Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore features articles, stories, interviews, reminiscences, essays, folk poetry and music, photographs and artwork from people in all parts of New York State. Voices is the Societys membership magazine. The magazine also publishes peer-reviewed, research-based articles, written in an accessible style, on topics related to traditional art and life, including ethnic culture. Join NYFS today to receive this new membership magazine!
Voices features articles, stories, interviews, reminiscences, essays, folk poetry and music, photographs, and artwork drawn from people in all parts of New York State, folklorists and non-folklorists alike. The magazine also publishes peer-reviewed, research-based articles, written in an accessible style, on topics related to traditional art and life, including ethnic culture. Informative columns on subjects such as legal issues, photography, sound and video recording, archiving, ethics, and the nature of traditional art and life appear on a regular basis.
|Look inside ⇓
VOICES, Vol. 43, Fall–Winter 2017
What always strikes me about
Voices is its clarity and openness,
both in design and content. It’s
inviting, lively, and readable and has
plenty of variety. It presents artists
and communities with respect
and sensitivity, yet one learns too
about what folklorists do and who
they are. Voices gives a picture of
New York State and its people that
cannot be found elsewhere.
—Anna Lomax Wood, Director,
Association for Cultural Equity
LISTEN to New York Folklore Society’s executive director, Ellen McHale interviewed by Steve Black for his radio show, “Periodical Radio,” about Voices.
⇐LOOK INSIDE back issues of Voices
FROM THE EDITOR
From the Fall–Winter
2017 issue of Voices:
My friend Jack Leadley
died April 4, 2018. He
was 90 years old. I’ve
known Jack for some
30 years. We first met
during my first survey of
folk artists working in the
Called “An Adirondack Legend,” Jack
was a skilled woodsman, hunter, and trapper.
He was also an artist, writer, and snowshoe
and ski instructor. He made beautiful pack
baskets and rustic furniture. He flew a plane,
giving me my first aerial view of the Adirondack
Park, saying how handy it was for a
quick trip to Maine to catch up with family
over a lobster dinner, and be back in time to
sleep in his own bed by nightfall.
Jack’s love of the Adirondacks came early
in life. In the 1930s his family drove up from
Staten Island to spend summers in a rented
cabin on Lake Pleasant in Speculator, New
York. The mountain air helped his father’s
asthma. After serving in the Second World
War, Jack returned to the mountains permanently,
marrying his wife Joan and joining a
family with roots that traced back to 1794.
He opened Leadley’s Adirondack Sugarbush
in 1949. He and his family tapped
some 2500 maple trees each spring to make
maple syrup to sell from the gift shop on
Route 30, just north of Speculator. It is one
of several buildings on the 115-acre Leadley
compound, along with immediate family
households, including those of Leadley’s
three adult children who are eighth-generation
Lake Pleasant natives.
Jack’s Adirondack pack baskets were second
to none. He made them the old fashioned
way, cutting black ash trees, usually in the
spring when the bark peels off easily. He
soaked and pounded every square inch of the log, causing the annual growth rings
to loosen and separate. He then pulled the
splints off the full length of the log. These
he smoothed and cut into uniform strips, to
create the raw material used to weave the
Jack had carried a pack basket since
the 1940s while running his traplines, and
began to make his own when quality baskets
were getting hard to find. He shared this
knowledge wholeheartedly with anyone.
He’s noted as a strong supportive influence
of many basketmakers, and I’ve found his
interviews as far away as Maine. For me,
he breathed life into the old, discarded
pack basket hanging in the garage of my
childhood, owned by my stepfather, who,
according to a family story, was carried
in it by his own stepfather across a frozen
Saranac Lake. Jack carried his own young
son in a pack basket of his making while
hiking the woods near their home.
Jack also made rustic furniture. He is
known for reviving the Whitehouse chair,
originally made by Lee Fountain, a local
innkeeper in the late 19th century. The
chair has birch framing with woven seats of
black ash splints and was an early addition
to the Folklife Center’s Folk Art & Artist
Collection, available for view, along with
his other work, on www.nyheritage.org.
A Hamilton County destination was
the bark shanty that Jack built back in
the woods of his family’s compound.
These small cabins, now rare, were once
commonly used by woodsmen, hunters,
trappers, and fishermen in the backcountry
of the Adirondacks. He called it Camp
Balsam and dedicated it to the memory of
those “Adirondack pioneers who came here
Its design was based on a shanty built
by Jack’s wife’s great-grandfather, George
Burton, at Little Moose Pond in the 1890s.
His shanty was framed with poles and
covered with sheets of peeled bark. The
front door faced south to catch the winter
sun, and the west wall had a window
covered with deer rawhide, diffusing a
warm amber light inside. A flat side of a granite boulder formed the north wall and
the back of an open fire pit. Inside, smoke
escaped through a small, covered wooden
tower on the roof. The two pole beds lining
the walls of the 8 by 10-foot cabin were
filled with fresh balsam. He welcomed
visitors, including a special road trip from
Glens Falls, as a part of our kids’ workshop
series on “Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties.”
Jack demonstrated his craft at our earliest
Adirondack folk festivals and children’s
workshop series. He enjoyed these visits
with us and with other venues like Fort
Klock, Hanford Mills, and the Adirondack
Museum. As he became more sought
after, he began to limit these activities, as
he recalled in a letter: “You and Crandall
Library have always been special as I
started going away from my workshop to
demonstrate my work.” But it was a twoedged
sword. “Almost all my work is sold
on order...I don’t need more ‘exposure’.
Working alone with no power tools limits
my production.” He came to prefer staying
on his own property in the woods, allowing
folks to come to him: “My workshop is
so complete for my production, I do not
leave it much...July and August, there are
visitors here every day. I like to be here as
people interested in my work are an added
benefit to meet.”
What an incredible joy it was to share an
afternoon with Jack in his own workshop
back in the Hamilton County woods.
A mini pack basket made by Jack was
gifted to my family at the birth of my first
son. Jack’s own son Rick carries on his dad’s
role of maker of traditional rustic furniture,
and his daughter Lynn continues to make
the pack baskets.
Jack was a kind-hearted man, so very
talented and generous with his time and his
knowledge. Indeed, he was an “Adirondack
Legend.” What an honor to have known
him. Fare thee well, my good friend.
Voices Acquisitions Editor
Founding Director of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library
The taxpayers are hollering,
and the state’s contribution
to this wonderful little
magazine has been
drastically cut. Those of
us who read it all the way
through have to all chip in.
—Pete Seeger, musician and activist,
Beacon, New York
VISIT our online gallery bookstore to purchase back issues.
|Meet Todd DeGarmo, Voices Acquisitions Editor|
Todd DeGarmo is the acquisitions editor for Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore, leading an editorial team which includes Ellen McHale as executive editor, Patricia Mason as copy editor, and Laurie Longfield as Voices’ manager. Todd took over this editorship from Dr. Eileen Condon who served as acquisitions editor from 2007–2012.
Todd is the founding director of the Center for Folklife, History and Cultural Programs at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Todd is a former board member and past president of the New York Folklore Society. He brings a wealth of knowledge and prior experience to the position of acquisitions editor, including a knowledge of Japanese culture, Adirondack studies, tourism, and architectural studies.
Send Your Story
Did you know that Voices publishes
creative writing, including creative
fiction (such as short stories), creative
nonfiction (such as memoirs
and life/work stories), and poetry?
We also publish artistic and ethnographic
photography and artwork,
in addition to research-based articles
on New York State folk arts and artists.
If you are one of New York’s
traditional artists or working in a traditional
boat building, traditional healing,
instrument making, firefighting, or
nursing, to name a few—please consider
sharing with our readers. For
more information, see our Submissions
Guidelines or contact
the Acquisitions Editor at email@example.com.
Check our submission guidelines for authors.
Send your letter to the editor here
writers. We write
every day: monographs
articles, field notes,
festival and event brochures,
grant applications, final
reports, press releases, proposals. In fact,
I would say that time spent writing is more
than fifty percent of any folklorist’s annual
cycle of work. The essentials of folklorethe ethnographic materialare fundamental
to a great story. As any fieldworker can
attest, entering into the personal experience
of another individual is expansive and illuminating.
The everyday becomes novel when
viewed from the viewpoint of the uninitiated.
The job of the folklorist is to translate
that experience to those who may not get
the opportunity to go through it themselves
and to help the reader to find meaning in the
—Ellen McHale, PhD, Executive Director, NYFS
|What is Folklife?|
The everyday and intimate creativity that all of
us share and pass on to the next generation:
The traditional songs we sing, listen and dance to
Fairy tales, stories, ghost tales and personal histories
Riddles, proverbs, figures of speech, jokes and special ways of speaking
Our childhood games and rhymes
The way we celebrate life
– from birthing our babies to honoring our dead
The entire range of our personal and collective beliefs
– religious, medical, magical, and social
Our handed-down recipes and everyday mealtime traditions
The way we decorate our world
– from patchwork patterns on our quilts to plastic flamingoes in our yards, to tattoos on our bodies
The crafts we create by hand
– crocheted afghans, wooden spoons, cane bottoms on chairs
Patterns and traditions of work
– from factory to office cubicle
The many creative ways we express ourselves as members of our family, our community, our geographical region, our ethnic group, our religious congregation, or our occupational group
Folklife is part of everyone’s life. It is as constant as a ballad, as changeable as fashion trends. It is as intimate as a lullaby, and as public as a parade.
In the end ... we are all folk.
—American Folklife Center
Library of Congress, Washington, DC