Pieces of History

Trephine from the surgical kit of Dr. Joseph Waldo, 1790, from the collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Trephine from the surgical kit of Dr. Joseph Waldo, 1790, from the collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Cannonball found at Newtown battlefield, 1779, from the collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Cannonball found at Newtown battlefield, 1779, from the collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Powder horn inscribed 1779, from the collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Powder horn inscribed 1779, from the collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

A Quick Guide to Document Repairby Rachel Dworkin, archivistDespite being made out of trees, paper is fragile. With age and rough handling it can be torn.  So what do you do when this happens?  Like medicine, the first rule of document repair is do no harm.  While most people reach for the scotch tape, tapes can actually be very harmful.  They yellow as they age and lose their stick and can often end up damaging the documents they’re supposed to help.When I have to repair a document, I reach for my Japanese paper and wheat paste.  The Japanese paper is an acid-free paper specially designed for document repair while the wheat paste is a water-soluble, fast-drying glue.  Both are available through archival and library suppliers.  So, how does it work? (READ MORE)

A Quick Guide to Document Repair
by Rachel Dworkin, archivist

Despite being made out of trees, paper is fragile. With age and rough handling it can be torn.  So what do you do when this happens?  Like medicine, the first rule of document repair is do no harm.  While most people reach for the scotch tape, tapes can actually be very harmful.  They yellow as they age and lose their stick and can often end up damaging the documents they’re supposed to help.
When I have to repair a document, I reach for my Japanese paper and wheat paste.  The Japanese paper is an acid-free paper specially designed for document repair while the wheat paste is a water-soluble, fast-drying glue.  Both are available through archival and library suppliers.  So, how does it work? (READ MORE)

Zither with gilded pattern, c. 1880s, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Zither with gilded pattern, c. 1880s, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Yoke crocheted for a child’s shirt or dress, 1920s, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Yoke crocheted for a child’s shirt or dress, 1920s, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Yoke used for carrying buckets, early 19th century, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Yoke used for carrying buckets, early 19th century, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Yardstick from Barker-Rose & Clinton hardware store in Elmira, c. 1900, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Yardstick from Barker-Rose & Clinton hardware store in Elmira, c. 1900, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society


Thomas H. Stewart: Fugitive Slave and Trinity Church Sextonby Judith Sheasley of Trinity Church
Thomas H. Stewart, a fugitive slave and lesser known, though not less loved and respected, contemporary and friend of John W. Jones, made his way to Elmira along the Underground Railroad. 
According to an essay published in the Elmira Evening Star on March 17, 1900, Stewart had been the property of John C. Covington Hardy on the Old Beauford Farm near Richmond in Virginia’s Nottoway County. He was then Richard Hardy, having taken his master’s name. As a boy, he carried wood, kept flies off the table and fed the chickens, ducks, and turkeys, among other chores. Mrs. Hardy died of scarlet fever and Hardy married a cruel woman who hardened her husband as well. Stewart asked to be sold, which brought only more beatings. Eventually he and the other slave on the farm escaped. For six weeks during the summer of 1852 they traveled north by night, lying in swamps and bushes during the day and living chiefly on fruits and vegetables, once finding a small pig to broil. They were aided by Quakers in Bellfonte, Pennsylvania, where they spent the winter. The next summer they left for Canada. Along the way he changed his name. (READ MORE)

Thomas H. Stewart: Fugitive Slave and Trinity Church Sexton
by Judith Sheasley of Trinity Church

Thomas H. Stewart, a fugitive slave and lesser known, though not less loved and respected, contemporary and friend of John W. Jones, made his way to Elmira along the Underground Railroad.

According to an essay published in the Elmira Evening Star on March 17, 1900, Stewart had been the property of John C. Covington Hardy on the Old Beauford Farm near Richmond in Virginia’s Nottoway County. He was then Richard Hardy, having taken his master’s name. As a boy, he carried wood, kept flies off the table and fed the chickens, ducks, and turkeys, among other chores. Mrs. Hardy died of scarlet fever and Hardy married a cruel woman who hardened her husband as well. Stewart asked to be sold, which brought only more beatings. Eventually he and the other slave on the farm escaped. For six weeks during the summer of 1852 they traveled north by night, lying in swamps and bushes during the day and living chiefly on fruits and vegetables, once finding a small pig to broil. They were aided by Quakers in Bellfonte, Pennsylvania, where they spent the winter. The next summer they left for Canada. Along the way he changed his name. (READ MORE)

Xylophone mallets, early 20th century, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society

Xylophone mallets, early 20th century, from the Collection of the Chemung County Historical Society