Archives for white plains history

August History Roundtable: Affordable Housing

Join the Librarian for White Plains History and a panel of local housing advocates for the White Plains History Roundtable on Wednesday, August 26th, at 7:00 pm. August’s Roundtable is called Affordable Housing: Past, Present, and Future. The Roundtable is an educational, participatory, and social event where participants learn about events from White Plains' past, examine primary source materials from the White Plains Collection, and engage in discussion with others.
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Categories: Events and History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Cecilia Bikkal

Cecilia Bikkal has called lots of places “home” around the world, but has been in White Plains since the 1980s. In this oral history, recorded in her office overlooking the corner of Hamilton and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Bikkal shares her personal story and her perspective on White Plains. Bikkal came to White Plains on the day the Galleria opened, and went to work for the County Clerk in the 1980s. She became a lawyer after intending to be an architect. Through her place on the Zoning Board of Appeals and work as a lawyer specializing in immigration,
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Al Surya Peterson

Al Surya Peterson has deep roots in the White Plains area and is a knowledgeable and ardent proponent of black history in Westchester County. His grandfather came to work on the Rockefeller Estate in the early 20th century and settled on land owned by a former slave on Saxon Woods Road. In this oral history, Peterson describes growing up in a close-knit black community on the White Plains-Scarsdale border. Although he attended school in Scarsdale, he spent (and continues to spend) lots of time in White Plains. He visited family and friends here during his childhood, was the first African-American
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Lee Palmer

Lee Palmer and the White Plains Public Library are inseparable.  Lee has worked at the library in one way or another since 1966.  After Lee took a class on storytelling at the library in the mid-1960s, a librarian hired her to be a children's storyteller.  In this oral history, you can hear her enthusiasm for that job and the library's central place in White Plains.  Lee also discusses her reasons for moving to White Plains, her reasons for staying, and the fulfillment she gets from her current work as a Friend of the Library.
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Leola Bryant

Leola Bryant sat down with Teddy Lee and Ben Himmelfarb to record this oral history.  Bryant's memory and wit are crisp, and her stories about White Plains are highly informative. She recalls life for children in downtown White Plains and the distinct geographic and ethnic character of the neighborhoods. Bryant is especially insightful about how segregation and discrimination affected black citizens of White Plains. Although she recalls being discriminated against in her job, she feels the schools were free from the prejudice that affected so many other areas of her life. Eileen Johnson, daughter of a White Plains doctor, was
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: The Landrys and Connie Brown

Bob and Lucille Landry, joined by Connie Brown, recorded this oral history at the White Plains Public Library. Bob and Lucille are both lifelong White Plains residents who discuss everything from their education and professional involvements in White Plains to how they met (you'll have to listen to find out).  All three belong to the Westchester Hills Golf Club.  To accompany their oral history, the Landrys donated a number of pictures and documents.
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Teddy Lee, Jr.

Theodore Jay Lee, Jr., better known as Teddy, is the owner of Lee's Funeral Home and a lifelong resident of White Plains. His father, Theodore Jay Lee, Sr., migrated north from Virginia, became a licensed undertaker, and began working in Westchester County. In the late 1920s, Lee Sr. moved to White Plains and opened a funeral home at 57 Brookfield Street. Lee remembers the pride and integrity with which his father operated the business, helping people with personal problems or their taxes in addition to funeral arrangements. Lee vividly recalls life for children in downtown White Plains during the 1930s
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: John Kirkpatrick

As a city planner, lawyer, and common council member, John Kirkpatrick has a studied perspective on the City of White Plains. Originally from Alabama, Kirkpatrick remembers deciding to live in White Plains with his wife because they were attracted by the “ferment in culture” the diverse population creates. Always an active citizen, Kirkpatrick contributed to city comprehensive plans and continues to pay attention to the (sometimes small, sometimes big) details that ensure the development of White Plains creates a warm, accessible, pedestrian-friendly environment. With his nuanced perspective on the past, civic engagement in the present, and informed vision for the
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Julie Cohan

Julie Cohan moved to White Plains when he was 14, and has lived in White Plains ever since. He recalls growing up in the Gedney Farm neighborhood, getting involved in the insurance business, and spending much of his career traveling between White Plains and Albany working in New York State government. Hav-A-Snak, Cohan's coffee shop, was on Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains during the 1950s and 1960s. While we were recording, Greta Cohan, joined us and shared some stories of her own about life in White Plains.
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Brian Wallach

In the first oral history recorded for People & Stories, consummate storyteller and long-time White Plains resident Brian Wallach shares his memories and perspective.  This oral history was recorded at the offices of the Brian Wallach Agency. Wallach grew up just south of the city line in Scarsdale and remembered his mother's work in the real estate business in that area- including a story about her most famous client, Al Jolson.  He also spoke about changes in White Plains' physical and social landscape during his lifetime.  As a founding member of White Plains Beautification Foundation, much of Wallach's service to
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Isabel Villar

Isabel Villar is the Executive Director of El Centro Hispano, an organization that supports the Hispanic Community in White Plains. She is also a longtime resident of White Plains, arriving from Cuba in the late-1960s. In this oral history, Villar describes the experience of being a Hispanic immigrant in White Plains. She tells stories about her first educational and professional experiences, and reflects on the character of Hispanic immigrants in White Plains. Villar’s story is one from among over 17,000 Hispanic people in White Plains and is a great way to begin to gain a sense of what life is
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Milton Hoffman

During his 86 years, Milton Hoffman was an important presence in White Plains. Hoffman grew up in White Plains and recalls what life was like for kids in the city in this oral history. He also recounts experiences from his 50 years in the newspaper business in White Plains, where his reporting on politics earned him respect from people throughout the county and state. This oral history is in two parts- after the first interview concluded, Hoffman began recounting the history of White Plains' Jewish community, and the recorder was turned back on to capture more of his insightful perspective.
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Harry Bright

People & Stories is the oral history project of the White Plains Public Library. People & Stories seeks to record and share the voices of people who have lived or worked in White Plains. The project functions by pairing interviewers with storytellers from the community. If you are interested in becoming an interviewer, we have our first training event on Saturday, April 18, from 10:30 am- 12:00 pm at the Library. Harry Bright's work as an educator took him around the world, from Cambodia to Europe, and, of course, to White Plains. Bright worked as a teacher and coach at
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Categories: History and Oral History.