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A Paradise for Boys and Girls
Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks

Hallie E. Bond, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, and Leslie Paris
With a Foreword by Philip G. Terrie

Cloth $39.95    |    0-8156-0822-5    |    2006

A rare collection of pictorial narratives exploring the social history of children’s summer camps in the Adirondacks.

"‘A Paradise for Boys and Girls’ will thrill any ‘child’ who was lucky enough to go to camp in the Adirondacks—and even those who still wish they had."
Jewish Exponent

"The trio began their research in 1998 to learn more about the influence of the Adirondacks on camping. Their work yielded an exhibit on display at the Adirondack Museum. . . . One of the most fascinating aspects of the book concerns use of American Indian rituals. . . . The authors describe a variety of other experiences and approaches to camping. Some were academically oriented. Paris’ research suggests that the first girls camp in the Adirondacks was the French Recreation Class for Girls on Lake Placid, formed around 1896. Other camps supported young musicians or ballet dancers. Modern camps bring the experience to people with disabilities, or in the case of the Double H — Hole in the Woods Camp near Lake Luzerne, seriously ill children. . . . The authors have an eye for excellent anecdotes amid a massive amount of research material."
The Sunday Gazette (Schenectady)

Museum publishes book on Adirondack kids’ camps by LEE MANCHESTER, Lake Placid News, July 28, 2006

"LAKE PLACID — In the final season of its four-year exhibition on Adirondack children’s camps, the Adirondack Museum has finally come out with a book to serve as a companion to the exhibit.

The book, like the exhibit, is called "A Paradise for Boys and Girls: Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks," and it makes a case for the special importance of youth camps to this region.

The YMCA’s Camp Dudley (outside Westport) is, after all, the oldest continuously operating youth camp in the country. Dudley had its beginnings in the Catskills in 1885 but was moved to its permanent site on the Adirondack coast of Lake Champlain in 1892.

Since Sumner Dudley’s first experiments with youth camping, there have been at least 323 residential children’s camps established in the Adirondacks. Some lasted only a year or two, but some—including Old Dudley—continue to operate today.

The three authors of "Paradise"—Adirondack Museum curator Hallie Bond, University of British Columbia assistant professor Leslie Paris, and Cornell University professor Joan Jacobs Brumberg—explore the history of Adirondack kids’ camps, their influence on the lives of campers, and the camps’ impact on their host communities.

Work on the exhibition and companion book began nearly a decade ago when the Adirondack Museum hired Leslie Paris to compile a detailed research report on Adirondack camps between the world wars, a topic she had already chosen for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan.

Bond, who had already put together the Adirondack Museum’s exhibition on boats, was the curator assigned in 2001 to develop the new exhibit on children’s camps. The new book is designed as an accompaniment to that exhibit, which opened in 2003 and will remain open for visitors through the end of this October. "
— Read complete review by Lee Manchester in the Lake Placid News (PDF, 134 KB)

For over a century children have spent their summers at "sleepaway" camps in the Adirondacks. These camps inspired vivid memories and created an enduring legacy that has come to be a uniquely American tradition. In "A Paradise for Boys and Girls": Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks, a complement to the Adirondack museum exhibit of the same name, the authors explore the history of Adirondack children’s camps, their influence on the lives of the campers, and their impact on the communities in which they exist.

Drawing on the rich documentary and pictorial evidence gathered from the histories of 331 camps located in the Adirondacks from 1886 to the present, this collection chronicles the changing attitudes about children and childhood. Historian Leslie Paris details social change in "Pink Music: Continuity and Change at Early Adirondack Summer Camps." In the title essay of the book, Hallie Bond offers a history of Adirondack camping from the establishment of Camp Dudley on Lake Champlain in 1892 to the present. Finally, historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg concludes the collection with "A Wiser and Safer Place: The Meaning of Camping During World War II."

Lavishly illustrated with historic photographs, the book includes a directory of Adirondack camps, with brief descriptive notes for each of the camps. The photographs and essays in this volume offer readers a richer understanding of this singular region and its powerful connection to childhood.

View other books about the Adirondacks

Hallie E. Bond has been a curator at the Adirondack Museum since 1987. She is the author of Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks, copublished by Syracuse University Press and the Adirondack Museum.

Joan Jacobs Brumberg is professor of history, human development, and gender studies at Cornell University. She is the author of The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.

Leslie Paris is assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia. She has written numerous articles on modern American social and cultural history, childhood, and youth.

8 1/2 x 11, 264 pages, 135 black-and-white photographs, 1 map, appendix, index

Copublished with The Adirondack Museum

A Paradise for Boys and Girls

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