Monday, November 7, 2011

Francis Poulin Scrapbook Collection

Francis Poulin with scale model of a steel bridge built in Pleasant
Valley in 1904 to carry trolleys to the growing Mont Pleasant
neighborhood. Photocopy of photograph from Schenectady
Gazette article dated 31 July 1980, in Poulin family file.
The Francis Poulin Scrapbook Collection is comprised of scrapbooks compiled by Francis Poulin, a long-time resident of the Mont Pleasant neighborhood, Schenectady city archivist, and local history enthusiast.

Francis A. Poulin was born in Fort Johnson, New York. He attended Schenectady public schools, graduating from Mont Pleasant High School in 1934. Poulin married Mary Abbatiello in 1941; the couple went on to have three children. Poulin worked for the New York Central Railroad’s signal department and for the American Locomotive Company. He then worked for over 20 years with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles before retiring in 1979.

Poulin’s love of local history began when he was still in high school. Poulin participated in a citizens’ effort for a plaque to be placed at the site of the city’s first railroad station; he had the honor of unveiling a plaque at the Crane Street site in 1938. After his retirement in 1979, Poulin increased his involvement with local history. He served as historian for Mont Pleasant High School and for the Mont Pleasant Reformed Church, and served as an advisor for the historical preservation of Proctor’s Theatre. In 1988, he was appointed City Archivist for the city of Schenectady; he continued to serve as archivist until his death in 1994.

Poulin served on the board of trustees of the Schenectady County Historical Society. He was a member of the Schoharie County Historical Society, Vermont Historical Society, Mohawk Hudson Railroad Society, National Railway Historical Society, Schenectady 2000, Friends of Union College, Mont Pleasant Reformed Church and the Greater Consistory of the Church, the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem, the Giles Fonda Yates Council 22, New Hope Masons Lodge 730, and was a patron of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Poulin died at Ellis Hospital on January 21, 1994. He is buried in Memory Gardens Cemetery & Memorial Park in Colonie, New York. Following his death, the New York State legislature passed a resolution honoring Poulin and his advocacy of railroad history.

Materials in the Francis Poulin Scrapbook Collection are Photostat copies enclosed in three-ring binders; contents include copies of newspaper and magazine articles, maps, photographs, correspondence, and notes. The binders cover a variety of topics related to the history of Schenectady, with particular emphasis on the history of railroads, the Mont Pleasant neighborhood, the Westinghouse family and company, local schools and churches, and the YMCA. A finding aid for the collection can be found here.

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