John N. Miskell's Why Auburn?
-- the Relationship between Auburn and the Prison


Page 10 of 10
The completion of this paper would not have been possible without the aid and encouragement of many persons. I would like to thank

  • Dick Case, Columnist, Syracuse Herald American for critique of the rough draft;
  • Malcolm 0. Goodelle, Researcher, Cayuga County Historian's Office, for assistance with their holdings;
  • Peter Jones, Director, Cayuga Museum for inviting me to address the Cayuga County Historical Society;
  • Thomas G. Eldred, President, Historical Society, for providing printing;
  • David Saxton, Assistant Industrial Superintendent, Auburn Correctional Facility, for current materials on Corcraft;
  • Ann P. Guarino, for taping the occasion, and
  • Nancy Assmann, Typist, who spent many hours deciphering my notes.

My deepest thanks go to my wife who provided encouragement, patience, and advice throughout.

Cayuga historical marker.

Public and private sector efforts exploring, communicating and promoting Auburn City and Cayuga County history are considerable:

have worked at widening awareness of, and interest in the area's many historical sights including but not limited to the

The area also has one of the most informative and extensive genealogical and local history networks on the web.

The latter point can be quickly confirmed by a visit to the Cayuga County NYGenWeb Project homepage listing scores of linked sites that in turn are linked to yet more sites.

Of the many public and private sector local history web sites, relatively few give space to Auburn's correctional history. They include:

That's about the extent of what the Auburn area generates in the way of a correctional history presence on the Internet, an interesting situation given that Auburn's role in correctional history is massive and preeminent.
Thomas McCarthy

[Image selection & caption by NYCHS webmaster]

Seminary's Willard Chapel.


  • Rudolph W. Chamberlain, There is No Truce, A Life of Thomas Mott Osborne, Macmillan, New York, New York, 1935

  • Henry Hall, History of Auburn, Chapter Five, Auburn Prison, Dennis Brothers & Company, Auburn, New York 1869

  • D. Morris Kurtz, Auburn New York, Its Facilities and Resources, The Kurtz Publishing Company, Auburn, New York, 1884

  • O. F. Lewis, The Development of American Prisons and Prison Customs, 1776-1845, Published by The Prison Association of New York, J. B. Lyon Company, Albany, New York, 1922

  • W. David Lewis, From Newgate to Dannemora, The Rise of the Penitentiary in New York, 1796-1848, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1965

  • David Saxton, personal letter, Asst. Ind. Superintendent, Auburn Correctional Facility, Auburn, New York, March 19, 1991

  • Henry W. Schramm, Central New York, A Pictorial History, The Donning Company, Publishers, Norfolk, VA, 1987

  • Elliot G. Storke, History of Cayuga County, New York, Heart of the Lakes Publishing Company, Interlaken, New York, 1980

  • Fifth Annual Report of the Inspectors of State Prisons of the State of New York, made to the Legislature, January 6, 1853, C. Van Benthuysen, Printer, Albany, New York, 1853

  • Documents of the Senate of the State of New York, 92 Session, 1869, Volume 3, Nos. 12 to 48 incl., The Argus Company, Albany, NY 1869

  • Annual Report of the Superintendent of State Prisons for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1921, State of New York Prison Department, printed at Sing Sing, Ossining, New York, 1922

  • New York State Department of Correction, Correction, Volume 11, Ossining, New York, August, 1941

  • New York State Department of Correction, Auburn State Prison, Its History, Purpose, Makeup and Program, New York State Vocational Institution, 1949

  • Newspaper files, Cayuga County Historian's Office:
    • The Auburn Cayuga Patriot;
    • Auburn Citizen Advertiser,
    • Auburn Citizen,
    • Syracuse Post Standard,
    • Syracuse Herald American
Why Auburn? the Relationship between Auburn and the Prison text ©1991 by John N. Miskell
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