December Art Exhibit: Avon Arts Association Holiday Art Show

December Art Exhibit:  Avon Arts Association Holiday Art Show

Featured in our Gallery for the month of December is the Holiday Art Show by the Avon Arts Association.  Make a point to stop by and see all of the beautiful work on display by the many talented members.  Avon Arts Association provides annual college scholarships to Farmington Valley graduating high school students who were selected for their exceptional artistic talents. The Avon Arts Association is a 501 (c) (3) organization that promotes visual art in the Avon area by holding art exhibits, demonstrations and workshops. For more information, please visit their website @ http://www.avonarts.org/.

Holiday Art Show Reception:  Sunday, December 3rd, 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Please join us in the Gallery for an afternoon reception featuring holiday music and refreshments!  The Avon Arts Association invites everyone to join us to celebrate the opening of their Holiday Art Show, on display in our Gallery during December.  There will be light refreshments and music, featuring pianist John Brighenti.  Stop by and meet the talented members of the Avon Arts Association!

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Save America’s Treasures Spotlight: 1901 Signature Pillow

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.

July 2023: 1901 Signature Pillow

1901 Signature Pillow

We’ve been busy entering items from the Avon Historical Society’s collection into CT Collections, the new online catalog system that they’ve joined.  ConnecticutCollections (CTCo) is a project of the Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO). A customization of CollectiveAccess software, CTCo provides heritage and arts organizations of any size with a tool to help them to both privately manage and publicly share their museum and archival collections. Learn more here

One of the treasures in the Avon Historical Society’s collection is this pillow dated March 4, 1901.

This pillow contains over 50 signatures, from names we all recognize: Bishop, Case, Chidsey, Ellsworth, Miller, North, and Woodford.  Over a dozen of the names are male; the rest are female.  Each person signed their name; then it was embroidered. Bits of personality show through: bold loops, dramatic capital letters, and clusters of family members who autographed together.

What was the event? Was it a wedding, a birth, or an anniversary? Was someone moving, and this was a keepsake to remember Avon? We’re curious about the stories this pillow has to tell.

Multiple pictures are of the pillow are available here.

 

April, 2023: Guy Thomson’s (1791-1845) Recipe Book

Hand written, with few measurements and no baking times (or temperatures), this collection of recipes also includes home remedies, making it snapshot of home economics in the 1800s.  The recipe for “Measles, to draw out” says to scrape the husk from the peach tree. Simmer it in cider. To be given hot or can be taken… and then the entry just ends.

The remedy for asthma is to “put salt into a bottle of brandy as much as can be dissolved. Use from the bottle for an adult; one tablespoonful with two spoonfuls of boiling water three times a day.” There are no instructions for children!

There’s a recipe for rusk, which none of us had ever heard of.  Rusk is a hard, dry biscuit or twice-baked bread (think of biscotti, croutons, or melba toast).

There are at least eight entries involving lemon or citron. Citron is a large fragrant citrus fruit that resembles a “huge, rough lemon”. There are a dozen or so entries for cake, including an eggless one, which sounds appealing given our 2023 egg prices…

If anyone wants to attempt these recipes, the reference librarians will be happy to taste test them! View the entire recipe book here.

Let us know if you decide to knit the cape, as well….

The Avon Library has scans of this item; the original is retained by the donor. Ephemera found in the recipe book was also scanned, and appears after the actual notebook pages. (#2022-016)

The table to contents/headings of Guy Thomson’s recipes and entries:

Loaf cake, Lady cake, Sponge cake, Coffee cake, Rusk, Poor man’s cake, Orange cake, Family [?] cake, Silver cake, Lemon Tart, Cream Pie, Cream Lemon Pie, Orange Pie, Cream Cake, Mrs. Stove’s Layer Cake, Sweet pickles, Lemon tarts, Eggless cake, Taffy, Butter Scotch [sic], Plain rice pudding, Graham Bread, Pop Corn Balls [sic], Remedy for Asthma, White mixture, Measles—to bring them out, Washing fluid, Liquid ammonia, H [?] soup, Dyes: yellow, Watermelon pickle, Citron, Insect pickle, Scalloped oysters, Citron preserves, Frosting for cake, Salad dressing, Corn patties, Biscuits, Sweet apple pickle, Crab apple pickle, Citron preserves, Citron sweet pickles, Grape [?], Polished furniture, Blue on cotton, Green on cotton, Red on cotton, [to color] crimson, Sore throat, Cramp in legs, Feet-ache, Delicate cake, Royal Baking Powder insert, Recipes from Egg-o-Gene, Duryeas’ improved corn starch recipes, Cape (yarn), Tapioca, [?] dumplings, Lemon Custard Pie, Fleishman’s selected recipes brochure

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February, 2023:  On Saturday, February 18, 2023, the Avon Historical Society and Avon Congregation Church showcased the recent donation of a quilt from the Woodford family. What started as a showcase for one textile became a “Quilt Reunion”, as shown in the pictures below.  We’re excited to showcase the textile work of women in Avon during the mid 1800’s. Full details/history on the quilt from Sophia, including all of the names of the women who worked on it, are available here. 

This quilt was a gift to Sophia Woodford, and has been donated to the Avon Historical Society by descendants of the Woodford family.

Pictured left to right: Peter Morgan, Eleanor Morgan, Chris Kraus, Mary Ann Antoniazzi, Martha Petrovick, Dave Petrovick, during the “Quilt Reunion”.

This quilt was a gift to Adaline Woodford; notice the star in the center:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adaline also quilted this pink and orange quilt:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophia created this quilt out of dress fabrics; the back says, “To Ellen Bill from Aunt Sophia 1897”

Visitors used magnifying glasses to view the signatures within each quilt block:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an audience of 85 had viewed the quilts, they were carefully repackaged by Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society President, for storage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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