Variations on a Theme: Cooperstown

I am home for today's Thanksgiving holiday. Home is the small village of Cooperstown in Upstate New York. Since I connect this holiday with my hometown, this month's Variations on a Theme is a collection of books about and inspired by my little village.

In addition to this list of good reads, I wish you much warmth, happiness, and pie!

William Cooper's Town: Power and Persusasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
Alan Taylor

An innovative work of biography, social history, and literary analysis, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book presents the story of two men, William Cooper and his son, the novelist James Fennimore Cooper, who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social forms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier. of photos.

James Fenimore Cooper

During the fierce French and Indian wars, an adroit scout named Hawkeye and his companion Chingachgook weave through the spectacular and dangerous wilderness of upstate New York, fighting to save the beautiful Munro sisters from the Huron renegade Magua. The Last of the Mohicans is the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s five Leatherstocking Tales. With its death-defying chases and teeth-clenching suspense, this American classic established many archetypes of American frontier fiction. An engrossing “Western” by America’s first great novelist, The Last of the Mohicans is a story of survival and treachery, love and deliverance.

The Clarks of Cooperstown
Nicholas Fox Weber

Nicholas Fox Weber, author of the acclaimed Patron Saints (“Exhilarating avant-garde entertainment”—Sam Hunter, The New York Times Book Review) and Balthus (“The authoritative account of his life and work”—Michael Ravitch, Newsday), gives us now the idiosyncratic lives of Sterling and Stephen Clark—two of America’s greatest art collectors, heirs to the Singer sewing machine fortune, and for decades enemies of each other. He tells the story, as well, of the two generations that preceded theirs, giving us an intimate portrait of one of the least known of America’s richest families.

A Great Day in Cooperstown: The Improbable Birth of Baseball's Hall of Fame
Jim Reisler

Using an iconic photo of the game's original superstars — a group that included, among others, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, and Connie Mack — as his starting point, Jim Reisler explains the unusual origins of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and delivers a delightful history of not only the game's early stars and the house built to honor them, but also the myth of baseball America. With his trademark eye and ear for the spirit of the game's golden age, Reisler explains that the construction of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY was as much an attempt to revive the economy of a struggling draught-ravaged farming town at the height of the Depressioin as it was a tribute to the National Pastime. Weaving quirky, anecdotal stories about the Hall's first eleven inductees in and out of the story of how two industrious businessmen convinced a nation that a former Union general named Abner Doubleday created the game of baseball (which he didn't) and that the first pitch was thrown in the sleepy hamlet of Cooperstown (which it wasn't), Jim Reisler provides us with a fascinating story to be cherished by baseball fans and Americana enthusiasts alike.

Tom Stanton

Every true baseball fan dreams of visiting Cooperstown. Some make the trip as boys, when the promise of a spot in the lineup with the Yankees or Red Sox or Tigers glows on the horizon, as certain as the sunrise. Some go later in life, long after their Little League years, to glimpse the past, not the future. And still others talk of somedays and of pilgrimages that await. The Road to Cooperstown is a true story populated with colorful characters: a philanthropic family that launched the museum and uses its wealth to, among other things, ensure that McDonald's stays out of the turn-of-the-century downtown; the devoted fan who wrote a book to get his hero into the Hall of Fame; the Guyana native who grew up without baseball but comes to the induction ceremony every year; the librarian on a mission to preserve his great-grandfather's memory; the baseball legends who appear suddenly along Main Street; and the dying man who fulfills one of his last wishes on a warm day in spring.

Otsego Lake: Past and Present

Richard S. Duncan

Otsego Lake is one of the most celebrated bodies of water in America immortalized in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, praised by artists and writers, and loved by generations of visitors to the region. It has been called ""the cradle of American literature"" and even "the Walden Pond of New York State." This volume is the first comprehensive photographic documentation of Otsego Lake. It features the extraordinary color photographs of Richard S. Duncan and draws upon the historical photograph collections of the New York State Historical Association, housed in Fenimore Art Museum. This book takes the reader on a fascinating journey to each of the principal sites around the lake, and reveals the beauty, history, and mystery of one of America's most picturesque landscapes.

Other Cooperstown Titles
American Canopy - Eric Rutkow
Around Cooperstown - Brian and Becky Nielsen
Cooperstown Confidential - Zev Chafets
Cooperstown, The Book 
The Deerslayer - James Fenimore Cooper
The Hall - National Baseball Hall of Fame
Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame - National Baseball Hall of Fame
The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff
Otsego Country, Its Towns and Treasures
The Pathfinder - James Fenimore Cooper
The Pioneers - James Fenimore Cooper
Rural Hours - Susan Fenimore Cooper