Preserving the Legacy of John S. Apperson, Jr. (1878 – 1963)

Welcome to Apperson Associates…a  website designed as an introduction to  the life and accomplishments of John S. Apperson, Jr., leader of the early preservation movement in the New York Adirondacks.   Over the decades, many people have worked hard to carry on his work and preserve his letters and photographs, most of which are stored in the Adirondack Research Library, now owned and operated by Union College, in Schenectady, New York.  Ellen Apperson Brown, his great niece, after spending many years doing research, has decided to create this digital archive of his papers as a way to express her appreciation for all those friends and associates who helped carry on his important work, and ensure that this information finds its way to a wide audience.Apperson photo of the Narrows at Lake George, c. 1915

We invite you to browse through the pages of this site, and enjoy Ellen’s slide-shows, recordings, academic papers, and transcripts of talks she has presented. Under Archives you’ll find scanned copies of publications dating back as early as 1916, plus samples of his early photography, and batches of letters he wrote to prominent people.  Here, below, is a little summary Ellen put together for a talk at Bolton landing, in the summer of 2011, as she tried to capture the quintessential style of this remarkable man…   

Apperson Rules & Methodology of How to Get Things Done in the Adirondacks
(circa 1930):

  1. If you want to speak out effectively about a problem in the forest preserve (such as erosion, illegal tree cutting, etc.)…you must go there and see it for yourself, know your facts, and take photographs. They will speak louder than words!
  2. Actions also speak louder than words. If you want people to help you accomplish something, show them how it can be done. Example: Invite your friends and associates to spend a weekend camping on an island, introducing them to the spectacular scenery and offering them some invigorating exercise… hauling rocks, and thus helping to protect the shores of an island.
  3. The litmus test: If you want to find out if a government official is doing his job, write him a letter asking about a specific concern. You’ll soon find out if the person is sincere, competent, lazy, dishonest…or somewhere in between.
  4. If you are faced with a problem concerning governmental rules and regulations, learn to think like a politician, and then find a way to apply political pressure. Example: If the D&H Railroad refuses to accept camping gear, find out if Abercrombie & Fitch, a sports retailer in New York City, might be willing to help. Changing the rules might translate to increased sales of tents, skis and camping gear to GE engineers.
  5. Beware of big organizations, and be ready to drop your name from the rolls, if necessary. If an organization is not functioning well, and if the leadership is plagued with divisive issues, then leave, and start a new one.
  6. Make friends with powerful and influential individuals, ask their advice, and be persuasive. If they are convinced of your honesty and sincerity, they may decide to take your side in the next big political battle.
  7. Look for opportunities to help others, thus establishing trust and good will, and they’ll be willing to return the favor when you need one.
  8. Make friends and allies within established organizations (i.e. garden clubs, fish and wildlife organizations, hiking clubs, etc.). When it comes time for a critical vote in the state legislature, you can then turn to these friendly organizations and enlist their support. This is a great way to build a grassroots political organization.
  9. Know the law and be prepared to spring into action to block harmful legislation. Example: Defending the Forever Wild Clause of the NY Constitution…!

Recent Posts