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The History Center blog shares research and findings about local history, excerpts from the History Center Archives, information about upcoming exhibits and other opportunities on how to get involved with The History Center in Tompkins County. To learn more or view the archival materials mentioned, visit us in downtown Ithaca, follow us on social media @TompkinsHistory, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter History Happenings

New & Noteworthy Collections

Wed, May 24, 2023 12:59 PM | Anonymous

New & Noteworthy Collections

There are several different kinds of archival collections at The History Center. Most consist of materials that document a particular history, such as letters of a local family, or business records of a local industry. Sometimes we receive something we call a research collection. These are compilations put together by a researcher who has studied a specific local topic and preserved the materials this work has generated. They often include copies of articles and notes, photographs and other reference materials that researchers rely on in their work.  These donations are very useful, because it helps us avoid the need to go over research ground that has already been well-trodden. And when the researcher is a noteworthy historian, then we are especially grateful.

We just received a collection of such material from recently retired Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen. She did extensive research over many years on women from Tompkins County and the surrounding area who served as nurses during the Civil War. Women such as Sophronia Bucklin from Ithaca, or Julia Cook from Dryden were pioneers in serving where women were often not wanted at a time when they were not allowed to work in the dangerous environment of a theater of war. Kammen's research materials include her notes on each of these women, highlighting the sources she used in her work. The collection also contains several books and articles that she relied upon as well.
Carol Kammen was appointed as Tompkins County Historian in June 2000 and fostered local history through numerous projects and initiatives. She wrote several books on various aspects of the history of the county, including suffrage and the history of local African Americans. She founded and chaired the Municipal Historians of Tompkins County, an active and productive group who collaborated on many local history initiatives. She also served as co-chair of the Civil War Commemoration Commission, of the Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission, and in 2018 chair of the Tompkins County Historical Commission. She retired in 2022.

For further questions or to make an appointment to visit the research library email

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