Almanack Contributor Jane Hartenstein

Jane Hartenstein is the author of the Voices series of historical fiction novels. She has written and produced two documentary films for the North Creek Depot Museum in North Creek, New York; Teddy Roosevelt; Ride to Destiny and Dr. Thomas Durant; Railroad Pioneer. Jane is a member of the Florida Writers Association and the Mental Health Writers Association. When she is not at home in North River, she can be found speaking on colonial field surgery at the Castillo San Marco National Park or explaining the use of 19th century water treatments at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida.


Monday, March 4, 2024

Willett Randall and the Music of the Adirondacks

When most people think of Adirondack Music, they usually think of a lively fiddle at a square dance or a guitar strumming an old folksong around a campfire, but to Willett Randall the true music of the Adirondacks was the sound of a pack of beagles. To him the sharp throaty yelps of an America Patch Beagle on the scent, nose to the ground, running the trail was a joyful symphony.  To him, it was the music of the mountains themselves. 

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Going to the Poorhouse: Dorothea Dix In The Adirondacks  

It must have been cold that November day in 1843 when Dorothea Lynde Dix, a confirmed spinster at the age of 41, boarded the Albany to Montreal stagecoach. The stage would take the 220 mile winter route through Rensselaer and Saratoga counties before continuing on into the mountainous Adirondack counties of Warren, Essex, and Hamilton. Having grown up in abject poverty in an icebound cabin in the wilds of Maine, Dorothea was well acquainted with the bitter cold of a Northeast winter but now, no hardship, not even the frigid North Country weather, would stop her.  She was on a mission.

Ever since she had discovered mentally ill people chained to the walls in the basement of the East Cambridge, Massachusetts jail three years earlier, Dorothea had considered it her calling to bring the plight of the lunatic as they were called, to the attention of the public. She spent the next two years visiting jails, almshouses, and even private homes, going where ever she was told there were people who suffered in their mind, the ones who heard voices, the ones they called mad.

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