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In the Adirondack Library Series

Calling all readers and book lovers!

Join us each month for the Adirondack Experience’s new virtual book series “In the Adirondack Library,” featuring recently published books about the North Country. Explore Adirondack life, history, and culture with a diverse group of regional writers.

The series presents new books through selected readings and illustrated talks by the authors; followed by thoughtful interviews with North County Public Radio’s Mitch Teich, host of North Words; and lively Q&A sessions. This season’s authors examine the lives and work of Adirondack photographers and sculptors; provide new insights about the role of the wilderness and camping in American culture; and illuminate the experiences of Black communities in the North Country.

Programs are Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Each requires a separate registration. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation with the link to the program.

Missed one? Recordings will be available below after each live program.

Books featured in the series will be available at the ADKX Store. Museum members receive a 10% discount.

About the Interviewer

Mitch Teich, station manager of North Country Public Radio and host of North Words, conducts the author interviews for the Adirondack Experience’s “In the Adirondack Library” virtual book series. His weekly show North Words features conversations with people from around the North Country about what makes living here special and unique. Enjoy Mitch’s thoughtful, engaging interviews during the museum’s monthly Monday night programs and in episodes of his podcast every Friday afternoon.

Upcoming Events

Outsider: Stories of Growing Up Black in the Adirondacks by Alice Paden Green

June 3 | 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This is a virtual program. “Outsider: Stories of Growing Up Black in the Adirondacks” details Alice Paden Green’s experiences...

Learn more

Previous In the Adirondack Library Series Events

Aviation in the Adirondacks By Aurora Pfaff

Monday, May 13, 2024 | 7:00 pm

This is a virtual program.

Since 1912, when a young man named George Gray landed an open-cockpit biplane on a farmer’s field, aviation has played an important role in communities located throughout the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park. Through a range of historic images and postcards, Aurora Pfaff tells the story of pilots who linked communities by air, transported goods and people, and the small towns and airfields that they called home. From the novelty of planes landing on skis and daredevil flying circuses to forest fire patrols, exploration of the vast backcountry, and toy deliveries by Santa, airplanes have opened the Adirondack wilderness and made remote communities more easily accessible for tourists and adventurers. Yet this golden age for aviation would not last, for as car travel became easier and more affordable in the mid- to late-20th century, air travel in the Adirondacks would fade in importance and necessity.

Images used in Aviation in the Adirondacks come from the Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, Historic Saranac Lake, Keene Valley Library, Piseco Lake Historical Society, Saranac Lake Free Library Adirondack Research Room, Town of Webb Historical Association, individuals, and other organizations.

About the Author

Aurora Wheeler Pfaff is a freelance writer and content manager based in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. She writes passionately about history, natural history, and extraordinary ordinary people. A lifelong reader, Aurora has a degrees in Liberal Arts from the Harvard Extension School, where she studied Victorian literature and took the world’s coolest astronomy class. Aurora’s recent projects have included articles on the reading habits of the queens of England, bog plant life, and flying over the Adirondacks. She is currently at work on a memoir about caring for her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. Aviation in the Adirondacks is her first book.

Where The Styles Brook Waters Flow: The Place I Call Home By Lorraine Duvall

Monday, April 15, 2024 | 7:00 pm

From its wilderness source to its meeting with the Ausable River, Styles Brook is scarcely five miles long, yet within its scenic, rugged watershed, Duvall has discovered a lifetime of stories that characterize the Adirondack condition. She shares her coming to know the valley and describes the delicate balance of privacy and interconnectivity that is the way of life in rural areas.

About the Author

Lorraine Duvall is an award-winning author who writes of her love of the Adirondacks, her adventures paddling its quiet waters, and the history of a 1970s women’s collective in Warren County. She has published four memoirs, laced with history of place, and numerous articles in Adirondack publications.

Seneca Ray Stoddard: An Intimate Portrait of an Adirondack Legend by Daniel Way

Monday, March 11, 2024 | 7:00 pm

This biography of Seneca Ray Stoddard is the story of a remarkable American from upstate New York who emerged from humble beginnings during the post-Civil War era to become a renowned artist, author, photographer, explorer, surveyor, cartographer, traveler, inventor and Adirondack environmentalist over a six-decade career. In so doing, he had a profound impact on the New York landscape that endures to the present day.

About the Author

Daniel Way, a native of Glens Falls, practiced Family Medicine in the Adirondack Park as a primary care physician for the Hudson Headwaters Heath Network for 38 years, retiring in 2018. He has published three books about his medical practice in addition to his most recent work on Seneca Ray Stoddard.

African Americans of St. Lawrence County: North Country Pioneers by Bryan Thompson

Monday, February 12, 2024 | 7:00 pm

Discover the Black pioneers who shaped St. Lawrence County through grit and determination. From its origins as part of New France through the Civil War and eventual industrialization of the region, St. Lawrence County has been shaped by all too often overlooked Black families and individuals. Author Bryan S. Thompson reveals the history of the African American community in New York’s North Country.

About the Author

Bryan Thompson is a lifelong resident of St. Lawrence County. He holds a BS from Cornell University and an MS from SUNY Geneseo. He has published more than fifty articles on local history, in local, regional, and state publications. He was the 2009 winner of the New York State Archives and New York State Regents Bruce W. Dearstyne Award for excellence in educational use of historical records. He is also a recipient of a state Archives Hackman Research Fellowship. An Association of Public Historians of New York State registered public historian, he is currently the municipal historian for the Town of De Kalb.

Adirondack Photographers, 1850-1950 by Sally Svenson

Monday, January 8, 2024 | 7:00 pm

Offers a comprehensive look at the first one hundred years of photography through the lives of those who captured this unique rural region of New York State. Svenson’s fascinating biographical dictionary is enriched with over seventy illustrations.

About the Author

Sally Svenson is a New York-based writer whose articles about nineteenth century American figures from wilderness missionaries to Civil War veterans have appeared in various journals. She is the author of Adirondack Churches: A History of Design and Building and Blacks in the Adirondacks which received the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Book of Nonfiction.

“Making Camp: A Visual History of Camping’s Most Essential Items and Activities” by Martin Hogue

Monday, December 11, 2023 | 7:00 pm

An illustrated history of the evolution of camping from the late nineteenth century through present day through its most significant components: the campsite, the campfire, the picnic table, the map, the tent, the sleeping bag, water delivery, and trash collection. Readable as eight individual narratives, these histories align to illustrate the radical transformation of a mythical ideal over the 150-year period since the emergence of recreational camping in the United States. Hogue’s research relied extensively on the image collections at the Adirondack Experience.

About the Author

Martin Hogueis an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University. Originally trained as an architect, Hogue was first drawn to the field of landscape architecture through the work of artists like Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, for whom “the work is not put in a place, it ‘is’ that place.” Hogue’s most recent research, which focuses on camping culture in the United States, interrogates the discrepancies that exist between the deeply cherished American ideal of ruggedness and independence and the nearly 1 million designated camp-sites across the country. These efforts have resulted in two books, Thirtyfour Campgrounds (2016) and Making Camp: A Visual History of Camping’s Most Essential Items and Activities (2023).

“The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier” by Amy Godine

Monday, November 6, 2023 | 7:00 pm

In August 1846, the land-rich abolitionist Gerrit Smith unveiled his plan to parcel out 120,000 Adirondack acres to three thousand Black New Yorkers. His goal: to help his “grantees” gain the voting rights they had been denied since 1821 unless they could prove ownership of real property. From the distribution of his gift land to poor Black men from all over New York, to the on-the-ground experience of Black Adirondack pioneers in the second half of the 19th century and the afterlife of Smith’s “scheme of justice and benevolence” in Adirondack and Black memory, The Black Woods introduces a provocative and stirring chapter to New York’s rich history of racial justice.

About the Author

Independent scholar and long-time Adirondack Life contributor Amy Godine has published scores of articles about Adirondack ethnic and social history. She has curated several exhibitions, including “Dreaming of Timbuctoo,” about an abolitionist-founded black settlement near North Elba. Amy has lectured widely in the region on migratory laborers, immigrants, ethnic neighborhoods and enclaves, peddlers, paupers, pilgrims, squatters, strikers, undocumented immigrants, and other Adirondack “non-elites.”

“American Vistas: The Life and Art of John Van Alstine” by Tim Kane

Monday, October 2, 2023 | 7:00 pm

For nearly 50 years, John Van Alstine has created abstract sculptures forged with stone and steel. At their essence, they explore natural forces and human-made elements, conveying the American experience as the confluence/conflict between wilderness and industrialization.

Written as a companion piece to John Van Alstine: Sculpture 1971-2018, released in 2019 by The Artist Book Foundation (TABF), American Vistas: The Life and Art of John Van Alstine, not only highlights and offers a critical assessment of his art, but it delves into biographic elements that drive his creative process and reveals the person as much as the art. Combined, they are meant to be a singular and complete examination on one of the most important sculptors in the last half century.

About the Author

Tim Kane is an award-winning journalist covering numerous topics from business to the arts for over 30 years. In 2003, he began focusing on visual culture, writing reviews and features on artists primarily in Upstate New York, for various publications, including Art In America, Art News, SCULPTURE Magazine, Adirondack Life, Frieze, Albany Times Union, Houston, Santa Fe and Palm Springs magazines, while also teaching American Studies at Empire State College. Among other projects, he catalogued John Van Alstine’s work in 2014-15 and contributed one of the two main essays in John Van Alstine Sculpture 1971-2018.

About the Artist

John Van Alstine grew up in the southern Adirondack Mountains. He attended St. Lawrence University and then Kent State University where he earned his BFA. After earning his MFA from Cornell University in 1976, he joined the faculty at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, and later at the University of Maryland, College Park, to teach drawing and sculpture. In 1986, he moved to NYC area to pursue studio work full time. He now lives and works in a restored historic structure in the Adirondacks. Van Alstine’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States (including more than 45 solo exhibitions) as well as in Europe and Asia. Two of his sculptures are in the ADKX’s permanent collection.

“In the Adirondacks: Dispatches from the Largest Park in the Lower 48” by Matt Dallos

Monday, September 11, 2023 | 7:00 pm

An immersive journey into the past, present, and future of a region many consider the Northeast’s wilderness backyard. Out of all the rural areas of the United States, including those in the West, which are bigger and propped up by more-pervasive myths about adventure and nation and wilderness and freedom, the Adirondacks has accumulated a well-known identity beyond its boundaries. Untouched, unspoiled, it is defined by what we haven’t done to it. Combining author Matt Dallos’s personal observations with his thorough research of primary and secondary documents, In the Adirondacks rambles through the region to understand its significance within American culture and what lessons it might offer us for how we think about the environment.

About the Author

Matt Dallos is a PhD candidate in history at Cornell University, where he teaches environmental writing seminars. He also runs Thicket Workshop, a design firm specializing in plant-focused, ecological public and private landscapes. His academic research investigates how histories of design, wildness, and spontaneous vegetation offer insights into American environmental thought. He lives in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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