Save America’s Treasures Spotlight: The Sketchbook of Carrie Woodford

As we work on our Save America’s Treasures Project, we’ll showcase items we’ve scanned, carefully repackaged with archival products, or discovered within the collection here.

January, 2023: Using our new overhead scanner, we scanned a delicate sketchbook from the 1800’s that belonged to Carrie Woodford.  Her name appears inside the front cover, C.A. Woodford.  She is the daughter of CR and Harriet Woodford, and lived from 1857-1921. Carrie is the youngest of six children, and according to Janet Carville, one of our favorite Avon residents, she “was the “housekeeper”, as the others had either died or gone on with their professions. She was a brilliant artist, but never sold her paintings as far as Janet knows. 

Peruse Carrie Woodford’s sketchbook by clicking here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Avon Library receives a Save America’s Treasures Grant, in the amount of $50,016

Left to right: Michael Howser and Greg Colatti, CT Digital Archive; Rob Berman, Avon Library Board member; Lisa Berman, Friends of the Avon Library President; Donna Gianini, Avon Library Board member; Joan Resikin, Vice President, Friends of the Avon Library; Tina Panik, Reference & Adult Services Manager, Avon Library; Heddy Panik, Avon Historical Society Board member and history room volunteer; CT U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal; Glenn Grube, Avon Library Director; State Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw; Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society President; Nora Howard, Town Historian; Brandon Robertson, Avon Town Manager; Barbara Ausiello, Avon Town Council.

Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut State Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw visited the Avon Free Public Library today (10/17/22) to congratulate them for their 2022 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Save America’s Treasures Grant. This grant, in the amount of $50,016, will cover a two year project, beginning in November 2022.  This award is part of $24.25 million in Save America’s Treasures grants to fund 80 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia.  Save America’s Treasures, funded through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), provided $356 million to more than 1,326 projects between 1999 and 2020. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, these grants have leveraged more than $500 million in private investment and contributed more than 16,000 jobs to local and state economies. 

The Avon Free Public Library will use this federal grant to preserve and digitize objects relevant to the agrarian history of Avon. Their existing collection consists of 298 linear feet of historical material and includes cataloged books, as well a map cabinet with over 276 geographic maps. Nearly 20,000 items have been digitized for the CT Digital Archive .  This two year project will focus on digitizing collections of the Avon HIstorical Society from the National Register’s  Pine Grove Historic District consisting of four 19th-century farmsteads, a late 18th century house, and a restored Gothic Revival schoolhouse, and the separate National Register’s Avon Congregational Church, designed by local architect David Hoadley. 

This agrarian grouping is representative of Avon, Connecticut’s history, as reflected in the artifacts held within the archives, which contain ledgers, tools, clothing, household items, and photos from the Thompson and Woodford families who settled this area. The Woodford farm was established in 1666 and is one of the oldest farms still operating in Connecticut. Other names associated with Avon’s dairy, poultry, and tobacco farms were Alsop, Buckland, Colton, Delbon, Distin, Gold, Silver, Stone, Strong, Thompson, Watson, Westerman, and Viti.  

Farms, mills, blacksmith shops, taverns and dry goods stores began to punctuate Avon’s landscape during the mid 19th century. In the heart of this historic district is the Pine Grove Schoolhouse, built in 1865, which remained in use until 1949. The students and families from West Avon’s Pine Grove area comprise the majority of this project. Their photos, ledgers, journals, land deeds, books, household items, tools, and ephemera showcase the connections between residents and detail daily life during this era. 

 “The goal of this project is to connect all of the artifacts within our collection digitally, so that patrons and researchers can experience 24/7 access to Avon’s complete story as they explore life in the 19th century,” said Tina Panik, Project Director. 

The federal grant will expand the organization’s capacity by hiring an archivist to help assess, organize, store and digitize approximately 1,000 items from the Avon Historical Society’s collection, integrating access to materials within both the library and historical society’s collections.  

“These 1,000 items need professional archival assessment, storage, conservation, and digitization. These artifacts are temporarily housed in a climate controlled storage facility, as their home location, Schoolhouse #3, is in the process of a renovation, making this the perfect time to complete the work,” said Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society President. 

Glenn Grube, Avon Library Director and Grant Administrator added, “The same dozen or so names populate our archives throughout the 1800-1900s, framing Avon as a New England town with a deeply interconnected social history.  Previously neglected from our archive projects, this segment of Avon’s history that incorporates the Pine Grove Historical District and Avon Congregational Church deserves our attention, preservation, and digitization focus.” 

Those interested in loaning items for scanning or donating items from the agrarian history of Avon to enhance the collections of the Avon Free Public Library or the Avon Historical Society can email historyroom@avonctlibrary.info for further instruction. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)  is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov 

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A Real Giving Tree Story!

During the 2021 replacement of the geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at Avon Free Public Library, several trees had to be cut down on the library grounds, including the beautiful maple tree pictured here.

photo of maple tree

Now in 2022, that tree has returned to the library in the form of two benches and a conference table.  Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of Avon Library who funded this project, and the talent of Ted Esselstyn and the team at City Bench, the wood from two maple trees was milled, dried, and used to create this beautiful furniture!

A “live edge” bench in the library’s Gallery

An eight foot long table in the first floor conference room

A “waterfall” bench in the library’s Gallery (since relocated to the Children’s & Teen Services floor)

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New collection in our digital archives: the William J. Huebner, Jr. papers

The Avon Free Public Library is pleased to announce a new donation to its digital archives: the letters, articles, and photos of veteran William (Bill)  J. Huebner, Jr., as curated by his daughter, Holly Huebner Ryan. The Avon Library will retain the digital scans of this collection, as Bill’s original typed onion skin and handwritten letters from Korea along with pictures will become part of the Library of Congress collections. This Huebner digital collection, including a full biography, joins over 20,000 items of Avon’s history that are available on the CT Digital Archive. The Huebner collection can be viewed at https://ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/150002%3A23288

Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) interviewed Bill as part of the Library of Congress/American Folklife Center/Veterans History Project. The interview and transcript can be viewed at https://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.18710. His letters are also on the Korean War Educator website, http://www.koreanwar-educator.org/memoirs/huebner_william/index.htm In addition to his letters home, some stories were taken from this oral interview and others were documented in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3372, Avon, CT Military Service History, which is available at the Avon Free Public Library.

William (Bill) J. Huebner, Jr. was proud a veteran of World War II (WWII) and the Korean War (Conflict).  In WWII he was member of the 595th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion in the South Pacific.  During the Korean War he was in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division as the Training, Information & Education (TI&E), Public Information Officer. He soon became the US Army Correspondent reporting on the operations of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. His articles were published in the Stars and Stripes, the Army Frontline newspaper, The Providence Journal (Rhode Island), The Publishers’ Auxiliary, and other local newspapers.

After the war Bill worked for the Hartford Times (a Connecticut newspaper) as a reporter and editor for 24 years. As a reporter he covered the development of the Apollo Project and rocket development in California and other states.  He covered the advent of commercial and military jet aviation in the U.S. and Europe.  He received several writing awards as a reporter.  He then took a position as the Director of Public Affairs for the Connecticut Construction Industries Association for 18 years before retiring.

Bill’s love of writing continued after retirement as a Ghost Writer for several organizations.  Bill left more typed fascinating stories of his experiences in WWII and Korea but due to the secrecy of some of his missions and his work with Psyops and Intelligence they cannot be fully verified by his family as all names were in code.  Bill and “His Honey”, Janice, had two daughters and two grandchildren.  They divorced after 25 years of marriage.  Bill remarried several years later.  Bill passed away on January 18, 2010 in Avon, CT.

Questions about this collection can be directed to Tina Panik, c/o Avon Free Public Library, 860-673-9712 ext 7235, tpanik@avonctlibrary.info or Holly Ryan, 860-205-9855, h.ryan@comcast.net.

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The Potential Is All Mine – presented by the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce

The Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce and the Avon Free Public Library are pleased to offer business-oriented presentations free for interested area professionals.

Ever wonder why some individuals overachieve? Ever ponder why some individuals underachieve? There are certain things we cannot control; but Learning Not to Give Up, Having A Positive Mindset, A Clear Purpose, a Focus On Your Goals, and Hard Work are all traits that can lead to greater achievement.

In this presentation we will explore:

  • Ways To Maximize Potential
  • How To Utilize An Athletic Mentality In Everyday Life
  • How To View Accomplishments In A New Manner
  • Does Speed Slow You Down?
  • The Control Mentality

Presented by Dr. Brian Magna, DPT, Magna Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center

Stream the presentation here.

View the PowerPoint presentation here.

Visit the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce website.

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Time Strategies to Maximize Your Profits – presented by the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce

The Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce and the Avon Free Public Library are pleased to offer business-oriented presentations free for interested area professionals.

Time is invaluable to most of us; but no matter how you decide to allocate your time there are only so many hours in a day. Recognizing the importance of effective time management is one way to relieve some of the stress that comes with either running or working for a business, and will help make it easier for you to accomplish your tasks and rise through the ranks.

In this program we will explore:

  • Prioritizing the Tasks that Generate the Most Profitability For Your Business
  • Getting Control of Your Time & Your Business
  • Creating Systems and Efficiencies in Your Business
  • Increasing the Productivity & Profitablility of Your Team Members
  • Marketing Your Business to Attract Employees That Stay With You

Presented by David Olchowski, Owner & President, Acadia ActionCOACH

Stream the presentation by clicking here.

Visit the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce website.

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Stress Management for Business Owners and Their Employees – presented by the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce

The Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce and the Avon Free Public Library are pleased to offer business-oriented presentations free for interested area professionals.

Stress is a common occurrence in the workplace — deadlines, endless paperwork, cranky customers/clients, meetings that drag on for hours — all can contribute to making us feel stressed at work.  But the real key is how we respond to and manage these demands as to whether we become overwhelmed or are energized.

In this program we will explore:

  • What Is Stress
  • How Does Stress Become Chronic and Lead To Disease
  • How Can Unmanaged Stress Affect Employees and Business Owners
  • What Can Be Done to Prevent and Treat Chronic Stress In The Workplace and At Home

Presented by Dr. Karen Bender from Whole Health Wellness Center

Stream the presentation by clicking here.

Visit the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce website.

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How To Deliver a Powerful Presentation – presented by the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce

The Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce and the Avon Free Public Library are pleased to offer business-oriented presentations free for interested area professionals.

The perfect presentation will help your audience see the world a little bit differently afterward — but it takes more than bullet points and handouts to get the job done. Join us as we rethink how to organize, craft and deliver a presentation that will keep your audience engaged from the very beginning, and inspire them when it’s over.

In this program we will explore:

  • Setting The Stage For Your Presentation
  • Planning The Journey
  • Defining The Delivery
  • Creating The Final Masterpiece

Presented by Christine Buhler from The Talcott Mountain Science Center.

Stream the presentation by clicking here.

Visit the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce website.

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The Story of the Toyen Piano

The Boston Globe’s coverage of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 included an article about Amy Toyen’s Kawai Parlor Grand piano and how it came to be a part of Avon Free Public Library’s children’s room.  Read the article here and then visit the library’s YouTube channel to see recordings of previous children’s programs featuring the Toyen piano, or just stop by the library and visit the piano in person!  Our sincere thanks and deepest sympathy to Dorine and Marty Toyen.

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Masks Now Required for All at Avon Library

Effective August 10th, the Town of Avon implemented a new mask requirement for all Town facilities, including the Avon Free Public Library.

Employees and visitors will be required to wear a mask upon entering indoor Town facilities, regardless of their vaccination status. This action is being taken because of the increase in positive cases of COVID-19 due to the spread of the Delta variant; Hartford County has now reached levels of “high community transmission.” This requirement is consistent with the recommendations of the CT Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and is important because new data show that fully vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant might be infectious and might potentially spread the virus to others.

Please help us to protect our staff and your neighbors by wearing your mask at all times. We appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation.

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July 2021 HVAC Update

The library’s new geothermal HVAC system is now fully operational, cooling all areas of the building.  While some punch list items must still be addressed, the work inside the library is substantially complete.

With no more daily work in the attic and basement, access to the second floor of the library is no longer by appointment and more seating has been added on both floors.  Library hours are stable at 10-7 Mondays through Thursdays, 10-5 on Fridays, and 10-1 on Saturdays.

Our courtyard and grounds will be restored with additional features and amenities over the coming months, but both are usable now.

Thanks to all for their patience while this project was underway and we look forward to seeing you at the Avon Library!

 

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