Current TAUNY Research Projects
TAUNY's presentations of the customs and traditions of the North Country begin with research. Our staff and a network of scholars with whom we work travel around the region to study and document ongoing cultural practices in our communities. Read about our current research projects here.
The Birth House Project
Prior to World War II, women in the North Country traditionally gave birth in community, either at home or in birth houses. Around the 1950s, the common place of birth became more institutionalized in hospitals. Records show that birth houses were found in towns throughout the North Country, but there is very little information in the literature. To what degree are there community birth traditions in the North Country? How do birth houses tie into these traditions and affect present-day childbirth practices?
Over spring 2020, TAUNY has been working with midwife and community scholar Regina Willette and St. Lawrence University student intern Kylie Clancy on a project exploring these questions, and we are looking for community input.
Share your story!
Do you have any knowledge about birth houses and community birth before 1960? Did you or someone you know give birth in, work at, or have any other connection to a birth house in that pre-1960 time period? If you—or anyone you know of—have knowledge about or direct experience with this, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-386-4289. We are also interested in hearing about more recent birth-related traditions of your own or your family or community.
Kylie Clancy is a double major in anthropology and psychology with a minor in religious studies at St. Lawrence University. She is also a trained doula. For her senior thesis, she is teamed up with TAUNY (Traditional Arts of Upstate New York) and midwife Regina Willette to explore the extent of birth house traditions in the North Country, and how these traditions inform present day childbirth practices. Kylie can be reached at email@example.com.
Regina Willette is a nationally board certified, New York State licensed midwife, and a retired physician assistant. She has worked with pregnant women and infants since 1977. Her major interest is community birth. Regina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camilla Ammirati Director Research and Programs, Camilla Ammirati, joined TAUNY in early 2014 and has since worked on planning and carrying out a wide range of research projects, programs, and exhibits. She is honored to have the opportunity to base these projects on skills, arts, traditions, experiences, and perspectives shared by community members. Camilla can be reached at email@example.com.
This signature program of TAUNY since 1993 puts a spotlight on a diversity of traditions and customs in the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Black River Valley, 1000 Islands, St. Lawrence River Valley, and Champlain Basin. Research for this program is ongoing. The program hosts its own website.
North Country Folklore Online is a collection of educational modules about various aspects of contemporary and historical folk culture and traditional arts of northern New York State that has been created with TAUNY’s research.
Kindred Pursuits is an online catalog of a selection of visual expressions made in the northern counties of New York since they were first settled more than two centuries ago. Researched and documented over more than 30 years, the collection represents the rich diversity of traditional cultures living here as well as the beauty and power of creative expressions of ordinary people in everyday life.
Note: All images, text and other material found in this website © 2020 TAUNY. All rights reserved.