December 19, 2003 - The Saratogan: Ethiopia RPCV Martha Stonequist retiring as City Historian in Saratoga

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ethiopia: Peace Corps Ethiopia : The Peace Corps in Ethiopia: December 19, 2003 - The Saratogan: Ethiopia RPCV Martha Stonequist retiring as City Historian in Saratoga

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 9:33 am: Edit Post

Ethiopia RPCV Martha Stonequist retiring as City Historian in Saratoga

Ethiopia RPCV Martha Stonequist retiring as City Historian in Saratoga

Stonequist adding job to her history



Collecting, preserving and circulating information about the history of her hometown through writing and lecturing accounts has been City Historian Martha Stonequist's vocation for the past 17 years. But now, she's off to see and do other things.

Stonequist, 67, will soon retire to have more time for travel and visiting family members.

'I thought it was time to go on to the next phase of my life,' she said.

But she knows her work will follow her no matter where she goes.

'This is a job you don't quit,' she said. 'I look forward to keep looking into what's going on here.' She plans to help incoming City Historian Mary Ann Fitzgerald acclimate to the position, much like former historian Bea Sweeney helped Stonequist when she first took over in 1986.

Since the 1980s, Stonequist has seen the city's population double, buildings rise up and businesses thrive. Since the area changed so dramatically from when she was a child, the opportunity to chronicle such a prosperous part of the city's history made the job even more fulfilling.

'There's been amazing growth and development in this city, and I feel very fortunate to have been here when it was just starting in the '80s and see it through to now,' she said.

Though she loves the research, Stonequist says she will 'without question' miss the many people she encountered on the job most; her colleagues, other historical agencies, City Hall employees and members of the media provided her an intriguing mix of national and international acquaintances throughout the years, she said.

Mayor Ken Klotz, the fourth and last mayor Stonequist will work for, called her a very knowledgeable woman who contributed much to the city in her capacity.

'Martha has been a dear friend for a long time,' Klotz said. 'She's very dedicated and very witty; she gives a very entertaining historical talk.'

Stonequist sees her retirement as beginning 'the next phase of her life.' After visiting some relatives scattered about the country, she hopes to pursue her avid interest in travel.

'There are so many places I have not seen that I would love to go to,' she said. 'I think travel rejuvenates one's mind and one's spirit if you're lucky to do it and afford it.' Stonequist spent about six years in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps in the 1960s and has traveled all over the world, visiting Hong Kong, Libya and Turkey.

'I can't see myself sitting back and doing nothing,' she said.

Between excursions, Stonequist will continue to volunteer for WAMC public radio and keep up her reading and gardening hobbies. With a doctorate in musicology, she also will keep teaching piano and hopes to give the occasional recital.

Contact Christine Margiotta at or 583-8729, ext. 219. Her column appears weekly.

©The Saratogian 2003

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Story Source: The Saratogan

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ethiopia



By Bil Efans ( - on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 2:35 pm: Edit Post

I would like to get in touch with Ms Martha Stonequist former city historian for Saratoga who retired in December 2003 as I am researching the contribution of her grandmother,Madame Lucie Barbier, to the promotion of Welsh folk songs.
I would be very grateful if you could forward this message to Ms Stonequist.
Yours sincerely,
Bil Efans,
Wales. (UK)

By Guy Van Benschoten ( - on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 10:02 pm: Edit Post

I, also would liek to get in touch with Dr. Stonequist, formerly of Empire State College, Open learning fire service Program

Guy Van Benschoten
Assistant Fire Chief
Ithaca, NY Fire Department
310 West Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

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