Silk Production at the Auburn State Prison

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Date(s) - 05/23/2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Geneva History Museum-Geneva Historical Society


“Silk Production at the Auburn State Prison” will be presented by Denise Nicole Green on Thursday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the Geneva History Museum, 543 S. Main Street, Geneva. The program is sponsored by the Antiques Club of the Finger Lakes. It is free and open to the public.

Convicts made sewing silk at the Auburn prison starting in 1841, and by 1842 the prison had 41 inmates working at a dye house and 10 “throwing mills” in which silk is twisted and wound into yarn. But as fast as production ramped up, silk production unraveled due to a variety of problems including quality of the product and inmate discipline. Production was shut down in 1844.

Come and hear about this little known chapter in prison history. The presenter, Denise Nicole Green, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, where she curates, advises and oversees public exhibitions. Growing up in Auburn, Green became familiar with local history and often walked past the Seward House Museum, one of the museums that she now professionally assists.

Green earned a BS with Honors in Apparel Design from Cornell, an MS in Textiles from the University of California Davis and a PhD in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of British Columbia.