Thank you, everyone, who attended our program on World War I last night. It was a treat to have Steuben County Historical Society director and GCC adjunct history professor Kirk House with us to present “Over Here.”
And speaking of World War I, does anyone have any photos of Dansville during World War II? Our museum curator, David Gilbert, is looking for some photos for his next project. If so, please contact the historical society at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Please join us for our upcoming annual pasta dinner and program at 6 p.m. in the Dansville American Legion Hall on Oct. 28th. Tickets are $10 apiece and available at the door or through a historical society board member. See you there!
The Dansville Area Historical Society is looking for photos of Dansville during the World War II years: 1941-1945. If you have any photos of our village that you would like to contribute for an upcoming book by local historian and museum curator David Gilbert, please send (with any pertinent information on the photo) as an attachment in .jpg format to Jeff Miller at email@example.com. Thank you!
The Dansville Area Historical Society invites the public to attend its next program, “Indian Artifacts and Old Bottles” presented by Terry York from his personal collection.
The program will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10 in the North Dansville Town Hall. The program is free and open to the public. Donations are gratefully accepted.
14 Church St
Dansville, NY 14437
Open houses first and third Saturdays of each month.
10am-2pm Admission Free
Attention record collectors: The Dansville Area Historical Society will be having a special LP sale at its booth in Church Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, during the annual Dogwood Festival. Please stop by and make an offer on some classic LPs. Proceeds to benefit the restoration of a statue of Bernice Macfadden, which had originally been on display at the Castle on the Hill during the Bernarr Macfadden era.
The Dansville Area Historical Society is seeking people willing to share their family photos with us for an upcoming book on Dansville during World War II. If you or a relative was from Dansville and have a photo of a loved one during service, please share with us and send in digital form (.jpg) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include information as to who it is, when it was taken and where, and what branch of service. Please also share with us some information about his time in Dansville. Thank you!
In conjunction with the Dansville High School History Club, the Dansville Area Historical Society has the privilege once again to have some of its items on display in the Dansville High School, just outside the auditorium. If you happen to be in the school and have a chance, please stop to take a look. The theme is “Museum of Play” and includes such pieces as old phonograph records, a drum, children’s games, stuffed animals, sports items, old Danuas and more.
Photos by Don Ptak, Dansville High School History Club advisor; school librarian
Mathew Brady’s ionic 1865 photo of Clara Barton
December 11, 1866 — Clara Barton’s First Visit to Dansville
Although Clara Barton called Dansville her residence from 1876 to 1886, her first visit here was ten years earlier – on December 11, 1866 — when she spent one evening lecturing at Canaseraga Hall opera house. This building still stands as the left-hand end of the Dyer Block on Main Street. The opera house was on the third floor of today’s 152 Main Street.
This lecture was part of her tour throughout the northeast U.S. from 1866-1868 to raise money for her efforts to identify dead and missing soldiers, especially those who perished at Andersonville prison.
Will Conklin’s book Clara Barton and Dansville includes an announcement of the upcoming lecture made in A.O. Bunnell’s Advertiser, and in the next issue (December 13, 1866), Bunnell reports: “Clara Barton’s Lecture delivered at Canaseraga Hall on Tuesday evening last on ‘Work and Incidents of Army Life,” was a very rare treat. She gave us the story of only about three weeks of her four years of army experience; but her narrative was as replete with interest as her life must have been full of the hardest toil.”
Barton’s diary for that time period shows how incredibly taxing her travels were. Tuesday morning of December 11, she traveled from Rochester to Avon, and from there left at 12:30 p.m. for Wayland via the Erie Railroad. She arrived in Wayland at 4 p.m. and took the stage to Dansville at 6 p.m. “Tire came off wheel a mile out of Dansville. Walked in, put up at Am. House…Went to lecture at 7 ½. Hall seats 400, about full, pleasant audience. Met Miss Dr. Austin, a pleasing lady in bloomers, and other ladies from Water Cure. Received 50 dollars. Came home and retired at 11.”
It was a snowy evening. How hard walking a mile in that weather must have been. Also, here’s a curiosity. Records show that Barton usually charged 50 cents per head for her lecture. She received 50 dollars in Dansville at a hall that “seats 400” and was “about full” as her diary recounts. The math does not add up. If she did indeed charge 50 cents each, then only 100 paid to attend. Also, Conklin quotes the Advertiser’s December 13th edition: “That the audience should have been small enough to allow Charley Niles to lose $20 out of his own pocket, is a burning shame to the citizens of Dansville.” From this, we might suspect that indeed the audience was much smaller than capacity. Maybe even as few as 60 people?? Could that be?
We do know that by December 1868, Clara Barton lost her voice from fatigue and mental prostration while delivering a speech. In 1869, she closed The Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army, having received and answered 63,182 letters and identified 22,000 missing men. By September 1869, on the advice of her doctor, Clara Barton traveled to Europe to regain her health. There she would meet Dr. Louis Appia in Switzerland, read about the International Red Cross, and continue to overwork herself until she returned again to Dansville in 1876 to convalesce at “Our Home on the Hillside” and to found the first chapter of the American Red Cross in August 1881.
Clara Barton’s lecture notes from the Library of Congress archives, filed as “Clara Barton War Lecture, ca. 1866, describing her decision to challenge stereotypes and go on to the battlefield.” These notes might have been part of the lecture she delivered in Dansville.