May 9, 2014

History comes alive via library archive

— “If you want a nice roaster for your Christmas dinner, apply to James Sweeney, Upland Farm, Katonah.”

— “Last week, George St. Poter had a very sore throat and it is thought he had a slight attack of scarlatena.”

— “Mr. Frank Ryan has had such an increase of business that he has a new man at work. Business is brisk these holiday times.”

Such were the stories on Dec. 11, 1903, in the Katonah Times. Newspapers from the last century, The Katonah Times, the North Westchester Times and the Katonah Record, are now available from a digital archive presented by the Katonah Village Library.

As inveterate library researchers know, microfilm is among the most unwieldy, impractical and off-putting technology ever invented. Threading a microfilm spool is a talent that historians will gladly add to the bin of obsolescence. In addition, photocopies are limited to thermal paper and, in some cases, negatives with white print and black ink. Because of these limitations, digitizing these newspapers is important work before they crumble into dust.

Katonah reference library Patricia Humphreys calls these historic newspapers a “terrific research tool” for students who need to access a local primary source. The archive is also a great genealogical resource for families who want to discover how their ancestors lived.

The project to convert the library’s microfilm collection of 56 years worth of historical newspapers — 1899 to 1955 — to digital format and make it available on the Internet started in 2012.

A casual cruise through the archive provides fun tidbits: Did you know you could buy fireworks at W.B. Adams & Son in Bedford Station for 25 cents per dozen? That H.W. Kellogg in Katonah sold fishing tackle and camera supplies? Or that Miss Charlotte Bedell, of Cherry Street, entertained her friend, Mr. Wm. Smith, of New York, over the Fourth? (Oh, my!) In 1914, auto owners were still so rare that Glenn Packer made the news for joining their ranks.

John Stockbridge, Bedford’s town historian, says the collection “provides a wealth of firsthand historic information about our town. To have this information readily accessible online will greatly benefit those seeking to learn more about this history.”

Although none of the papers listed above share a direct link to the newspaper you hold in your hands, it is validating to see history reflected in the community’s newspapers. Newspapers from 1899-1903 and 1914 are currently online at Costs to digitize the remaining copies of these treasures are not covered by the library budget.

Library director Van Kozelka says the library still has more than 40 microfilm reels to digitize, and only through fundraising can this project be completed.

With world news, business notices, social events and even a sneeze chronicled, newspapers of the day provided an intimate history that cannot be captured in even the most thorough survey course. Paradoxically, the wonders of modern technology allow us a more complete glimpse of how our not-so-distant neighbors lived and worked.

This preservation project comes with an affordable price tag. It costs $100 to digitize one microfilm reel, and the library will acknowledge sponsors for donations of any size. For more information on the “Save Katonah Historical Newspapers” project or to sponsor a reel for conversion, call Patricia Humphreys at 232-3508 or email

Don’t know what you’ve got till she’s gone

Sunday is Mother’s Day. It will be the third year since we lost our mother. For those who have lost their mothers, it is ironically when Mother’s Day has the most significance. When we’re little we look at it as a festive time to honor the person who gives us pancakes, sends us off to school and is there when we need a good cry.

As you get older, you recognize that the special bond and relationship you had with your parent is fragile and temporal; that the support and kindness, love and friendship you have taken for granted for a lifetime will now live on only in memory.

There were two obituaries this week for which we would like to extend personal condolences. Ann Marie Lynch of Katonah died Monday at the age of 87. She was the mother of John Lynch and the mother-in-law of Francesca Lynch, the advertising representative for The Record-Review. We also wish to acknowledge the death of Terrie Dickan. Many will remember Terrie as the bright, witty and personable clerk in the police department’s traffic bureau for many years. Her son, Lt. Jeff Dickan, continues to serve our community. Our thoughts go out to all those who celebrate this Mother’s Day with remembrance alone.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

The Record-Review is available from our office at

264 Adams Street, Bedford Hills, NY

and at these locations:

Single copies $1.00