All posts by Sharon Pietryka

About Sharon Pietryka

Archivist at the Kingston Public Library

Thanksgiving 1917

With Thanksgiving in just a few days, check out these negatives taken by noted Kingston historian and photographer, Emily Fuller Drew (1881-1950), on a freezing Thanksgiving Day in 1917.

Jones River at “the leaning tree,” Thanksgiving 1917


Curve of the Jones River, Thanksgiving 1917


Jones River “from the river path,” Thanksgiving 1917


Anchor Forge Dam
Anchor Forge Dam, Thanksgiving 1917


Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

Looking forward to seeing The Post? Don’t forget about Gobin Stair and Beacon Press

One of this season’s new movies, The Post, recounts The Washington Post’s efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers. 

Here in the Local History Room, we have a four-volume set of the Pentagon Papers, published by Beacon Press in 1971.  As director of the publisher, Kingston’s own Gobin Stair played a decisive role in accepting Senator Mike Gravel’s proposal to publish the papers for the first time in book form and subsequently ensuring that Beacon could shoulder the political pressure, financial burden, and logistical obstacles they encountered throughout the publication process.

Four-volume set of the Pentagon Papers, open to the first page of the first volume
Daniel Ellsberg signed the first page, “For peace and truth!”, February 15, 2010.

The first volume in our set is signed by Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who released the papers to the newspapers. If you’d like to see it for yourself, just let us know!

Gobin Stair was also a distinguished artist. He created the Alphabet Mural—depicting the evolution of language, literacy, and communication—that we are lucky to have on the wall of our meeting room. A supporter of libraries, he wrote at the time of the mural’s opening, “The Alphabet Mural calls attention to a major human accomplishment. It also declares our awareness of responsibility to meet the needs of readers right here in our growing Kingston.” Well said.


If you’re interested in some further reading, the Beacon Broadside just posted a great piece called “Our Civic Duty: Why We Published the Pentagon Papers.” 


According to a recent article in the Kingston Reporter, 20% of American cranberry consumption falls during Thanksgiving week.

Our love for this particular fruit is certainly not new. This image of Keith & Adams cranberry bog on Summer Street dates back to around 1885.

Pickers handpicking cranberries in rows laid out by string, c. 1885
Pickers handpicking cranberries in rows laid out by string, c. 1885


Source: Image is from the Mary Hathaway Collection (MC21).

The (Almost) Centennial of the End of World War I

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the armistice agreement between Germany and the Allies, ending the actual fighting (though the war did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919). November 11th became known as Armistice Day until 1954, when the United States began celebrating Veterans Day.

Town House decorated with American flag bunting and "Welcome Home" sign
Town House decorated for the celebration, October 18, 1919

Kingston held a Welcome Home Celebration in October of 1919 in honor of the return of servicemen and nurses who had served during the war. For pictures of the parade, see our post from last month.

And thank you to all who have served in the military.


Source: Image is from the Glass Plate Negative Collection (IC3).

Shall We Dance?

Kingston High School Junior Prom, 1942
Kingston High School Junior Prom, 1942

During November, the lobby display case will feature a selection of photos, invitations, and dance cards from throughout Kingston’s history. Did you know that ballroom etiquette once prescribed ladies to carry dance cards to pencil in the names of gentlemen who had reserved a dance? Or that in 1875, Kingston residents held a Thanksgiving Ball to celebrate the holiday? Stop by to learn more!

Source: Image from the Mary Hathaway Collection (MC21).

Ted Avery standing in the doorway of his costume shop

Ted Avery’s Costume Shop

Ted Avery standing in the doorway of his costume shop
Ted Avery and The New England Costume Co., c.1948

While going through a box of photographs, I came across this striking image of Ted Avery, holding a mask in front of his face just inside the doorway of his costume shop on Summer Street. With Halloween just around the corner, it was too fitting not to share!


Source: Image from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7)

Welcome Home Parade, 1919

On this day in 1919…

Welcome Home Parade, 1919
Welcome Home Parade walking down Green Street, 1919

October 18, 1919 was a known as “Welcome Home Day” in Kingston in honor of its servicemen and nurses returning from World War I. The “Welcome Home Committee” presented each with a bronze token of appreciation for service to the town and country, and sponsored festivities that included the parade seen here, as well as band concerts, decorations, speeches and a turkey supper in the Town House.

Welcome Home Parade

There is now a monument to the 132 men and women who “entered the service” during the war. Constructed in 1926, it is located at the intersection of Summer and Green streets.

Welcome Home Parade, 1919

Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

Rand Family Stones in the Old Burying Ground, around 1925

Kingston Gravestones & Their Carvers

Rand Family Stones in the Old Burying Ground, around 1925

For the entire month of October, the lobby display case will feature a selection of photographs of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Kingston gravestones, but rather than focusing on those interred in the Old Burying Ground, this exhibit will examine the men who carved these markers. Stop by to check it out!


Source: Image from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).