Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Annual Report of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham for 2005

As I have written before, many might be surprised to learn that New York State's "Arts and Cultural Affairs Law" provides that a "local historian shall be appointed, as provided in this section, for each city, town or village". The law further provides that:

"It shall be the duty of each local historian, appointed as provided in the last section, in cooperation with the state historian, to collect and preserve material relating to the history of the political subdivision for which he or she is appointed, and to file such material in fireproof safes or vaults in the county, city, town or village offices."

See N.Y. Laws 1983, Ch. 876 §§ 1, et al.

The law has been in effect in one form or another since 1913. For its derivation, see Education Law § 150, added N.Y. Laws 1947, ch. 820; and repealed by N.Y. Laws 1983, ch. 876 § 4. Said § 150 was from Education Law of 1910 § 1199-a, formerly § 1198, added N.Y. Laws 1913, ch. 424, § 1 (renumbered § 1199-a, N.Y. Laws 1919, ch. 181, § 2).

Pelham has complied with what is called the "Historian's Law" since the law was first enacted. During the last 92 years, eight local residents have served as Town Historian and have collected and maintained material in accordance with that law on behalf of the residents of The Town of Pelham.

Article 57, section 57.09 of the New York State Arts and Cultural Affairs Law provides, in part, that each duly appointed local historian:

“shall make an annual report, in the month of January, to the local appointing officer or officers and to the state historian of the work which has been accomplished during the preceding year.”

In compliance with this statute, on January 27, 2006, I filed with the State of New York and with the Town Supervisor and members of the Town Council an 18-page report filled with images and information entitled "Annual Report ofThe Historian of The Town of Pelham issued to The Supervisor of The Town of Pelham, New York andThe Office of State History, A Program Area WithinThe New York State Department of Education, Blake A. Bell, Town Historian, January 27, 2006 (Covering the Period January 1, 2005 – December 31, 2005)".

The report was prepared and filed to comply with the above-quoted statute. It summarizes work performed and accomplishments achieved by The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham during the period from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005. It details work in seven principal areas: (1) Educational Activities; (2) Digitization of Important Historical Material; (3) Digital Photographs of the Town; (4) Responses to Inquiries About the History of Pelham; (5) Transcription and Annotation of Important Records; (6) Cooperation With Local Organizations; and (7) Administration of the Office and the Town's Collections.

I encourage those interested in the history of the Town to review the report and provide me with comments or questions regarding its contents. Click on the linked title of the report above to access a copy in PDF format.

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