price $19.99

Images of America: Penn Yan and Keuka Lake
by Charles R. Mitchell
Published 1997
Retail price $21.95

Charles R. Mitchell’s tribute to Penn Yan and Keuka Lake’s history focuses on the era of black-and-white photography, from the 1860s to the 1950s. With vintage images drawn from his own collection as well as YCGHS, Birkett Mills, and Keuka College, Mitchell weaves the story of the area’s unique past.

Keuka College: A History
by Dr. Philip Africa
Published 1974
Retail price $8.00

Built on the shores of Keuka Lake in 1893, Keuka College has its own unique history to lend flavor to our area.

Luck Was On My Side: The life story of a boy from Branchport, New York
by Lauren Burtch
Published 2009
Softcover, spiral bound $17.50

Mr. Burtch describes life during the early 20th century through the Depression on the shores of Keuka Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes. A scion of the Burtch Brothers’ General Store and Meat Market legacy of Branchport, New York. Lauren takes the reader through his own life story with beginnings in this rural upstate village, eventually to Okinawa, and finally to California where he enjoyed a career as an Agronomist.

Memories of the Rural Schools of Yates County, New York
by Jennie L. Hiler, John H. Potter, Editor
Softcover $25

Take a walk down memory lane to the time of one room schoolhouses in Yates County. This book is chock full of images of teachers and classes from the 100 schools once operating here.

Minority Mother
by John Farrell Hurley
Published 1989
Reprinted 2010
Softcover $15, hardcover $25

Mr. Hurley has brought together an historical account of the Rushville, Yates County area of New York during the early 20th Century in this 175 page story about the Farrell and Hurley families who lived there. The families were descendants of Irish immigrants to America during the 1840’s and 1850’s. Central to the story is the Hurley matriarch, Agnes Farrell Hurley, who, much against norm of the times brings up two successful sons, while holding down a career, being civically active, and a friend to those who needed friends.

The Orphan Home
The Memories of Laurence K & John H. Buchholz
Edited by Christine E. Buchholz Buck & John A. Buchholz
Published 2006
Retail price $12.00

In September, 1910, with shipping tags tied to their clothing, John and Laurence Buchholz - six and eight - were put aboard a Lehigh Valley passenger train in Geneva, New York, for the first leg of their 360 mile journey to a rural Ohio orphanage. This account of childhood at the Ebenezer Orphan Home in Flat Rock, Ohio, was drawn from conversations recorded during their later years.

Out of the Wilderness
Edited by Raymond W. Smith
Published 1998
Retail price $10.95

A Civil War memoir of Cpl. Norton C. Shepard of the 146th New York Volunteer Infantry based on his written narrative. It is a clear depiction of the encounter at Saunders Field on May 5, 1864 during the Battle of the Wilderness.

"Over There" and Over Here: Yates County In The Great War (1916-1919)
by Richard S. MacAlpine
Published 2018
Retail price $17.99

Inspired by the 100 year anniversary of the Great War, each chapter is a bimonthly look at the progress of the war and how the local community reacted to it starting in November of 1916 when the United States was trying to maintain neutrality. The final chapter describes the enthusiastic welcome home celebration for local servicemen on the 4th of July 1919.

Overhalls and Leftovers
by Al Jensen
Published 2005
Retail price $12.00

Forty short pieces about Penn Yan and Keuka Lake and life in the Good Old Days. Illustrated with more than 100 original, previously unpublished photographs taken between 1918 and 1937, this book is a compilation of Al Jensen’s memories, including “The 1932 Yates County Oil Well,” “Good Strong Food” and “Ice Boating on Keuka Lake”.

Penn Yan, NY 1914
by Walter Wolcott

This delightful volume contains biographies, business narratives, civic and church information with lovely images of the time by photographer Biret. Use for research or as a gift for a homesick Pennsylvania Yankee.

Penn Yan & How It Got That Way
by Frances Dumas
Published 2012
Retail Price $43.95

PENN YAN & How It Got That Way traces the story of Penn Yan from the big bang through 1989 when the historic preservation district was created. Timelines and 458 illustrations help the reader follow what was happening in Penn Yan, and in the world. Readers experience the village in the early years of its settlement, during its boom, as well as during World War I and II and beyond, learn about its people, industry and so much more. This 631 page book is separated into two parts to make it easier to handle. If you have ever wondered about the history of Penn Yan this is a set that you will treasure, keep on your library shelf and refer to often.

Pioneer Prophetess: Jemima Wilkinson, the Publick Universal Friend
by Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr.
Published 1964
Retail price $22.50

A comprehensively researched book on the life of Jemima Wilkinson, the Publick Universal Friend, most famous for becoming the first American born woman to form her own religious group and bringing the first and largest group of settlers to what became Yates County. Contains insight into the Society of Universal Friends, the history of our early settlement, genealogical information on her followers and a transcription of the Death Book of the Society of Universal Friends.

The Publick Universal Friend
By Paul Moyer

The story of Jemima Wilkinson-rebellious preacher, pioneer settler, eccentric leader of hundreds is revisited  in the context of the American Revolution and the post war years.

Robert Beck's Story
by Crooked Lake Historical Society
Published 1995
Retail price $17.00

Based on his memoir, Robert Beck told his story from his boyhood in Germany to his immigrant family's struggles in this new country and his own time as an indentured servant, eventually gaining more stability and moving to Hammondsport where he settled in 1876 and lived until his death in 1922.

Starkey Diaries
Transcribed & Edited by Richard S. MacAlpine
& Raymond C. "Charlie" Finch
Published 2006
Retail price $25.00

A compilation of twelve diaries written by three women of the McAlpine family who lived on a farm in the Town of Starkey. The diaries cover the time period from 1868 to 1906. Photos, narrative, notes, appendix, and surname index (not page specific) included; 408 pp. These diaries are an excellent source of local social history and for anyone who wants to know what farm life (and life in general) was like in rural Yates County in the second half of the 19th Century; the rhythm of the farm seasons, transportation, communication, medical care, cooking, sewing, food processing, the role of religion, impact of the temperance movement, etc.

Steamboats on Keuka Lake
by MacAlpine and Mitchell

The grand age of steamboats on Keuka Lake began in 1835 and was vital to the development of the region.  The boats carried excursionists to the resorts that lined the lakeshore.  The communities of Penn Yan, Hammondsport and Branchport that anchor the three branches of the lake flourished.  Read the tales of glamorous steamers, the resorts and the people who worked and traveled on the boats.

Stories From Yates Past
by Rich MacAlpine
Soft cover
Published 2016 by Infinity Publishing
264 pages …. 76 photos
Retail Price: $19.95

These forty episodes from Yates County history illustrate the rich vitality of the area. For over a decade, local historian Rich MacAlpine has done original research and written for the publication, Yates Past. Having taught the broad strokes of American History for thirty-four years, Rich explores how the local community was impacted by national and world events. Several stories cover topics that he stumbled upon through his family history research. He has produced descriptions of beloved characters, interesting events and episodes from the past that have been long forgotten.

The Times of Middlesex
by Kay Foster Wilson
Softcover booklet
Published 1989
Retail price $4.00

A history of the town of Middlesex including the geology and early peoples, myths and legends, the white settlers, religion and schools, early sorrows and earning a living.

Town of Middlesex Civil War Veterans
Compiled by Stuart J. Mitchell, Jr. with Joan L. Stover
Softcover booklet - based on work by Frederick T. Harter
Published 1996
Retail price $8.50

A listing of known veterans of the Civil War from the Town of Middlesex including a newspaper documentation and information on the involvement of the residents of Middlesex.

The Universal Friend and America's First Frontier Settlement
Edited by Fran Dumas, Yates County Historian
Retail price $19.95

A CD with audio narration, a map with tour stops and GPS coordinates. This CD provides a historical time line of events and a booklet with photographs of the historic sites.

The Unquiet World: The Publik Universal Friend & America's First Frontier
by Fran Dumas, Yates County Historian
Retail price $24.95

The Friend's fascinating story has been told many times over the years. But until The Unquiet World no one has explained the forces that led to the Friend's unique movement and how it influenced the history of Yates County, western NY and the United States. Fran Dumas has written a book that any history buff would enjoy.

Where They Fell: Stories of Rochester Area Soldiers in the Civil War
by Robert Marcotte
Hardcover (295 pages)
Published 2001
Retail price $15.00

Mr. Marcotte examines how seventeen Rochester (NY) area regiments and batteries were involved in the battles of the Civil War. Profiles of battles and soldiers are presented along with instructions on how the reader can research the Civil War record of an ancestor who might have marched along side them. Illustrated in color and black and white.

Willow Grove
Retail price $40.00

A wonderful collection of reminiscences and photos of the Keuka Lake area three miles south of Penn Yan on Route 54. Lovingly compiled by the author who grew up in Willow Grove.

Woodcarver, Wordcarver: Poems to Read Aloud
by Al Jensen
Published 2004
Retail price $6.95

A wonderful collection of poems reflecting the experience of the author, who is a master woodcarver.

Yates County 1876 Atlas
This is an amazing opportunity! The New Historical Atlas of Yates County New York Illustrated by Everts, Ensign & Everts originally published in 1876 was reprinted by YCHC exactly as the original with the exception of a slightly smaller size. This 114 page, approximately 14" x 17" book has a stamped hardcover and will contain 28 individual colored maps of each of the townships, villages and hamlets within Yates County's borders. Also included are many line drawings of places and people as they were in 1876. Poorer copies and well used originals are fetching more then this on the historic market. Now you can have the look of the original with the strength of a newly created book. What a wonderful addition to your historic library or gift for the historian on your list. On sale now at $100, reduced from $175 and below cost, plus $8.00 NYS sales tax. New York State residents must add sales tax.

Yates County Cemeteries, Volumes 1-6
Compiled and recorded by Frances Dumas & Sherry E. Conybeare
Published 1997
Retail price $20.00 per volume

A complete and accurate list of all known burials within Yates County's borders, an absolute must for genealogists.
The volumes are divided according to townships and villages as follows:

Volume 1-- Town of Benton, Town of Milo, Town of Torrey
Volume 2-- Town of Italy, Town of Middlesex, Town of Potter, Village of Rushville
Volume 3-- Town of Barrington, Town of Starkey, Village of Dundee
Volume 4-- Town of Jerusalem, St. Michael's Roman Catholic
Volume 5-- Lakeview Cemetery, Penn Yan
Volume 6-- General Index

Yates County Chronicles: Stories from Penn Yan, Keuka Lake and the Heart of the Finger Lakes
by Richard S. MacAlpine
Published 2014
Retail price $19.99

Twenty-two of the best articles from the Yates County History Center's bimonthly publication, Yates Past. Rich has researched and written over a hundred articles since 2004 and he picked the ones that created the most feedback and best illustrate the rich and diverse history of Yates County. 153 pages, 60 photos and illustrations.

YCG&HS Sesquicentennial Celebration 1860-2010 (This publication is available to download)

Mary Ellen Lee, author of the Danny on the Bluff series. Four generations of her family have lived in the Finger Lakes Region of NY. Both she and her father grew up near Keuka Lake, the setting for her stories.

Danny and Life on Bluff Point
by Mary Ellen Lee
Published 2000
Retail price $12.95

A book for youth about a ten-year old boy growing up on a large fruit and livestock farm in 1894 on the end of the Bluff that divides Keuka Lake into branches. Although the story is fictional, it is based upon the research, documentation and journals of the author's ancestors who lived on the Bluff during the story's era.

Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Blizzard of '95
by Mary Ellen Lee
Published 2001
Retail price $12.95

The second in a series of historical novels for children. In this installment it is January of 1895 and ten-year-old Danny learns the importance of following family instructions and to not judge people until you know them.

Danny and Life on Bluff Point: Lost in The Dark
by Mary Ellen Lee
Published 2003
Retail price $12.95

In February of 1895, the third “Danny” book tells of Danny’s adventures with a small iceboat he has been given, and what happens when he loses his way one cold, moonless night.

Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Man on the Train
by Mary Ellen Lee
Published 2004
Retail price $12.95

Fourth book in the “Danny” series. Grandma and Grandpa Scott leave Bluff Point and move to Gorham with the help of the Lee family. The ride on the steam cars is fun for all until Mary is trapped in the livestock car by an evil man and is rescued by Danny.

Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Conflict (A Novel)
Book Six in the Danny and Life on Bluff Point
by Mary Ellen Lee
Published 2007
Retail price $12.95

The Conflict finds the Lee family engaged in a social conflict that will test their values.
Set in May 1895 Danny Lee meets their new southern-born neighbor and experiences the friction created in town which spills over into the Lee children. Both sides lean valuable lessons about prejudice, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Danny and Life on the Bluff Point: My Horse Sally
by Mary Ellen Lee
Retail price: $12.95


Open Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
107 Chapel Street, Penn Yan, NY 14527
Phone 315.536.7318 | Fax 315.536.0976
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Saturday, May 15, 2021 | Copyright © 2021

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