Collection Facts

Extent: 
60 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1860 - 1950
Collection Owner:
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

The village of Fayetteville is located in the town of Manlius, which is an eastern suburb of Syracuse in Onondaga County. The village is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, who was considered a national hero in both the United States and France. Throughout the history of Fayetteville, waterways have been important for the village's economy. Limestone Creek and the man-made Ledyard Dyke served as power sources for mills. The Erie Canal, which passes just north of the village, also had an important impact on the development of Fayetteville by tying the region into a larger regional economy. Fayetteville was the site of Stickley furniture company's original factory--a building which currently serves as the home of the Fayetteville Free Library, as well as the Stickley Museum.
Helen E. Davis, known to one and all as Betty, was born in Fayetteville and lived there for all of her 75 years. Her home was at 210 South Manlius Street, near the center of the village. She worked as a crossing guard at the Salt Spring, and Manlius Streets intersections in Fayetteville. Betty also was interested in the history of her community. For several years she researched and wrote an occasional column for the Eagle Bulletin called Sidelights on History. Many of her columns were based on her own recollections. Betty was also a collector, particularly of postcards. Her collection focused on the villages in the immediate vicinity, including Fayetteville, Manlius, Minoa, and Chittenango. She was also interested in the local canals and octagon houses. At her death her postcard collection contained several thousand items, all gleaned from house sales, flea markets, and exchanges with other collectors. Betty was married to Byron Davis and had six children. After her death in 1989 her daughter Deborah, with the assistance of her husband, scanned Betty's postcards of Fayetteville and donated the disk to the Fayetteville Library. The images have been printed, indexed, and annotated for the use of the community and as a memorial tribute to Betty. She is buried in Fayetteville Cemetery.

Scope of Collection

The Fayetteville Free Library Postcard Collection is a representative sample of postcards, featuring historic images of the Fayetteville village streetscape dating back to the early 19th century. This digitization project was inspired by a collection of scanned postcard images donated to the Fayetteville Free Library by the family of Helen E. (Betty) Davis, a member of the Central New York Postcard Club.