Thursday, December 29, 2011

1923 Archaeology Lecture at Wiawaka

During 1923, visitors to Wiawaka were treated to two lectures by Dr. Jenkins who formerly taught at the Skidmore School of the Arts (later Skidmore College):

We always took advantage of any especial opportunity such as having with us Dr. Jenkins, formerly of the Skidmore School, Saratoga. She gave us a most interesting talk on the life of Turkish women, of which she could speak with knowledge from her own experience in Turkey; and on another evening she talked on Archaeology, which surprised the girls as being exceedingly interesting. -- House Mother's Report,Wiawaka Annual Report 1923-24 (emphasis mine!)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday; we're back to regular weekly posts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Conference on NYS History 2012 Call for Papers: Retreat Spaces for Women

We seek a third paper on women’s spaces of leisure and/or retreat in New York State for a panel session at the 2012 Conference on New York State History, being held at Niagara University on June 14-16, 2012. We are also seeking a chair/commentator.

This session will explore places and spaces in New York State where women have spent time outside the bounds of their ordinary day-to-days lives, and what these places of retreat offer historians of women. Monica Mercado’s paper examines the experiences of women attending the Catholic Summer School of America at Cliff Haven, in Plattsburgh NY. Modeled on the Chautauqua movement, the Catholic Summer School functioned as a co-ed site that allowed women to participate--albeit temporarily--in a new upper middle-class intellectual and cultural life during the 1890s. Megan Springate’s paper explores the history of Wiawaka Holiday House, the oldest continuously operating women's retreat in the United States. Founded in 1903 as a place where women working in nearby textile mills could escape the city for a vacation at discounted prices, Wiawaka is currently the subject of an archaeology project Springate is conducting at Lake George, NY.

Diverse theoretical perspectives and innovative methodological approaches to the topic are welcomed. We are also open to research from any time period in New York State history. Potential sites of interest include women's social clubs, artist's retreats, YWCA's, women's sports teams, and scouting.

If you wish to be a panelist, please submit an abstract of up to 300 words, your paper title, and a short biographical paragraph to by Thursday, December 15. If you are interested in serving as a commentator, simply contact us. Our panel proposal is due to the conference organizers by the end of December.

Best, Monica and Megan

* * *

Monica Mercado
PhD Candidate, Department of History
Fellow, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality University of Chicago

Megan E. Springate, RPA
Doctoral Student, Department of Anthropology
University of Maryland

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Girls' Friendly Society

Girls' Friendly Society (GFS) charm, donated to Wiawaka
in memory of Margaret S. Pattison.

Wiawaka was founded as a part of the Girls' Friendly Society or GFS, an international Episcopalian charitable organization. The GFS was originally founded in England in 1875 by Mary Elizabeth Townsend and was the first organization within the Church of England(1) with the purpose of serving women. Part of the mission of the Society in the early twentieth century was to protect single working girls – in Troy, often young Irish immigrant women – from what were perceived as the dangers of urban life. These dangers included idleness and pre-marital sexual activity. They also arranged educational programs for the working girls to teach them proper etiquette, various skills, and household management. GFS meetings and activities were held in the cities during much of the year, serving to both educate the young women and to literally keep them off the streets. Girl members of the GFS were required to be “virtuous” (code for virginal) and were expelled from the organization if they became “unvirtuous” by being sexually active outside of marriage. This standard was changed during the second quarter of the twentieth century.

Wiawaka was one of several Holiday Houses operated by the GFS across the country. The GFS found holiday houses particularly important, as many of the regular meetings and activities were curtailed during the summer months when the organizers went on holiday. The holiday houses were a means for working girls to experience the healthy benefits of consuming leisure and nature, while still being under the moral supervision and direction of the GFS. The working women who stayed at these holiday houses were referred to as “girl guests;" GFS organizers were known as associate members.

Certainly, many of the women working in the factories were very young. I don't (yet) have data for workers in the Troy factories, but women working in the Triangle factory in New York in the very early twentieth century were as young as 14. Single women at the time were also generally referred to as girls and not considered grown women until they married. Class status also played a role in the designation of women as girls – the founder of Wiawaka, Mary Wiltse Fuller, never married, but most certainly would not have been included in the category of unmarried women called “girls."

The Girls' Friendly Society in America Associates' Record, a publication documenting the activities and programs of the GFS from 1912 to 1914 (including descriptions of events and activities at Wiawaka -- search for "Wiawaka" and "Lake George") is available online via Google Books. You can read it online, or download it for free as a .pdf. It's a very interesting read, helping to put the early years of Wiawaka into a larger context.

The GFS remains a vital and active international organization serving girls and young women. There is only one surviving holiday house in the US operating under the auspices of the GFS; it is located in Cape May, New Jersey. There is very little academic research about the history of the GFS, and what has been written deals predominantly with the British arm. Some references include:

Cordery, Simon (1995) Friendly Societies and the Discourse of Respectability in Britain, 1825-1875. Journal of British Studies 34(1): 35-58.

Harrison, Brian (1973) For Church, Queen and Family: The Girls' Friendly Society 1874-1920. Past & Present 61: 107-138.

Richmond, Vivienne (2007) It Is Not a Society for Human Beings but for Virgins: The Girls' Friendly Society Membership Eligibility Dispute 1875-1936. Journal of Historical Sociology 20(3): 304-327.

If you don't have access to these through an academic library or online resources (most are available through JSTOR if you have a subscription), you can request them through your local library's reference/inter-library loan service (there may be a small cost for copies).

(1) The Church of England is also known as the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Working Conditions

What were the living conditions of the women who worked in the textile factories in Troy and Cohoes who visited Wiawaka? What were their family circumstances? Their working conditions? What were there lives like, and how did Wiawaka fit into that?

One of the important aspects of their lives and identities was their work in the factories. What was working in a textile factory like in the early twentieth century? (Troy was known as "Collar City" as the place where removable collars were invented and manufactured in huge numbers.) I don't yet have specific information about the Troy factories; but below is a discussion of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City by Dr. Robyn Muncy, who teaches here at the University of Maryland in the History Department. Her discussion describes the working conditions in the factory (which she describes as an example of a "good" factory for the time) and in textile factories in general. She also talks about the women's lives and how they were perceived in the labor movement.  Though there is no mention of labor relations or the specific working conditions of the factory women in the Wiawaka records that I've looked at, this was the environment in which the women worked and in which Wiawaka was organized.

If you click through to watch this on YouTube (here), you'll find links to the rest of the discussions and presentations at this conference held on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. If you're not familiar with the fire and it's effects, you can watch the other videos and read more about it at the following excellent sites:

Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire 100 Years Later (1911-2011) by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. An interactive website presenting many different aspects of the Fire and the people it affected.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial by Douglas Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. This website explores the events in the legal context of the trial that followed.

About the Triangle Fire by Robert Pinsky of the University of Illinois. This site provides a brief history, and then presents both an eye-witness and photo-essay account of the events (be aware that the dead are present in some of these photos).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Toolkit: Atlas.ti

 I thought I'd share some of the tools we're using on this project. When most people think about archaeological tools, they think about tools we use in the field -- shovels, dustpans, brushes, etc. Those help us get our information out of the ground; but then we have to make sense of it.

One of the challenges of the Wiawaka Project is the massive amounts of data that need to (and will need to be) both managed and analyzed. This information includes the layout of the property including building and roadway locations (and former locations); excavated data (what artifacts were found where -- both horizontally across the site and vertically in time); photographs (contemporary and historical); maps (historic, modern, and site plans); primary documents (guest registers, meeting minutes, census data); secondary documents (other writers talking about Wiawaka or other similar sites); background research (similar sites, general historic context, information about the Girls' Friendly Society, information about Troy, information about factory workers at the time, etc. etc.); the list is almost endless, and overwhelming. Not only do we have to keep track of all these various pieces of information, we have to be able to make connections between it all; to make sense of it.

Atlas.ti splash screen, waiting for data to be entered!

Atlas.ti is a qualitative data analysis (qualitative = descriptive data, vs. quantitative = numerical data)  program that allows us to identify themes or threads across many types and formats of document (types = as described above; formats = .pdf, .doc, .jpg, etc. etc.). These are flagged in each document pulled into the program using codes. Once data has been coded in documents (there will be hundreds thousands of documents for the Wiawaka Project; indeed, I have hundreds of site and research photographs already...), Atlas.ti can be used to pull out information matching those codes (themes) from *all* the documents so it can be looked at all together. Relationships between the codes can be made as well, so the program can pull out related themes -- again from across all the documents, or just a subset of them. Making sense of the data comes next, but the program will make it easy to find relevant data.

As a bonus, the program keeps track of where all the digital sources are on my hard-drive. Which makes it easier for me to manage the data storage (rather than building a massive set of relational databases on my own).

I've not used the program before, but will be getting some hands-on practice as part of one of my courses. I am very excited by the organizational solutions the program provides, and the way it will allow me to pull at different threads in the data to help make sense of it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Locating the Original Pine Cottage

While I was up at Wiawaka the other weekend, one of the regular volunteers and I got chatting about the site. I forget exactly what we were talking about, but she mentioned that there was an image showing the location of the first Pine Cottage, built circa 1873 (at the same time as Mayflower and Rose cottages). It burned down in 1905, along with the Crosbyside Hotel and other buildings on the property. The current Pine Cottage, located near Route 9, was built in 1907. One of the questions I had was, "Where was the original Pine Cottage?"

A copy of the photo was located, and as the sun burned the mist off the lake the next morning, we went out to recreate the view. Here's a copy of the photograph:

Photo by Seneca Ray Stoddard, ca. 1876 to 1904.
We originally thought that the building on the left was Fuller House, but by standing outside, in the landscape, it became clear that it was actually the Crosbyside Hotel. The next building to the right is Fuller House. The presence of both the Crosbyside Hotel and the Fuller House indicates this photo was taken between 1876 (when Fuller House was built) and 1904 (the Crosbyside and Pine Cottage burned before the 1905 season opened).

View from approximately the same place, October 8, 2011. Photo by Megan Springate.
We then compared the other two buildings visible in the Stoddard photo with the buildings left standing at Wiawaka. In the photo above, you can just make out Fuller House in the distance, behind the pine trees; to the right is Rose Cottage. Comparing the location and shape of the buildings, it becomes clear that 1) the fourth building to the right in the Stoddard photo is Rose Cottage, and that therefore the third one from the right is the original Pine Cottage; and 2) that somewhere along the line, Rose Cottage got a new roof -- perhaps its roof burned during the 1905 fire?

Why am I interested in the location of the first Pine Cottage? Because it burned within the first few years of the founding of Wiawaka Holiday House. Things that were in the building when it burned (as well as in the Crosbyside Hotel, which was also used by Wiawaka to house guests) can tell me about the material experience of guests at the site in those very earliest years.

The amount of landscaping, specifically the raised roadway running in front of the Crosbyside Hotel in the Stoddard photo is quite impressive, and doesn't appear in the current landscape. It also doesn't appear in earlier photos of the Crosbyside that show a dirt lane (vs. raised road) running in front of the hotel. This makes me suspect the Stoddard photo above was taken closer to the 1904 date than the 1876 date; someone more familiar with clothing trends of the time may be able to offer some insight.

I wonder where the landscaping and the remains of the Pine Cottage and the Crosbyside Hotel ended up?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Gardens

Autumn vegetable garden. October 9, 2011.

A couple of images from Wiawaka taken the weekend of October 7, 2011. The tomatoes we ate that came out of the veggie garden were amazingly delicious. Wiawaka grew their own vegetables and had milk cows to provide fresh dairy in the first half of the twentieth century. Eventually, they replaced the farmer with a caretaker who could do repairs and maintain the buildings. More on the dairy cows and the gardens in another post. For now, enjoy the autumn splendor of the property!

Border garden with Lake George in the background. October 9, 2011.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What does Wiawaka Mean? Part II

Back at the end of September, I posted Katrina Trask's piece describing what Wiawaka means. A commenter asked what the piece I quoted from looked like. I was just up at Wiawaka this past weekend, and here is an image:

I've also posted some images of Wiawaka's buildings on the Wiawaka Project Facebook Page; check them out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Threads of Wiawaka

This video is a short introduction to Wiawaka. I love the early photographs and am fascinated by the segments of early motion picture film taken at the property.  Enjoy!

If the video gives you grief, you can watch it directly at YouTube.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Does Wiawaka Mean?

The current mission of Wiawaka is to provide enrichment and revitalization for women at a historic lakefront setting. But shortly after its founding, Katrina Trask (who donated some of the land to founder Mary Wiltse Fuller), wrote the following piece. The original is a beautiful piece done in calligraphy.

Some of the border decoration on the original.
Photo by Megan Springate, June 18, 2011.

What is the meaning of the name Wiawaka. This question echoes from year to year when Holiday House opens its hospitable doors. How may we tell its meaning.

We may give in few words the Genesis of the name. How we found it or rather how we made it.

The last lines of Goethe's Foust are these

All things transitory
But as symbols are sent
Earth's insufficiency
Here grows to event
The Indescribable
Here it is done
The Woman's Soul leadeth us
Upward and On
--Bayard Taylors Translation

The Woman's Souls is Bayard Taylors rendering of a word that has come to be immortal "Ewigweibliche"

As our work is upon the shores of Lake Horicon where the music of the Indian still lingers and where the legend of the Mohawk and the Abenaki still are told it seems fitting to use the Indian tongue.

Bayard Taylor says in his notes on the translation of Foust "I can find no English equivalent of das Ewigweibliche except Woman's Soul which will express very nearly the same idea to those who feel the spirit which breathes and burns throughout the Scene.

Love is the all uplifting and all redeeming power on Earth and in Heaven and to man it is revealed in its most pure and perfect form through woman. Thus in the transitory life of Earth it is only a symbol of its deviner being the the possibilities of Love which Earth can never fulfil become realities in the higher life which follows. The Spirit which woman interprets to us here still draws us Upward there.

If Bayard Taylor found no English equivalent for das Ewigweibliche how may we find an equivalent in the crude language of the Indian? It seems a daring thing to do at yet we have essayed it. WIAWAKA is in truth the very freest rendering. Perhaps we have caught an elemental quality from the elemental language which will compensate for the Literary license.

The exact meaning of WIAWAKA is The Spirit of God in Woman.

All this is simple enough to tell it is quite another thing to express the thought, the hope the ideal that lay back of the meaning.

It is no easy task to put an inward spiritual grace into an outward visible sign, and it is even more difficult to put the subtle grace of a thought into the explanitory words How can we describe the indescribable? Yet something we may try to say.

We have chosen the name WIAWAKA with a high purpose toward our work taking it as the outward symbol of the inward grace of the work.

WIAWAKA implies the though the hope that this work shall not be an organized institution of circumstance alone but that it shall be a work of the Spirit that not merely holiday rest and practical refreshment shall be given to women but that there shall be felt by all within the circle of WIAWAKA the inspiration and consideration of woman's privelege and womans obligation; the noblesse oblige of woman to exalt to uplift to inspire.

May we Founders Associates and Girl Guests all Sisters together finding here more leisure ponder our opportunity and study how we may realize our splendid obligation. We women have a double obligation.

There is the obligation of the life mortal to work to do something which will make us a part of the creative world around us. A great Queen of modern times has taken for one of her mottoes Work.

What better motto could be found? Work is the criterion of character. It makes no difference what that work is whether it is making shirts making collars writing books sweeping the floor tying bundles or painting pictures -- so long as it is well done.

There is also the spiritual obligation of the life eternal to lead Upward and on. Let us remember this. Let us feel a demand within us that every man every other woman and every child we meet must be the purer the better the more uplifted for the meeting.

Let us have a sense of exalted consecration about our influence that will restrain us from doing from saying from seeing from reading things that make more difficult the achievement of the true Ideal of Life.

We have chosen the name Wiawaka that we may by the echo of the word keep before us this ideal.

The great Spirit in Woman

Let us remember my sisters Associate Members and Girl Guests remember the obligation laid upon us by the Most High to lead Upward and On to a finer sweeter saner purer realization of Life to a higher holier concept of Love to a clearer Vision of God.

-- Katrina Trask

Some of the border decoration on the original.
Photo by Megan Springate, June 18, 2011.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Archaeology of the Cupboard: Part II

Last week, in Archaeology of the Cupboard: Part I, I described some of the small plates in use at Wiawaka and how I was able to find out when many of them were made. What can this tell us about Wiawaka?

Syracuse China maker's mark indicating this small Wiawaka plate was manufactured in November (indicated by the dots) of 1961 (indicated by the number 90).(1) Photograph by Megan E. Springate, June 17, 2011.

When I first looked at the hotel ware dishes in the cupboard, I assumed that at least some of them, including the custom Wiawaka plates, would date to the first half of the twentieth century. I assumed incorrectly; a preliminary survey of the makers' marks and date codes on the small plates indicates that they were manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s. The Wiawaka small plates, in particular, were manufactured in November 1961, November 1966, and December 1966. This variation in manufacturing dates on its own is testament to broken dishes having to be replaced; most of the Wiawaka small plates were made in 1966, bought for the 1967 season after the initial order of plates made in 1961.

What were they eating off of during the first half of the twentieth century, and what was going on in the 1950s/1960s that hotel ware plates completely replaced whatever was being used before?

Part of the answer was revealed in the Wiawaka Archives held at the Rensselaer County Historical Society. Minutes of the fall board meetings often described the number and type of dishes that needed to be purchased to replace those broken during the season. A passage in the Wiawaka Board of Director meeting minutes of 28 September 1957 notes that new dishes were needed, "preferably of the hotel type, which will withstand hard usage."(2) Other notes in Board of Director meeting minutes from the 1950s indicate that finances were a problem, and the shift to more economical hotel ware may have been part of cost-saving measures. The presence of a Buffalo China plate in Wiawaka's cupboard made in September of 1954 suggests that hotel wares may have been tried on the site earlier, but that they were not adopted.

The Housemother's Report of 1958 indicates that the board heeded the request, and hotel wares were purchased. Requesting 3 dozen cups and saucers, 2 dozen glass dessert dishes, 6 round meat plates, 4 dozen seven-inch bread and butter plates, 2 dozen 9-inch plates, 2 dozen cereal dishes, and 3 dozen egg cups, the Housemother asked again for "the heavier vitreous china such as was bought last year. It does not chip readily and withstands the rough handling and dishwashing better than the lighter weight."(3) Interestingly, this also suggests that the new hotel wares were being used simultaneously with the earlier dishes.

By the late 1950s, then, the finer china previously in use at Wiawaka was being replaced by hotel wares. Perhaps wishing to appear more upscale than would be indicated by plain and generic-patterned wares, in 1961 Wiawaka's board contracted with Syracuse China to produce custom dishes similar to those found in fancier establishments. Manufactured in November of 1961, these would have been in use at Wiawaka during the season of 1962.

Further research may help clarify the motivations and needs met by changing from finer china to generic hotel ware, and then to custom-printed wares during the 1950s and 1960s. Additional information may come from a review of receipts and other documents in the Wiawaka archives, and archaeology may reveal examples of the types and designs of china used before the switch.

(1) Lehner, Lois (1988) Lehner's Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay. Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.
(2) Rensselaer County Historical Society, Wiawaka Papers, Box 5, Board of Directors meeting minutes, 28 September 1957.
(3) Rensselaer County Historical Society, Wiawaka Papers, Box 5, Housemother's Report for the 1958 Season.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Archaeology of the Cupboard: Part I

Founded in 1903, Wiawaka continues in operation. There are both challenges and advantages to doing archaeology at a living site -- one which continues in use. One of the challenges is that things keep changing; the historical and archaeological record of Wiawaka Holiday House are still being created and there is no tidy end date to help organize information. One of the advantages is that the archaeological record is very rich, and is made up of more than just buried and broken artifacts.

Small hotel ware plate made by Buffalo China.
Photo by Megan E. Springate, June 17, 2011.

During my last research trip to Wiawaka, I raided the china cupboard and began documenting the dishes in use at the site. I started by documenting the small, 6-inch and 7-inch plates often used as bread and butter plates. All of these were a style of thick, hard-fired ceramics known as hotel ware or restaurant ware commonly still found in use in diners and other high-traffic restaurants. Wiawaka's cupboard boasted several different designs in the collection of small plates, including plain, green lines (single and double) around the edges, and a set of custom-made plates marked Wiawaka on the front in script.(1)

Small hotel ware plate made by Syracuse China.
Photo by Megan E. Springate, June 17, 2011.

The back of most of these plates are marked, indicating the company that made them. The most common manufacturers of Wiawaka's small plate assemblage were Syracuse China and Buffalo China, both well-known American manufacturers of hotel ware.(2) The marks that these companies used often changed, and the date ranges of use for many of the marks are known. In many cases, the companies actually marked dishes with a date code that allows us to determine the month and year a particular piece was made.

How does this tell us something about the history of Wiawaka? Stay tuned for next week's installment, Archaeology of the Cupboard: Part II...

Maker's mark on the Buffalo China plate shown above. This mark was used from the 1940s through the early 1960s.(3) The O-9 is the date code, indicating this plate was made in September, 1954.(4) Photograph by Megan E. Springate, June 17, 2011.

Notes and Sources:
(1) It was common practice for businesses including hotels, train lines, cruise ships, and restaurants to have dishes that were custom made with their name on them.
(2) The earliest beginnings of the Syracuse China Company were in 1841 in Syracuse, New York. They were still in operation in 1986.  Buffalo Pottery (later Buffalo China) was in operation in Buffalo, New York from 1901 through at least 1986.(5)
(3) Restaurant Ware Collectors Network (2009) Buffalo China, Buffalo, New York [Backstamps].
(4) Restaurant Ware Collectors Network (2009) Buffalo China Date Codes.
(5) Lehner, Lois (1988) Lehner's Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay. Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wiawaka Bateaux

Looking west from the Wiawaka dock, a navigation buoy (left) and mooring anchor (right) associated
with the Wiawaka Bateaux are visible. Photo by Megan E. Springate, October 10, 2010.

Just off Wiawaka's shoreline are seven sunken British ships known as the Wiawaka Bateaux. Bateaux are flat-bottomed vessels ranging from 25 to 40 feet long and pointed at each end, used to transport people and goods. These, and over 260 other British and provincial vessels were consigned to the cold waters of Lake George in the fall of 1758, with the intent of recovering them the following spring.

This occurred during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), a long-running territorial battle between the English and the French and their various Native American allies that extended from Virginia to Nova Scotia. The Lake George/Lake Champlain corridor was a critically important navigable water route connecting the interior colonies to the St. Lawrence River -- a northern route to the Atlantic Ocean and therefore supplies, colonists, and military support from Europe. Both the English and the French wanted control of this route and the territory surrounding it, and several French and Indian War battles took place in the area.

Drawing of a colonial bateau by Mark Peckham. Image courtesy of Bateaux Below, Inc.

In 1757, the English Fort William Henry, located near Wiawaka at the southern end of Lake George, was destroyed. As a result, the British had no safe place to secure their fleet from French raids during the winter months, when the lake was frozen. To save the fleet, the British sank it. Approximately 75% of the sunken fleet was raised the following spring, but several of the boats, including the seven off the shores of Wiawaka, were not recovered. The organization Bateaux Below, Inc. was instrumental in documenting these vessels and continues to be involved in their stewardship.(1)

The Wiawaka Bateaux (also known as The Sunken Fleet of 1758) are one of three New York State Submerged Heritage Preserves in Lake George. The other two are: the Land Tortoise, a floating gun battery that was also sunk in 1758 and never raised; and The Forward Underwater Classroom. The Wiawaka Bateaux were listed on the National Record of Historic Places in 1992. Divers are welcome to explore the Wiawaka Bateaux. This is an intermediate dive to depths ranging from 20 to 45 feet.(2) To access the site from the Wiawaka property, you must contact Wiawaka's Executive Director in advance.

More information about the Wiawaka Bateaux and other vessels sunk by the British in 1758 can be found at the Raising The Fleet Project: An Arts/Science Collaboration Exploring the Underwater Frontiers of Lake George. In addition to the background information and photos of the vessels, the website includes a series of artwork inspired by the project. Additional resources include the documentary Wooden Bones: The Sunken Fleet of 1758, and the book Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History.(3)

(1) Bateaux Below, Inc., P.O. Box 2134, Wilton, New York 12831
(2) Information about diving the site, including a map, Lake George conditions and guidelines, can be found on the New York State Department of Environmental Preservation website.
(3) Zarzynski, Joseph W. and Bob Benway (2011) Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, The History Press, Charleston, South Carolina.

Raising The Fleet
The Sunken 1758 Fleet

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe at Wiawaka

In 1908, Mary Fuller bought several acres of land adjoining the Wiawaka property to the north. This parcel was the location of a two-story Adirondack-style building that Katrina Trask built circa 1905 and used to house visiting artists. Katrina named the property Amitola; the building is now known as Wakonda Lodge. The visiting artist residence is a precursor to Yaddo, the Trasks' artist retreat which remains in operation in nearby Saratoga Springs, New York.

Several famous people are reported to have spent time at Amitola, including the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. In 1998, when the National Register of Historic Places nomination was written, no proof of her visit to the site was known.

During preliminary research for the Wiawaka Project, documentation of Georgia O'Keeffe's stay at Wiawaka was found in an issue of American Art News dated June 13, 1908 (Vol. 6., No. 31). An image of the article is below, with the sections mentioning Georgia O'Keeffe highlighted (click on the image for a larger, readable version):

News about the Art Students' League, American Art News, June 13, 1908 (Vol. 6., No. 31)

In the spring of 1908, Georgia O'Keeffe, then 21 years old, won a general scholarship to the Art Students' League in New York City for her untitled oil painting of a dead rabbit with a copper pot. That summer, she was one of twenty Art Students' League students to spend a month at Wiawaka. That fall, she stopped painting, convinced that she could never compete artistically with others in the realistic style. Four years later, she began painting again after taking a class that introduced her to a more expressionist approach to painting, and she went on to create a spectacular body of work.(1)

Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled (Dead Rabbit With Copper Pot), oil on canvas, 1908. Collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Control No. IAP 82380053. Photograph of the painting by Peter A. Juley and Son, Smithsonian American Art Museum. (2)

(1) Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.
(2) Search Results: O'Keeffe Rabbit