Corruption in the Legislature: A Sense of Déjà Vu?


By on

0 Comments

nycapitolThe indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on federal corruption charges is the latest manifestation of corruption in the New York State legislature. Since 2000, about 25 state lawmakers have left office because of criminal or ethical issues. U. S. Attorney Preet Bhahara, who brought the charges against Silver, says the legislature is a “cauldron of corruption.” Governor Andrew Cuomo established a controversial, short-lived Moreland Commission to deal with corruption and has inserted an ethics package in his proposed budget to force the legislative reform.

Bhahara’s sweeping characterization of the legislature is exaggerated. Over the years, the New York’s legislature has been one of the most important in the nation, usually keeping our state at the forefront of minority rights, social reform, and progressive policies. Throughout history, though, there have always been a few corrupt legislators who violate the laws and public trust.  But legislative wrongdoing is probably no worse today than it was many times in our history. Continue reading

Who Really Wrote The Declaration of Independence?


By on

0 Comments

ben_franklins_worldDo you know who authored the Declaration of Independence?

If you answered “Thomas Jefferson,” you would be wrong. Jefferson merely wrote the first draft of a document others created.

In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Danielle Allen, Foundation Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study and author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright, 2014), leads us on an exploration of the Declaration of Independence. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/018

Continue reading

NYC Hip-Hop History Photograph Exhibit Planned


By on

0 Comments

Hip-Hop - 1The Museum of the City of New York is presenting HIP-HOP REVOLUTION: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper, an exhibition that shows the historic early days of hip-hop culture and music, with its roots firmly in New York, and how it evolved towards the worldwide phenomenon it is today.

Bringing together for the first time the work of three renowned photographers of the hip-hop scene, the exhibition shows the birth of a new cultural movement – with its accompanying music, dance, fashion and style – as it quickly and dramatically swept from its grassroots origins into an expansive commercial industry. Continue reading

Grant Awarded To Help Save Civil War Memorial


By on

0 Comments

Cattaraugus County Memorial Dedication 1914The Landmark Society of Western New York has awarded a $2,500 grant to promote an effort to save the Cattaraugus County Civil War Memorial & Historical Building in Little Valley, NY.  The grant was made to the Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP), a local citizen group formed to stop plans to demolish 100-year-old building dedicated to Civil War Veterans

The funds will be used to develop a preliminary preservation plan.  The work will be performed by Clinton Brown Company, which specializes in renewing historic buildings. Continue reading

Historic Saranac Lake Hires Programs Coordinator


By on

0 Comments

Historic Saranac lakeHistoric Saranac Lake (HSL) has announced that Chessie Monks will serve as the new Public Programs Coordinator for the Saranac Laboratory Museum. Monks has a master’s degree in Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons College in Boston.

In a statement to the press HSL Executive Director Amy Catania said, “The addition of Chessie to the staff will allow us to better connect with the public through improved exhibits, additional programming, and increased hours of operation. We’re so pleased that Chessie is joining our team and know that her enthusiasm and experience will serve us well.” Continue reading

Dutch-Style Kasten Cupboards Sought


By on

0 Comments

762.01 Radcliff KasHistoric Huguenot Street is seeking documentation of examples from museums, historic sites, and private collections of 18th-and early 19th-century Dutch-style cupboards known as grote kasten (singular kast).

The documentation and study of these kasten is expected to ultimately be part of an exhibit, symposium, and fully-illustrated compendium planned for 2016. Continue reading

Ticonderoga’s Whitney Armstrong Had It All


By on

0 Comments

NYH01WhArmstrongIf you’re just a regular Joe or Jane, you’ve probably at some point—say, while lying back in an office chair, or doing the dishes, perhaps mowing the grass—entertained a number of Walter Mitty-like fantasies. You know … stuff like, “What’s it like to be that guy or girl?” For men, that guy could be anything. What’s it like to be the smartest kid in school? The star center on a school basketball team? The ace pitcher on the baseball team? A great running back in football? Better yet, how about doing all that in college? Wow … BMOC, plenty of attention from the girls, the coolest among the guys. Might as well toss in a professional baseball contract … what sports-loving boy doesn’t dream of that? Continue reading

NY History and Upstate Tourism Development Awards


By on

2 Comments

REDC RegionsThis post brings to a conclusion the series on the awards granted by the Regional Economic Development Councils in December 2014. The purpose of the series is to provide the history community with information about what actually is occurring in New York State funding.

It provides readers of these posts with the opportunity to draw on the primary source documents about what really is being done. It examines furthermore what Empire State Development is doing with the new money it has received and to determine if the Path through History has substance. Continue reading

2015 Preservation Week Begins April 26


By on

0 Comments

Preservation Week 2015New York Times best-selling author, television host and library advocate Brad Meltzer will serve as 2015 Honorary Chair of Preservation Week, April 26 – May 2, 2015, a time when libraries throughout the country will provide information and expertise on how to archive and preserve individual and institutional treasures.

During Preservation Week, themed “Pass it on,” participating libraries will offer special programs and services to help connect library users with preservation tools; promote the importance of preservation; and enhance knowledge of preservation issues among the general public. Continue reading

Lincoln Featured in 2015 Peterboro Programs


By on

0 Comments

Lincoln Rhodes 1-6-14 2crpThe National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) in Peterboro, NY has suspended its two year cycle of inductions and commemorations in 2015 in order to address President Abraham Lincoln as The Great Emancipator.

During this Sesquicentennial year of Lincoln’s death, the end of the Civil War, and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, NAHOF and its Peterboro heritage partners will provide public programs on Lincoln from March to October 2015. Continue reading

New Book Traces America in the 1930s


By on

0 Comments

america-thirtiesAs the newest addition to the America in the Twentieth Century series, America in the Thirties (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2015) explores the complexity of America in what is considered its darkest era of the century.

The decade stood in stark contrast to the carefree, happy-go-lucky days of the Roaring Twenties when prosperity appeared endless. The Stock Market Crash in October 1929 and the economic collapse it unleashed threatened the very foundations of America’s economic, political, and social institutions. The ecological disaster produced by the Dust Bowl ravaging the Great Plains only added to the suffering and misery. Continue reading

Rise and Fall of NY’s Taylor Wine Company


By on

1 Comment

NY Taylor wineDrawing on archival research as well as interviews with many of the principal players, Thomas Pellechia’s Over a Barrel: The Rise and Fall of New York’s Taylor Wine Company (SUNY Press, 2015) traces the economic dynamism of the Finger Lakes wine region, the passion and ingenuity of the Taylor family, and the shortsighted corporate takeover scenario that took down a once-proud American family company.

In addition to providing important lessons for business innovators, Over a Barrel is a cautionary tale for a wine region that is repeating its formative history. Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


By on

0 Comments

Continue reading

‘French Louie Day’ Recalls Adirondack Folk Hero


By on

2 Comments

young-louie-300The Herkimer County Legislature has named Friday “French Louie Day” in honor of the noted French-Canadian Adirondacker Louis Seymour. A celebration is planned for Saturday in the Town of Inlet.

Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Seymour, who made the wilderness between Inlet and Lake Pleasant his home from the 1860s until his death in Newton’s Corners (now Speculator) on February 27, 1915. Seymour’s name became legend after the 1952 biography Adirondack French Louie: Life in the North Woods by Utica author Harvey Dunham, which portrayed him as a man of hard work, determination and humor. Continue reading

This Week’s Top New York History News


By on

0 Comments

Latest New York History News

Subscribe! More than 8,700 people follow The New York History Blog via E-mail, RSS, or Twitter or Facebook updates.

Make a Contribution! The New York History Blog is supported by you. If you think this site provides a valuable service, please make a small donation. Questions about contributions should be directed to editor John Warren.

50 Yrs of NYC Landmarks Exhibit Planned


By on

0 Comments

Astor Place, NYCThe Museum of the City of New York will present a new exhibit, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, a comprehensive exhibition exploring the roots and impact of a landmark preservation movement and its impact on New York City. The exhibit will run Tuesday, April 21 through September 13, 2015.

New York’s landmark preservation movement developed over many years, but was galvanized by large historic losses in the early 1960s, most notably the demolition of the world famous and architecturally significant Pennsylvania Station in 1963. Continue reading

NYS Museum Opens Shaker Photography Exhibit


By on

0 Comments

Round Stone Barn, wagon entry levelThe New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring Shaker photographs. A Promising Venture: Shaker Photographs from the WPA features the photography of Noel Vicentini and documents Shaker sites, architecture, craft and people.

On display in Photography Gallery through December 31, 2015, the exhibition is organized by Hancock Shaker Village and features more than 100 photographs. This exhibition complements the State Museum’s 7,000 square-foot exhibition, The Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries, which explores the history and culture of the Shakers. Continue reading

New Netherland to Empire State: NY Furniture


By on

0 Comments

New York State ChairSettled by the Dutch and claimed by the English, as writer Russell Shorto has observed, New York was “a Babel of peoples—Norwegians, Germans, Italians, Jews, Africans . . . Walloons, Bohemians, Munsees, Montauks, Mohawks, and many others”. In the landscapes they shaped, buildings and furniture they made, New Yorkers created a place “unlike any other, either in the North American colonies or anywhere else.”

This unique legacy is reflected in New York furniture. The 2015 Winterthur Furniture Forum, March 4 to 7, 2015 at the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware, celebrates furniture from the Empire State with lectures, workshops, and tours exploring new discoveries, shedding light on lesser-known cabinetmakers, and highlighting regional and cultural diversity. Continue reading