29 March 2010

Catskills Institute: New website, new content

Tracing the Tribe is delighted to announce that the new website of The Catskills Institute, created by Professor Phil Brown - its president - is now ready.

Phil, a Brown University sociology professor, and I met years ago when our daughter attended the school.

He's a Catskills kid whose parents were involved in the White Lake hotel industry, while my grandparents built a large, popular bungalow colony - Kauneonga Park - at the other end of the lake.

He also spoke at the IAJGS New York 2006 conference to a packed room.

Visit the new website here.

The Catskills Institute is very grateful to Brown University for its support through the Scholarly Technology Group and the Center for Digital Scholarship. Elli Mylonas, Ann Caldwell, Robin Ness, and Kerri Hicks spent countless hours developing this new archive and its website.

Thousands of items from the Catskills Institute Archives have been scanned in at high resolution, and accompanying metadata provides much useful background information.

Visitors can now search for all sort of materials by hotel or bungalow colony name, by type of object (e.g. menu, postcard, stationery) or by thumbnail.

Alfred Landis created beautiful drawings of Catskill properties for postcards and a whole section of the site is devoted to Landis' art. We know there was a Landis card for Kauneonga Park but no one seems to have a copy of it.

Catskills "kids" can post comments and queries on the bulletin board - no telling whom you might find from your childhood summers in the mountains!

Phil and many others have created this new archive and website which preserves the legacy of the Jewish Catskills. So many of us grew up there, either as annual summer visitors from the city or as year-round residents. Geneabloggers.com's Thomas MacEntee grew up in Liberty, not far from Kauneonga Lake.

There are plans to keep adding more material, so donations are always in order to provide for the addition of many additional origial materials and make more resources accessible.

Take a look at the site and leave a comment, ask a question, enjoy the site and its resources.


  1. Schelly

    Excellent intro for folks unfamiliar with the Catskills Institute. I stumbled upon the updated site this weekend and boy did I get lost in a time warp! I must have spent several hours looking up all the hotels and bungalow colonies I remember.

    I also forgot that Fleischmann's over in Delaware County had lots of places too - I have family living there now and when I go back this summer I will try to track down a few old sites.

  2. I had a nostalgic field day browsing through this website. I spent part of every summer of my childhood in the Catskills. We didn't have a "kochalein" though I envied our neighbors in Queens who did. We stayed at a hotel for 2 weeks (Swan Lake Hotel in my earliest memories, many others in years to come); my grandparents stayed at the Gradus Hotel every summer and we spent time visiting them. My cousins had a bungalo colony in Loch Sheldrake. And for several summers I went to sleep-away camp in Livingston Manor, at the western edge of the Borscht Belt. My daughter went to theater camp for many years in Loch Sheldrake (Stagedoor Manor) and my 92 year old aunt still lives in Loch Sheldrake on the lake. I have cousins who live in Hurleyville.

    There were so many firsts for me in the Catskills- first "Shirley Temple" at the night club in the hotel, first horse back ride, first time row boating and canoeing, first time skiing.

    Wonderful memories all!
    Judy Simon