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Harvey L. Dunham, 1887–1956

Harv & Billy
Harvey Dunham the author of Adirondack French Louie and his buddy Billy Collyer.

Here's an excerpt about Harvey Dunham from the book Adirondack Characters and Campfire Yarns by William J. O'Hern:

Author Paul Jamieson described Harvey Dunham as "a woodsman by hobby, a commercial artist in Utica by vocation, and a literary artist by accident."

Dunham was born on October 6, 1887, in Saquoit, N.Y. and had an older brother, Raymond, and a younger sister, Florence. He married Bessie Throp in 1912. Shortly after the birth of their daughter Jean, in 1914, Bessie passed away. Harvey never remarried. His sister and parents helped him raise his daughter.

In June of 1914, Harvey enlisted in the Merchant Marines. After World War I, he worked as a commercial artist, first in New York City, then in Washington, D.C. He finally settled in Utica, N.Y., a short drive from the Adirondack Mountains.

The first writing about outdoor adventure found in Harvey’s hand was in a journal dated August 1919. It contains the record of a camping trip to the wilderness north of the Beaver River Flow—known today as Stillwater Reservoir. Harvey traveled in the company of his brother Raymond, Jess Seitz, and a fellow lover of the woods ten years his senior, Bob Gillespie. The well-illustrated and well-written journal details the men’s jaunts, hunts, and trout fishing excursions. It is also peppered with campfire humor, a trademark that Harvey would refine.

The 1919 excursion bonded Dunham and Gillespie. Not only did they become lifelong friends, but they also became business partners, investing in land along West Canada Creek where they constructed cabins that they rented to city sportsmen and wealthy adventurers.

In 1924, the partners developed a second journal. It documents a two-week adventure into the West Canada Creek headwater country. As in their first journal, the vintage photographs and detailed writing display real enthusiasm for the outdoors and the men’s flair for story-telling.

The men and their journals are the subject of a new book entitled Adirondack Adventures, by Roy E. Reehil and William J. O’Hern.

Following the release of Dunham’s self-published Adirondack French Louie, Lloyd Blankman, sought to meet the author. The men found they shared a common interest in Adirondack history. They also shared a passion for camping, woods life and traditional woodcraft. Dunham and Blankman became true friends and some of their favorite memories were of the times they spent at Harve’s beloved "Segoolie" camp on Seabury Stillwater.

Harvey Dunham passed away on July 24, 1956, after a brief illness. He was sixty-nine.

-William J. O'Hern

French Louie Seymour     The book Adirondack French Louie     The book Adirondack Adventures     French Louie Day

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