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Each week we bring you the front page of a local newspaper that covered the news in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (North Tarrytown) one hundred years ago. This front page comes from the Tarrytown Press-Record. The Press-Record was published as a weekly from 1893 to 1946 and has been preserved by the Historical Society on microfilm.
Friday, March 22, 1912:
1846 Letter from Washington Irving
An incredibly well preserved letter from Washington Irving, dated 1846, was in the possession of Washington Irving High School’s Professor L. V. Case.
The letter was written by Irving while he was resident in Madrid, in the capacity of American Minister to Spain, and was addressed to Mr. William Rufus King. Irving served as Minister to Spain between 1842 and 1846. For the majority of this period Spain was ruled by the teenage Queen Isabella II, and there was insistent political intrigue and instability.
The Press-Record stated that the correspondence was “written in a stiff, original hand writing”, and is a letter of introduction on behalf of Dr. Alfaro, typical of the type of letter Irving would have written numerous times in his ambassadorial role.
Irving described Dr. Alfaro as “a gentleman of highly cultivated talents and... an ample fortune”, travelling with his wife through Paris to Madrid, and goes on to urge William Rufus King that “Any attention you may find it convenient to pay them will be esteemed as a favor conferred on myself”.
While this letter has been much sought after by autograph collectors, Professor Case refused to part with it under any circumstances.
Low Election Turnout
Alongside the local elections for the Board of Trustees (), taxpayers in the villages had the chance to vote on the allocation of public spending 100 years ago. Conqueror Fire Company was granted a new tractor, but the propositions to grant $800 to the Lyceum and $500 to the fire companies were defeated. The Press-Record made no effort to hide their own view on the matter, declaring “Why the tax payers should have voted against these last two propositions is beyond us.”
Apparently very few people bothered to vote for the spending plan, and there was a high number of void ballots. The trustee election also saw an extremely low turnout, with one candidate receiving only one vote.
However, the outcome saw three Democrat trustees elected to the board: Seth Bird (313 votes), Geo. M. Shotwell (311 votes), and F. G. LeRoy (311 votes).
27,000 Roses Shipped; Aviary in School Attic
The Press-Record noted that F. R. Pierson shipped 15,000 roses from his greenhouse in Scarborough to New York City, followed by another 12,000 the following day, stating that “This breaks all records for single shipments of flowers”. The newspaper does not reveal who the recipient was.
While he didn’t break any records, the Press-Record thought it worth mentioning that Richard Meany, janitor and engineer for the Washington Irving High School, was “quite a bird fancier.” Mr. Meany clearly had a passion for birds, and had built an aviary in the attic of the High School. It seems that the school proprietors were perfectly au fait with the fact that Mr. Meany filled his aviary with over 20 birds, including canaries, gold finches, and yellow breasted songsters.