The Mary MacKenzie Project

Mary MacKenzie, Lake Placid’s legendary public historian, died in April 2003. Shortly after her death, I began going through MacKenzie’s files to compile her life’s work into a series of books, with the cooperation of MacKenzie’s family and the Lake Placid Public Library. The five books that were developed from the Mary MacKenzie Project are described below. Print copies of all these books can be ordered from the links you will find on this page, at cost, with no markup; online previews can be accessed at no charge, and free PDF versions of those books can be downloaded.

Visit the Mary MacKenzie Project online storefront to view and purchase all of her books.

To start you off, take a look at this short PBS video on Mary MacKenzie’s legacy:

CLICK HERE to read a New York Times writer’s account of the Mary MacKenzie Project.

CLICK HERE to read a profile of Mary MacKenzie by Adirondack social historian Amy Godine, published in Adirondack Life magazine.

Plains book cover, LPPLTHE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM: A HISTORY OF NORTH ELBA AND LAKE PLACID Collected writings of Mary MacKenzie, edited by Lee Manchester Mary MacKenzie’s sweeping history begins with the hardy farmers from New England who first settled North Elba in 1800. Some of them became hoteliers as tourists discovered the enchanting scenery. Free African Americans settled here, too, and the famous abolitionist, John Brown. These were self-reliant Adirondackers, people of courage and conviction. But Lake Placid’s story also includes dashing actors and producers from the silent movie studios who found the rugged scenery perfect for their rousing epics. Sports heroes careened down the bob-run and ski slopes where members of the Lake Placid Club virtually invented winter sports in America, culminating in two Winter Olympics! And MacKenzie includes stories of local heroes, North Elbans of distinction, all told in her delightful style: precise, confident, and with a touch of Garrison Keillor’s sense of small-town humor. First edition published by Nicholas K. Burns Publishing, Utica, N.Y., August 2007. Second edition published by the Lake Placid Public Library, 2010. (Trade paperback, 420 pages)

READ ABOUT the Special Appreciation Award given for “The Plains of Abraham” at the 2008 Adirondack Literary Awards program.

READ REVIEWS of “The Plains of Abraham.”

Purchase, preview or download your own copy:

And, below, listen to the launch event for “The Plains of Abraham,” held on Aug. 4, 2007 at the Lake Placid Public Library:

Secret Poems coverTHE SECRET POEMS OF MARY C. LANDON: MARY LANDON MACKENZIE’S COLLECTED POETRY, 1931 TO 1937 Edited by Lee Manchester When Lake Placid historian Mary MacKenzie died in 2003, her family discovered a cache of fine poetry she had kept hidden since the 1930s. The collection, first published under MacKenzie’s maiden name of Mary C. Landon by the Adirondack literary magazine Blueline in 2005, is now available for a general audience. (Trade paperback, 178 pages)

LATE IN 2004, a number of Adirondack cultural leaders — including historians, writers, librarians, museum curators and educators — wrote their endorsements for a Walker Fellowship grant to defray the initial costs of publishing “The Secret Poems.” Click on this link to read their letters.

Purchase, preview or download your own copy:

And, below, listen to the launch event for “The Secret Poems of Mary C. Landon,” held on May 7, 2005 at the Lake Placid Public Library:

Photos from the Plains coverPHOTOS FROM THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM: THE MARY MACKENZIE HISTORIC SLIDE COLLECTION Curated by Lee Manchester This component of Mary MacKenzie’s intellectual legacy consists of the restored images from 333 film slides collected by Mary as illustrative material for her public lectures. It is the largest, most comprehensive collection in existence of images depicting the history of Lake Placid. After scanning all 333 of Mary’s slides, I spent several months digitally restoring the images. The collection was initially published online in conjunction with the release of “The Plains of Abraham” in 2007. I reformatted the material for print publication. (9-by-7-inch paperback, fully illustrated, 388 pages) Purchase, preview or download your own copy:

More from the Plains coverMORE FROM THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM By Mary MacKenzie, edited by Lee Manchester When “The Plains of Abraham” was first published in 2007, much of the material gathered from the late Mrs. MacKenzie’s files had to be put aside to keep the volume from becoming too big to print; even so, “The Plains of Abraham” ran to more than 400 pages in length. Rather than leave completely aside the rest of the material that had been edited for “The Plains of Abraham,” I decided to make it available in this small, print-on-demand paperback edition. (Trade paperback, not illustrated, 140 pages) Purchase, preview or download your own copy:

Main Street coverMAIN STREET, LAKE PLACID: AN ARCHITECTURAL AND HISTORIC SURVEY By Mary MacKenzie, Lee Manchester and Janet Null; edited by Lee Manchester The work of three historians — Mary MacKenzie, Lee Manchester and Janet Null — has been combined in this survey of the historic architecture of Main Street, Lake Placid, in the heart of New York’s Adirondacks. Rich in both current and archival photographs, the book includes a section of comparative streetscape images, placing full-page archival shots opposite current views of the Olympic Village. (9-by-7-inch paperback, heavily illustrated, 208 pages) Purchase, preview or download your own copy: