Past Quarterly Programs

2017 Quarterly Programs

Our 2017 Quarterly Programs are scheduled for the following Sundays at 2:00pm:


February 19th:

“History & Design of the NEW Austerlitz Town Hall”

NOTE:  This presentation will take place in the current TOWN HALL located in Spencertown (NOT at the Old Austerlitz site)


The historical & architectural significance of an iconic building!  The “NEW” Austerlitz Town Hall has a fascinating historical and architectural past – and present!  Join us for this special presentation in the Harvey House at Old Austerlitz.

Town Historian TOM MORELAND will speak about the historical transitions of our “new” Town Hall — from Church to Grange to Antique Shop to Town Hall, and PHIL PERSINGER will discuss the architectural details of its latest transformation.


May 7th:

“In the Shadow of Death:  Illness and Health-Seeking in Early 19th Century New York & New England”

Professor Elisabeth Gitter

In the Harvey House at Old Austerlitz

Professor Gitter’s talk focuses on the devastating epidemic diseases that afflicted Americans in the first half of the 19th Century, and which later fueled the growth of the Shaker herb industry, the Tilden Pharmaceutical Company, and the spa at Lebanon Springs.


August 20th:  Annual Meeting

“Butter: A Rich History”

A delicious presentation by award-winning food writer and chef, Elaine Khosrova

In the Morey-Devereaux Barn at Old Austerlitz

“The delicious kitchen staple we so often take for granted is not merely a stick tucked into our refrigerator door.  It’s a culinary catalyst, an agent of change, a gastronomic rock star.  From its accidental invention in a long-ago herder’s pouch to its ubiquitous presence in the world’s most fabulous cuisines, butter is boss.  Now, it finally gets its due.”


November 19th UPDATE

The Quarterly Meeting will now be part of our Holiday Gathering on December 3rd

In the Morey-Devereaux House at Old Austerlitz

“Eat, Drink & Be Merry!

Join us at the Morey-Devereaux House on Sunday, December 3rd from 2 to 5 pm for a holiday gathering to celebrate the contributions of our wonderful members and volunteers.


Each quarter, we present a program or speaker that is designed to inform or educate the public on a variety of topics.  Some of our past programs have been on schoolhouses across America; quilting; the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society; the notorious Austerlitz cannibal, Oscar Beckwith; barns of New York State; Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman; the “Hidden History of Columbia County;” the Dutch influence on the American kitchen; and, housing styles of homes found in Columbia County.

These gatherings on the grounds of Old Austerlitz are free and everyone is welcome. Mark your calendars. Before the program, there is a brief business meeting.  Refreshments are served at the end of the program.

Past Quarterly Programs

2016 Quarterly Programs

February 21st
Rebecca Greer provides a fascinating look at this intriguing island. Lavishly illustrated with slides.

May 15th
“To Everything There Is a Season”
The farm in post-WWII Austerlitz was the setting for many daily and seasonal challenges. Join Nancy Jane Kern for a presentation on the “then and now” of farm life.

August 21st
“Lucy Larcom: A New England Mill Worker in the 19th Century”
Lucy Larcom, later to become a noted poet and educator, began her working life in a New England textile factory in the 1830’s.  Join Phyllis Chapman as she “becomes” Lucy and tells of the living and working conditions which many young farm girls like herself experienced.  The presentation includes props and hands-on activities!

Lucy Larcom at 11yrs old in the textile mill


Phyllis Chapman as Lucy Larcom

November 20th:  NOTE – There is NO program this month.  (Please see below.)

In lieu of our quarterly meeting and presentation, we invite our members and friends to join us for a Yuletide Celebration in the Morey-Devereaux House on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4th — open from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.  Stop by and enjoy mulled cider, sweet and savory treats, beautiful decorations, live holiday music, and some special giveaways!  The hearth fire will be burning in the old kitchen, filling the house with the warmth and scents of the season.  (This is a free event.)

And, in case you missed them, take a peek at our two displays: “Linen & Wool” and “Curious Kitchen Items.”

Past Quarterly Programs

Nov. 15th 2015: Old Houses of Austerlitz

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15th 2:00pm-3:30/4:00pm


Please join us for a presentation on:



Further Findings from an Ongoing Project

Each quarter, we present a program or speaker that is designed to inform or educate the public on a variety of topics.  Some of our past programs have been on schoolhouses across America; quilting; the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society; the notorious Austerlitz cannibal, Oscar Beckwith; barns of New York State; Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman; the “Hidden History of Columbia County;” the Dutch influence on the American kitchen; and, housing styles of homes found in Columbia County.

These gatherings on the grounds of Old Austerlitz are free and everyone is welcome. Mark your calendars. Before the program, there is a brief business meeting.  Refreshments are served at the end of the program.

Click HERE to read about past quarterly programs

Past Quarterly Programs

8/16/15 A DELICIOUS Presentation

8.16 Montage

“The Dutch Influence on the American Kitchen”

Sunday, August 16, 2015
2:00pm – 4:00pm in the Morey-Devereaux Barn

Also: Hearth Cooking Demo 12 to 2 in the old kitchen (see below)



Enjoy a delicious new twist to our Annual Membership Meeting and Presentation program on Sunday, August 16th, starting at 2:00pm in the Morey-Devereaux Barn. This unique presentation will feature author and food historian, Peter G. Rose and hearth cooking expert, Lavada Nahon.

Ms. Rose’s talk, “The Influence of the Dutch on the American Kitchen,” explores the food ways brought to America by the Dutch more than three centuries ago and the way these foods were adapted to the new circumstances. Slides of seventeenth-century Dutch art works depicting various foodstuffs are part of the lecture and provide a visual feast.
A discussion of the importance of old and hand-written cookbooks handed down in families is also part of the lecture. The audience is encouraged to bring any inherited family books or recipes.

Additionally, an actual table will be set as an example of period style dining (you may be surprised!) and will feature a menu of dishes “just prepared” in our 1794 Morey-Devereaux hearth and beehive oven. This delectable array of food will include: Assorted Breads; Turkey Dressed in Its Feathers; Spiced Chicken Raised Pie; Veal Meatballs in Head Lettuce; Dutch Coleslaw with a Butter Dressing; and Potage of Carrots and Beets.

Ms. Nahon also invites anyone who is interested in period cooking to arrive early and visit our 1794 kitchen from noon to 2:00pm. The wonderful dishes mentioned above will be prepared in real time, and observers are encouraged to ask questions and enjoy the ongoing demonstration prior to the presentation.

Light refreshments and special small “treats” from the old kitchen will be served following the presentation. Free and open to the public.

Peter Rose is a recipient of the 2002 Alice P. Kenney Award for research and writing on the food customs and diet of the Dutch settlers in New Netherland.

Past Quarterly Programs

5/17/15 Quarterly Presentation: Hidden History!

Allison Guertin Marchese:Hidden History

“Hidden History of Columbia County, NY”


Sunday, May 17th 2-4pm
Quarterly Meeting & Presentation at AHS
In the Harvey House

Free and open to the public.
Refreshments served.


Join Allison as she takes us on an informal stroll — in word and image — through the more hidden aspects of our history! 

In her book, Marchese looks beyond the rolling hills of Columbia County to discover its secrets. Her research led her to explore little-known stories of people and places, deeply woven into the history of the county. For example, a mastodon tooth rolled down a farmer’s hill in Claverack, changing the world’s understanding of prehistoric times. President Martin Van Buren lost his wife, Hannah, in Kinderhook and hardly mentioned her again. Hudson’s gallows were the scene of New York’s last hanging, as hundreds of ticketholders looked on.

A graduate of Fordham University with a degree in communications and creative writing, Allison Guertin Marchese spent much of her professional career in public relations. After moving to the area from New York City, she worked as corporate director of public relations for Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, communications director for Kripalu Center, and director of external relations for Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge. Currently, she recently directed the fundraising as a consultant for The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop in Austerlitz. She also works as a freelance writer and publicist. Allison lives in Malden Bridge.

Past Quarterly Programs

Old Houses of Austerlitz & Spencertown

AHS Quarterly Meeting & Presentation

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PRESENTATION WAS CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW CONDITIONS.  The same presentation was given at the Columbia County Historical Society on February 17th 2015.

Sunday, February 15th 2015 2:00 to 4:00pm.
Free & open to the public.

Refreshments will be served.

This quarterly meeting and presentation will take place at St. Peter’s Church in Spencertown.

The results of extensive research into historic houses in Austerlitz is the subject of our program, which  will review and report on an ongoing study of 160 historic houses built in Austerlitz from 1760 to 1888.

Gott House

The presentation will include a PowerPoint showing of photographs taken by Gail Cashen and Dan Perlmutter of many of the houses studied. Tom Moreland, chairman of the Research Committee, will discuss some of his most interesting discoveries about the ownership history of various houses. Michael Rebic, author of a number of articles and books on American architecture, will provide architectural analysis of the historical highlights of some of the buildings.

Past Quarterly Programs

November 16th 2014 Quarterly Program – “Mumbet”


Elizabeth Freeman, also known as “Mumbet,” is a little-known national hero, and a symbol of courage and spirit to all who strive for freedom. She was among the first slaves in Massachusetts to sue for and win her freedom.

Learn more about her life this Sunday at 2 pm at Austerlitz Historical Society

Sunday, November 16th at 2:00pm: Quarterly Meeting. Featuring local authors Jana Laiz and Ann-Elizabeth Barnes, and illustrator Jacqueline Rogers.

Our guest presenters will speak about the life of ELIZABETH “MUMBET” FREEMAN, as well as their collaboration on a history book for young readers: A Free Woman on God’s Earth.

Learn how this local African-American woman impacted the state of Massachusetts AND how two area authors and an illustrator took her story through the entire creative process and the business of publication.

Free and open to the public.

Click on the links below to learn more about Jana, Ann-Elizabeth and Jacqueline.


Jana, Jackie and Ann-Elizabeth on 11/16/2014.

[slideshow_deploy id=’1071’]


Past Quarterly Programs

August 24th 2014 QUARTERLY MEETING

Sunday, August 24, 2014:

Barns of New York

A brief membership meeting begins at 2pm, followed by our featured speaker, Cynthia Falk, author of Barns of New York: Rural Architecture of the Empire State. The talk will be illustrated by a PowerPoint presentation of Ms. Falk’s collected photographic images. The features of the Society’s historic barn will provide direct visual reference points. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Cynthia Falk

Past Quarterly Programs

May 18th 2014 Quarterly Program

Sunday, May 18th at 2:00pm
Damsels & Dragons
A brief business meeting will be followed by a presentation and refreshments. Free and open to the public. Come and join us in the Harvey House at Old Austerlitz!

Damselflies and Dragonflies are the topic of a special program on Sunday, May 18th at Old Austerlitz. The speaker is Larry Federman, Education Coordinator for Audubon New York’s Rheinstrom Hill, Buttercup Farm, RamsHorn-Livingston Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries.

Federman describes himself as a “dyed-in-the-wool birder” who has embraced the study of odonata (the scientific name for damselflies and dragonflies). After birds have settled down for the day, the odonata take to the air. They are ancient insects whose fossils date back more than 250 million years.

The talk will be illustrated by a PowerPoint presentation of photos of these delicate insects. It will include basic odonata biology, an overview of odonata families, their relationship to the environment and an introduction to the recently completed New York State Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey. A question and answer session will follow.

Past Quarterly Programs

Nov. 17th 2013 Quarterly Program

Sunday, November 17th at 2PM – Harvey House on the grounds of Old Austerlitz


Poems and Gardens: Inspiration at Steepletop

On Sunday, November 17th at 2 pm, at the Austerlitz Historical Society, Holly Peppe, Literary Executor for Edna St. Vincent Millay, will discuss how nature and daily life at Steepletop influenced Millay’s poetry. She will also talk about her friendship with the poet’s sister, Norma Millay Ellis, who lived in the Steepletop house from 1950 until her death in 1986, at age 92.

Holly Peppe, Literary Executor, has been involved with Millay’s work and estate for more than 30 years. A former Director of the English Department at the American College of Rome, she holds a Masters of Arts from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire, where her dissertation focused on Millay’s critical reception and sonnet sequences. Peppe served as President of the Millay Society from 1987-2001 and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees. Her published work about the poet includes the Introduction and Notes in the Penguin Classics edition of Early Poems and an essay in the Modern Classics edition of Collected Poems (Harper Perennial, 2011). Outside the world of literature, Peppe is a PR, Media, and Crisis Communications Strategist who works with private clients and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

The program will begin with a brief meeting at the Harvey House in Old Austerlitz, which is located at 11550 on Route 22, one mile south of the intersection with Route 203. A question and answer period will follow Bergman’s talk and refreshments will be served. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Old Austerlitz is a living history museum and the home of the Austerlitz Historical Society, a volunteer, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the area. For more information, call 392-0062 or email [email protected]