Blacks in the Adirondacks with Author Sally Svenson


Band at a Lake George Hotel, 1890s, J. A. Thatcher,

courtesy of Historical Society of the Town of Bolton

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Old Chapel, Union College Campus

5:30 Presentation, Refreshments from 5:00


When Sally Svenson mentioned to people during the several years that she was researching and writing about the history of blacks in the Adirondacks, the typical response was, “What blacks?” For, indeed, Adirondack inhabitants have been and still are primarily white. But there were black residents in the region during the one hundred years she examined between 1850 and 1950: farmers who migrated from former slaveholding districts, Civil War participants who followed North the Union regiments that employed them, tuberculosis patients, miners. Blacks from outside the region also influenced its culture: as seasonal hotel waiters, fund-raising college students, musicians and vaudevillians, barnstorming baseball players, tourists. Svenson chronicled them all in her book, Blacks in the Adirondacks (Syracuse 2017), winner of the Adirondack Center for Writing’s 2017 award for Best Book of Nonfiction. She will talk about some of her findings


Svenson has been writing about Adirondack history since the early 2000s. Her writing includes a study of regional church architecture, articles for Adirondack Life, a book on an obscure Duchess of Marlborough whose family summered in Lake Luzerne in the mid-nineteenth century. She continues to be fascinated by the Adirondacks and is currently compiling a biographical dictionary of regional photographers.

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