Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York, by Joscelyn Godwin and Christian Goodwillie, photography by Marianita Peaslee, 181 pages, Upstate Institute and Richard W. Couper Press, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-937370-21-3 ($35)
Freemasonry played a vital role in the social development of New York State. Its Lodges provided a trusted place for newcomers to meet and for friendships and business partnerships to develop, free from political, professional, and sectarian differences. During its explosive growth from 1790 to the end of the 1820s Masonic brethren produced iconic architecture, as well as extraordinary examples of folk art, expressed in large symbolic paintings (“tracing boards”), murals, textiles, and graphics. Most of these have remained entirely unknown outside the Upstate Lodges that, against all hazards, have preserved them. Their symbolism seems mysterious and confusing to outsiders, but once explained, it gives insight into a period and place unique in American history.
Joscelyn Godwin is professor of music at Colgate University. Christian Goodwillie is director and curator of Special Collections, Burke Library, Hamilton College. Marianita Peaslee is the digital imagery specialist, Burke Library, Hamilton College.
Iroquois-Language Manuscripts, ca. 1768-1803: The Samuel Kirkland Papers, compiled and translated by Clifford Abbott, with an introductory essay by Karim M. Tiro, 358 pages, 2916. ISBN: 978-1-937370-20-6 ($50) Buy now
A comprehensive collection of more than thirty Iroquois language documents from the Samuel Kirkland Papers at Hamilton College. Dating from 1768-1803, these manuscripts have been transcribed, transliterated, and translated, many for the first time. The volume includes line-by-line photographic illustrations of each letter, along with the translator's work. Each document is then given in full facsimile, and full translation. Introductory essays by the compilers examine Iroquois literacy and linguistics as illustrated by the documents.
Jazz Tales from Jazz Legends: Oral Histories from the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College, by Monk Rowe with Romy Britell, foreward by Dan Morgenstern. 209 pages with 13 black and white illustrations, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-937370-17-6 ($20) Buy now
Distills an oral history project that began in 1995 under the auspices of the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College in Clinton N.Y. Excerpts drawn from 325 one-on-one sessions conducted for the Archive are organized into categories including first-hand accounts of life on the road, inspiration, race and jazz, improvisation, and work inside the studios. Interviewees quoted in the book include icons in jazz world such as Joe Williams, Dave and Iola Brubeck, Jon Hendricks, Steve Allen, and Marian McPartland. Stories from unsung sidemen offer a rare perspective on the life and times of jazz artists who balance the love of music with the sacrifice inherent in the jazz lifestyle. The author provides informative commentary with personal insights into the accomplishments and personalities of over one hundred jazz artists.
The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette: September 18, 1907 through March 30, 1908, edited by Jack Sherman and Craig Brandon. 193 pages with 32 black and white illustrations, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-9796448-1-8 ($25) Buy now
Chester Gillette was accused of the murder of Grace Brown in 1906. After a sensational trial, covered by newspapers across the country, Gillette was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. This case was the basis for Theodore Dreiser's classic novel An American Tragedy, the 1951 Academy-award-winning movie A Place in the Sun, and a 2006 opera. Revealed here for the first time are Chester's private thoughts in his final months as he recorded them in his diary from September 1907 through March 1908. The diary was believed lost for nearly a century and only came to light in 2007 when Marlynn McWade-Murrary, the grandniece of Chester Gillette, donated it to Hamilton College. In addition to the diary, the publication contains twelve letters Chester wrote from prison: eleven to Bernice Ferrin, a friend of the family; and one to his sister Hazel, written the day before his execution.
A Selected Catalog of the Ezra Pound Collection at Hamilton College, compiled with notes by Cameron McWhirter and Randall L. Ericson. 299 pages with 123 illustrations (mostly color), 2005 ($10). Buy now
This lavishly illustrated catalog highlights the Hamilton College Library's holdings of Ezra Pound material. Pound, a Hamilton alumnus (class of 1905), was one of the most important and influential poets of the twentieth century. The first third of the book focuses on materials unique to the Hamilton collection, while the rest of the book identifies works by and about Pound held by the Hamilton College library. This catalog reveals the importance of this collection for Pound scholars and places it among the best in the country.