Valley Viewpoints: Oswego orphanage

by Frank Fisher, Florida

Regarding the story in The Valley News, Dec. 13, 2012 headlined “State Residents should have access to records,” refers to government records. Access to minutes is also discussed; it is unclear whether the minutes of meetings refer only to government meetings.

The story also refers to a program for the Centennial Celebration of the Children’s Home. Was there a program? I only have heard about the visitors’ log.

Mr. Robert Freeman doesn’t address the issue of access when neither organization (holder of the records and creator of the records) were ever owned by the government, or when the records are more than 150 years old.

The story assumes government ownership. The Oswego Orphan Asylum was the original name of the Oswego Children’s Home. It incorporated as a non-profit business in 1851. It was never owned by Oswego County or any government body. My understanding is that the Oswego Historical Society is also a non-profit business.

My letter to Oswego legislators was discussed in the story Oct. 6, 2012. All my information about the records is what I have been told. I have never seen them.

The original request to the historical society was for a copy of the information contained in the ledgers for the years 1951 – 1956; the years I was in the home, but the historical society reported it does not have that ledger or ledgers and their ledgers end at 1945. The location of the ledger(s) for the years 1946 through 1956 is unknown. If it is found, I would like access to it. Later, I learned the historical society also has a visitors log, which includes the Centennial celebration.

My requests with justification arguments for release of the information were made. The two outstanding requests are for:

1.) A copy of the names and information contained in the ledgers for the month of February 1851.

2.) A copy of the names and information in the visitors’ log for the day or days of the Centennial celebration.

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