The Writing Life – James Agee in Hillsdale – Part 2

Agee left Fortune to join Time magazine as book reviewer and film critic. In 1942 he moved to The Nation where his film criticism found a growing circle of intellectual admirers, including W.H. Auden, who wrote “In my opinion, [Agee’s] column is the most remarkable regular event in American journalism today.” As a film reviewer, he brought a level of perceptiveness and curiosity to the analysis of cinema in the 1940s that championed everything from mainstream Hollywood hits to B horror movies to slapstick comedy […]

By |October 10th, 2019|History|

The Writing Life – James Agee in Hillsdale – Part 1

James Agee was a commanding literary voice in mid-20th-century America: an extraordinarily versatile writer who in his lifetime won acclaim as a novelist, poet, and screenwriter. He is buried on a farm in Hillsdale.

That’s not big news. But we’ve also been told for years that he never actually lived in Hillsdale.  That seemed odd.  Why would a person who never lived in Hillsdale decide to be buried here?

We set out to see if we could verify that one way or another.

James Rufus Agee was born […]

By |October 7th, 2019|History|


By 1875, Hillsdale’s sheep farmers were producing some 17,000 pounds of wool per year. Several textile mills were built. One, operated by just two men, produced 600 pounds of flannel and cloth annually.

Iron ore was discovered in Hillsdale as early as 1800, although mining was never a big business here. But the furnace at the Copake Iron Works required a huge amount of charcoal and while it’s hard to imagine today, the hills around Green River and North Hillsdale were denuded of their trees. Several […]

By |September 23rd, 2019|History|

Moments in Time: Then and Now

Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much history surrounds us everyday. We wake up, commute to work or school, drive down roads and pass by places that have become so familiar to us that they seem to only exist in our present. The truth is, however, the area we call home is so steeped in the history of our country that it becomes truly hard to comprehend. Every town, road, and building bleeds the history of the early American way of life. Many people […]

By |September 21st, 2019|History|