Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Save Former Home of Women's Rights Advocate!" says HAF

Contact: Susan Holland, Executive Director, Historic Albany Foundation
(518) 465-0876 ext. 11/cell (518) 466-6015


Albany, NY—At today’s press conference, Historic Albany Foundation announced the discovery of documentation that the historically important and significant women’s right’s advocate, Beulah Bailey Thull, lived at 118 Washington Avenue, one of the buildings the Fort Orange Club seeks to demolish to add three parking spots. Mrs. Thull lived at 118 Washington Avenue from 1926 to 1937 when she was instrumental in the formation of the present day CSEA (then called the New York State Association of Civil Service Employees), the New York State League of Women Voters and when she was a speechwriter for then-Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She served from 1934 to 1935, as the only female president ever of CSEA. She has been much celebrated by CSEA on their 100-year anniversary.

“With the new information about Beulah Bailey Thull, saving the buildings and getting the Lower Washington Avenue historic district recommended by the City of Albany’s Historic Resource Commission and approved by the Common Council, becomes more critical than ever. This story now becomes about saving our rich and diverse history such as women’s rights and women’s right to vote, and not just white man’s history” said Susan Holland, Executive Director of Historic Albany Foundation.

118 Washington Avenue’s renovations were completed in 1925 which is the incarnation we see today and as it was when Beulah Bailey Thull was a resident in the newly renovated Ripin Duguid Building.

Mrs. Thull has an illustrious and decorated history. When few women were able to seek higher education, she obtained degrees from Cornell University (1912) and State Library School (1916). In the 1920’s, the position of research assistant to the New York State Tax Commission was created for her. She would use her position with the Tax Commission to educate and advocate with the New York State League of Women Voters, Rensselaer County League of Women Voters, and New York State Association of Civil Service Employees. She would eventually rise to the position of Chief of the research staff of the New York State Department of Tax and Finance. At the height of her career (1929-1937), Mrs. Thull worked with Governors Roosevelt and Lehman for the betterment of State employees. For more biographical information, please see the attachment.

Historic Albany Foundation nominated the Lower Washington Avenue Historic District to the City of Albany’s Historic Resource Commission on March 9, 2010 with the National Register of Historic Places nomination with the State Historic Preservation Office filed on March 19, 2010. Albany’s Department of Development and Planning have not yet put the local district nomination on the Historic Resource Commission meeting calendar. Despite inquiries from Historic Albany on the status of the nomination, no explanation has been given for the delay. Historic Albany continues to work to move the nomination forward.

A grant from Preservation League of New York State with funds from New York State Council on the Arts paid for the nomination and survey of the district.


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