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Guest Contributors...

Stanley A. Ransom

America's Historic Lakes Contribution: Music from the War of 1812, Songs of Lake Champlain

Stan Ransom was born in Winsted, Connecticut in 1928, served in the Army of Occupation in Japan and graduated from Yale University.  He was in the Apollo Glee Club in his sophomore year under Fenno Heath, and he sang bass in his junior and senior year under famed director Marshall Bartholomew. After receiving a Master's Degree in Library Service from Columbia University, he worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library for five years.  From  1958-1974 he was Director of the Huntington, L.I., Public Library.

He expanded this library and its services and oversaw its move to a much larger building.  He worked to promote library services in New York State and was involved in the formation of public, academic and school library systems.  In 1972 he was elected President of the New York Library Association.  In 1974 he became Director of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System in Plattsburgh, serving 29 member public libraries, from which he retired in 1991.  He currently volunteers in the local hospital library.

His book, "America's First Negro Poet:  Jupiter Hammon of Long Island," was published in 1970, with a second edition in 1983.  It received a Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History.  He originated Black Poetry Day, celebrated nationally each year on October 17th, the birth date of Jupiter Hammon in 1711. The purpose of Black Poetry Day is "to recognize the contribution of Black poets to American life and culture and to honor Jupiter Hammon, first Black in America to publish his own verse." 

He originated and was a Charter Trustee of the Olympic and Winter Sports Museum in Lake Placid.  He has long been involved in the research, collection, preservation and promotion of the folklore of New York State.  He is very interested in folklore and is on the Boards of the New York State Folklore Society and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York.  He contributes articles on folklore and folk music to several periodicals.

For more than sixty years he has also been a folk singer, playing guitar, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, and autoharp and also writing topical songs.  His song, "The Ironville Mine" is part of the permanent exhibit on mining at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.  He has produced six recordings of regional New York State folk music, "Down the Saranac," "Adirondack Sampler," which received a Certificate of Commendation from the AASLH in 1994, "North Country Christmas," "Songs of Lake Champlain," "My Long Island Home," "I Love Long Island," "The Battle of Plattsburgh; Songs of the War of 1812," and he has completed work on three others, “North Country Memories,” "Connecticut Folk Songs," and a hammered dulcimer recording, "The Good Natured Man." 

In 1998 the Plattsburgh Chamber of Commerce named him "Irishman of the Year."  In 1999 he was nominated for a National  Heritage Fellowship in the Folk & Traditional Arts.  He and his wife Christina, a medical librarian, have four children.  More information about Stand and his music can be found at http://www.stanransom.com .

America's Historic Lakes is very happy to welcome Stan as a Guest Contributor and appreciates his sharing the gift of music with us. [jpm]


"...a superb job of documenting the history of Crab Island. Secrets of Crab Island has made a significant contribution
to the public awareness of this important historic site."

Dr. Russell P. Bellico— Historian/Author- "Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of
Lake George and Lake Champlain"

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