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NYFS Newsletter 1999-vol20-no1-1
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Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore




Spring/Summer 1999Russian American guests at a Sharon Springs boarding house

Abe Garcherth and Russian American guests at his Sharon Springs boarding house. (Photograph by Pamela Brown) Read about Sharon Springs, New York, a spa town
south of the Thruway that has attracted a largely Jewish clientele for over a hundred years,
in this Spring/Summer 1999 Newsletter.

From the Director
Ellen McHale

The baton has been passed to me, and I officially began as the new executive director in early March. I am pleased to be in the position to nurture the society into the next millennium . . .

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Meet the NYFS Board: Dan Berggren
I’ve lived in Fredonia since 1977, but before that I called the Adirondacks home. My first trip from Brooklyn to Trout Brook was like my father’s: from Grand Central to the railroad station in North Creek where Teddy Roosevelt took the oath of office after McKinley was shot. . . .

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Sharon Springs Spa: Landscape of Memory
Ellen McHale
In 1996, the Schoharie County Arts Council began a documentation project on Sharon Springs, New York, a spa town south of the Thruway that has attracted a largely Jewish clientele for over a hundred years. . . .

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Steve Zeitlin
Don’t ask Tony his last name. He can’t deal with that right now. His nerves are shot. Besides, he’s, he's busy trying to make sure the trains run on time. . . .

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Voices Spring/Summer 1999
Altar prepared for la Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo

Altar being prepared for la Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo at Mt. Carmel Parish, Rochester (Photograph by Marion Faller).

In Voices we present in words and images the traditions practiced by the people and communities of New York State. We want to hear from you! Send us family stories, interviews, recipes, reminiscences, anecdotes, songs, how-to columns, and more.
We are also looking for photographs and sketches of people, places, objects, and community events to publish.

The Puerto Rican Year: Celebration and Community Identity
Kate Koperski
The following images, reminiscences, and songs are from an exhibition, shown at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University in fall 1998, that looked at holidays and festivals that are uniquely Puerto Rican and their annual observance in western New York. . . .

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La Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo
by Brother Luis Ruberte
La Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo is descended from an ancient Spanish festival know as La Maya. La Maya paid homage to local fertility goddesses, represented during the festival by young virgins, who guaranteed the health and abundance of crops. . . .

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Fiesta de Mayo Songs
contributed by Karen Canning
The Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo (The Festival of the Cross of May) combines ancient prayers and songs with contemporary instruments and reinterpretations, the earmarks of a truly living folk tradition. . . .

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Ramon Estrada-Vega
Santos are hand-carved wooden images of saints or biblical themes. Scholars suggest that the first carvers in the Caribbean were sixteenth-century Dominican and Franciscan priests. . . .

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From Our Readers

Dear Sir/Madam,
An addition to your survey results. As a town/village historian, I always am interested in your feature articles because of an open mind for new knowledge. However, I have never joined the society because of its almost exclusive coverage of New York City, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks with a goodly dash of the Hudson. There is rich folklore in the Genesee and the Niagara Frontier too. If your scope ever begins to expand, perhaps myself and other enthusiastic historians/folklorists of the "forgotten part" of the Empire State will take more interest.

David W. Parish, Town/Village of Geneseo Historian, Geneseo, NY

Dear Mr. Parish,
Thank you for your letter in response to our newsletter survey. I am sorry we have disappointed you in the past by not featuring enough articles about western New York. You must have welcomed the article about fiddler Mark Hamilton (Clarksville, Allegany Co.) in our summer 1998 issue.

We rely on contributions from people all over the state for our articles, and unfortunately, we have gotten very few from people in the western part of the state. We have two articles on western New York topics planned for upcoming issues. Nevertheless, your letter reminds me to work harder at soliciting material from that part of the state in the future.

In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for articles (and authors) that you would like to relay to us? I would be very happy to publish more western New York material in the newsletter. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas.

Karen Taussig-Lux, Editor

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