Archives for Local History

People & Stories Oral History Project: Jazz Fest 2016 Pt. 3

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with ArtsWestchester, The City of White Plains, and the White Plains Business Improvement District on White Plains Jazz Fest 2016! Below is a third set of clips from the People & Stories Oral History Project. Each of the clips below includes stories and music from musicians who live locally, but have performed all over the world. Tom Van Buren, of ArtsWestchester, co-produced the interviews. Check out the Jazz Fest 2016 webpage for tickets and more information about all the great music happening September 20-25, 2016 in White Plains. Here’s a link to our
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Jazz Fest 2016 Pt. 2

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with ArtsWestchester, The City of White Plains and the White Plains Business Improvement District on White Plains Jazz Fest 2016! Below is a second set of clips from the People & Stories Oral History Project. Each of the clips below includes stories and music from musicians who live locally, but have performed all over the world. Tom Van Buren, of ArtsWestchester, co-produced the interviews. Check out the Jazz Fest 2016 webpage for tickets and more information about all the great music happening September 20-25, 2016 in White Plains. Here's a link to our
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Jazz Fest 2016 Pt. 1

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with ArtsWestchester, The City of White Plains and the White Plains Business Improvement District on White Plains Jazz Fest 2016! Below is a special set of clips from the People & Stories Oral History Project. Each of the clips below includes stories and music from musicians who live locally, but have performed all over the world. Tom Van Buren, of ArtsWestchester, co-produced the interviews. Check out the Jazz Fest 2016 webpage for tickets and more information about all the great music happening September 20-25, 2016 in White Plains. Bob Baldwin (keyboardist, composer, producer,
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Kenny Lee

We are grateful to start our collaboration with White Plains Jazz Fest and ArtsWestchester on a good note–with an oral history by Kenny Lee, whose life and music are important parts of White Plains history. Lee is known to different people for different things. Some know him as a trumpet player and band leader of the Kenny Lee All Stars. Others know him as a detective with the White Plains Police Department. Lee was born in White Plains and, taking after his father, started playing trumpet at an early age. He played in the White Plains Schools in the jazz
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: YWCA GEMS

People & Stories was thrilled when Rhonda Brooks and Candi Poinsette, of the YWCA, reached out to collaborate on an oral history project about the history of the GEMS. GEMS stands for “Girls Empowered Through Meaningful Support” and has existed in one form or another for over 40 years in White Plains. GEMS strives to assist girls in the White Plains community in becoming self-reliant, competent, caring and healthy. It does so by providing relevant engaging activities in the areas of cultural awareness, health and wellness, college and careers, and self-esteem. Current members of GEMS met with alumni to learn
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Lord Judah & JCA

This is the first time People & Stories is presenting a produced oral history, and it's for a good reason. Lord Judah is the artist behind H.I.P.H.O.P., which stands for Highly Intelligent People Healing Our Planet. H.I.P.H.O.P. is many things. It's a philosophy for engaging with social issues, a mobile-teaching unit, and an artistic collective. H.I.P.H.O.P. is combining music with a social justice mission through teaching workshops with young people and support for local artists. Lord Judah and JCA mix their personal stories about coming up in White Plains with insights about how to find a place as an artist
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

White Plains History Roundtable on 5/18 @ 7:00 PM

Join us to learn about how World War II affected people in White Plains, view historical materials, and listen to two special guests discuss their experiences of World War II and the Holocaust. Peter Somogyi, of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center's Speakers' Bureau, and Barney Mayrsohn, a local Jewish veteran of World War II, will be our special guests. The Roundtable will last from 7:00 to 8:30. The White Plains History Roundtable is an educational, participatory, and social event where attendees hear a presentation on a historical topic, examine primary source documents from the White Plains Collection, and
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Categories: Local History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Renee Cohen

Renee Cohen has things to say about White Plains. If you've read any of the newspapers or voted in any elections since the mid-1970s, chances are you've encountered Renee. In this oral history she describes coming to White Plains in 1967, her choice to live an environmentally-conscious life, and the many civic projects she's been a part of. Asked what she would like to see more of in the city, she said, “I just like a mix.” Her perspective as a frequent, long-time pedestrian in the city is insightful–if you usually drive through White Plains, Renee will make you think
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: The Mosleys

Brandon Mosley took the question posed by television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” seriously and set out to discover how he came to be in White Plains. His mother told him stories about his great-aunt's successful cosmetic company in Harlem, his grandfather's influential role in White Plains public schools, and his great-grandfather's life as a preacher in North Carolina–and he discovered many more. He wrote a history of his mother's (Marcia's) side of the family in The Tree That Shades Me, which he self-published. In their oral history, Brandon talks about the process of discovering his family's history
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

White Plains Trivia Night: March 30 @ 6 PM

Join us on Wednesday, March 30, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM for the first White Plains Trivia Night, the March edition of the White Plains History Roundtable. We will have food, White Plains history-based trivia, and prizes. No prior experience with or knowledge of White Plains history is necessary! You can come with a team of 4-6 people or come solo and we will put you with a team. Everyone from newcomers to longtime residents will be able to participate, learn something, and possibly win…. In the mean time, brush up on your local history with visits to our local
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Categories: Events and Local History.

Curiosity Cabinet: Postcards

Ever wondered what the high school on Main Street looked like? What about a greeting card from Nepal? Swing by the exhibit case on our second floor and see a small sample of Marjory S.'s postcard collection in our Curiosity Cabinet. Marjory is a lifelong resident of White Plains and have over 1,000 postcards in her collection. Many were sent to her from all over the world by friends, family, and (especially) colleagues from work. She also brought in some vintage White Plains cards to share, which we have supplemented with vintage postcards from the White Plains Collection.    
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Categories: Local History.

Street Maps and Family Pictures

The local history community in White Plains has been busy over the past few months! We are proud to share the Streets of White Plains, an interactive map created by Cliff Blau that explains the history of many street names in our city. Cliff thoroughly plumbed the White Plains Collection at the Library, then doggedly followed leads to the County Clerk's Office and beyond. View the map on our Atlases and Maps page and use the share button to show it to friends or family! Back in December, we had a Community History Day where we scanned photographs, documents, or
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Categories: Local History.

People & Stories Goes National!

Kevin Tidmarsh and Saahil Desai, students at Pomona College in California, investigate the stories of early students of color at their school in the first episode of Hidden Pomona, “Stranger In A Strange Land.” Drawing on Leola Bryant's oral history in our People & Stories Collection, Tidmarsh and Desai chronicle the impact White Plains native and Pomona alumnus Eileen Johnson had on the lives of African-Americans.
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Dennis Polanco

Probably known to most White Plains residents as “Mr. Polanco,” since that is what students in his English classes at White Plains High School call him, Dennis Polanco is in fact much more than a teacher. He is a father, musician, and community leader who has great insights into our city.
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Categories: Español, Local History, and Oral History.

History, Art, & Community

People have been using our White Plains Collection and local history programs to create some great projects lately! Students from a Community Design class at Purchase College taught by Warren Lehrer partnered with the White Plains Business Improvement District and the Library to create designs for poems written by Judith Sloan. Art In Vacant Spaces can be seen filling the windows of storefronts along Court Street, Martine Avenue, Main Street, and Mamaroneck Avenue. Inspiration for the poems was drawn in part from historic photographs in the White Plains Collections (check some out online!) and oral histories from People & Stories.
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Categories: Local History.

A Sense of Place: Research Workshop

January's edition of the White Plains History Roundtable will be A Sense of Place: Research Workshop on Wednesday, January 20, from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM. Ever wondered what the layers of history and human experience are that combine to create White Plains? Join Librarian Ben Himmelfarb and student of White Plains history Cliff Blau to learn how to research the history of any address, building, business, house, or spot in White Plains. Maps, directories, photographs, and online resources from the White Plains Collection will be available for everyone to use. Come prepared with a favorite place to research and
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Categories: Events and Local History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Peter Stone

In this interview, Peter Stone and interviewer Rod Carlson show us what People & Stories is all about. Stone has been in White Plains since September 1950. He grew up in a house his family built in North White Plains and, when he was a kid, walked the five miles into downtown. White Plains' rich ethnic mix made a strong impression on him. Stone served as Chairman of the Humans Rights Commission from 1995 to 2008 and also worked as a management consultant in freight transportation. He describes himself as a “middle class, happily married grandfather viewing the world as
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Kevin Doherty

Kevin Doherty grew up in White Plains as part of the post-WW II baby boom, a group that, in his words, “causes problems wherever we go.”  Doherty has done much more than just cause problems though-he raised a family in White Plains and spent many years as an educator with BOCES.  A member of Union Hook & Ladder and a blues aficionado, Doherty also has strong connections to fascinating political and cultural strands of White Plains history.
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.

Everyone’s a Historian: Community History Day

At White Plains Public Library, we believe in sharing historical authority with the community.  So last Saturday, we created a space in which everyone was a historian.  No one person has a monopoly on the past and no single narrative could possibly tell all our stories.  We all have knowledge of the past, it's just a matter of sharing and using it! Several community members brought items from their personal collections to be digitized and added to our online collection.  We had a diverse group of people, from life-long White Plains residents to current and past members of government to
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Categories: Local History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Shirley Acevedo Buontempo

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, Founder and Executive Director of Latino U College Access, is People & Stories' first multi-lingual oral history!  Below are interviews conducted by Ben Himmelfarb and Mariel Perez–one in English, one in Spanish. In both interviews, Buontempo discusses emigrating from Puerto Rico to the Bronx at age ten.  Education and service have always been important to Buontempo, and when she attended Pace University she was introduced to White Plains (through trips to the Galleria!).  She had a career in advertising focused on reaching Latino people, and developed an interest in connecting Latino youth with higher education through her
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Categories: Local History and Oral History.