2021 Collections Year in Review

January 7th, 2022

By John Marks, Curator of Collections

In 2021 the collections department – archivist Becky Chapin and myself – received 55 gifts ranging from a single item to many files and papers. All donations help us to tell Geneva’s stories, but I will mention just some of the highlights of the past year.

Red Sweatshirt St Francis St Stephens Crusaders

St. Francis St. Stephens Crusaders sweatshirt

Our archival collection of local school materials was strengthened with yearbooks and school circulars. In recent years we have been getting more school artifacts. This continued with a St. Francis St. Stephens Crusaders sweatshirt, a Geneva High School stage crew jacket from 1960, and DeSales High school varsity letters.

Our collection of Appleknocker Drum and Bugle Corps material has been growing. We took in three Appleknockers scrapbooks, buttons, photos, and programs from a family whose father and uncle were involved.

The historian for the Kashong Recreation Group donated their ledger books from 1902 to 2019. Thanks to this donation Becky was able to write a history for the group’s 100th anniversary of their pavilion which was built in 1921.

Descendants of the Dey family brought by portraits, family trees, and other primary source materials related to the Deys who resided in the area. Several scrapbooks and photo albums were added: Jennie Johnson, who lived on Washington Street; Mayor Helen Maney; George Hawley, city historian; and the Erti-Calabrese families.

Metal Binoculars And Two Small Oil Lamps

Dr. Howard Elon Easton’s binoculars and two small oil lamps.

The Eaton Birding Society added to an existing collection with minutes of their group. They also donated binoculars and two small oil lamps from Howard Elon Eaton (1866-1935). Dr. Eaton was a biology professor at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in the early 20th century. He was the state ornithologist and in 1910 wrote Birds of New York.

The estate of Bill and Elsa Allen donated four Hiram Suydam paintings and other items. Hiram Suydam was a local 19th century businessman and artist, and ancestor of the Allen family. Mr. Suydam painted during the time the Robert Swan family lived at Rose Hill; the paintings are now on display there.


Plastic Clock Schmidts Light Beer

Clocks from Cosie’s

Provenance, or an item’s history, is important when we accept artifacts for the collection. Advertising clocks are mass produced, but this particular clock hung behind the bar at Cosie’s on Tillman Street. Cosie Fospero gave it to the donor’s late husband. Many Genevans, and college students who passed through Geneva, have stories about the bar and owner but this is the only artifact we have.

Please contact us if you have things you would like to donate. John Marks ( handles objects, and Becky Chapin ( accepts photos, papers, books, and other archival items.  We look forward to seeing what 2022 will bring!

3 responses to “2021 Collections Year in Review”

  1. Charles Bauder says:

    Enjoyed your article. I believe that a Suydam, maybe Hiram, was Geneva’s Police Chief. I remember a conversation with Bill Allen.

    1. jmarks says:

      Hiram’s son, William, was the police chief. Bill’s children gave us the family lineage along with the artifacts – it’s not in front of me but we have the Suydam-Allen connection.

  2. Pim Larsson-Kovach says:

    Interesting items added to your collection.
    I do remember the clock on the wall behind the bar at Cosie’s.

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