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NEW YORK FOLKLORE NEWSLETTER Summer 1998
NYFS Newsletter 1998-vol19-no3-1
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Summer 1998

Meet the NYFS BOARD: Elsie Freeman Finch
Like David Quinn, whose comments preceded mine, I am neither a folklorist, a museum specialist nor an anthropologist, as are many of my colleagues on the NYFS board. In my last career dispensation, I was an archivist-cum-educator in charge of public education programs at the National Archives....

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Ensuring a Future for Our Past
For the past 18 months, NYFS director John Suter has served as co-chair of the New York State Historical Records Advisory Board. In June, the board released its ten-year strategic plan, Ensuring a Future for Our Past...

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Eniko Farkas: Community Scholar
Karen Taussig-Lux and Deborah Clover

When you walk through the front door of Eniko Farkas’ house and into the living room, your first impression is that you have entered a mini-folk art museum, and it is hard to walk through it without stopping and looking. Displayed in china cabinets, framed and mounted on the walls are exquisite examples of the various types of Hungarian embroideries and laces she has made and collected...

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Waiting for Go Dot
Steve Zeitlin
My daughter’s assignment was a simple one. She and two friends had to choose a scene from a play to perform for their language arts class. First they tried a scene from Peter Pan, then the witches scene from Macbeth. But nothing seemed right to this feisty group of 12-year-olds. Without telling me, they set out for the library. When they saw it was closed, they wandered a few blocks away to a used bookstore. Together, they managed to scrounge up a dollar in change. They asked the bookstore owner what plays were available at that price...

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Voices Summer 1998


Tales of an Island: Fishing and Fishermen on Long Island’s East End
John Eilertsen with stories contributed by Stewart Lester and Johnny Collins
Suffolk County, New York, is home to almost one and a half million people. The county occupies the eastern two thirds of Long Island and, including several smaller islands off to the east and north coasts, contains approximately 1200 square miles ... All of Suffolk County is an area steeped in maritime traditions...

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Crossing the Border: Stories of the 56ers
Eniko Farkas
In January of 1956, I was unemployed, too young for factory jobs, and had to look for a solution what to do with myself. One day I wrote a poem about hunger, which I felt was looming on the horizon again. I showed the poem to my aunt who had published some of her own writing. She decided to write a letter to Paul Oravecz, a communist adolescent literature writer and sent my poem to her. God bless her, she felt sorry for me and found me a job where I could work underage. The place was a sheltered sewing workshop for people damaged by the war...

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Mark Hamilton: Old-Time Fiddler, Caller, and Singer
Mark Hamilton and Karen Canning
Mark Hamilton was born in 1919 in Wolf Run, town of Clarksville (just south of Cuba in Allegany County), and grew up on the family farm there. His musical repertory of songs, fiddle tunes, and dance music stretches back into the mid-nineteenth century...

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Hungarian Goulash
Eniko Farkas
The Hungarian word gulyás means cattlemen in English. This delicious, thick, spicy soup was their main food. The cattle herdsmen cooked this soup/stew over an open fire in a kettle while tending to the herd in the Great Lowlands of Hungary....

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From Our Readers

An absolutely great issue. Liked it all, especially Frankie Manning & the Lindy Hop in '27.
Keep on,
Pete Seeger



Thank you so much for the wonderful piece [Rolling Syrian Grape Leaves, Winter/Spring 1998 Voices]. It is a memory all of our family will have, thanks to you all.
Sharon Bates



I don’t know whether this is New York folklore or not; I’d like to pass it to somebody who’d be interested.

My great-great-grandfather, Lawson Valentine, bought a farm in Orange County just south of Mountainville and named it Houghton Farm. He was interested in a lot of things that others weren’t yet, including various types of experimental agriculture and the traditions of Native Americans. He made a point of finding out the Native names for things in his area, including Kiawhela, the small mountain across Route 32 from Schunnemunk, and the Awessima, the stream flowing down that valley, known on maps as Woodbury Creek.

Does anybody else know these names? Is my bit of unreliable family oral history any use to anybody? I hope this is of some interest to somebody you can pass it on to.
Yours truly,
Valentine Doyle



From the Director:
Fall Conference 1998


Along the coastlines of Long Island, the ecologies and cultures of land and water meet in dynamic zones of encounter and transition. One result is a rich folk culture of maritime traditions that permeate people’s lives at work, at play, and at home. At the Hallockville Museum Farm and Folklife Center, located near Riverhead on the north fork of eastern Long Island, folklorist John Eilertsen has been documenting and presenting many of these traditions for 18 years. Hallockville is the host for this year’s New York Folklore Society fall conference.

We invite you to explore with us some of the recreational and occupational traditions of the island and learn as well about other maritime cultures along the Eastern Seaboard. Among the presenters at the conference will be David Taylor, a noted scholar on maritime folklore from the American Folklife Center in Washington; Rita Moonsammy, director of the Folk Arts Program at the New Jersey State Arts Council; Nancy Solomon, founder and director of Long Island Traditions; and John Eilertsen. We will hear from baymen, fishermen, and others of the men and women of the Long Island shores, and you can look forward to folklife demonstrations, a riverboat dinner cruise, and delicious food from the sea.
—John Suter




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