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Arthur E. Newkirk papers

Identifier: ARL-017

Scope and Contents

The Arthur E. Newkirk papers date from 1903 to 2004, with the bulk of the materials from 1942 to 2004. The collection consists of Dome Island Memorial Sanctuary records, research files, correspondence, writings, publications, photographs and other materials which document Newkirk's environmental conservation activities within the New York State Forest Preserve with a special emphasis on Lake George.

Dome Island Memorial Sanctuary Committee records, which date from 1917 to 2004, include chronological materials relating the origin of the Nature Conservancy's committee to protect Lake George and contain scientific reports, planning summaries, articles, project descriptions, research proposals, correspondence, minutes and financial records.

Correspondence, which dates from 1945-2004, details Newkirk's outreach and advocacy efforts in exchanges of information relating pending legislation and environmental issues along with comments on drafts of articles and other sundry matters. Many of the letters contain discussions of the proposed Adirondack Northway and various matters concerning Lake George.

Research files, covering the years 1903 to 2004, document various conservation activities, projects and information regarding environmental protection in New York State. Material types include reports, studies, postcards, publications, articles, maps, newspaper clippings and other printed materials. The series also contains writings by Newkirk including an unpublished biography of John S. Apperson.

Court records, which span the years 1942 to 1947, contain transcripts, briefs and decisions from a New York Supreme Court case of the People of the State of New York against System Properties, Inc. and the Lake George Association. The case concerned a dam on the Ticonderoga River.


  • Creation: 1903 - 2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur E. Newkirk (1914-2006) was an environmental conservationist and longtime member of both the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Nature Conservancy. He served as president of the Adirondack Mountain Club and chairman of the Dome Island Memorial Sanctuary Committee from 1956 until 1982. Born August 7, 1914 in Jersey City, New Jersey, he graduated from Glens Falls High School in 1931. He received a B.S. degree in 1936 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1940 from Cornell University. He worked as a research chemist for General Electric and was the holder of eight patents. Outside of his work for General Electric, he participated in numerous environmental causes including significant work with John S. Apperson on monitoring water levels and preventing erosion on Lake George. He was also involved in numerous other campaigns in the New York's Forest Preserve including fighting the proposed Panther Mountain Dam as well as projects with the Niskayuna Conservation Advisory Council and the Schenectady Museum Nature Preserve. He was a trustee of the Schenectady Museum and Mohawk Valley Library Association. In 1980, Newkirk received the Oak Leaf Award form the Nature Conservancy for his work. He lived in Schenectady, New York, for 49 years and also owned a camp on Lake George. In 1993 he and his wife relocated to Blue Hill, Maine, where he died in 2006.

Administrative History

In 1936, John S. Apperson purchased Dome Island on Lake George to protect it from development and to preserve its wilderness character. He agreed to donate the Island to the Nature Conservancy provided an endowment fund could be raised. The idea was initiated by Dr. Alvin G. Whitney, retired from the New York State Museum and founder of the New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. On December 13, 1956, John S. Apperson executed the deed conveying Dome Island to the Nature Conservancy. A maintenance fund of $20,000 accompanied this gift with the stipulation that it be used expressly for the Island’s protection, scientific study, and education. This act created the Dome Island Memorial Sanctuary Committee whose main goals were to implement the wishes of Apperson’s will. At the time of its inception, the committee also focused on protection, surveillance, vehicle and visitor control, education, recreational use, shoreline restoration and scientific research.


3.33 Cubic Feet

6 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Arthur E. Newkirk papers consist of 3.3 cubic feet of records and date from 1903 to 2004. The collection includes Dome Island Memorial Sanctuary Committee records, correspondence, writings, and other materials documenting Newkirk's conservation work in the Adirondacks.


The collection is arranged as four series:

Series 1, Dome Island Memorial Sanctuary Committee Records, 1917-2004.

Series 2, Correspondence, 1945-2004.

Series 3, Research Files, 1903-2004.

Series 4, Court Records, 1942-1947.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Jeanne Newkirk, July 2012.

Guide to the Arthur E. Newkirk papers
Matthew Golebiewski
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Adirondack Research Library Repository

897 St. David's Lane
Niskayuna NY 12309