Skidmore Saratoga Memory Project
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Saratoga Labor History Digital Archive


In Unity There is Strength The Saratoga Labor History Digital Archive was established in 2022 to provide working people in Saratoga County a chance to share their stories with a larger audience. The site includes oral histories conducted by undergraduate students in History 263: American Labor History, a course taught by Professor Eric J. Morser at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. In coming years, the site will feature short histories and images related to local people and events, links to on-line databases and archives, contact information for county labor organizations, and a timeline that highlights important moments in Saratoga’s labor past.


Project Credits

Project Manager: Professor Eric J. Morser, History Department, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York

Project Consultant/Community Producer: Willie Terry

The project was produced in collaboration with MDOCS Co-Creation Initiative and Hudson Mohawk Magazine. It was supported by the MDOCS Co-Creation Initiative and funded in part by the Mellon Foundation.

Saratoga County: History Happens Here

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History Happens Here

Since 1791, Saratoga County has stretched from Albany to South Glens Falls, and from Waterford to Day.  Known nationally and internationally for its waters, which have drawn people, supplied work, leisure and leisure opportunities, and spurred industry and transportation, the county and its inhabitants know that History Happens Here. 

In preparation for a history exhibition about Saratoga County, past and present, at the Brookside Museum, students in Skidmore College's Spring 2021 Public History course have explored the Museum's collections (virtually), read traditional histories and recent newspaper reports, and interviewed experts, including town historians and indendent scholars.  We offer an initial approach for an exhibit that proposes to introduce a diverse community—of adults and children, residents and visitors, experts and beginners -- to the ways that humans have used and shaped the space of Saratoga County for the past five hundred years in a way that is inclusive, educational and timely.  

Saratoga County

Image source: Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (2021)

Compassionate Hands

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Remembering The Skidmore College Department of Nursing

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Skidmore College was home to a pioneering Department of Nursing from 1922 to 1985.  Over the 2018-2019 academic year, the students in Professor Tillman Nechtman's Public History class undertook a journey to capture this story of their college’s past through the eyes and stories of Skidmore's nursing alums. During the journey, they had the pleasure of getting to know many nursing program graduates.

In the interviews many alumns were asked, "why did you choose Skidmore, a small liberal arts college, for your nursing education?" In answering this question, they spoke to the interdisciplinary nature of the school, the encouragement and opportunity for students to chase their passions and interests across different programs and departments, and how Skidmore prepared them to be leaders in their field.

In many ways, we see that spirit in the school to this day. Skidmore aims to integrate the humanities and sciences, which is exactly what the Skidmore Nursing Programming prided itself on. Leadership and creative thinking have been a pillar of Skidmore’s nursing program since its inception in 1922. In the 1920s and 1930s hospitals began expanding in America, and nurses were essential for these hospitals to function. Forward-thinking Skidmore provided nurses to the growing field. 

This project was created as both a remembrance and celebration of the Skidmore College Nursing Department, along with the individuals who made this department what it was.

-- Grace Heath, '19

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Skidmore Retiree Oral History Project

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Renato Donato ('18) interviews Leo Geoggrion The Skidmore Retiree Oral History Project collects and archives the stories of faculty and staff who worked at the College in the second half of the 20th century. This collection contains a rich tapestry of stories about the many facets of life and work at liberal arts college in this time period. Hear about such topics as the social unrest in the late 60's, the financial crisis weathered by the college at mid-century, the intellectual and teaching climate, and the impact of technology on the workplace.

At right, retirees are listed by the decade in which they joined the Skidmore community. To hear their stories, click on a retiree’s name to hear an interview audiofile and read a brief description of the interview contents, among other items.

If you are a Skidmore retiree, we'd love to hear from you.  If you are interested in participating in this project as either an interviewee or interviewer, please contact

Evolution of Beekman Street


History of Beekman Street, Evolution, Artists Identity/roles, the future

Stories of Beekman street community members who tell us of how Beekman exists today in a 21st century context as an ever-shifting piece of Saratoga Springs. This exhibit explores the artists and other members interaction and relationship with the Arts District since its inception to the 2008 recession to today in 2016. This includes the challenges that artists working on Beekman street are facing today, as well as other communities, including the untold narratives of some who may be excluded in Saratoga Springs. Specifically, one of the interviewees during this project gave insights to the intentional exclusion by the greater Saratoga community of the Black Elk’s Lodge as an openly proud, pro-Black organization. Funding for this lodge has continued to decline because of discrimination, and combined with the economic decline of the country at the end of the 2000’s, many of the lodge’s core functions have deteriorated.

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The Flurry Festival


The Flurry Festival is a three day music and dance Festival that takes place in Saratoga Springs in February. It was founded in 1988 by Paul Rosenberg. The festival holds workshops, performances, dances, and jam sessions in the city center and throughout the town. The Flurry first started as a dance festival for contradancing but has expanded to musicians and spans all genres of music and dance as well as encompasing family friendly events such as storytelling.

The MDocs Storytelling Intertviewing class wanted to record the memories of long time Flurry Festival participants and the directors behind the festval. We explored the intitial years of the festival in the Guilderland Central School District in New York and the move to the City Center at Saratoga Springs as well as how the festival has changed over the years. We recorded favorite memories as well as historical changes the festival went through. 

The title picture is from the 2016 Flurry Festival poster, created by the Flurry Dance Organization.


Harry T. Burleigh: A Commemoration


An exhibition in honor of the 150h anniversary of the birth of African-American baritone and composer Harry T. Burleigh, prepared by the Music Department at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with attention to the singer's time in the Spa City.


Explanatory Text, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"
Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Harry T. Burleigh, 1917

Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries

The plantation songs known as “spirituals” are the spontaneous outbursts of intense religious fervor, and had their origin chiefly in camp meetings, revivals and other religious exercises.  …. It is a serious misconception of their meaning and value to treat them as “minstrel” songs, or to try to make them funny by a too literal attempt to imitate the manner of the Negro in singing them….
Their worth is weakened unless they are done impressively, for through all these songs there breathes a hope, a faith in the ultimate justice and brotherhood of man…. The message is ever manifest that eventually deliverance from all that hinders and oppresses the soul will come, and man—every man—will be free. 

-- Harry T. Burleigh, 1917

Chinese in Saratoga

The Saratoga Chinese Oral History Project investigates and documents the history and experiences of Chinese immigration and residency in the town of Saratoga Springs, NY, and presents the outcome through the multimedia website including sound, photography, mapping and writing.

Saratoga华人口述历史计划旨在研究华人移民并定居于纽约上州Saratoga Springs的历史与个人经历,与此同时采用多媒体(录音、摄影、地图信息与写作)的纪录形式来呈现这段故事。


• Oral History
• Immigration
• Chinese 
• Chinese American
• Local
• Culture

This project was undertaken by Evian Pan in Summer 2015, and later presented at the New York State History Conference in November 2015.


The Golden Age Club and Senior Center of Saratoga, 1955-2016


Sixty Years Young Poster In November 2015, the Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga celebrated its 60th anniversary.  How the Center started, who has been involved in it and what it takes to make it work are all revealed in images, articles, minutes and other documents saved over the years.

From 2014-2016, Skidmore College's MDOCS program turned these documents into an archive, finding stories collected as Sixty Years Young in a video and brochure presented at the Gala celebrating the anniversary and in an exhibition presented at the gala in 2015, at Skidmore and at the Center in 2017. 

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Oral Histories


Anne Palamountain interview with Eileen McAdam, October 2014 Many people who have worked or studied at Skidmore College or lived in Saratoga Springs or the surrounding area carry the memories that help us tell the stories of our communities. 

Our oral history collection offers a glimpse of the past via College retirees, alumni and Saratogians, in the voices of those who have shared their stories.

Recent oral history interviews tell the story of the Spa City's Flurry Festival and Beekman Street, now an arts district.

A separate exhibit, Encuentros, explores the experiences of Latnx students at Skidmore.

This site will also host podcasts and audio documentaries that draw on our Saratoga and Skidmore memories. for their storytelling.

To listen to some digitized recordings conducted by Skidmore students in the 1970s and 1980s, check out Scribner Library's digital collection.

Anne Palamountain interview with Eileen McAdam, October 2014.


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Encuentros: Latinxs in the United States

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(Please scroll down for English.)

Bienvenidas/os al sitio del Proyecto de Encuentros de Skidmore College, organizado por los estudiantes en HI 251C (La Historia de Latinxs* en los EE.UU.), 2017.  

El Encuentro es una exploración de las experiencias y perspectivas de Latinxs en nuestras vidas: parientes, amigxs, vecinxs, y colegas. Después de pasar los últimos meses explorando las historias de conquista, migración, aculturación, resistencia, y la construcción de una identidad latina multi-étnica, hemos usado este proyecto como oportunidad de tomar medida de lo que hemos aprendido y compararlo a las realidades vividas por la gente en nuestras comunidades.

Nuestro proyecto incluye entrevistas formales y semiestructuradas con Latinxs en los EE.UU., trabajos a fondo que analizan el contenido de esas entrevistas, y este sitio web, que presenta las entrevistas al lado de una selección de entrevistas pasadas que iluminan varios temáticas particulares. Esperamos que esta colección de selecciones empieza a iluminar no sólo las experiencias de la gente que habla, pero también en las varias décadas de la historia - lo que Gramsci llamaría "procesos históricos" - que han dejado sus huellas en nuestras comunidades y su gente.

Queríamos agradecer al personal del John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (MDOCS) por su ayuda en concebir y llevar a cabo este proyecto. Más que nada, agradecemos a las personas que dieron su consentimiento a ser entrevistadas y a compartir sus historias con los demás. Gracias.

Kate Paarlberg-Kvam, Facultad de Historia

* La palabra "Latinx" refiere a las personas de herencia latinoamericana en los EE.UU. El "x" sustituye la "o" o la "a," y elimina las categorías de género de la palabra. Haga clic aquí para aprender más.


Welcome to the home of the Skidmore Encuentro Project, hosted by the students in HI 251C (History of Latinxs* in the United States), Spring 2017.

The Encuentro, or encounter, is an exploration of the experiences and perspectives of Latinxs in our lives: family members, friends, fellow students, neighbors, and co-workers. After spending the past few months exploring histories of conquest, migration, acculturation, resistance, and the construction of a pan-ethnic Latinx identity, we have used this project as an opportunity to take what we have learned and measure it against the lived realities of people in our communities.

Our project includes formal, semistructured interviews with Latinxs in the United States, in-depth papers analyzing the content of those interviews, and this website, which presents the interviews in their entirety (along with selections from past interviews which are curated to illuminate four particular themes). We hope that this collection of interview clips begins to shed light not only on the experiences of the speakers, but on the many decades of history – what Gramsci would call “historical processes” – that have left their marks on our communities and their people.

We would like to thank the staff at the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (MDOCS) for their help in conceiving of and carrying out this project. Most of all, we are grateful to the people who agreed to be interviewed and to share their stories publically. Thank you.

Kate Paarlberg-Kvam, 
Department of History

*The term “Latinx” is an adjective referring to people of Latin American descent in the United States. The “x” replaces an “a” or an “o,” removing categories of gender from the word. To learn more, click here.

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Saratoga Springs in 250 Years of Maps


by L. Dejnoszka, ca. 1950 On April 17, 1915 the Village and Town of Saratoga Springs were incorporated as the City of Saratoga Springs. To mark the city's centennial, this exhibit tells the rich story of Saratoga Springs through its maps and plans.

The exhibition explores cartography in Saratoga Springs by following some of the ideas they convey.  First, maps reveal the extent of Saratoga Springs, revealing the territory and administrative districts that formed the town, village and later city of Saratoga Springs since 1819.  Additional themes include:

  • The community's changing interests and fortunes come to life in a map-based history that chronicles 250 years in 16 maps.
  • Map stories also bring into focus what visitors and residents care about.  Civic life activities from schools and voting to parades and recreation make it onto the map. Transportation and tourism come alive as routes and attractions starting with the area’s emergence as a small settlement based around mineral springs in the late eighteenth century. The best laid plans come alive on urban development maps, even if they not every one gets implemented.
  • The exhibit zooms in on several map stories:

Today, Saratogians use historical maps to build our own maps drawing geographical data and other information (such as building location and changing public space) to understand how the Spa City has grown and changed over time.

For a brief overview of the exhibition, please see our brochure and tri-fold.  An online photo gallery offers a virtual visit showcasing the exhibit as it hangs in the Saratoga Springs History Museum.

Saratoga Springs & Saratoga, 1840


This exhibit opened at the

on April 14, 2015 and remained open until December 2015.   This exhibit is supported by the Alfred Z. Solomon Trust and JIMAPCO.









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