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Note: This article is a compilation of several previous articles written over the years by Dottie Henry and others on the history of The Hague Chronicle along with information from the pages of the journal itself.
An idea is born
It all began in January 1972 when Emil Seerup published the first edition of The Hague Chronicle. Emil, a lawyer and former Vice-President of American Express, and his wife, Adra, retired to their summer home in Silver Bay in 1970. He became very active in local affairs, serving as a Town Justice and a Councilman and for a short interim as Town Supervisor. He felt the strong need for better communication among the residents of the Hague and Silver Bay areas. He discussed this need in the first issue of the paper:
Hague has all of the usual accoutrements of a small town except one -- IT HAS NO NEWSPAPER!
While it is true that the two newspapers published in Ticonderoga, and the papers published in Plattsburgh and Glens Falls are widely circulated in Hague (as are also the New York City newspapers) there is NO local paper or publication of general distribution in the town. News of what is going on is non-existent except that which is passed by word of mouth and all must agree that this source of news is unreliable. Except for those persons actually involved in particular projects, few people really know what is going on. Lack of information or misinformation sow the seeds of suspicion and distrust.
A newspaper devoted to the dissemination of factual news would seem to be the practical solution to this need.
Accordingly, the Citizens Group of Hague has agreed to underwrite the costs of a four-page monthly newspaper for the five-month period, January through May, 1972. The newspaper will be non-partisan, non-political, and purely factual. Representatives who attend the meetings of the various organizations will report on matters presented and action taken. The pages of the paper will be open to anyone who questions the accuracy of any of the reports. Space will be given to announcements of coming events or other matters of general interest to the community.
The paper will be circulated through the mails to all residents of the town at no cost to them. No advertising matter will be accepted. At the end of the five-month period, results will be studied and a determination will then be made as to what should be done in the future.
PLEASE BELIEVE -- this is a sincere effort to bring the local news home to all residents. Nothing more!
[The Hague Chronicle Vol 1 no 1 Jan 1972 page 2.]
The first issue
The first issue was four pages (two sheets front and back) on 8-1/2 x 11 inch paper and run off on a ditto machine in Emil Seerup’s home. He was able to get some financial backing from a group of Hague residents calling themselves Citizens Group of Hague. The paper was sent to all Silver Bay Property Owners and all Hague year-round residents. [from The Hague Chronicle, a brief history, written March 19, 1984, in our archives.] The Silver Bay Property Owners helped with a $100 donation and have continued their support with contributions through the years.
In the August 1972 issue, added to the publishing information was, “It is mailed free of charge to all residents of Hague.” In April 1974, that statement was removed, but “Mr. Seerup continued to mail it to all residents and accepted contributions from them. V. [Virginia] Shattuck started with his list of year-round households and checked monthly with Postmasters in Hague & Silver Bay to add new residents and remove those who had died or moved away. The same procedure was used for part-time residents, adding new readers as they requested it.” [from a document in the archives, HAGUE CHRONICLE HISTORY (timeline 72-79)]
In the January 1982 issue on page 1, an article on the tenth anniversary of The Hague Chronicle included this information: “He (Seerup) published a 4-page paper each month on his own Ditto machine. Different colors of paper were used over the years, canary yellow, white, pink, green and buff, depending on what was available.”
According to an article by Seerup titled “Improved Printing” [The Hague Chronicle, April 1974, V. III, No. 4, page 1], the early issues, from January 1972 to April 1973, were “reproduced on a spirit duplicator which we obtained from the Citizen’s Group of Hague. This machine was capable of doing a creditable job on the first 150 copies but the rest of the copies would tend to be illegible. In April, 1973, we acquired an old mimeograph machine from the Christmas Club, which was moving out of Ticonderoga. The machine was of ancient vintage but in relatively good condition except for a crack in each of the drums which, you may have noticed, caused a line or two here and there to be obliterated. Efforts to repair the old drums or get new ones were unsuccessful.” He continued, “(now) …our printing problems are over. The Silver Bay Association which has an Off-Set press on which they print their brochures, letterheads and related printings, has offered as ‘a contribution to the Hague community’ to print future issues of the Chronicle.” Seerup added, “The material is being prepared as heretofore including the off-set master. SBA will print the required copies and return them for mailing. Working together we should be able to do a better job for the community.”
Changing of the guard
In January 1974, the issue was increased to six pages and in February 1978 it increased to eight pages. Some issues in the 1980s contained 10 pages and now almost all issues are 10 pages. In a 2011 conversation with Bruce Tamlyn, Silver Bay Chaplain, he recalled that the Silver Bay Association kept their administrative offices open during the winter of 1975 – 76. Bruce was program director then and had used the mimeograph machine for printing the Silver Bay Breeze so he was able to help Emil that winter with the printing of The Hague Chronicle - around 200 copies. Bruce remembers Emil as a “gentle, quiet man with a dry sense of humor.”
Emil Seerup died suddenly on October 1, 1976 and Virginia Shattuck took the reins, without skipping an issue. Virginia had grown up in Hague and returned in 1972. Volume 5 Number 11, dated November 1976, was the first issue for which she was solely responsible. In November 1976, the use of the off-set machine was discontinued since Silver Bay employees were having to cut stencils on their own time and it sometimes took more than two weeks for the printing. Virginia Shattuck learned to cut stencils and run the mimeograph machine so printing could be accomplished within a day or two.
[Hague Chronicle History, a timeline of events from 1972 – 1979 in our archives]
According to Alison Craig (in a note written in March 2008), “This task was monumental as she (Virginia) had to gather, write, edit, print and mail this community newspaper. She did this work for three and a half years during the difficult time when the future of the Hague School was in question. By June of 1979 she had convinced four able-bodied women to take over the writing of the paper. They, in turn, found a group of men to do the mimeographing and a gaggle of sociable folks who folded, stapled, stuck on labels and stamps and mailed every edition.”
The “Chronicle Committee” assumed their duties beginning with the June 1979 issue. According to page 2 of this issue, the committee consisted of Margaret (Mig) Broderick as Editor, Dorothy (Dottie) Henry, Publisher and Alison Craig, Treasurer. They were assisted by Leonard Bass, Ed Crabbs, Billie DeGraff, Jack Kennedy, Laura Meade, Petey Michael, Virginia Shattuck, Marion Shoemaker, Richard Strum, Clifton West and Martha White.
The November 1979 issue saw the first use of the slogan “All the News that Fits We Print,” suggested by Alison Craig as a take-off on the slogan of the New York Times. According to the January 1980 issue of The Hague Chronicle [page 7], Alison resigned as Treasurer “in order to devote more time to reporting and writing.” Jack Kennedy became the new volunteer Treasurer. The following month, a report noted that he suggested a reorganization of the accounting system and “pointed out that the Chronicle needs to buy its own electric typewriter, stapler, etc. At present we are working with borrowed equipment (mimeograph machine ‘borrowed’ courtesy of Silver Bay Assoc.).” That same article also named Kathi Hudak as an additional reporter.
501 (c) (3) status granted
The minutes of a special meeting on June 30, 1980 state that the purpose of the meeting was to “amend the constitution and by-laws dated January 1, 1980.” The amendments were necessary to comply with requirements of the IRS for 501 (c) (3) status. Directors re-elected at the meeting were Dottie Henry, Editor; Mig Broderick, Publisher; Alison Craig, Secretary; and Jack Kennedy, Treasurer.Thanks to the efforts of Jack Kennedy, the Internal Revenue Service advised in July 1980 that the application for tax exemption was approved and would be a “publicly supported organization” with donations being tax deductible. Jack served as Treasurer for a number of years until ill health forced him to resign, at which time Penny Bolton volunteered for the job. A 1980 summary report from the Treasurer indicates contribution income from 221 readers of $2,314.50 and expenses of $2,042.56. “However”, it was noted, “we have not received a 1980 contribution from 155 persons who gave in the past.”
According to Dottie Henry, “At that time we were using mimeograph stencils and Silver Bay kindly let us run the copies off on their mimeograph machine until Mr. Terzian donated one to us at which time Jim Broderick and Ev Lee did the duplicating in the Town Hall. An electric typewriter was one of our first purchases in 1980. We (ie. Dottie and Jack Henry with Dolly and Jack Kennedy) made a trip to Lake Placid after the Olympics to purchase a surplus one.” [from the archives, 11a - The Hague Chronicle-history p1- July 1998]. In December 1980, Dottie wrote: “Our thanks for the manual work to Ev Lee and Jim Broderick for running the machine and to Erv DeGraff who so efficiently operates a stapler, Jane Parmley, Flo Lee, Clifton West, Marion Shoemaker, the Cockrells, Lisa Henry, Jack Kennedy, Martha White and Jack Henry, who have helped from time to time in collating, stapling, stamping and sorting.”
Entering the computer age
A few years after the typewriter purchase, the first computer purchase was made - an Apple. Several replacements were purchased over the years. The office of The Hague Chronicle was located in the Henrys' lakeside home known as Viewpoint and later in Dottie’s home on New Hague Road. The office there, a room between her kitchen and garage, was fully equipped with a computer, copier, duplicator/printer, Fax machine and answering machine. All of this equipment eventually became obsolete. The copier was purchased and used for a few years until it was more of a problem than a help. The printing was then done at Staples in Queensbury, NY where it is still done today. The office is now at the home of Judy Stock and the main piece of equipment is a MacBook computer.
The people behind the paper
In the January 1984 issue, Mig Broderick, Editor wrote, “We – Dottie Henry, Mig Broderick, Alison Craig and Billie DeGraff – have worked hard to bring a picture of the day to day life in Hague. Georgina Lindquist has joined our staff to cover Town Board news.” She also expressed thanks to Jack Kennedy, Treasurer, Penny Bolton, Assistant Treasurer and Ev Lee and Jim Broderick, mimeo operators. She mentioned that there was a mailing list of about 600 with 350 out-of-town and 250 locally mailed. Silver Bay ran the mailing labels off from their computer.
Also in 1984, Mig Broderick wrote the following (unpublished) tribute to Dottie Henry: "I never met anyone like her before. The gal types, must be one hundred words a minute, laughs, talks, then answers the phone - has time for serious business or a joke or two - this publisher of the Hague Chronice. She listens. She discusses, she gets to the nitty qritty of every problem. She gathers news - she works far into the niqht to satisfy a few readers. Besides all her managerial skills the human factor is utmost in her mind. Knowingly, she would slight no one. We all make mistakes, say things we don't mean, but Dottie Henry, as publisher of The Hague Chronicle is a team worker. She will do the hard job realizing the staff cannot please everyone , but try she does and successfully gets out our Hague Chronicle every month."
That same year, Mig also wrote the following (unpublished) tribute to Alison Craig: "Alison is chief political and "difficult subjects " analyst - a main staff writer for The Hague Chronicle, She is brilliant, feisty, bristles at incompetence, tries to be objective when her honesty calls out for righteous indignation. She presents her subject in a clear, concise, manner and succeeds. She is tireless in attending meetings, volunteer Planning Board member and can write funny or serious pieces - descriptive Lake phenomenon or some background for needed tax reforming, making all her articles readable . She cares about Hague. She wants the best of everything for her home town. Her standards are high - we need more Alison Craigs."
In 1985 a design contest was held for a new masthead for the front of the paper. Laurie de Buys Pannell, daughter of Harry and Betty de Buys of Hague and Birmingham, Alabama, was the designer of the winning entry. It depicts a gull flying over the Lake with the mountains in the background. Over the years, the image lost some of its “crispness” due to copying. In January 2009, in order to make it clearer for printing, we started to use an updated design by Christine Quaglieri, a graphic artist who volunteered her services. In yet another update, artist Richard Stout of Hague redesigned the masthead which debuted in January 2014.
In 1989, Dottie Henry wrote, “The current staff is made up of the following VOLUNTEERS: Dorothy Henry, Publisher; Mig Broderick, Editor; Alison Craig, Georgina Lindquist and Billie DeGraff, Correspondents, Penny Bolton, Treasurer and Fran Clifton, Telephoning.” The volunteers who helped collate, staple, stamp and mail each issue included “Ethel Andrus, Claire Best, Erv DeGraff, Jean Feibusch, Maureen Garrison, Alma and Carl Jantzen, Katie Koenig, Georgina and Everett Lindquist, Julia and Aaron Middleton, Ida Moore, Audrey O’Brien, Marion Shoemaker (and) Corbee Skahan” along with other occasional helpers." [from the archives: The Hague Chronicle-history - 12-16-1989] . Mig Broderick and Dottie Henry worked closely as Editor and Publisher from 1979 until 1989, when Mig retired as Editor after the sudden death of her husband, Jim. Dottie became both Editor and Publisher, and by July 1998, the staff included Mary Jo Keeler, Assistant, and Mitzi Fillare, Treasurer, in addition to a number of monthly volunteers.
New constitution and by-laws
Alison Craig and Dottie Henry were the only remaining members of the Board in December 2002. Dottie called a meeting for the purpose of adopting a new constitution and by-laws and the election of seven directors for 2003. They replaced the old constitution and by-laws “in their entirety.” Elected as directors of the organization were Ethel Andrus, John Barber, Michele Gautreau, Dorothy Henry, George Ianson, Mary Jo Keeler and Judy Stock. Officers elected were Judy Stock, Publisher; Dottie Henry, Editor; Mary Jo Keeler, Secretary; and George Ianson, Treasurer.
As reported in the February 2005 issue, the annual meeting of The Hague Chronicle volunteer Board of Directors took place on January 25, 2005 at the Hague Community Center. The Board accepted with regret the resignation of Mary Jo Keeler, who moved away from Hague. They then elected Nancy Trombley and Chris Ianson to the Board. Treasurer George Ianson reported 2004 income of $11,978.56, expenses of $11,390.13 and a closing balance of $8,729.42. The suggested annual donation remained at $12. Publisher Judy Stock reported that the current mailing list totaled 728 of which 228 were mailed locally. Many comments were received from readers with appreciation for keeping them informed. Dottie Henry at one time noted, “One year we were really out of funds and I suggested in the December issue that maybe everyone could send us $1 in addition to their regular contributions. We have never been in the hole since.”
Hague Chronicle/Dorothy Henry Scholarship
In honor of Dottie, whose long-time volunteer commitment made the continued publication possible, the Board of Directors established the Dorothy J. Henry/Hague Chronicle Scholarship. It is awarded annually to a graduating Senior from Ticonderoga High School who is a resident of Hague. The first recipient, in 2007, was Stephanie Nast. Subsequent recipients were Samantha Abare (2008), Molly Ginn (2009), Kaley Manning (2010), Jennell Coffin (2011), Corey King (2012), Grace Ginn (2013) and Sean Lawrie (2014).
In November 2007, Judy Stock took on the duties of both Publisher and Editor. She continues to try to increase the volunteer base so more duties can be spread around. Pat McDonough joined the Editorial Staff and became a Board member in 2008, and in 2009 Jim Henderson volunteered to do the job of Layout Editor. Janet Hanna volunteered to work on special projects. In 2010, Jan Whitaker became the Data Base Manager. In 2011 Bob Whitaker was elected Treasurer and Ginger Henry Kuenzel was also elected to the Board.
Today, electronics have simplified the process, as Judy receives all articles via email. They are then edited and emailed to Jim for layout; returned to the publisher for final review and proofreading; and uploaded to Staples, where they are picked up just before mailing. The mail crew then meets at the Community Center to staple, fold, tape, label, stamp and sort.
Our tireless volunteers
In addition to all the volunteers mentioned previously, our mailing crew has -- over the years -- included long-time volunteers Ethel Andrus, Janet Hoffay, Julia Middleton and Marguerite West. Also serving on the volunteer mail staff have been: Claire Best, Cathie Burdick, JoAnne DeFranco, Mary Lou Doulin, Jean Feibusch, Toby Hatfield, Maureen Garrison, Nancy Harrigan, Alma Jantzen, Carl Jantzen, Katie Koenig, Aaron Middleton, Ida Moore, Audrey O’Brien, Gertrude Raczkowski, Nancy Wotton Scarzello, Corbee Skahan, and Betty Van Sleet. Stan Burdick has volunteered his professional service as our cartoonist since May 2004.
In January 2011, we published the first issue of Volume 40. On August 21, 2011 we celebrated this 40th year of publishing with an afternoon of exhibits, a program and a Strawberry Social at the Hague Community Center.
2012 saw the creation of our Facebook page and in February 2013 we launched this website.