The Composition Notebook

For my final project, I will use my research of the New Paltz Composition Book for the Collaborative History Project, along with additional research about New Paltz, surrounding areas, common fashion styles, local architecture, and the elementary school system during the 1900s, to create a realistic fictional narrative about Gertrude Dubois and her interactions with the composition book and her surrounding environment in 1904. Once I also learn about when Janie Hayden married and/or left the New Paltz area, I can also include her. Otherwise, the main characters are Gertrude Dubois, her mother Catherine Deyo Dubois, and her father Phillip D. Dubois (as he does not die until 1907).

The narrative will start with the day Gertrude finds the composition notebook. Already intrigued by the dress of the time, and perhaps drawing clothing designs in other books, she pours over clothing catalogues and fashion magazines while her mother gets ready for a local gathering. As Gertrude helps her mother fit into her corset and dress, Catherine encourages her daughter to focus on her studies rather than dress, convinced by the “young society women” that women will be the scholars of tomorrow. She uses Janie (Hayden) as an example of how Gertrude should be: educated and inclined to further academic study. With this in mind, she asks her daughter to start her essay, but she needs scrap paper to plan her essay before putting it into her class workbook, so Catherine finds one of Janie’s old notebooks from the 1890s. Gertrude starts working on her assignment in the back, but when her mother leaves to attend a society gathering, Gertrude stops her work and looks at the catalogues again. This time, she uses other empty pages in the book to draw women in similarly-styled clothing. Curious about what exactly is in the book, she flips through the composition book and decides to keep it, feeling a connection to her sister since they wrote in the same book.

Following scenes will describe her travels around town, and to Poughkeepsie via the local trolley, with her sister’s old composition book. Since her architectural drawings are elaborate and detailed for a fifth grader, I expect her architectural doodles are inspired by buildings around town, her picture of an igloo relevant to a recent reading about the exotic structure, and her clothing sketches a testament to her family life and social class. Since she descends from two New Paltz founding families (Deyo and Dubois), her mother would likely be a society woman, unconsciously inviting her daughter into the social scene. From the composition book, one could see Gertrude Dubois as a creative young girl, inspired by her world around her. By meshing research about her family and surrounding environment during the early 1900s with her contributions to the composition notebook, the realistic fiction short story reveals the intriguing relationship between Gertrude and her half-sister Janie.

I would showcase a sample of my work, but I write in a sporadic fashion and none of my pieces fit together in a coherent narrative. I am enthusiastic to receive feedback on the ideas presented in my summary.

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Tool of the Past

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CAPTION

This Native American stone knife, among other stone tools, was essential to the survival and development of the Lenape civilization. It may seem insignificant, but these tools were used throughout Native American history, and it is even more effective in strength and sharpness than our steel knifes today. Because its exact date is unknown, this object speaks for centuries of history at New Paltz.

DESCRIPTION

This stone knife measures around 3.5cm by 2.6cm by .8cm. It is known as a cryptocrystalline lithic, and is made out of chert—either Eppler or Harmonyvale. It was sharpened by chipping flint, and the small sharp pieces could very well have had their own uses. It is a milky white/grey color, has percussion marks, and appears to be flat. It is temporarily non-diagnostic, which means it could have originated anywhere in the time span from 7000 BC-1678.

PROVENANCE

This artifact was found by archeologists in New Paltz on July 27th 2002, in unit 60 at the grid coordinate South 59, East 10. This is the location in historic Huguenot around the corner between the Jean Hasbrouck house and the Deyo house. It was then taken to be cleaned in a lab on August 15th of the same year. The archeologists who procured the small knife go under the initials: JG, LE, LN, and NH. It finally ended up in Dr. Joseph Diamond’s collection where it remains among several other historical and Native American objects found in New Paltz.

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NARRATIVE

Native Americans from anywhere between 7000 BC and 1678 could have used these helpful objects. It is possible it was much bigger than this and chipped with age, or that it was made to be small, which can be useful as well. Perhaps it was from the earlier time periods, before the Dutch settlers came to the Huguenots to colonize. The Native Americans, known then as Munsee’s, had many stone tools like this. This particular tool is a knife, used to cut meat, vegetables, string, or create sharp flints. It is surprising how efficient these tools are, suggesting an understanding and intelligence in the Indians beyond settlers’ conception of them as barbaric. This knife, when chipped properly, is even sharper and stronger than our steel ones today. It was still widely used even after various trades were made between the Europeans and the Native Americans. In place of land, they received various metals, tools, industrial products, and alcohol. Some of these new objects were exponential to their survival, but were also the catalyst to their demise. This particular knife is significant to New Paltz history broadly, as it encompassed the lives of the ones who lived here initially. This item is indicative of how they used nature and what was around them to create sustaining lives and culture.

Because the exact date of this knife is unknown, it encompasses the entire Indian history on the land of what is now Huguenot Street, where it was found. The history of this time span is large and extensive, and takes us back from the beginning of the Indian culture in Munsee country to their demise from European settlement, war, and disease. The knife could have originated around 7,000 BCE, almost 10,000 years ago. This is very early in Native American history, when people belonging to “archaic cultural traditions” began hunting small game like deer and gathering plants more intensively in the Northeast. Between 4000 and 1000 years ago, Native American civilizations began to emerge, and their technological innovations developed, such as pottery, bows and arrows, longhouses, and vegetable cultivations.

It is likely possible this efficient tool originated around this time, or anytime hereafter, as its uses was not diminished by Native American advances or European settlers. It is necessary to unveil this timeline of Native American history in order to cover the potential histories this ambiguous object holds. Around 500 years ago Europeans began sailing to northeastern North American shores, and by 1607 it is discovered that the total Indian population in Munsee country may have been as large as 15,000 people. Around two years later Dutch merchants commissioned an Englishman named Henry Hudson to sail east to find a northern passage to the Orient. He sailed across the Atlantic to find a northwest passage instead and became the first European known to sail up the river that today bears his name. It is around this time fighting between the Indians and Europeans began, and shortly after various foreign diseases plagued the Indians, and by 1618, the 30-Years War broke out in Europe. The expansion of Europe, diseases spreading, trading, and fighting continued over the following 20 years, such as the first Mohawk-Mahican War, which ended in 1628. By 1634, the Indian population in Munsee country declined to somewhere around 6000 people, and by 1645 it dropped to 4000. In 1652, Esopus sachem Harmen Hekan, better known among settlers as Ankerop, started appearing in Dutch records, and by 1659, fighting broke out between Indians and settlers at Esopus. The Indian people living in Munsee country are reduced to less than 3000 as the colonial population in New Netherland reaches 9000 by 1664, and the Dutch signed a treaty ending the war with the Esopus, and New Netherland falls to an English fleet and is renamed New York.

Perhaps this object contains in it the more peaceful beginnings of this account of Indian history at New Paltz, being used and reused by a tribesman or woman to cut various meats, vegetables, and fashion tools and other creations. Maybe it was tossed in favor of a bigger stone that would serve more cutting purposes, or it was lost on a hunt, slipping from the strong mans hands with no time to look back. Maybe it was thrown in a desperate attempt to flee or fight as the European settlers destroyed Native American villages. It is mutually possible that it was one of the most important objects to a person’s life, as an essential key to survival, or the last thing on that person’s mind as his or her very way of existence is being changed and shaped. This small, seemingly insignificant stone knife holds in its mystery the entire Native American history here at New Paltz and our very origins.

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RESOURCES

Grumet, Robert. The Munsee Indians: A History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009. Print.

Kraft, Herbert. The Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage: 10,000 BC to AD 2,000. Lenape Books, 2001. Print.

Diamond, Dr. Joseph. Personal Interview. 20 Mar 2013.

New Paltz Composition Book

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Caption:
New Paltz Public School Workbook
New Paltz, New York
Between 1896 and 1904
This book features schoolwork by two students that graduated from the New Paltz Normal School, but the contents do not feature New Paltz Normal material. Jane Hayden planned examinations across disciplines for her public school students from October 1896 to April 1897. The later inheritor, Gertrude Dubois, sketched contemporary clothing designs and architectural illustrations alongside her predecessor’s examination questions. She also wrote part of a history essay in January 1904.

Physical Description
???????????????????????????????On face, the thin composition book, approximately 10×7.5 inches, hardly stands out as a historical artifact of New Paltz history. Barely threaded together within brown cardboard covers, the pages yellowed over time, yet the typical blue lines reminiscent of today’s marble notebooks are visible on each piece of paper. Inside the front cover, one clearly wrote “Jane Hayden” in pencil to indicate ownership; a scrawled script in the top right hand corner on the adjacent lined paper can be faintly decoded as “Janie Hayden,” though it looks like someone smudged the pencil marking or attempted to erase the name. Below, “Examinations Oct. 1896” heads the first page, following with “7 Arithmetic” and questions in a fine script. Other pages are headed by the following subjects: literature, grammar, geography, spelling, language, and physiology. Some of the questions are followed by answers, indicated by “Ans.” As the pages progress, thick pencil drawings of elaborately-dressed women and foreign architecture fill the blank spaces alongside examination questions and even some blank pages. On the back, Gertrude Dubois wrote a fifth grade History essay about Cyrus and Croesus in 1904, almost a decade after the previous owner dated her last page at April 9, 1897.

Provenance

Obituary of Jane Hayden in Haviland-Heidgerd collection at Elting Library; reveals family connection.

Obituary of Jane Hayden in Haviland-Heidgerd collection at Elting Library; reveals family connection.

Two names are found within the workbook: Jane Hayden and Gertrude Dubois. Both were daughters of Catherine Emily Deyo from different marriages; John Hayden fathered Jane (July 18, 1873) and her older brother James while Phillip E. Dubois fathered Gertrude (Sept. 21, 1893). (See family tree, below) Jane graduated from the Classical program at New Paltz Normal School in 1894 and her notes from 1896 and 1897 presume educating students in seventh and eighth grades. In 1904, her half-sister Gertrude stumbles upon the book and uses it for her drawings and bits of schoolwork. Gertrude moved to Ft. Lauderdale with husband Watson Eltinge Jr. between her high school graduation (1912) and the birth of her daughter Bernice (1922). There remains no record on how the book ended up in the SUNY New Paltz Special Collection.

Date(s) of Creation
The physical book itself has no indication of where and when it was created. The date of the text within, however, is well-marked. The first writing sample is dated Oct. 1896. A few pages later, the “Final Examinations of the Fall Term” offer the final date of the exam period: December 24th, 1896. The Winter Term kicks off on February 19, 1897. Next, the final examinations of the Winter Term are dated as April 9, 1897. Finally, Gertrude writes her short History response on January 24, 1904.

Narrative
???????????????????????????????First, the object is a unique historical document of the New Paltz Normal School. Between 1986 and 1917, no yearbooks exist for the institution, and while graduation lists and select school events were documented in local magazines, a very thin trace exists of the institution or surrounding academia during this time period. The exam book offers a glimpse into New Paltz academics during these undocumented years. In the same way, the composition book views the effect of the higher education institution rather than the school itself. Jane Hayden, the first author, graduated from the Classical course at New Paltz Normal in 1894 as the secretary for her class; the first date in the exam book is 1896. One could argue that the notes indicated future academic study at New Paltz Normal or elsewhere; after all, a Classical degree does not come with an education certification like the Normal course.

From A History of the New Paltz Normal School.

From A History of the New Paltz Normal School.

However, some of the headings do not match the subject programs offered through the Normal course (i.e. Geography and Spelling), and many of the Normal classes do not exist in the book (such as Zoology and Ethics). Also, no record exists of Jane Hayden, or Jane Minnick (her married name), graduating again from the institution, either in newspaper clippings or the Paltzanga. Plus, the small number notations alongside subjects indicate that she instructed seventh and eighth grade. However, it is also well-known that the New Paltz public school system at the time stopped instruction at sixth grade. Students would attend private institutions in Poughkeepsie and other surrounding areas. As such, no record exists at local collections on Jane Hayden’s teaching career. We only have the book to faintly hint at what instructional material would be offered at the end of the nineteenth century.

???????????????????????????????Second, Gertrude’s notes and sketches offer a glimpse into the educational prowess and social interests of a ten-year-old New Paltz girl. At the back of the book, Gertrude writes her brief essay in a loose, messy script, and a similarly messy grammar and argumentative style follow suit down the page. One could presume the essay was a rough draft, since text follows up along the side, the page appears on the very back cover, she flips over the book to write a few more notes, and no grade is indicated. Such information could excuse her poor word choice and minimal detail, but what else can you expect for a fifth grader learning about Ancient Greeks and Persians? Through her drawings, one could see that Gertrude admired contemporary fashion and architecture more so than her history studies. Her half-sister’s composition notebook became her artistic playground, where she could illustrate eloquent society ladies with curled locks, and adorned in large hair accessories and elaborates dresses. ???????????????????????????????She also sketched various building designs harking from various eras and cultures, demonstrating that young New Paltz girls were exposed to foreign cultures and societies, either through school or travel. Gertrude even learned about igloos, and designed her own with three rooms: a living room in the back, a dog room in the middle, and a sled room in the front. Her love of fashion continues years later; in the Historic Huguenot collection, a letter between Gertrude and her cousin Sarah describes the New Paltz Normal School burning down in 1906 and her trip to Poughkeepsie with her parents. She draws a rough sketch of a coat on the same page as her still-coarse script.

Johnson, Carol A. New Paltz Revisited. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Print.

Johnson, Carol A. New Paltz Revisited. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Print.

Although her writing and drawing in the composition book presumably does not continue far after the stated date, Gertrude Dubois would later make her appearance in the New Paltz Normal School scene. In New Paltz Revisited, a photograph captures her graduating class, including her future husband’s sister, Anna Eltinge. Paltzanga notes her graduation in 1912 from the high school, her marriage to Watson Eltinge, and present status in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. An Eltinge genealogy records that she died in the same town in August 1981 and that her daughter Bernice survived her.

Finally, the names tied to the book establish the complex family histories in New Paltz. Throughout New Paltz academic records and graduation listings, historical surnames such as DuBois, Deyo, Eltinge, and Lefevre appear again and again. Nearly all of these names could be traced back to the Historic Huguenot founders, and even surnames unrelated to the original founders get pulled into these historic families. Although John Hayden (Jane’s father) hails from Illinois, Catherine’s second marriage to Phillip D. Dubois pulls the non-native family into a complex web of relations. This family web already establishes Gertrude in the Eltinge genealogy before her marriage to Watson Eltinge Jr. Familial webs are inconclusive up to Gertrude and hardly mention John Hayden; below is a rough genealogy sketch from Catherine Emily Deyo down to offer to numerous collections of New Paltz history. Current graphical genealogies found online do not touch upon Catherine Deyo and her descendents; this can be the first step to alleviate the issue.
rough genealogy

References

Dubois, Gertrude. Letter from Gertrude Dubois to her cousin mentioning the burning of the Normal School. Education in a Valley Fair. 2008. Hudson River Valley Heritage. Historic Huguenot Street. 12 March 2013
Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Vol. 8. Albany: 1895. Web.
Haviland-Heidgerd Collection. New Paltz: Elting Library.
History of the New Paltz Normal School, A. SUNY New Paltz Special Collections.
Johnson, Carol A. New Paltz Revisited. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Print.
Paltzanga. SUNY New Paltz, 1941. Print.
Rachel Eltinge Family Tree. The School Letters of Rachel Eltinge. 02 Jan 2012. Hudson River Valley Heritage. Historic Huguenot Street. 15 March 2013.
“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M57K-HJK : accessed 15 Mar 2013), Watson Elting, New Paltz Ward 2, Ulster, New York; citing sheet 9A, family 26, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375097.
“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M57K-4CB : accessed 15 Mar 2013), Gertude Dubois in household of Catherine E Dubois, New Paltz Ward 2, Ulster, New York; citing sheet 4B, family 63, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375097.

13A North Front Street: Beyond The Bakery

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13A North Front Street, New Paltz, NY

Built in 1883 for Samuel Judkins, this building currently is the home to The Bakery, a restaurant staple to the New Paltz community. Formerly a barn, this annex to 13 North Front Street (currently The Bicycle Rack) has since undergone renovations to near double in size. Its history since being a barn includes being a laundromat and most notably, the headquarters for the New Paltz Food Coop.

Physical Description:

The Bakery as it is today is a synthesis of two buildings. In the back is the original building being an 875 square foot barn with a lofted second floor. This building is where the kitchen is currently, and the second floor contains offices, storage, and a bathroom. The kitchen has high ceilings with horizontal beams, referencing the barn-like construction.

The newer part of the building is the 800 square foot addition, which is currently the storefront for The Bakery. The storefront consists of a display case spanning most of the length of the room, a deli case, a toaster oven, espresso machine, and a counterspace. The back wall of the storefront has a door connecting to the kitchen (the original building component) and a large glass-doored refrigerator containing refrigerated drinks. There is a smaller version of this refrigerator on the adjacent wall, as well. In between the two refrigerators is a bathroom, and on the other side of the smaller refrigerator are the stars to the upstairs, a door to the basement, and then the door to the outside seating area. The second floor is also lofted here and houses additional seating, both booths and tables, for patrons to eat at.

Provenance:

The ownership of the 13A North Front Street began in 1883 when it was built for Samuel Judkins. By 1886, it was sold to William Delamater for $1,600. I am still investigating the ownership in the next few decades. The next known property owner was Virginia Decker who used the barn as Ginny Decker’s Center Laundromat in 1970. By 1975, Alan Stout bought the property (both 13 and 13A) and turned 13 into The Bicycle Rack while renting out 13A to the New Paltz Food Coop. In 1981 Stout leased the barn to David Santner who turned the space into what is now The Bakery. In 1994, Santner doubled the size of the space to what it is today.

Narrative:

The former barn at 13A North Front Street has mostly been used as a center for New Paltz social life. It was built in 1883 for Samuel Judkins by Daniel Kniffio. By January 1886, Andrew Dubois occupied the space, yet it seems Judkins was still the landlord. Later that year, William Delamater bought the property from Judkins for $1,600. At that time, there is reference to Delamater having “three barns” on the property and expects “to have one for a bake house and one to sell bread.” This information leads one to believe that perhaps the current 13A might be a barn built at that time, however there is not too much evidence supporting this, and it seems more likely that 13A is the original barn built in 1883.

When Virginia Decker owned the space in 1970, she used the barn as Ginny Decker’s Center Laundromat, which supposedly was more of a laundry service rather than a typical laundromat with self-serve machines. It was noted that by the end of her time there, there was an extra large waterline to the barn, which would make for an ideal kitchen in the future.

Mural on the side of the New Paltz Food Coop. Designed by Arthur Kusher.

Mural on the side of the New Paltz Food Coop. Designed by Arthur Kusher.

In 1975, Alan Stout bought both 13 and 13A, turning 13 into a bicycle shop known as The Bicycle Rack, while renting out 13A, a then vacant space, to the New Paltz Food Coop, an organization started on the SUNY New Paltz campus that supplied bulk beans and grains to its customers, when those items were not commonly found in stores at the time (i.e. brown rice.) The second floor of the Coop was used for community classes such as Tai Chi. The Coop lasted for a few years, but closed around 1979.

In 1981, a former student from SUNY New Paltz and member of the Coop, David Santner, rented 13A from Stout, turning it into The Bakery. The space was filled to the brim, the kitchen occupying most of the space, while customers would have very little room to stand.

Santner said his goal in starting The Bakery was to have a place where people from all parts of the New Paltz social life could visit. So in 1994, Santner and Stout arranged for renovation of the space, adding the 800 square feet for seating and additional customer space. This renovation also coincided with an expansion to the menu from just baked goods to include sandwiches as well. Santner said they were one of the first places to have an espresso machine in New Paltz which made The Bakery known for this hot commodity.

Illustration of the proposed renovation from 1994.

Illustration of the proposed renovation from 1994.

One of the most important contributions Santner and Stout were able to make to the community came from their desiring of outdoor seating. Santner said his ideal restaurant would have been built somewhere next to a park so people could enjoy the outdoor eating experience. However, since this was not what was available to them, Santner and Stout got a permit from the Village of New Paltz in 1996, granting them permission to maintain a landscaped outdoor seating area, a novelty at the time. This permit set the stage for future New Paltz establishments to have outdoor seating permits as well.

The Bakery also introduced an important tradition to the New Paltz culture when it began hosting The Night of 100 Pumpkins in 1990. Santner said his wife came up with the idea to host a pumpkin carving contest open to the community around Halloween time. The event, which has occurred annually since its inception, features carved pumpkin displays, as well as free hot chocolate, cider, and pumpkin bread. The Bakery’s location on North Front Street, being a one-way, wide street near the end of the traditional Halloween parade route, makes it a convenient place for people to gather and take part in the festivities. It is truly a haven of the New Paltz social life.

References:

Kwiatoski, Debbie. “Planners encourage property owners to find solution for garden spillover.” The Daily Freeman 10 July 1996. Print.

Ryan, Jeanne. “The Bakery builds on 800-square-foot addition.” Huguenot Herald 22 Dec 1994. Print.

Santner, David, and Alan Stout. Personal interview. 13 Mar 2013.

“The Bakery, in New Paltz, NY.” Photograph. Baking Fix, 7 May 2011. Web. 15 Mar 2013.

Clips of articles also referenced (from the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection):

New Paltz Times: 11 Apr 1883, 12 Jan 1886, 5 Nov 1886