History Speaks. Listen. Learn.

American History through the powerful, personal, poignant lens of local history has always captured my imagination. I joined the Northampton (MA) Historical Society when I was 13. While I continue some work there, my focus now is the Mid-Hudson Valley and Dutchess County where I live. I have had, and continue to have, non-profit board and staff roles, official municipal roles and hope to help others see the value I so readily see. This an open workspace, please comment. ~ Bill Jeffway

Northampton Historical 1973

Recent Exhibitions, Books, Videos Produced

"Over Here" Traveling Exhibition Launched at FDR Presidential Library
112-Page Print & Online Book
Dutchess County Fair National Anthem

Pre-Civil War Rural African American Experience in Mid-Hudson Valley

Rediscovery of Rural African American Burial Grounds
Conflicting stories of an African American Patriot
November 10 ~ 11 am Installation Ceremony
Dual racial legacies of a man called Prince Minisee

Northampton, MA Topics


Milan, Dutchess County, NY

Video Library

HistorySpeaks Video Library

Yeoman's Cemetery

Yeomans Cemetery

Milan Post Offices

Milan Post Offices

I have always found local history rich in experience and reward, giving context and perspective across time, geography, and community. I hope to help others understand similarly, as a powerful, accessible means of learning.

In addition to understanding common, shared experiences across generations and centuries, I find it fascinating to come to understand the degree to which we all perceive historical “facts” and embed them in narratives shaped by our own biases (consciously or unconsciously) which in turn gives us an insight into ourselves.

One of my favorite quotes: [We] map what we see, marking some features, ignoring others.  History is not the past, but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveler.~Henry Glassie, Professor of Folklore.

Bill Jeffway


History Speaks. Listen. Learn.