County Historical Society Announces Recipients of Sy Schulman History Award
The Westchester County Historical Society (WCHS) has announced three recipients of the 2018 Sy Schulman History Award: the Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds, local historian George Pouder of North Castle, and Suzanne Clary of Rye, President of the Jay Heritage Center.
This award is given each year to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a strong commitment to historical research, historic preservation, and/or the teaching of local history, and has, as a result, elevated the public’s appreciation of the history of Westchester County. The award is named for former WCHS trustee Sy Schulman and is given in his memory.
Sy Schulman, who died in 2012, was a former mayor of the City of White Plains. During the 1960’s he was the county’s chief planner and planning commissioner. “In that capacity as well as many others, he had a significant role in shaping the county we know today. Throughout his life in Westchester, he championed the cause of preserving and promoting the history of the county,” said WCHS Executive Director Katherine Hite.
The awardees were chosen by a committee of the WCHS board of trustees from a list of nominees submitted by the public.
The first recipient is the Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 whose volunteers work toward the conservation and preservation of Bedford’s over 30 private and public cemeteries. The volunteers clean and straighten stones, uncover buried stones, identify stones that will require professional repairs, do historical and genealogical research and take photographs, digitize cemetery records and add transcriptions of headstones, veteran war service, and photographs. In addition, the Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds Foundation promotes public awareness of these sites by carrying out educational, civic, and cultural programs, providing volunteer assistance for local cemetery projects, and engaging in fund-raising activities to benefit local cemeteries. Among the burial sites that they have entirely or partially restored are the Buxton, Catholic, Chichester, Lake Marie, Lounsbury, and Peck cemeteries.
The second recipient is George Pouder of North Castle. A veteran of World War II, George was involved with the North Castle Historical Society and the town’s Landmarks Preservation Committee. After retiring from his family’s nursery business, he undertook research projects of his own: documenting the nearly 6,000 graves in the town of North Castle, co-founding History Hounds club, and documenting the service of Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers from North Castle. He completed research in 2015 for “Soldier, Rest” a study of Civil War servicemen in Westchester County. He also teamed up with Nicholas Cerullo to research the response of North Castle to President Lincoln’s call for volunteers and draftees during the Civil War. In 2016 George completed the project of obtaining tombstones, despite Department of Veterans Affairs red tape and no family members of record for two Civil War Veterans at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Armonk. George also has the distinction of being the longest-recorded member of the WCHS (1955-2018).
The third recipient is Suzanne Clary of Rye, President of the Jay Heritage Center, which is headquartered at the former home of John Jay who grew up in Rye and became one of the nation’s Founding Fathers, a peacemaker, jurist, and chief negotiator of the Treaty of Paris. The JHC is dedicated to transforming the 23-acre Jay Estate into a vibrant educational campus, hosting innovative programs about American History, Social Justice, Architecture, Environmental Stewardship and Landscape Conservation. The Jay Heritage Center is one of five historic properties included in the 286-acre National Historic Landmark Boston Post Road Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Established in 1874 The Westchester County Historical Society is one of the oldest historical societies in America.