Newsworthy Fall 2020


Dear DCHS members, supporters & friends,

Reminding ourselves of the classic British call to arms during WWII, reminds us that history provides valuable, contemporary lessons. In our 106 years, we have embraced and sustained our mission through wars, global economic depression, and prior pandemics, because we respect and value our shared history. This year has been no different! Under the banner for the year 2020 Focus: Women's Voices & Talents, we are proud to share the following:

Our Yearbook is now out! You'll find it at the bottom of this page.

Our landmark exhibition featuring Caroline Morgan Clowes, several years in the making, went on in spite of a global pandemic. Although on a much smaller scale, we still get an intimate view of a 20th century woman painter, Eunice Hatfield Smith.

Caroline M. Clowes: Rediscovering an Important 19th Century American Painter

Eunice Hatfield Smith: Local Artist, Local Views

Collections had a strong year as more people had more time at home to finally get to the basement or attic clean-up! One of the larger gifts this year relates to decades of research and collecting on the topic of the 128th Volunteer NY Infantry during the Civil War.


Our Awards expand in importance with the addition of the Eileen Mylod Hayden Excellence in Education Award. This new award seems timely given the degree to which teachers have had to reinvent how they teach.

The 2020 Dutchess Award recognizes “the contributions by a county resident to the Dutchess County community, and beyond, in the areas of preservation, history, and/or education.”

Mary Kay Vrba, in 26 years at Dutchess Tourism, ultimately becoming its President & CEO, has integrated our county’s powerful, authentic history as a means to attract interest, tourism, and tourism dollars. “Rising tides lift all boats.” The profile, relevance and value of our local history has benefited from her leadership. In her newfound retirement, Mary Kay she leaves a clear path to be emulated for continued success. We wish her all the best!

DCHS Awards 2020 Vrba
DCHS Awards 2020 Opdycke

The 2020 Helen Wilkinson Reynolds Award
recognizes “the local historian who is an exemplar of the necessary and accurate search for historical truth that represents the spirit of Helen Wilkinson Reynolds.” Reynolds was a founder and prolific researcher and writer at DCHS.

Sandra Opdycke, Ph.D., receives the award for her contributions which include books on public health policy, women’s suffrage and the 1918 pandemic, and an article in the current DCHS Yearbook. She has taught at Bard, Vassar and Marist Colleges. Sandra and her husband, Leonard, have been long-term supporters of DCHS.

The 2020 Eileen Mylod Hayden Award for Excellence in History Education recognizes “teachers at middle or high school levels who effectively impart a love of history in their students.”

Neil Murray receives the award for his teaching of 11th Grade American and Military history at Pine Plains Central School District. Neil is a leader in the field of living history which is evolving as a powerful educational tool. Neil’s own respect of, and love for, local history comes through in his teaching and in his broader community engagement. Students are left with a lifelong curiosity and respect for the events, and the people, of the past.

DCHS Awards 2020 Murray
DCHS Awards 2020 Page

The 2020 Business of Historic Distinction Award recognizes “the business that demonstrates the long-standing tradition of service and commitment to Dutchess County residents.”

Page Park Associates has successfully created a vibrant, contemporary adaptive reuse of the historic 1941 Poughkeepsie Journal Building, with careful attention to restoration and preservation of its dramatic murals, exterior fieldstone, and depiction of local history in stone sculpture. Accepting for PPA is Jason Page.

The 2020 Yearbook is out!

Your member/donor/friend password is:



The suspension of physical, in-person events and visits to Clinton House has, as you can imagine, a negative effect on DCHS’s financial health.  There are delays in long planned events such as the annual meeting, the annual awards in the form of a dinner, a collaborative Caroline Morgan Clowes exhibit with the Barrett Arts Center, and events related to the centennial observation of the national right for women to vote (expanded with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965). These delays have greatly reduced our income. 

We are making this single but fundamentally important request this year. The gift can be made in any of the following ways:

a one-time donation in the form of a check or credit card payment
a donation in lieu of an Awards Dinner ticket
as a gift of stocks, which will be liquidated for its donated cash value
a distribution from an IRA or other investment vehicle
a pledge made payable in monthly payments on a credit card

Any amount will be greatly appreciated.  If you normally attended the Awards Dinner or any other ticketed event sponsored by DCHS, consider converting the ticket price as a donation.  We understand that financial circumstances vary greatly; any amount will be greatly appreciated. DCHS is a 501(c)3, consult your tax advisor as the gift may be fully tax deductible. Letters for tax purposes are sent for gifts of $100 or more, or unless specifically requested.

Lou Lewis, DCHS Board President