2023 Quilt Raffle

Margy Quinn has donated another beautiful quilt to be raffled for the benefit of the Society. Margy is a true artist and famous her for her quilting.

The winner of the 60″ x 72″ Ohio Star Quilt sewn with batik materials will be drawn at the close of our Holiday House on November 12 at 3PM.

Tickets are $5.00 each or 3 tickets for $10.00.

You may purchase tickets at the Holiday House or call the office at: 518-392-0062.


May 14th Talk

The Recovery and Return of Mohican Artifacts

Bonney Hartley

The Austerlitz Historical Society’s premier event for the 2023 season is a presentation entitled The Recovery and Return of Mohican Artifacts by Bonney Hartley, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Historic Preservation Manager.

The talk on Sunday, May 14, 2023 begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Morey-Devereaux Barn at Old Austerlitz, 11550 NY-22, Austerlitz, NY 12017. The program is free to members and to the public. (The Shop at Old Austerlitz will be open before the presentation from Noon-2:00pm.)

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community, now located in Wisconsin, is the
Tribal Nation indigenous to the Berkshires and Hudson Valley. Bonney Hartley leads its efforts to repatriate artifacts of significance to the Community. Her talk will highlight how local individuals and museums have honored Mohican history by returning family heirlooms, museum exhibits and other cultural items.

Bonney Hartley is an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community and holds a Master of Social Science degree in International Relations. She manages Stockbridge-Munsee’s Tribal Historic Preservation office, which is based in Williamstown, MA under a partnership with Williams College. She serves on the National NAGPRA Community of Practice Steering Committee, and the Board of Trustees of Historic Huguenot Street, and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.



EASTER at Old Austerlitz
Here is your official invitation to welcome the Easter season and the long-awaited spring to Old Austerlitz (the snow is almost gone)! Join us on Sunday, April 2nd from 12-3pm rain (snow) or shine.
Bring a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs and we will supply traditional and natural dyes to help you create beautiful eggs to take home. If you have some unique dyes or techniques, please feel free to bring them along and share with the rest of us.
New this year is the Old Austerlitz Easter Egg Hunt! There will be lots of treats and surprises. If you are only a “kid at heart,” come anyway as we will have refreshments and a viewing area. Please contact Margaret Hover at [email protected] or 518-392-3785 to let her know how many children you will be bringing.
The shop will also be open with Easter goodies and new items for spring. Don’t forget our beautiful collection of greeting and note cards.
We have also partnered with a wonderful nursery to bring you some beautiful bunches of tulips to brighten your home.
As many of you know, we have not been able to fully show and use the schoolhouse for quite a number of years. The problem was a failing floor.
We are so happy to report that the floor has been completely repaired! It was a costly project, and we thank all of those who have contributed to AHS and made the repairs possible.

During the construction work we discovered four layers of flooring. Amazingly, the contractor was able to salvage the original wide plank layers of flooring (previously hidden) and so the result is a strong floor that maintains the original look.

As soon as the weather warms-up a bit, the interior will be repainted, and the historic items returned. You will be invited to a viewing and celebration when it is completed.

We would like to expand our schoolhouse collection. If you have any photos or original articles related to the schoolhouse please let us know. Gifts are appreciated, but scans/photos can made of original items and returned to you.

The Programming Committee is currently working on the 2023 schedule. Last year we had some of the best talks and programs we had ever held, and yet there was a problem: attendance was low.

We understand that the pandemic was still a major factor last year, but we suspect that habits and interests have changed as a result.We need your help and feedback. What kind of programing (talks, workshops, demonstrations, etc.) would you like to see? Better still, what kind of programming would you be likely to actually attend?
You can reply directly from this email and we will forward your comments to the committee. We thank you for your feedback.

Blueberry Festival 2023
Sunday, July 30th, 9am-3pm
We are already in full planning mode for the 2023 Blueberry Festival.We are now accepting applications for artists, crafts people, specialty food producers and antiques dealers for the July 30th festival. Please contact Margaret Hover at [email protected] for information and an application.
One of the best ways to get to know your neighbors and to give back to your community is to volunteer at the Blueberry Festival. We need volunteers for all areas of the festival. Please consider setting aside this day for volunteering – and volunteering early. Contact Margaret Hover for more information.

Thank You!

The Ghent Band performs at the Blueberry Festival 2022
A note from Jeffrey Harris, President, Austerlitz Historical Society:

On behalf of the Society, I wish to thank the wonderful volunteers, musicians and entertainers, demonstrators, and vendors who participated in the successful return of the Blueberry Festival 2022! We weren’t sure if anyone would show up and boy were we surprised! Including volunteers, vendors, etc., we estimate that over 2,500 people attended and participated. Over 1,750 adult tickets were sold (children enter for free). We were certainly overwhelmed with cars and had to scramble for parking spaces. We even parked folks on the front lawn (a first). The scramble meant that a number of visitors entered the grounds from various points, and we lost some ticket sales — we’ll work to improve that at the next festival.
Chris and Hilary Ferrone, and Greg Vogler getting those pancakes started.
There was a small group of people who worked so diligently on the prep work, I hardly know how to thank them. First, and foremost, was Margaret Hover, our AHS Secretary and Manager of Operations. Margaret did everything from recruit volunteers and vendors, put up tents, travelled all over the area picking up supplies, lifted heavy equipment — you name it, she did it! Please, if you get a moment, send Margaret a thank you note. She is truly an amazing person.

Margaret’s husband, Kevin Johnson, worked like a dog (to put it bluntly). Cutting grass, planting flowers, putting up tents, picking-up benches, filling gas canisters, moving chairs and tables, etc., it was rare to not see him covered in sweat!

Donna Peterson, came all the way from her new home in Florida to take over the kitchen (and a whole host of other things). Many of you know Donna, and quite frankly the festival would not have occurred without her.Her institutional knowledge saved us many times and she even helped me put up fencing! If that wasn’t enough, she then cleaned and brought needed order to our supply basement.
Ever wonder how Donna mixes all those buckets of pancake batter?
The dreaded pancake breakfast line.
Michael Rebic was determined that we would have blueberry pies this festival and personally made 35 of them! He was joined by Dodie Wheeler (who also ran around picking up needed supplies and managed the blueberry tent), Wendy Diskin (who helped despite having a family wedding that weekend!), Margy Quinn, and Emma Jensen. We also want to especially thank all those who baked many other items for the bake sale — we sold out!
Blueberry pies cooling in the Morey-Devereaux House.
Jim Newberry and Maureen Wilson went well beyond the call of duty and put together our new griddles and cleaned the old ones. I can picture Jim now in the hot summer sun, sweating, but determined — it was hard work (those griddles are heavy). Jim also flipped pancakes and Maureen helped with the bake sale.
Vivian Cunningham, looking like a chemist, in the kitchen.
Vivian and Gary Cunningham were absolutely amazing! They showed up whenever help was needed which meant that they moved supplies, helped put up tents, moved furniture, cleaned, etc. Gary took on the new lemonade booth (ever clean hundreds of lemons?) and we discovered that Vivian had spectacular organizational skills. She was also rather a wiz in the kitchen!
Jeff O’Donnell never stopped working. We asked him to do so many things, I am amazed that he came back to help with clean-up! And he cooked in the pancake tent. Thank you, Jeff.

The very successful tag sale was managed and set-up by Barbara Perlmutter. She worked a lot of hours collecting and arranging the many donated items. After the festival, I walked into the barn and it was magically cleaned-up. Thank you also to intern Lucy Sanchez for all her help with the tag sale and so many other tasks.

Gale Stockman and Brenda Tamez worked in the office making sure we all got tickets, sales boxes, ipads, etc. And of course, the bookkeeping before and after the festival. Gale also made sure the advertising signs got out into the community (and were collected after).

Thank you to Mary Neufeld who did an amazing job setting up and working the pancake tent and even convinced her nephew to help set up those tables and hundreds of chairs!

And Roy Carney who came in and adjusted our fencing, put out parking signs and guides and helped us get more cars into that field than we ever thought possible.
Tag Sale in the large Barn
And to all those who volunteered for the day of the festival, we give you our sincere thanks — what a wonderful job you did (and thanks for stepping up when issues presented themselves). A special thank you to the extended Dunne and Ferrone and Murphy families (Denise, Tim, Hilary, Chris, Fiona, Joanne, and Eryl) who came en masse to take on the pancake breakfast, the Mugler family and friends (Shirar, Nicola, Jack, Wil, and Ellis), the Palmer family (Bill, Ruth and Joy), and the Avenia family (Margaret, John, and Emma).

Thank you to Karen Carney, Tim Hawley, Larry Massimo, Connie Mondel, Jane Magee, Charlotte & Rupert Fennell, Ginny Nightingale, Ansi Vallens, Dan Perlmutter (photogapher), Gale Page & Frank Smith, Carole Reamer, Bill Case, Elizabeth Diggs, Emily McCully, Greg Vogler (the best blueberry dropper in town), Lynne O’Connell, Shari Tassitore, Kristen Dalton, Isabel Buckbee, Zinnia Pappas, Sue Diskin, Madaline Sparks, Keith Galluzo, Pam Renwick, Eve Zatt, Joe Herwick, Phil Palladino, Barbara Smith, Mary Gerhardt, Liz Tyski, Dorothy O’Donnell, Bruce Stockman, Julie Foehrenbach, Vicky Jensen, Lisa Meaney, Mark Diskin, Debbie Coolidge, Dorothy Muller, Libby & Tim O’Neil (They took over the shop and helped tremendously with clean-up.), Erlyn Madonia and her granddaughter Lilly, Mitzi Lobdell, Joan Gampert, and the man who became my right-hand-manScotty Quinn.

No doubt, we have missed some names (please let us know). But a sincere and heart felt thank you to all those who helped make the festival such a success. It was so wonderful to see everyone in person!

Jeffrey Harris

Let’s allow the pictures to do the talking (and if you have more great photos, please send them our way.):
Chesley McLaren & Doug Welch
Connie Mondel and Jeffrey Harris
This year a number of companies helped to sponsor the festival with donations. Please, when doing business, let those companies know that we truly appreciate their support. And a special Thank You to Stewart’s for the delicious ice-cream! See photo below:


After two interrupted years the Blueberry Festival is back on Sunday, July 31, 2022 from 9am – 3pm! (Rain or shine – we have tents.)Your favorites will still be there, but this year we have new vendors, new entertainment, and even new food. The day begins with the famous Pancake Breakfast (served from 9am until 11:30am) and ends with the rousing sounds of the Ghent Band.In between there is lots to do and see, including many demonstrations, historic displays, artists and artisans, children’s activities, tag sale/antiques, great food including the bake sale, great music, a quilt raffle and a garden raffle (don’t forget to take a look at the new herb garden) and everyone loves to watch the sheep shearing and border collies!
While the price of everything seems to be going up, we decided to welcome everyone back with the same admission cost of $8 (children under 12 are free). We love pets, but we do ask that no pets be brought to the festival.We are still looking for volunteers — particularly at the two admissions booths and the pancake tent. Don’t be shy, just email Margaret Hover at [email protected] or Jeff Harris at [email protected] or you can call and leave a message at 518-392-0062.If you are volunteering and do not know your arrival time or assignment, please contact Margaret at the above email address. This is very important as we must prepare name tags and complete the schedule.Click here for vendor info.Whether you are volunteering or coming as a guest — we look forward to seeing you on July 31st.
VOGUE:The Austerlitz Edition
The Austerlitz Historical Society continues its series of talks on Sunday, July 17 at 2pm when Phyllis Chapman presents Head to Toe: What They Wore, How They Wore It, and Why it Mattered, an exploration of the shape-shifting variety of 19th century fashions.Corsets for men? Bustles and shoplifting? Beetle embellishment? Do they get it right in the movies? This fun look at stuff that doesn’t get mentioned in history books demonstrates the wide variety of style, silhouettes and fads that kept the fashion-conscious on their toes and illustrates that we do define ourselves through dress. As Mark Twain observed, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Chapman will speak on Sunday, July 17 at 2:00 p.m. in the Historic Austerlitz Church, NY Rt. 22, Austerlitz, N.Y. The talk is free and open to the public.Vintage Visitors is composed of Phyllis Chapman, historic interpreter, her husband, Mike Chapman, audio/visual creator and technical director, and associate Kristen Marcoux, seamstress and assistant at fashion shows and living history demonstrations.


Here is your official invitation to welcome the Easter season and long-awaited spring to Old Austerlitz (we’ve spotted a few daffodils and crocuses rising from the ground)! Join us on Sunday, April 10th from 12-2pm rain or shine.
Bring a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs and we will supply traditional and natural dyes to help you create beautiful eggs to take home. If you have some unique dyes or techniques, please feel free to bring them along and share with the rest of us.
While you are here, we will serve refreshments, including hot cross buns! (see article below), weather permitting, you can even play croquet on the lawn.
The shop will also be open with Easter goodies and new items for spring. Don’t forget our beautiful new collection of greeting and note cards.

Hot cross buns are a simple and sweet spiced bun with a cross sliced onto the top. The buns often contain raisins or currants and sometimes orange peel. Modern versions may include other fruit and today the cross is sometimes formed by a white sugar icing.
Although there are many theories as to the origin of these buns, Brother Thomas Rocliffe, an English 14th-century monk, is widely credited as making the very first hot cross bun in 1361. He called his recipe “St. Alban’s Buns” and distributed them to the poor on Good Friday. The cross was said to represent the crucifixion of Jesus, the spices in remembrance of those used at Christ’s burial, and the orange peel the bitterness of His time on the cross.
Traditionally the buns were eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent. In 1592, during the reign of Elizabeth I, a decree was issued forbidding the sale of hot cross buns and other spiced breads except at burials, on Good Friday or at Christmas. It seemed that certain bakers had been violating the sacred nature of the treat. The punishment for this violation was the confiscation of the buns for distribution among the poor.
Hot cross buns became popular among all classes and similar recipes were soon being baked throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The buns arrived on American shores with the early settlers.
Many other cultures celebrate the season with special breads: The Germans have Osterbrot, the Polish Babka, the Russians Kulich, the Italians Pane di Pasqua and Casatiello, the Greeks Tsoureki and the Croatians Pinca or Sirnica.

Blueberry Festival 2022 Sunday, July 31st, 9am-3pm
Attention Vendors:We are now accepting applications for artists, crafts people, specialty food producers and antiques dealers for the July 31st festival. Please contact Margaret Hover at [email protected] or 518-392-0062 for information and an application.
Volunteers:One of the best ways to get to know your neighbors and to give back to your community is to volunteer at the Blueberry Festival. We need volunteers for all areas of the festival — and, in particular, the Pancake Breakfast. Please consider setting aside this day for volunteering. Contact Margaret Hover for more information.
Arlene Janet Dauer passed away peacefully in her home on March 6, 2022. Born January 10, 1933 in Canaan, CT she was the daughter of the late Gilbert and Elvera Castagna Fallon.
She moved to Columbia County in the fifties with her husband, Clifford, and here they started their family. Arlene worked as a waitress at Aubergine in Hillsdale for many years until retiring in the mid-nineties.
Arlene was a wonderful cook and loved to prepare gourmet meals for her friends and family. She enjoyed traveling and took great pride in maintaining her lawn and her beautiful home in Spencertown.
Arlene is survived by her grandson James (Heather) Dauer; son David (Dorothy) Dauer; brother, Gilbert F. (Amanda) Fallon; sisters, Marie (William) Dickenson; Nancy (Richard) Roberts. She was predeceased by her sisters, Christine Fallon; Sandra Fallon; Thelma Fallon; her brother and his wife, Ronald (Song) Fallon.
In lieu of flowers contributions in Arlene’s name may be made to Austerlitz Historical Society. Condolences may be conveyed at

New Herb Class



JULY 25th, 2021 at 2:00 PM in the Morey-Devereaux Barn

Allison Guertin Marchese

Local history author, Allison Guertin Marchese, will reveal some little-known stories of Columbia County and Hudson Valley history on Sunday, July 25 at 2 pm in the Morey-Devereaux Barn at Old Austerlitz. This is our first in-person “Talk” of the season. The event is free and all are welcome. Allison is the author of two books, The Hidden History of Columbia County, NY (Arcadia/History Press 2014), and Hudson Valley Curiosities (Arcadia/History Press 2017).
Among the intriguing subjects of Ms. Marchese’s talk are the sulphur springs of the county and the spiritualist movement that swept through the City of Hudson taking in its wake a prominent lawyer and judge. She will also expose a little-known fact about Eleanor Roosevelt and the secret behind a special revolver Mrs. Roosevelt received as a gift from her bodyguard. Then there is the story of the hamlet of Neversink which was submerged under water to form a reservoir for New York City. Allison will also provide a sneak preview of her forthcoming book Lost Columbia County to be published in the summer of 2022 by Arcadia/History Press.
Allison Marchese is a graduate of Fordham University with a degree in communications and creative writing. She spent much of her professional career in public relations and fundraising for non-profits. In her work as a writer, Allison has created plays and written short fiction, feature articles, and essays on the people, places and events in her adopted home of Columbia County, NY where she has lived for 30 years. She and her husband live in a former 1740s roadhouse/stagecoach stop in Malden Bridge, NY.
GIFTS!(But what are they?)
We would like to thank Dorothy Meppen for her generous donations to our museum collections.
What in the world is it (above photo)? This is an apple parer (peeler) made by the Reading Hardware Company of Reading PA. Originally patented in 1868, this improved model ’78 was one of their more successful products. The apple pared one apple at a time, but with experience, a good operator could peel ten apples per minute.
Industrialization and the use of iron during the 19th century witnessed an explosion of patented creativity. Over 100 apple parer patents were granted from 1850 to 1890.
When the Reading Hardware Co. was liquidated in 1950, Sterling Withers purchased the patterns and remaining inventory for the ’78. Withers continued to make the ’78 until he sold his rights to Lehman Hardware Co. of Kidron Ohio in 1993. Lehman’s offered their updated ’78 from 1993 to 2020 in their famous catalog.
Dorothy Meppen also donated the following item, can you guess what is is?
The item is an approximately 6″ long glazed stoneware mold, circa mid-nineteenth century. Such molds were used for cold jellied desserts, aspic, blancmange or similar food. (Blancmange is a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with rice flour, gelatin, corn starch or Irish moss, and often flavored with almonds. If you are up for a challenge, Martha Stewart has a blancmange recipe HERE.)


The Book Club meets at AHS at 10 AM on the last Saturday of the month, all are welcomed.
We will be discussing The Language of Flowers on July 31st at 10 AM. The following book is: A Piece of the World which we will discuss on August 28th at 10am.
If you would like more information about the Book Club, please contact Margaret at: [email protected]
The MUSEUM BUILDINGS, ART GALLERY & SHOP are open from Noon till 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer. There are always new things to see and remember that admission is free to members.
You Are Invited To
Worship Service at the Church – Sunday, August 1 at 10:00 amFollowed by aReception at the Town Hall at 11:30 am(Come to one or both events)5219 County Route 7, Spencertown, NY


Loom restoration in progress


Last Wednesday, Jack Sobon gave his first of three talks on The Hidden Secrets of Your House and Buildings. Jack is a very good speaker and the feedback was amazing. If you would like to join the next talks on April 21st & April 28thsign up HERE. The talks are free and easy to join.


May 1st is the opening day of our first art gallery show of the season. We still need a gallery assistant, for most Saturdays, 12-4PM, May – September. The pay is $15 per hour and we will train you. We also need a few volunteers for fill-in dates. If you are interested please contact Ryan at [email protected]
Museum docents and shop attendants are needed on the main campus for our summer season (June through August). Old Austerlitz will be open Saturdays & Sundays from 12noon till 4pm. The pay is $15 per hour. Again, we also need a number of volunteers for fill-in dates. If you are interested please contact Jeff at [email protected].


Old Austerlitz will hold a Barn Sale on Saturday May 22nd, 2021, 9am – 3pm. Everything must go, so there will be some very good bargains.
If you would like to donate items, you can drop them off at the Morey-Devereaux Barn (the large barn) Saturday May 1st from 12noon till 2pm, or Saturday May 15th from 12noon till 2pm.Items that sell well include: antiques and vintage items, jewelry, small antique/vintage tables and chairs, vintage garden items.
Items that do not sell well (and therefore we do not accept) include: appliances, electronics, books, CDs, stuffed animals, clothing, shoes, large furniture.

The Festivals

Due to the ongoing restrictions and the limitations as to the amount of people we can have on our property, The Blueberry Festival has once again been cancelled for 2021. Instead, we will host smaller events this season (the Barn Sale being the first).
We are very hopeful that with more and more people getting their vaccine shots we will be able to hold our festival in the fall. We will expand this festival and the theme will be WILD AUSTERLITZ: Autumn in Austerlitz. The “Wild” refers to nature appreciation, hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, bicycling, birdwatching, archery, traditional crafts, etc. If your club, organization, or business would like to participate, please contact Margaret Hover at [email protected]


As you can imagine, fundraising remains a real challenge this year, but we want to keep our momentum going. Please remember to renew your membership this year when you receive your renewal notice. If you are not a member, you can join us HERE.
Donations, above and beyond membership dues, keep us going. Donations make it possible for us to acquire artifacts, produce exhibits, present educational programs, maintain our buildings and grounds, and underwrite our special events. A donation of any amount is greatly appreciated.
You can mail a check to: Austerlitz Historical Society, PO Box 144, Austerlitz, NY 12017 or, if you prefer, you can donate online: DONATIONS
We thank you for your generous support.

Jack Sobon to Give Series of Talks

The Austerlitz Historical Society is proud to host Jack Sobon, an architect and master craftsman, who will deliver three talks, April 14th, 21st and 28th, on the history and development of timber framing in New York and New England.

The series of talks entitled: The Hidden Secrets of Your House and Buildings: English or Dutch? will be of especial interest to owners of historic houses built before the late 1800s and will examine the two predominant techniques used to erect houses and buildings at the time: English and Dutch. The choice of technique can reveal much about the ethnicity of the builder and the house’s original owner. The third talk, The English Barn, will be of particular interest to barn owners and enthusiasts.

Jack Sobon is one of the leading experts on traditional timber framing in the United States. Sobon has published four books (among them: Historic American Timber Joinery, A Graphic Guide and Hand Hewn: The Traditions Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing) and numerous articles on the subject and has lectured extensively.
A founding director of the Timber Framer’s Guild of North America and the Traditional Timber Frame Research and Advisory Group, Sobon has devoted his 41-year career to understanding the craft of timber framing. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Sobon teaches and consults internationally on traditional building structures and timber-framing techniques. He is currently restoring a Dutch house recently discovered in Hillsdale, NY.

Talks are free of charge and will be presented via Zoom (if you haven’t used Zoom, it’s simple and free to use, and we have instructions on our Talks page). Each of the three talks requires a separate registration. To register for any or all of the three talks go to our website and REGISTER HERE.

An Exciting Season at ART AUSTERLITZ

Last year we held our inaugural show of contemporary art at Art Austerlitz, the new gallery housed in the historic 1853 Austerlitz Christian Church at Old Austerlitz. The juxtaposition of contemporary art in the historic setting was stunning! This year the gallery will hold it’s first full season with five spectacular shows curated by Ryan Turley.
Ruth Freeman, INCANDESCENT YET FLORESCENT, Acrylic on Canvas 30×40 in., 2019
The initial show, Throwing Shapes, opens May 1, 2021 with an opening reception from 12 noon – 4 pm. Works by Ruth Freeman, Joan Grubin, and Ghost of a Dream will be exhibited. The show will run May 1 – May 23.
Ghost of a Dream (Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was), 3 Rainbows Phone, Mixed media installation.
Opening on June 5, 2021 solo works by Liz Nielson will be exhibited. Liz Nielsen’s work is a contemporary application of one of the best known and most engaging avant-garde photographic processes, the photogram, whereby an image is created without a camera by placing objects directly onto photographic paper and exposing them to light. The exhibit will include photograms and sculptural explorations and will run through June 27th.
Liz Nielsen, Reaching Out, Analog Chromogenic Photogram, on Fujiflex, Unique, 50 x 73 in., 2020.
Line, Mass, Form opens on July 3rd and will run through July 25th. Artists include Stuart Farmery, Zach Neven, Alon Koppel, and Eric Wolf.
PATTERNS opens August 7th and runs through August 29th with artists: Will Hutnick, Will McLeod, Mark Olshansky, and Padma Rajendran.
ROUTINES is a solo exhibit of work by Dana Piazza and will open on September 4th and run through September 27th.
Will McLeod, Ambidextrous Loss, 111 x 70 x 1.5 in., Triptych, Fabric on screen, 2019
Alon Koppel, 8 seconds of track / 0.4 seconds of train, Digital C Print, 30 x 60 in, 2021
In addition to these five shows, we also have a few surprises in store! Sculptures will be placed on the grounds of Old Austerlitz and there will be a special exhibit in the Morey-Devereaux Barn. Throughout the season we will update you on these artists and shows. For information on dates and times of upcoming shows check the Art Austerlitz page on our website.

Notes From MRS. RUNDELL:

Mrs. Frank Rundell, Sr. wrote a column for The Chatham Courier, focused on life in Spencertown, from the 1940’s through 1972.

The Peddlers Return

Some of us remember the days when come spring, we heard the cheery notes of the fish peddler’s horn, as he sold from door-to-door the night’s catch of herring; or the fumbling sound of the tin peddler’s cart as he came bumping along over the rutty roads when he made his first spring visit.

The tin peddler never heralded his approach with a horn or the peculiar sing-song voice of the city rag man. Oh no, his was a dignified entrance. For weeks, women had been looking out the kitchen door and windows for this big, jolly, fat man, and his big, fat horse and his big, red, wagon that held such treasures. All winter rags had been sorted and put in burlap bags. The white rags brought more money than the colored. Came a warm spring morning, word was passed along, mayhap by a farmer taking his grist to the mill, that the tin peddler was on his way. And so it was… women were waiting beside the road with the winter’s accumulation of rags and paper to exchange for glassware, brooms, and tins.

Of course, the pack peddler also made his first spring appearance and was a welcome guest because at some places he spent the night and slept in the woodhouse chamber. A story is told of one of these peddlers, evidently a new one in this section, and Sam Mallory, who lived in Punsit many years ago on the present Helmrath place. The peddler had come into the house and opened his pack, spreading its contents on the kitchen floor as was their way of doing. Sam Mallory was a large, white-haired man, evidently rather severe looking, but fond of his joke. So, ruffling up his white hair, he came into the room, whetting a huge butcher knife, and shouted, “Some folks say I’m crazy but I’m not.” The terrified peddler, leaving his pack, was out the door and gone before anyone could stop him.
The fish peddler was looked for and welcomed. The taste of fresh fish was relished after a winter diet of mostly pork and salt mackerel. But fish had to be fried and the familiar, heavy iron frying pan had to be washed, so the tin peddler meant something new after looking at the same old things all winter. Even if only bread tins, they were bright and shining.

Also with the coming of spring, along with these various peddlers, came the Singer sewing machine man, who drove from Albany with a horse and business wagon, carrying a sewing machine in the back. There is at least one of these machines in this town today that was bought from this man, and it is still going strong.

Then there was the loud-talking, swashbuckling fellow driving a mule team “clippety-cloppin” along selling an improved cookstove, The Home Comfort. He, too, had one of his stoves in the back of his wagon. One of the improvements was the oven door that opened from the top. This man would demonstrate the sturdiness of this kitchen wonder by throwing the lids against a stone wall or any hard object that was handy, and opening the oven door and standing on it.

And so we come to the time when every once in a while some woman would get the urge to have some new silver, a Morris chair, desk, or other articles too numerous to mention, by getting up a Larkin soap order. You were visited at your home and asked to buy the Larkin products. These articles were many and varied. There was a soap powder…the name is forgotten…but it was one of the first, along with Pearlene.
The toilet soap was called Larkin Modjeska. A young man who lived in this town, on being asked by one of these Larkin solicitors, would he not like to buy some of his wonderful smelling toilet soap, replied, “No thank you, we have a large barrel of soft soap in the woodshed which I much prefer.”

The prizes obtained in this way were good, the furniture sturdy and well-made. Some of it is still in use in homes in this town. The teacher’s desks in the schoolhouse were obtained in this manner, by a teacher and two or three pupils. A certain-type “settin’ room” Larkin desk was seen recently at one of the town auctions. It was standing among some broken furniture looking lonely and forlorn, but oh, so familiar. Putting aside the thought to pass it by unnoticed, as you might pass a disreputable person you knew, you stop and say, “Hello, how are all the folks?” If it could have spoken it would have said, “Not so good, there are only a few of us left.”

Mr. Larkin has long since gone to his well-deserved rest, the last tin peddler came through this town many years ago, and it’s longer still since we saw the last pack peddler. The sellers of stoves and sewing machines are also gone, along with all the rest of the ways of doing things in yesteryear.


We would like to welcome Wendy Diskin and Barbara Perlmutter to the Board of Trustees. Wendy has volunteered at Old Austerlitz/Austerlitz Historical Society for many years and has served as a board member in the past. Barbara has also volunteered for many years and this will be her first term serving as a board member.

Will there be a Blueberry Festival? The staff and board continue to monitor the situation. As of this date such large gatherings are not permitted by NY State.