THE BOUNTIFUL BARON OF BUFFALO: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JESSE KETCHUM
Volume 11 Number 6.
Herman Sass, the librarian at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, has written this small book on Jesse Ketchum's contribution to Buffalo life during the twenty-two years he lived there. Although born in New York state, Jesse Ketchum spent forty-six years in Toronto where he was associated with the first public school and Sunday school before returning to Buffalo in 1845. This book is not the life and times of Jesse Ketchum but rather a survey of how he fit into the history of Buffalo. Unfortunately, there is no detail on the period he spent in Toronto.
The first chapter of the book covers the history of Buffalo until the 1840s when Ketchum returned and amassed great amounts of land as well as joining many organizations in the growing city. The remainder of the book concentrates on Ketchum's role as philanthropist to churches and educational institutions. Very little is told of his family and personal life.
The sources of material come mainly from the records of the organizations to which Ketchum belonged; however, there are no footnotes, just a bibliography at the end. The introduction also includes acknowledgements, but none of the sources of the extremely poor reproductions of pictures and maps are given. Although the book is not indexed, the table of contents is detailed enough to find most information despite the illogical organization of the work.
This book was written to "provide new vistas on Jesse Ketchum's life in Buffalo and make more people aware of his generosity, open-mindedness and his conviction that educated citizens are the backbone of a free society." Sass succeeded in his first objective, but not in the second. Since there is only one other book on Ketchum's life, and that is about his Toronto period, this material in this book cannot be located elsewhere. However, this is not recommended for Canadian school purchase nor for general interest reading.
Ellen Robson, Winston Churchill C. I., Scarborough, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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