Saturday, July 4, 2015


Surrounded by celebrations, get-togethers, and fireworks, we are wondering how the Bullis family members observed this day. Did they watch the local parade and listen to the concert in the park? Participate in watermelon-eating contests? Run a 3-legged race? Watch fireworks at night? Perhaps.

Or, perhaps they spent the day with one or both of these books that were a part of their family library and are now a part of the Bullis Collection.

A Popular School History of the United States:
in which are inserted as part of the narrative selections from the writings of 
eminent American historians, and other American writers of note: 
to which are added the Declaration of Independence, and the
Constitution of the United States, with copious notes:
fully illustrated with maps, portraits and views
By John Jacob Anderson
Published in New York by Clark & Maynard, 1883, c. 1879

The Elector's Guide:
Comprising the Declaration of Independence, 
the Constitution of the United States, 
the constitution of the state of New York, and
Washington's Farewell Address.
To which is added an essay on government.
Published in Batavia by A. W. Young, 1835

You too have the opportunity to look through these books and read again these documents that are the basis of our country's foundation.  Just stop by the Bullis Room, next time you're at MPL.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


A new exhibit at the Rochester Museum  and Science Center - titled "The American Civil War: the Impact of the Industrial Revolution" - recently opened and will run through January, 2016. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.  Many items are on display from the museum's collection, including: Civil War swords, rifles, tents, flags, diaries and photographs.

After you've experienced this interesting exhibit,  we invite you to take a look at this Bullis book:

Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States
By Frederick Phisterer, Late Captain U. S. Army
Published by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1883

The comprehensive data in this book was "compiled from Army orders, registers of regulars and volunteers, reports of the Provost-Marshall, and the Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Medical History of the Rebellion, and other sources."

In Part I, the "Calls for Troops" on April 15, 1861 on page 3 shows data for 26 states, both their quota and men actually furnished.  Later  calls for troops are enumerated on several more pages, with a summary for the war on page 10. Military divisions, strength of the Army at various dates, as well as national cemeteries, are covered in the following pages.

Part II lists the chronological record of engagements,  battles etc. from 1861 to 1865, and general officers of the Armies during the "War of the Rebellion" are covered in Part III.

So there you have it - an exhibit and a book to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the events of the Civil War. (And there are more books on the Civil War in the Bullis collection. We're always glad to help you access them.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Last week's post referred to information gleaned from the Bullis Room collection, to wit: "Much of the necessary documentation for the historic marker was provided by materials in the Bullis Room...."

Because so many of you indicated interest in the June 9th topic,  this week we are including a few of the railroading books in the Bullis Room that are available for your research and enjoyment. We say "a few" because there are lots of them. We'll give you a partial list and let you stop by and discover the rest.

Before embarking on any new project, we normally ask, "But what is this going to cost me?"  Therefore, we thought you'd want to take a look at:

The Economic Theory of the Location of Railways;
An Analysis of the Conditions Controlling the Laying Out of Railways ... 
By A. M. (Arthur Mellen) Wellington
Published in New York by J. Wiley & Sons, 1887

Then if we ask, "Is there a less expensive alternative to railroads?" we can find an answer (based on the year 1911 conditions) in this American Railroad's publication:

The Cost of Transportation on the Erie Canal and By Rail
By Association of American Railroads, 
Published in Washington D.C. by Bureau of Railway Economics, 1911

And there's also a book for those of us who want to find out more about how railroads are surveyed and constructed:

The Railroad Engineer's Practice:
Being a Short but Complete Description of the Duties of the
Young Engineer in Preliminary and Location Surveys and in Construction
by Thomas M. Cleeman
Published in New York by Engineering News Publ. Co., 1883

So there you have it -- three out of more than a dozen books on the topic of railroads. If you spend some time with them, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Research enables grant for historic marker

Did you know that the Bullis Collection holds many  publications of our state and local governments? On May 31 we attended the unveiling of this historic marker made possible in part by researching the Bullis Collection.  The photo on the left is retired railroad engineer, H.P. Zerbe, who actually operated the train on this route between Stanley and Sodus Point.  Much of the necessary documentation for the historic marker was provided by materials in the Bullis Room for Tim Wilbur, President of Ontario Pathways, who applied for the grant.  A fellow railroad lover, Dr. Robert Ward had previously done research in the Bullis Room and shared with Mr. Wilbur about the rich railroad resources there. The William G. Pomeroy Foundation provided the grant for the marker.  It is the Foundation's belief "that historic markers play an important role in local historic preservation by serving a dual purpose. They educate the public and foster historic tourism, which in turn can provide economic benefits to the town and villages where the markers are placed." - from Mr. Wilbur's Press Release for marker unveiling.  The Ontario Pathways trailhead is located on Rt.96 between State Route 488 and Rt.8.  This is a repurposing of the railroad track bed into a trail pathway -creating a multi-use rails-to-trails pathway.  Ontario Pathways, Inc. is a non profit organization that owns and maintains 23 miles of rail-trail in Ontario County NY.  Their mission is to create and maintain a network of walking trails that residents and visitors can enjoy year-round. Volunteers work hard to maintain trails, repair bridges and trim brush to keep trails open for visitors. Part of the Rails to Trails Conservancy, Ontario Pathways gives the public free access to beautiful nature trails that stretch from Canandaigua to Phelps. You will find contact and events information on Facebook.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


For those of us who have plans this summer to sail around the world (or at least a small portion of it), these Bullis books give an historical perspective of  one of our greatest natural resources--our oceans.

A Voyage in the "Sunbeam";  Our Home on the Ocean for Eleven Months
(First published in 1878  under the title Around the World in the Yacht "Sunbeam")
by Annie Allnutt Brassey, Baroness
Published in New York by John Turtler Lovell, 1881

An Historical Account of the Circumnavigation of the Globe,
and of the progress of discovery in the Pacific Ocean, from the
voyage of Magellan to the death of Cook
Published in New York by Harper Brothers, 1839

A Voyage Round the World in the Years 
1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804;
in which the author visited the principal islands in the
Pacific Ocean and the English settlements of 
Port Jackson and Norfolk Island
by John Turnbull
Published in Philadelphia by Benjamin and Thomas Kite, 1810

So before you leave for the shore this summer, you're invited to stop by the Bullis Room and look through these books (and others like them).  We think you'll appreciate your time at the ocean more, as a result.

FYI: Tomorrow is World Oceans Day. There are lots of suggestions online for observing this special day. Perhaps you'd like to choose one or two to focus on for the rest of this year. (One that we think Nettie Bullis would have liked is reusing plastic shopping bags.  How simple is that?)

Sunday, May 31, 2015


The great American poet, essayist and journalist - Walt Whitman  - was born 196 years ago today.
And one of his books is on the shelves in the Bullis Room:

Leaves of Grass
By Walt Whitman
Published: Boston, James R. Osgood and Co.,  1881-82

It appears that this Bullis copy is the next-to-last edition, based on information we found at  The Walt Whitman Archive (  This site lists the six American editions of Leaves of Grass that were published in Whitman's lifetime. These editions covered a period of time from 1855 to 1891-92. You can find details about each one of these editions, at the link above.

If you're interested in finding out more about Walt Whitman, the man, you can find a good introduction to that on today's edition of The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keilor ( This site also includes an interesting paragraph, which we quote:

Whitman spent the last 20 years of his life revising and expanding Leaves of Grass
issuing the eighth and final edition in 1891, saying it was
 "at last complete — after 33 y'rs of hackling at it, all times & moods of my life, 
fair weather & foul, all parts of the land, and peace & war, young & old."
(From: The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keiler, May 31, 2015)

Since the poet spent so much of his life "hackling" at this work in all kinds of weather, moods, places, ages, it seems only fair that we should make an effort to appreciate the results. So we invite you to stop by the Bullis Room and take a look at this 134 year old book with us. (If you'll put on our white gloves, we'll even let you hold it! Honest!)

Monday, May 25, 2015



(Photo taken May, 2010)