The Outdoor Life
Members of the Corinth community were actively engaged in the outdoor life in the period when George Holland photographed for the EMBA News. The Hudson River that flows along the town’s eastern border, and the several streams and lakes situated within the boundary of the town, made it easy for fishermen to pursue game fish of all kinds. It was not uncommon for paper workers at the Hudson River Mill to go fishing below the Palmer Falls dam during a work shift. The heavily forested western section of the township, most of which was owned and managed by International Paper, provided easily accessible woods to hunt for deer, and Corinth’s location on the southern border of the Adirondack Park provided even greater opportunities to pursue the outdoor life in the lakes, streams and forests of the Adirondack Mountains.
Local organizations encouraged the sporting life. The Corinth Rifle Club combined shooting opportunities and fraternity for its members, offering target practice for both pistols and rifles at local target ranges, one of which was located in the basement of the Community Building. The Corinth Archery Club, and then the Maple Hill Bowmen, often competed successfully against other clubs in the area.
The EMBA’s Community Building was important to Corinth sportsmen with a shooting range in the basement, and its gymnasium often served as a site for winter archery practice. The EMBA also offered incentives for both ice fisherman and summer anglers by awarding trophies for men and “juniors” at its annual sports banquet. In the early 1960’s, Clairman’s Auto on Main Street served as the official site for weighing and measuring fish entered in the EMBA’s competitions.
George Holland often photographed fishing award recipients at EMBA Sports Banquets, but he also was on hand to photograph Corinth fisherman and hunters when they brought home notable catches of fish or large game. In some instances he even photographed hunters in the field or in camp. The street settings for many of the photographs suggest that hunting and fishing were more public than they are today. While many images document the predatory success of individuals, just as many show groups of hunters and fishermen. These photographs suggest that harvests of fish and game were considered as group trophies, not unlike a sports team trophy. Public displays of fish and game “trophies” provided community recognition for the individuals involved, and when Holland published the photographs in the EMBA News, they became news for the entire community.
Some images invite additional reflection. Holland’s photographs reveal that Corinth women ventured into field and stream with their husbands and fathers in an era when hunting and fishing were still predominately male dominated activities. The image of the two women archers shooting alongside of men, and the two photographs of women hunters shown posing with men and trophy deer, are powerful images for the camaraderie with men that seems evident and the pride in the hunt that is implied. While it may have been commonplace at the time for women in the southern Adirondacks to hunt with men, there is the chance that Holland took these images because mixed gender hunting was unusual at the time.
The large catches of fish and game in some photographs also reveal an era that was less environmentally conscious than our own. The catches of fish seem particularly excessive by today’s standards, particularly to fishermen who practice the “catch and release” ethic. Yet these photographs suggest that people living in Corinth at the time might have considered both fish and game as part of their regular food source, and that they were not just personal trophies that served as proof of one’s prowess as a predator. Looking at these photographs with modern sensibilities also makes it difficult to ignore how hunting fashions, in particular, have evolved over the years to reflect a concern for safety. The dark red plaid clothing worn by all of the hunters in these images is strikingly different from the “hunter orange” styles of today.