Snap Shots: Geneseo State Normal, 1918

ISBN: 978-1492762997    OCLC: 20590246

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This pictorial of Geneseo Normal School scenes is an attractive, thorough “snap shot” of the school as it existed at nearly 50 years old. Included are photographs taken from within and without “Old Main,” then still the school’s sole building (albeit with all its added wings and annexes) — different scenes and activities within the library, kindergarten, and other training school classrooms; athletic teams and facilities; orchestra and dramatics; plus a few outdoor scenes. The inclusion of photos of the Court St. kindergarten, the Union School on Center St., and the infirmary on North St. (one of the first of its kind in the nation) illustrates the school’s early expansion and influence in the community. Well-framed and composed, the photographs manage to portray the people and places of GNS to maximum effect. One photo in particular, captioned “Winter Sports – Tobogganing,” offers a rare view of the Old Main “complex” looking up the hill from the west, a wooden fence in the mid-ground suggesting the limits of campus development at the time. This slim little album is peppered throughout, curiously but adorably, with photos of birds and other little critters – including two owls on a branch (“Get Wisdom”) and a squirrel’s head just visible in the knothole of a tree (“Good Morning”).

– Liz Argentieri

This work, originally published in 1918, is reprinted by Milne Library at the State University of New York College at Geneseo as part of the Genesee Valley Historical Reprints series. The Genesee Valley Historical Collection is Milne Library’s largest and most accessible collection of local history materials. Its geographical scope covers the eight counties surrounding the Genesee River in New York State: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming. For more information, see:

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