Historian’s Tale talk puts focus on Civil War era photography

Sunday, January 27, 2013 9:30 am 
By Ben Beagle

BATAVIA – Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., hosted two talks related to this year’s “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project.

The Civil War is featured prominently in Peter Troy’s epic novel, “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You,” and provided the theme for the talks.

On Saturday, Mark Osterman, a photographic process historian at George Eastman House, Rochester, discussed early photography of the Civil War era during an illustrated lecture. He talked about studios, equipment, chemical processes and the challenges – and dangers – of capturing images during the Civil War era.

Osterman teaches worldwide on the collodion process, a wet plate process, commonly used to make photographic images during the Civil War.

On Jan. 22, Pembroke Central School teacher Greg Kinal delivered a talk on “Lincoln, Gettysburg and the Civil War.” About 70 people attended the program which highlighted Lincoln’s Civil War years. The talk ended with the president’s assassination, which Kinal, says remains one of the great murder mysteries of American History. Kinal has lead more than 40 student trips to Gettysburg and Washington, D.C.

Additional talks are planned in February:

  • Lynne Belluscio, curator of the Le Roy Historical Society, will talk about the active Underground Railroad movement in Genesee County that helped escaping slaves make their way to freedom in Canada. Her presentation begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 4.
  • Kinal is also scheduled to present a second program focusing on immigration Feb. 26 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Rd. The talk begins at 12:30 p.m. in Room T119B of the Conable Technology Building. The presentation, expected to last 90 minutes, focuses on the reasons for European immigration to the United States between 1906 and 1920, the voyage to America and the settlement of immigrants in their new homeland, with a special focus on the Irish immigration of 1840 to1865 that was prompted by a potato blight that caused extensive famine. He will also share historic photographs of tenement life while concluding with a look at the contributions immigrants have made to America.

Admission to all Tale events and programs is free.

Book discussions at participating Tale libraries begin Feb. 11 at Yates Community Library, Lyndonville, and are scheduled through March 6.

Readers are also encouraged to enter the Tale for Three Counties writing contest, which has as its prize a lunch with the author. Rules and an entry form will be published in print editions of The Daily News.

Other Tale events include a Tale Book Fair the week of Feb. 11 at the four independent bookstores in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. A portion of purchases made at Present Tense, Batavia; Bindings Bookstore, Albion; The Book Shoppe, Medina; and Burlingham Books, Perry; will be donated to the Tale program.

Also, O’Lacy’s, 5 School St., Batavia, is hosting a fundraiser for Tale from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 24. Tickets are $15 in advance.

Tale author Troy will visit March 7 to 9 for a talk and booksigning in each county.

Copies of “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” are available for purchase and loan from area libraries. Library book sales support the Tale program.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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