Boardman historical society announces public series and new officers

« Boardman Neighbors

At a recent business meeting, the Boardman Historical Society elected the following officers: President Richard S. Scarsella, Vice-President Jerry Armbrecht, Treasurer Rick Shale and Acting Secretary Bob Fulton. Officers were also seated as board members, with Diane Armbrecht and Debbie Liptak on the board as well.

Three authors for the Historical Society, Tom Welsh, Joshua Foster and Gordon Morgan, will present a program reviewing local Jewish history on Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. at the Boardman library. This is the first of a series of historic centered presentations offered by the society. The newly released publication, “A History of Jewish Youngstown and the Steel Valley,” published by History Press, is the basis of the retrospective. Topics include the story of the Jewish immigrant experience, the role of religion in the Jewish community and the broad range of Jewish contributions to the metropolitan Youngstown area. The Warner brothers, the Raffel brothers who founded Arby’s and Jewish family-owned firms, such as the Strouss-Hirshberg department stores, Livingston’s Women’s Wear, Lustig’s Shoes and Haber’s Furniture are all recalled in the book, produced in collaboration with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

Thomas Welsh is a professional writer and editor who grew up in the industrial center of Youngstown. He is the author of “Closing Chapters: Urban Change, Religious Reform, and the Decline of Youngstown’s Catholic Elementary Schools,” and went on to coauthor “Strouss’: Youngstown’s Dependable Store” and “Classic Restaurants of Youngstown.”

Before completing a doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Kent State University in 2009, he worked as a journalist in the United States, South Korea and Cambodia. He serves as outreach coordinator of the Etruscan Press, a non-profit literary press that works in close collaboration with the YSU Poetry Center.

Joshua Foster is an independent scholar and professional writer who grew up in the Kravitz family, owners of Kravitz’s Deli, which has been part of Youngstown’s Jewish community for more than a century. As a fine arts and religious studies major at Youngstown State University, he established the YSU Jewish Students Organization and served as its first president. Foster completed his graduate studies in urban history at YSU and produced several academic papers, including a historical examination of the Romaniote Jewish community of Ioannina, Greece. He has served as a featured speaker on local and regional television and radio programs.

Gordon F. Morgan is a professional writer and editor who grew up in Campbell. After completing a graduate degree in professional writing and editing at YSU, he served as program director and newsletter editor for the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, a group of more than 150 people who attend monthly presentations by leading experts on the Civil War. Gordon’s articles have appeared in regional periodicals, including “The Metro Monthly” and “The Vindicator.” He is the coauthor of “Classic Restaurants of Youngstown.” Other Boardman Historical Society events will include a Nov. 11 program featuring Rick Shale, Youngstown State University professor emeritus, speaking on the life of Joseph Butler, founder of the Butler Museum of Art, and a Dec. 9 program featuring Richard S. Scarsella, chairman of the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society, detailing the legacy of the Eclectic Readers, written by local educator William Holmes McGuffey.

All programs will take place at the Boardman library and begin at 10 a.m. The presentations are open to the public and admission is free. Reservations are required by calling Donna Hammond at 330-726-0651.

The Boardman Historical Society maintains a museum of Boardman and local artifacts at Boardman Park, in the historic Dechon House. Tours are by appointment only.

The society was instrumental in the purchase of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which it moved to Boardman Park and renamed the St. John’s Meeting House.

For more information about the society, contact Boardman Historical Society President Richard S. Scarsella at 330-726-8277.

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