Morgan-Manning House presentation to feature “Hellmira”

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BROCKPORT – The cruelty of war will become apparent to visitors to the Morgan-Manning House on Thursday, Feb. 20th during a 7:00 PM presentation of a new book by Derek Maxfield – Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous POW Camp of the Civil War.

An associate professor of history at Genesee Community College in Batavia, Maxfield is also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Morgan-Manning House.  Hellmira is his first book.  The harrowing tale of Civil War prisoners of war will be explored with an emphasis on the camp that sat on the banks of the Chemung River in Elmira.

Long called by some the “Andersonville of the North,” the prisoner of war camp in Elmira, New York, is remembered as the most notorious of all Union-run POW camps. It existed for only a year—from the summer of 1864 to July 1865—but in that time, and for long after, it became darkly emblematic of man’s inhumanity to man.

Confederate prisoners called it “Hellmira.”

Hastily constructed, poorly planned, and overcrowded, prisoner of war camps North and South were dumping grounds for the refuse of war. An unfortunate necessity, both sides regarded the camps as temporary inconveniences—and distractions from the important task of winning the war. There was no need, they believed, to construct expensive shelters or provide better rations. They needed only to sustain life long enough for the war to be won. Victory would deliver prisoners from their conditions.

As a result, conditions in the prisoner of war camps amounted to a great humanitarian crisis, the extent of which could hardly be understood even after the blood stopped flowing on the battlefields.

In the years after the war, as Reconstruction became increasingly bitter, the North pointed to Camp Sumter—better known as the Andersonville POW camp in Americus, Georgia—as evidence of the cruelty and barbarity of the Confederacy. The South, in turn, cited the camp in Elmira as a place where Union authorities withheld adequate food and shelter and purposefully caused thousands to suffer in the bitter cold. This finger-pointing by both sides would go on for over a century.

And as it did, the legend of Hellmira grew.

The program is free and open to the public.  Donations are welcome.  Refreshments will be served following the program.

Maxfield’s book is available on Amazon for pre-order as well as other prominent booksellers and is published by Savas Beatie.  Anyone with questions about the presentation or the book may contact Derek Maxfield at or the Morgan-Manning business office at 585 637-3645.

GCC History Club Announces Spring 2020 Lecture Series Roster

Batavia, New York – The Genesee Community College History Club is excited to announce the Spring 2020 Historical Horizons Lecture Series line-up full of live readings and events that will transport audiences to another place and time. The entire community is invited to GCC’s Batavia Campus on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 7 p.m. to hear Sharon and Don Burkel present “The Angel and the Warrior: The Story of Emily and General Upton.”

Upton and Emily

The program focuses on the brief love story of Emily Norwood Martin and General Emory Upton between 1866 and 1870. General Upton, who is seen as the epitome of a military officer, will surprise the audience with his fervent devotion to a sheltered, religious young lady from Auburn, New York.

Through the reading of their personal letters and sharing original photos, their tragic story will be told.

The presentation begins at 7 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building and is free and open to the public.

The Historical Horizons Lecture series will continue with events scheduled on the first Wednesday of each month during the Spring 2020 Semester including:

  • Wednesday, April 1 at 1 p.m.: “The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution” presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Eric Foner of Columbia University. This lecture will be based on the book of the same title and will occur in GCC’s Stuart Steiner Theatre.
  • Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m.: GCC Professor Derek Maxfield will present on his book “Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous POW Camp of the Civil War” which explores this notorious time period in the history of Elmira, NY.

For more information on the lecture series contact Prof. Derek Maxfield at or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288.

Get Ready for Gen. Sherman’s 200th Birthday Bash!

Make plans now to celebrate Gen. Sherman’s birthday!

Rudely Stamp'd


LANCASTER – The Fairfield County Heritage Association in Lancaster, Ohio, will celebrate Gen. William T. Sherman’s 200th birthday in a grand gala on Saturday, Feb. 8th from 6-10pm at The Mill Event Center, 431 S. Columbus St., in Lancaster.

The general himself, portrayed by Tracy Ford, will be there to assist in the celebration in Sherman’s home town.  As part of the festivities, the theater group Rudely Stamp’d will perform two acts from their critically-acclaimed play “Now We Stand by Each Other Always” – featuring Ford as Sherman and Derek Maxfield as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.  By day, the men are mild mannered professors at Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY.

IMG_20190605_180150_992 Red-headed Gen. Sherman, holding the glass and looking maniacal, is portrayed by Tracy Ford.  To the far left, seated, is Gen. Grant portrayed by Derek Maxfield.

Performed now almost two dozen times in venues across the country, “Now We…

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Ticket prices REDUCED for Sonny Mayo and the Lowdown


BATAVIA – Sonny Mayo returns to GCC on Friday, November 8th, with his band The Lowdown.  A feast for blues fans, the band will also feature old standards.  The concert begins at 7:00 PM in the Stuart Steiner Theater.

The Genesee Community College History Club is sponsoring the concert as a fundraiser for it’s annual educational trip in the spring.  Ticket prices have just been reduced to $10.00 presale (on reserve) and $12.00 at the door. To reserve tickets, contact Derek Maxfield at or 585-343-6288 or Marie Kochmanski at or call 585-343-6270.

The Sound of Rhythm and Blues Supports GCC’s History Club Spring Break Tour


Batavia, New York – An annual spring adventure where students in GCC’s History Club visit important historical sites, museums and battlefields in April ultimately benefits the local lovers of blues music this fall. Sonny Mayo and the Lowdown are coming to GCC’s Stuart Steiner Theater on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7 p.m. for an evening of excellent rhythm and blues featuring a great selection of original tunes and old favorites by a former GCC faculty member.  All proceeds from the concert will be dedicated to the History Club’s spring break history tour.

Frank Mayo is now a retired GCC public speaking professor, but he is anything but retired from his passion for music. Sonny Mayo, as he is known in the music world, is bringing his trio with him for a show that promises to give local music aficionados a taste of folk, blues and Americana music, and all for great cause.

Mayo released his first album, “So Far So Good,” out of Nashville in 1981. The album was critically acclaimed by Record World magazine and culminated a six-year apprenticeship in Los Angeles and Nashville. Since then, Mayo has released 11 albums on the indie label, Thunder Road Music. His most recent CD, “Chasing the Chord” was released in 2016 and is a blend of folk, blues and Americana, rich with vivid characters and editorial comments on societal issues. Mayo has also performed as an opening act, host or shared the bill with numerous musicians including but not limited to Eric Andersen, Eric Bibb, Rory Block, The Burn Sisters, Jen Chapin, Guy Davis, Bill Morrissey, David Olney and slide guitarist Roy Rogers.

Professor Mayo was once a GCC ‘office neighbor’ with Derek Maxfield, professor of history at GCC’s Batavia Campus. Their collegial conversations lead to a number of dynamic opportunities through the years, to share the new music and support the experiential learning for their students.

“Educational spring breaks are an important facet to the student experience and to learning outcomes. As students see these historic places for themselves outside of a classroom, they come away with a new appreciation for the problems, opportunities and even mistakes made by people in the past. They also learn about themselves, the world around them, and often, they make life-long friendships,” Maxfield said. “It is an honor that my former colleague and continued friend, Frank or Sonny Mayo, is willing to share an evening of music for such a worthy cause.”

Advance tickets are encouraged by contacting Derek Maxfield, GCC’s associate professor of History and History Club advisor, or Marie Kochmanski, clerk-typist in the second floor Humanities Suite Room B259 or Michelle Forster, secretary in the third floor GCC Human Communication and Behavior Suite Room B359. Presale tickets are $18 for adults and $20 at the door. GCC students and children under 12 are $10.

For more information or to purchase tickets, email Maxfield at or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288.

Special Exhibit and Lecture to Illustrate Victorian Fascination with Death

Morgan-Manning Deathways Exhibit2

Rozenn Bailleul-LeSuer of the Morgan-Manning House and Sue Savard of the Emily L. Knapp Museum and Library of Local History holding artifacts from exhibit.

GCC Students to Guest Curate Special Halloween Victorian Deathways Exhibit at Morgan-Manning House

Batavia, New York – Applied learning projects are a critical component to the educational experience at Genesee Community College, and GCC professors look for engaging opportunities to enhance their curriculum and the learning outcomes for their students. Projects that reinforce a positive citizenship, an appreciation of history and community, and support local resources and civic treasures are ideal. And projects that do all of that plus celebrate a popular holiday are nearly a dream come true.

Welcome to the special exhibition entitled, “Changing Victorian Deathways in the 19th Century” in the Red Parlor of the Morgan-Manning House at 151 Main Street in Brockport, New York. The three-day exhibition is scheduled Monday through Wednesday, October 28, 29 and 30, 2019, from 6 – 8 p.m. There will also be a special lecture on Wednesday, October 30 at 7 p.m., “Dying on Script: Changing Victorian Deathways in the 19th Century,” by Derek Maxfield, GCC professor of history who is also a member of the Morgan-Manning House Board of Trustees.

Approximately 25 GCC students from a variety of academic programs are participating in the project by researching specific historic museum artifacts, developing detailed descriptions, and helping to curate the exhibition in preparation for the three-day event. The students are also learning the history of Morgan-Manning House, which was built in 1854, fully restored in 1965 and placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1991.

The exhibit is a collaborative effort involving not only GCC, but other museums and historical societies including the Waterloo Library and Historical Society, Emily L. Knapp Museum and Library of Local History in Brockport, and the Town of Bergen History Department. Retired Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin will also generously lend items from his private collection.  Among the related artifacts that will be on loan include mourning apparel, jewelry, hair wreaths and accessories and even a 1890’s glass encased child’s casket from the Waterloo Library and Museum, which has an interesting history all its own.

“Victorian society had rules about everything, and one of the most fascinating aspects about their culture was the manner in which people were put to rest,” Professor Maxfield said. “The students are not only learning about this history, but they are experiencing how exhibits are coordinated, how nonprofit organizations support one another, how to use a popular holiday today to celebrate the past, and perhaps most importantly, how important volunteerism is to community groups.”

Admittance into the Morgan-Manning House is free, but donations are encouraged. No tickets are necessary.

For more information, email Prof. Maxfield at or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288 or  Marketing Communications Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or email:

“Conversations on Victorian Chemistry” at Morgan-Manning House


Dimitri Mendeleev

BROCKPORTThe Victorian era was rich with chemical discoveries, not least of which was the development of the iconic periodic table. In this program, we will hear from Dimitri Mendeleev, the chemist recognized as the father of periodic law, and Marie Curie, who discovered two new elements and devoted her life to the study of radioactivity, a concept wholeheartedly rejected by Mendeleev.

Professors Bob LeSuer and Carly Reed from SUNY Brockport will present this fascinating program on Wednesday, Oct. 23rd at 7:00 PM at the Morgan-Manning House in Brockport, NY.  There is no admission charge, though donations are gladly accepted.

Mackowski to kick-off 2019-2020 Historical Horizons Lecture Series at GCC


Dr. Chris Mackowski, St. Bonaventure University

BATAVIA – The Historical Horizons Lecture Series at GCC will kick-off the new year with some real star power.  On Wednesday, Sept. 4th, author Chris Mackowski will talk about his book Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.

Facing financial ruin and struggling against terminal throat cancer, Ulysses S. Grant fought his last battle to preserve the meaning of the American Civil War. His war of words, “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” would cement his place as not only one of America’s greatest heroes, but also as one of its most sublime literary voices.

Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emerging Civil War. He is the series editor of the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series, published by Savas Beatie, and the “Engaging the Civil War” Series, published in partnership with Southern Illinois University Press. Chris is a writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, where he also serves as associate dean for undergraduate programs.

Copies of Mackowski’s book will be available for sale Wednesday night.

The Historical Horizons Lecture Series is sponsored by the GCC History Club and Barnes and Noble.  Events are FREE and open to the public.  Programs begin at 7:00 PM in T102 of the Conable Technology Building.  Anyone with questions or for further information may contact Prof. Derek Maxfield at

Attica HS hosts “Now We Stand by Each Other Always” this weekend

Now we stand_first performance

Generals Grant and Sherman will invade Attica, NY, this weekend to present “Now We Stand by Each Other Always” – a three act play dramatizing the important friendship and partnership between two of the Union’s most successful commanders.

The show begins at 2:00 PM on Saturday, August 24th at the Attica Historical Society, 130 Main St, Attica, NY 14011.  Admission is free, though donations are appreciated.  Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for the outdoor performance.

“Now We Stand by Each Other Always” was written and is directed by Genesee Community College professor of history Derek Maxfield, who also plays the role of General Grant alongside his GCC colleague Tracy Ford, professor of English, who is General Sherman. Collectively known as “Rudely Stamp’d,” the original one act performance debuted in September 2018, but it has been so popular with audiences of all ages that Maxfield recently expanded the script to three acts covering three years of the Civil War.

Act I is set in June 1863 when Grant and Sherman meet during the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to discuss military affairs just weeks before the surrender of the Gibraltar of the West. Act II takes place in March 1864 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Grant had recently been promoted to Lt. General and was now commander-in-chief of all Union armies. He and Sherman meet to map out the Atlanta and Overland Campaigns. Finally, Act III (previously performed) features the generals meeting at City Point, Virginia after a year apart, where Sherman recounts his exploit in Georgia and the Carolinas.

The three acts together provide a rich arch revealing not only their unique friendship, but also many intriguing and sometimes humorous insights of the famous Generals, giving audiences a full appreciation of these important men, the era they lived, and their historical significance.

Anyone with questions may contact the Attica Historical Society or Prof. Derek Maxfield at

GCC Historical Horizons Lecture Series Announces Fall 2019 Line-up

The Genesee Community College History Club is proud to announce the full speaker slate for the Fall 2019 lecture series.

Grant's Last Battle


Sept. 4            Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (based on his book, published by Savas Beatie, 2015)

Presented by Dr. Chris Mackowski, Professor of Journalism and Communications, St. Bonaventure University


Sept. 7                      “Now We Stand by Each Other Always”                                          

1:00 PM                    *MEDINA CAMPUS CENTER (Back lawn)*

Performed by Derek Maxfield as Gen. Grant and Tracy Ford as Gen. Sherman, this engaging two-man show features a series of conversations between the Union’s greatest commanders in the midst of the Civil War.

Oct. 2                        A Historian Reflects on Hamilton the Musical

Presented by Danny Hamner, GCC Adjunct Instructor of History.

Nov. 6                       “We Have to Create a National Debate, Community by Community…”:  Women Trailblazers in Environmental Reform.                            

Presented by Dr. Terrianne Schulte, D’Youville College.

Dec. 4                       Abigail Adams LIVE

Portrayed by Dr. Melinda Grube, GCC Adjunct Instructor of History.

Unless otherwise indicated, all lectures take place in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building, on the Batavia Campus.  Programs begin at 7:00 PM and are FREE and open to the public.  For more information contact Prof. Derek Maxfield at