Saturday, May 7, 2011

And you thought it was librarians who were supposed to be straight-laced.

The Timothy Knapp House is thought to be the oldest surviving residential building in Westchester County, possibly dating back to 1667. It's now owned by the Rye Historical Society, and it contains the society's archives.

I spent a pleasant afternoon there, working with Rye's archivist Richard Hourahan on some further research into Ogden Nash's birth and childhood. (We're 90% sure we've identified the house where he was born in 1902, but one or two mysteries remain.)

I'm wading through clippings from the turn of the century -- the turn of the last century, that is -- from the Port Chester Journal, and I can't help getting sidetracked by the sort of events that made the local papers in those days and the language used to describe them.

My favorite discovery of the day -- apart from the report of ON's birth -- was this regular and rather puritanical formulation used to list uncollected mail:

"The following letters were uncalled for at the post office yesterday."

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