A Special New York History Journal War of 1812 Issue


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NY-History-Journal-logo-nysha-webAs part of the ongoing commemorations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, this special issue of the journal New York History focuses on New York State’s key role in that conflict. In the early nineteenth century, New York occupied an important strategic position in North America.

As the newly independent United States defined and expanded its borders, it clashed with Native peoples and Great Britain, which continued to have a strong presence on the continent despite the losses of the American Revolution. With the onset of the War of 1812, New York became a central battleground in the ongoing contest for dominance in North America. Continue reading

Troy History Tour:
Footsy Magoos and the Knox-Mead Building


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RCHSThe Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) is presenting a Hidden History tour on Tuesday, April 29th at 4:30 pm of Footsy Magoos and the Knox-Mead Building located at 13 and 17 First Street in Troy.

RCHS staff will offer a public tour of the buildings, located along a stretch of First Street known historically as Troy’s Banker’s Row because of the proliferation of banks that were once in residence on the street. Continue reading

Public Mourning:
Why Should Feminists Care About Funerals?


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Victorian MourningWhat do state funerals, AIDS activism, 300-year-old remains of former slaves, and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act have do with each other?

On Thursday, April 24, Dr. Michelle Martin-Baron, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will present a lecture, “Why Feminists Should Care About Funerals: the Politics of Public Mourning.”  This talk will use a feminist approach to explore what each of these examples can tell us about public mourning practices. Continue reading

Lawrence Gooley: Advice for Aspiring History Authors


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Dance Macabre dans l'Imprimerie by Mathias Huss, Lyon 1499For any readers or writers out there who have considered writing some type of history book, here’s some important information that comes from a piece I published elsewhere a year ago (and is presented here with a few modifications). It remains pertinent to the current state of publishing; applies to any region, city, or town where a “targetable” market exists; and begins with a question.

Would you rather have a book on the New York Times Best-Seller List, or a top seller in the Adirondack region? If you’re an aspiring author, I know, I know … stupid question. But humor me, and before you answer, let me further define the question in this fashion: your book appearing on the New York Times list was produced, marketed, and sold by one of the world’s largest publishing companies. Your regional book, on the other hand, was self-published, which means it was funded, marketed, and sold by you. Continue reading

Hyde Collection Receives Major Gift of Photography


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LFinkThe Hyde Collection, in Glens Falls, NY, has announced it has been gifted an extensive photography collection by significant American and international photographers. Donated by George Stephanopoulos in perpetuity, this gift enhances the Museum’s photography collection and adds a significant component to its world-class holdings of fine art.

“We have been hopeful of making additions to our photography holdings, but did not imagine that such a significant group of work might come into the collection at one time,” said Hyde director Charles A. Guerin. “The great breadth of photography history as well as the variety of national origins represented by this generous gift by Mr. Stephanopoulos makes this a truly exciting and important moment for the growth of our permanent collection.” Continue reading

War of 1812 Talk At North Tonawanda History Museum


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North Tonawanda History MuseumThe North Tonawanda History Museum will host Town of Tonawanda Historian John W. Percy as he presents a program on the War of 1812 in Western New York at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. Percy is an Ex-officio Trustee and Advisory Committee member of the History Museum. The program will be part of an all day open house in celebration of the History Museum’s tenth anniversary. The public is invited to tour the 10,000 square feet of exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

John W. Percy has been Town Historian of the Town of Tonawanda for 40 years, former Village of Kenmore Historian for 12 years, Trustee/member/officer of the Tonawanda-Kenmore Historical Society for 40 years, is a retired history teacher in the City of Tonawanda School District where he worked for 35 years.

The North Tonawanda History Museum, established in 2003, is located at 54 Webster Street in North Tonawanda (Niagara County), NY. For more information call (716) 213-0554 or e-mail nthistorymuseum@aol.com.

Fort Ticonderoga Awarded for Interpretive Programs


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Stuart on horse 2Fort Ticonderoga recently received an Innovation in Interpretation Award from the Museum Association of New York (MANY) which recognized Fort Ticonderoga as a leader in historic interpretation. The award was presented at MANY’s annual meeting in Albany, NY at the end of March.

“Fort Ticonderoga Interpretative Department, developed in 2011, has in remarkably short time become a national leader in historical interpretation, setting and implementing unparalleled interpretive standards,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “The program outcomes under the leadership of Director of Interpretation Stuart Lilie have seen nothing less than amazing results in attendance, school field trip participation, and increased Scout attendance. Through the creation and implementation of a unique interpretive approach, Fort Ticonderoga has defied the professional trends and has embarked on a major transformation.” Continue reading

The Next NYC Landmarks Commission Chair


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NYC Landmarks Preservation CommissionIt is the Historic Districts Council’s firm belief, backed up by decades of observation, that the New York City Landmarks Law and the Commission empowered by it have enhanced and improved New York City.  Landmark designation stabilizes neighborhoods, enhances property values, empowers communities and attracts private investment into the city. More importantly, landmarks and historic districts provide a physical continuity to our city’s past, enabling residents and visitors alike to physically experience New York’s history.

With all this in mind, it’s no mystery that the still unfilled de Blasio appointment for Landmarks Chair is a matter of great interest to us and we have thought a great deal about the type of person whom we’d like to see in the role. Continue reading

Warren County Historic Preservation Lecture Series


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100_1704The Warrensburgh Historical Society (WHS), Warrensburgh Beautification Inc. (WBI) and Richards Library are co-sponsoring a monthly four part Historic Preservation Lecture Series beginning Wednesday.

The purpose of the series is to educate the community and its leadership to the benefits of historic preservation – the funding sources and financial incentive programs available, the advantages of adaptive reuse, and the direct correlation with economic development. Continue reading

Basketball History Scholarship Contest Winners


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Winning original photo entry by Douglas KossanThe New-York Historical Society has announced the winners of its recent scholarship contest, which invited high school students to submit original essays, videos or photographs on the theme of breaking barriers in sports and making history.

The contest was held in conjunction with New-York Historical’s exhibition on pioneering African American basketball players—The Black Fives—on view now through July 20, 2014. Continue reading

Before The Twerk, There Was The Tango


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04iht-retrospective-tango-art-blog480About 100 years before some New Yorkers were shocked by the sexually-provocative twerk during the 2013 MTV Music Awards show on television, other New Yorkers were shocked by the tango.

After it first appeared in Paris, London, and Berlin from its starting place in Argentina, the tango soon came to New York where it became wildly popular in 1913. The tango’s rhythm has been described as “exciting and provocative” and the dance steps as “hot, passionate and precise.” Women often wore slit skirts when they danced the tango and there was full body contact with their partners, upwards from their upper thighs and pelvis. Routinely, the dancers’ hips were thrust forward and sometimes their legs were intertwined and hooked together. Continue reading

East Side Stories:
Plays About the History of the Lower East Side


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MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe OBIE Award winning Metropolitan Playhouse will present the fifth annual East Village Theater Festival, a three-week celebration of the life and lore of New York City’s East Village.

The festival features four different evenings of new plays and solo-performances, as well as the work of local artists, and a panel discussion on the neighborhood’s changing identity. Continue reading

The Life of Anne Northup, Wife of Solomon Northup


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anne northupSolomon Northup of Saratoga was lured into slavery in 1841, and was a slave in Louisiana for 12 years before being rescued. What impact did Northup’s kidnapping have on his wife and family? In Solomon’s absence, the Northup family became a one-income household.

At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2014, David Fiske will offer a presentation that describes how his wife Anne carried on and saw to the needs of their children. Information on her later life will also be provided. Continue reading

375th Anniversary of The Bronx Celebration Planned


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Jonas Bronck CenterOver the years much has been written about Pieter and Jonas Bronck.  Pieter is responsible for the erection of the Bronck House in Coxsackie, Greene County, NY, 351 years ago.  Jonas is considered the founder of  the Bronx.

Over the years there has been much confusion about the relationship of these two individuals – father and son, brothers or cousins.  Both were Swedish and there is strong evidence that they were related.  I prefer to accept research done by Shelby Mattice, Curator of the Bronck Museum.  Ms. Mattice has concluded that the two men were first cousins and shared the same grandfather.  Today I would like to focus a bit on Jonas Bronck because this year the Bronx is commemorating the 375th anniversary of the year Jonas first settled there. Continue reading

New Book: The 1929 Bunion Derby


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Bunion DerbyOn March 31, 1929, seventy-seven men began an epic 3,554-mile footrace across America that pushed their bodies to the breaking point. Nicknamed the “Bunion Derby” by the press, this was the second and last of two trans-America footraces held in the late 1920s.

The men averaged forty-six gut-busting miles a day during seventy-eight days of nonstop racing that took them from New York City to Los Angeles. Among this group, two brilliant runners, Johnny Salo of Passaic, New Jersey, and Pete Gavuzzi of England, emerged to battle for the $25,000 first prize along the mostly unpaved roads of 1929 America, with each man pushing the other to go faster as the lead switched back and forth between them. Continue reading

Women’s Rights NHP Issues Administrative History


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Seneca Falls HistoryWomen’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY, has announced the release of its first ever administrative history. “All Men and Women are Created Equal”:  An Administrative History of Women’s Rights National Historical Park was researched and written by Dr. Rebecca Conard, Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program at Middle Tennessee State University.

Conard concluded that significant trends in historic preservation, interpretation and partnerships within the National Park Service affected park decisions and actions.  She also found that legislation creating the park provided limits and opportunities that shaped decision-makers development of sites in Seneca Falls and Waterloo, N.Y. related to the nation’s first women’s rights convention in 1848.  Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey To Present Jay Lecture


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Rose HarveyThe John Jay Lecture, jointly sponsored by Pace Law School and the Jay Heritage Center, will be held on April 29th at the Jay Estate in Rye, NY, the National Historic Landmark property where Jay grew up as a child and which he owned and managed from 1813 to 1822 before passing it on to his eldest son Peter.

The speaker this year is Hon. Rose Harvey, Commissioner of New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) of the State of New York. Harvey will speak on the topic “Stewardship of New York’s Cultural & Natural History”. Continue reading

This Week’s Top New York History News


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