Update on Fitzpatrick events

The author of the newest biography of Emory Upton, Dr. David Fitzpatrick, will visit Batavia for two events Friday, Feb. 16th at 7:00 PM at the Holland Land Office and Museum and Saturday, Feb. 17th at 10:00 AM as part of a panel discussion at Genesee Community College in room T119 of the Conable Technology Building.

Fitzpatrick had been schedule for January, but inclement weather forced a postponement.  Folks wishing to attend at the Holland Land Office must RSVP.  Admission to that event is $5.00 pp.  The panel discussion at GCC is free and open to the public.

Anyone with questions may contact Ryan Duffy, Executive Director of the Holland Land Office and Museum or Prof. Derek Maxfield at ddmaxfield@genesee.edu.



Fitzpatrick visit postponed

The author of the new biography of Emory Upton, David Fitzpatrick, will visit Batavia in early March.  The events scheduled for Friday and Saturday of this week – at the Holland Land Office and at GCC – have been postponed due to the threat of inclement weather.

Stay tuned for updates.

Author of New Upton Bio to Appear in Batavia


The Holland Land Office Museum will host a presentation and book signing by Dr. David Fitzpatrick, author of Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer, on Friday, January 12, 2018, 7:00 pm, 131 West Main Street, Batavia, N.Y.  Admission is $5.00 per person, which helps support the HLOM Speaker Series.   RSVP by January 10th due to limited seating.

Dr. Fitzpatrick is Faculty President and Professor of History at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he was also a history instructor.  He has authored several military journal articles and published essays.  His current work is one of the definitive texts on the life of Upton and his post-war contributions to reforming the U.S. Army.

A panel discussion moderated by GCC history professor Derek Maxfield will be held on Saturday, January 13th, 10 am at the New Student Success Center, Room G200, Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia.  Panelists will include Fitzpatrick, Don Burkel – President of HLOM, Michael Eula – Genesee County Historian, and Dan Davis – former National Park Service historian at Spotsylvania National Military Park and an editor with the Emerging Civil War.  Discussion will focus on the various aspects of General Upton’s character and life.  Free to the public.  Hosted by the Holland Land Office Museum and GGC History Club.

For more information contact Derek Maxfield at ddmaxfield@genesee.edu or Holland Land Office Museum at 585-343-4727 or hollandlandoffice@gmail.com

GCC History Club announces Spring 2018 line up for Historical Horizons Lecture Series


Kevin Pawlak holding his book on Shepherdstown.

Batavia, NY–  The Genesee Community College History Club is excited to release its spring Historical Horizons Lecture Series line up!  The series provides the community with access to renowned authors and historians as they take a deep look at the events and movements that have shaped our nation’s history.

“The spring series line up will provide very unique perspectives on bloody battles and war, the Trail of Tears, and immigration,” says GCC’s Associate Professor Derek Maxfield. “This series is sure to inform and even entertain.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 7 p.m. / Medina Campus/ Maple Ridge Rd, Medina

Author Kevin R. Pawlak will discuss his book “Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital.” During the Civil War the small town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia was suddenly flooded with Confederate soldiers wounded in battle. Homes and churches transformed into triage centers and in all, the town, into “one vast hospital.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 7 p.m. / Batavia Campus/ Room T102

Kevin R. Pawlak will join us again to present “The Jewels of War: Robert E. Lee, George B. McClellan, and the Battle of Antietam.” Pawlak is also the director of education for the Mosby Heritage Area Association in Virginia. The Battle of Antietam is America’s Bloodiest single day. In totality, twelve hours of fighting on Wednesday, September 17, 1862 left approximately 23,000 casualties. During this lecture, Pawlak will assess the dramatic events of the battle from the unique perspective of the commanders on the field.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 7 p.m. / Batavia Campus/ Room T102

GCC adjunct professor Danny Hamner will present “The Removal Crisis of 1832: How Nationalism, Political Ambition and the Electoral College Shaped the Trail of Tears.” Often, the “Trail of Tears” is remembered as the inevitable tragedy of an indigenous people swept aside by the rising forces of modern America. While there certainly were large historical forces transforming America in the early 19th century, the removal crises of the period were ultimately shaped by the personalities, politics and needs of the movement. The mix of personal ambitions and zealous nationalism linked the destiny of the Cherokee Nation to Henry Clay’s presidential aspirations with catastrophic but not inevitable results.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 7 p.m. / Batavia Campus/ Room T102  (Rescheduled from 12/6/17)

Orleans County Historian Matthew R. Ballard, MLS will present “Fear of the Unknown: Creating the Illegal Immigrant in 19th Century America”. Immigration to the United States is a relative topic in current events; however, the establishment of the “illegal immigrant” only dates back to the turn of the 20th century. In the earliest years of immigration, Europeans were accepted without restriction, but an influx of new immigrants during the latter half of the 19th century raised concerns about political impacts on American society. Uncertainty and unfounded fears created excessive restrictions focused on limiting access to specific ethnic/ racial groups, religious groups, the disabled, the infirmed and those likely to become a “public charge”.

All lectures in this series begin at 7 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building. All lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Prof. Maxfield at ddmaxfield@genesee.edu or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288.


BOOK REVIEW – Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Emerging Revolutionary War Era


Poor John Adams.

I think it would be fair to say that John Adams spent the last 25 years of his life feeling sorry for himself.  He was a grumpy and vain old man searching for the respect he thought he deserved.

If Adams were to read the highly anticipated new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon Wood, the old curmudgeon would be no happier.  In fact, the final lines of the book, handed down like a final judgement, would only confirm what Adams believed would be the view of historians forever.  “To be an American,” Wood wrote, “is not to be someone, but to believe in something.  And that something is what Jefferson declared.  That’s why we honor Jefferson and not Adams.”[i]

Ironically, Adams enjoyed his greatest fame by dying.  He died on the Fourth of July, 1826 – on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. …

View original post 1,299 more words

Immigration talk postponed

Matt Ballard’s lecture on immigration in the 19th century scheduled for tonight, 12/6, will be rescheduled for May 2nd – same time/place.  There will be no event tonight due to threat of snow.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 7 p.m. / Batavia Campus / T102

  • Orleans County Historian Matt Ballard will present, “Fear of the Unknown: Creating the Illegal Immigrant in 19th Century America.” The theme of immigration to the United States is a relative topic in current events, but the establishment of the “illegal immigrant” only dates back to the turn of the 20th In the earliest years of immigration, Europeans were accepted without restriction, but an influx of new immigrants during the latter half of the 19th century raised concerns about potential impacts on American society. Uncertainty and unfounded fears created excessive restrictions focused on limiting access to specific ethnic/racial groups, religious groups, the disabled, the infirmed, and those likely to become a “public charge.”

Charles Dickens Comes to GCC to Support History Club

Mike Randall presents “A Christmas Carol” at GCC!

Batavia, NY–  The Genesee Community College History Club is excited to kick off the holiday season as Charles Dickens, played by WKBW-TV’s Meteorologist Mike Randall, presents “A Christmas Carol.” All are invited to the College’s Batavia Campus on December 18, 2017 at 7 p.m. to enjoy this festive and heart-warming storytelling experience.

A multifaceted actor, Randall studied both theatre and meteorology in school and since 1983, Randall has reported the weather on WKBW-TV in Buffalo. An award-winning reporter, his interview repertoire includes such talents as Willie Nelson, Jerry Lewis, John Candy, Steve Allen, Gregory Peck and Robert Goulet. In September 2017, Randall was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Back in 1868, Charles Dickens toured the country bringing his classic novel, “A Christmas Carol” to audiences everywhere. Nearly century and a half ago, Dickens’ performances were completely sold out in Buffalo. For the last decade, with only a replica of Dickens’ famous velvet, fringed reading lectern and a copy of “A Christmas Carol,” Randall has been transforming himself into Dickens, recreating the original tour atmosphere in stages, halls, classrooms and many other venues. Randall performs in a period costume with a beard and wavy hair, and through his expert theatrics he brings Charles Dickens to life. He plays each of the novel’s characters with distinguishing voices and mannerisms capturing all of the subtle comedic timing of Dickens’ original work.

The performance will take place at GCC’s Batavia Campus in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building. Tickets for the performances are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Advanced ticket purchases are strongly recommended as seating is limited!

Proceeds from the performance will go to the Genesee Community College History Club.

“Coordinating the event is part of the service learning experiences for GCC students and members of the College’s History Club,” Derek D. Maxfield, GCC’s associate history professor said. “This event is great opportunity for students to learn about the value of community engagement as well as history, and it is a terrific opportunity for local families and friends to enjoy a festive holiday event that is fun for all ages.”

To reserve tickets or more information, contact Associate Professor of History Derek D. Maxfield at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6288, or via email: ddmaxfield@genesee.edu.

Presale tickets are also available from all History Club members and Florence Nolan in the Humanties Suite on the second floor at GCC.  She may be reached at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6270 or e-mail: fmnolan@genesee.edu.

A “Rude”Awakening

Tracy and Me

A “rude”pair: Derek Maxfield (left) and Tracy Ford (right).

By Derek Maxfield

I can recall in November 2016 I had a very rude awakening when I realized the country had elected Him, who shall not be named. Very. Rude.

Now as we watch the leaves fall about a year later, a friend and myself are planning a different sort of rude awakening that will not traumatize the country (we hope). We are launching “Rudely Stamp’d: Historical impressions.”

My partner in this rude enterprise is Tracy Ford, an English professor at a small Western New York college where I teach history. With over 50 years teaching experience combined, we make quite the odd pair – though we have much in common, including a love for history and literature. We also believe that living history is a powerful way to educate. Now we want to launch a formal initiative to do just that.

Although we have each portrayed various individuals separately – I have been everything from a Jesuit priest to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant – we have an ambitious plan to create an imagined conversation between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, based entirely on their remarkable correspondence after they had retired from public service. A Kickstarter campaign will help us to realize that vision.  Anyone interested in helping out can visit our rude website: https://rudelystampd.wordpress.com/

Another potential project would be recreating the Lincoln-Douglas debates. By the way, have you noted the short guy/tall guy thing? Yep. On the short end of that stick, so to speak, it would be me as the short guy and Tracy as the tall one.

Keep an eye on us as we present ourselves to the world Rudely Stamp’d.

GCC History Club to sponsor local history conference

Local history conference set for November 4th

 BATAVIA – The Genesee Community College History Club and Genesee County Federation of Historical Agencies is sponsoring a local history conference at GCC in Batavia on Saturday, November 4th from 8:30 AM until about 3:30 PM in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building.  Public and private historians are welcome as well as history buffs of all ages.

“We have put together a day of interesting programs that should appeal to a wide variety of history-minded folk,” according to Derek Maxfield, history club advisor and president of the Genesee County Federation of Historical Agencies. “I am especially interested in the session on disaster planning and the panel discussion about the Confederate monument controversy.”

Conference sessions will include:

8:30-9:15 AM                     Coffee clutch

9:15-10:00 AM                   State of history in Genesee County

Dr. Michael Eula, Genesee County Historian

10:15-11:00 AM                  Tracing lineal heritage


11:00-12:15 PM                 Disaster planning for historical organizations and museums

Panel discussion

12:15-1:00 PM                   LUNCH

Room T119 A&B

1:15-2:30 PM                      Considering Confederate statues, memorials & symbols

Panel discussion moderated by Prof. Derek Maxfield


Historical agencies and museums are invited to set up displays for visitors to browse.

Registration is $25.00 and includes a box lunch.  If you wish to attend the sessions without lunch, the registration is $12.00.  Please indicate your sandwich preference when registering.  Registration will close at 11:59 PM on October 30th.  Those not wishing to have lunch may register the day of the event and pay at the door.

For the registration form, go to:

REGISTRATION for Local History Conference

For questions about the conference, contact Prof. Derek Maxfield – ddmaxfield@genesee.edu or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288.

Cavalry lecture up next for Historical Horizons Lecture Series

Out Flew the Sabres

Author Daniel T. Davis will present a lecture about his latest book, Out Flew the Sabres: The Battle of Brandy Station – June 9, 1863, as part of the Historical Horizons Lecture Series on Wednesday, Oct. 4th at 7:00 PM at GCC in Batavia in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building.  You won’t want to miss this event.

One day. Fourteen hours. Twelve thousand Union cavalrymen against 9,000 of their Confederate counterparts―with three thousand Union infantry thrown in for good measure. Amidst the thunder of hooves and the clashing of sabers, they slugged it out across the hills and dales of Culpepper County, Virginia.

And it escalated into the largest cavalry battle ever fought on the North American continent.

Come hear the tale.  The event is FREE and open to the public.