New York has 932 towns, 547 villages, and 62 cities. Each one of them is required by State law to appoint a Municipal Historian.
To most people, this sounds like a quirky mandate, especially considering that there’s no requirement to provide a salary or storage space to maintain local records. Also, you may remember a Municipal Historian presenting a slide show at your elementary school or at a community festival where you may have developed an appreciation for their work – or perhaps been unimpressed because of how out-of-touch they were. Continue reading
Yale history professor Joanne B. Freeman, a specialist in the politics and political culture of the revolutionary and early national periods, will present a talk exploring the gritty realities of nasty politics of that period, and what it suggests about America’s founding. Continue reading
As we near the end of the year I thought I’d offer some updates about the status of the New York History Blog, and at the same time, some important news for the history community.
Those who attended the Researching New York Conference in Albany recently may be aware of the following developments, but this will no doubt be the first time many have heard these important announcements. Continue reading
This week “The latest Historians” podcast features interviews with some of the history book authors who attended this year’s Chronicle Book Fair in Glens Falls. Among those interviewed: Russell Dunn, Chuck D’Imperio, David Fiske, Larry Gooley, Sheila Myers, Don Papson, and Cathy Dede of the Chronicle newspaper. You can listen here. Continue reading
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the Anglo-Cherokee War with Daniel Tortora, author of Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast (UNCPress, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/056
To most, Irving Jaffee will best be remembered for the two gold medals he won in the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid. To others, he will forever be the man over whom two legendary Catskill hotels went to court one winter.
Jaffee was among the greatest speed skaters of his generation. He turned in the fastest time in the 10,000 meters at the 1928 Olympics in St. Moritz, only to have the event canceled without an official winner because unseasonably warm temperatures had thawed the ice. Four years later, in Lake Placid, Jaffe won gold medals in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races as American men swept all four speed skating events. Continue reading
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA), at its November board meeting, announced a public comment period for Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance regarding proposals from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to amend the 1996 Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (1996 Plan).
APA will accept Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance comments until December 18, 2015. Continue reading
Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday dawned on November 12, 2015, my birthday. I used the occasion to drive the eight hours round-trip to Seneca Falls, NY to sit among the crowd of about 200 people at Wesleyan Chapel, the restored site of the legendary 1848 women’s rights convention.
The program sponsored by the Women’s Rights National Historic Park on November 14 was one of two programs in New York State designed to bring attention to this historic figure. The large turnout at Cooper Union in New York City for Stanton’s birthday on November 12 was another indication of the increased interest and honor being paid to New York’s historic women in the first wave of the movement that started in the Finger Lakes region. Continue reading
More than two hundred Civil War veterans and a large crowd of citizens gathered in Little Valley, the county seat, on September 7, 1914, for the dedication of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building. A plaque above the entrance stated the structure’s purpose: “To the memory of its soldiers and sailors in the War of the Rebellion, this building is erected by Cattaraugus County.” Continue reading
Written during the 1930’s, but unpublished during his lifetime, Hugh Donlon’s The Mohawk Valley is a broad overview of the author’s native region from the end of the last ice age to the third decade of the twentieth century.
In the Foreward to The Mohawk Valley, Hugh P. Donlon argues that the region’s history has been well-documented both in “extensive compilations” too long for the “average reader” and in shorter “pamphlets chiefly concerned with a particular event or section of the valley.” His goal was different. Continue reading
Throughout history, symbols have been used to identify and authenticate documents and governmental organizations. Symbols preceded literacy and as a result, today our municipal symbols contain few words. Unfortunately, the explanation of the symbols is tucked away in a file cabinet or lost altogether. Continue reading
In celebration of American Archives Month, the New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust announced the winners of the annual Archives Awards at a luncheon ceremony at the Cultural Education Center in Albany on October 22, 2015. Continue reading
This week “The Historians” podcast features David Pietrusza of Glenville, N.Y. who has written numerous books, including a trilogy of volumes (1920, 1960, and 1948) on American Presidential electoral history. Pietrusza’s newest book is 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR – Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal and Unlikely Destiny (Lyons Press, 2015). You can Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
November is New York State History Month. The goal of this initiative certainly is a worthy one. Naturally as historians, a primary source document such as a press release invites a close reading of the text. That’s what historians do and government publications are not exempt from such scrutiny. The exercise is quite productive and one can learn a lot from doing it.
John Jay played important and prominent roles during the founding of the United States and yet, his name isn’t one that many would list if asked to name founding fathers.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore John Jay and his contributions to the founding of the United States with Robb Haberman, associate editor of The Selected Papers of John Jay documentary editing project. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/055
Every kind of bad name was pasted on them: delinquents, hussies, misfits, fallen, flirts, incorrigbles.
For much of the 20th century institutions run by various religious orders such as the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Good Shepherd housed and disciplined young women who had – possibly – transgressed society’s rules. Continue reading
Governor Cuomo issued a Press Release on November 2 launching the new “Path Through History” website. That alone was encouraging. But he did it “in recognition of New York State History Month.” This is the first time, so far as I know, that any governor has recognized NYS History Month, which has been on the statute books since 1997. Continue reading
On November 25, 1783 George Washington’s Continental army marched into New York City officially ending the Revolutionary War. Like much else about the war, the ceremonies that day were marked by controversy, but also triumph.
More than two and a half years after the joint French/American victory at Yorktown in 1781, after much wrangling over issues such as the status of New York’s numerous Tories and runaway slaves fighting for the British, Washington and British Governor Guy Carleton had agreed on arrangements for the British to turn over New York City, their last enclave in North America to the Continental army. By prearrangement, on the morning of November 25, 1783, Washington was to march down Broadway and take control of the City, just after the British and their supporters completed their withdrawal. Continue reading
This week “The Historians” podcast features Abby Chandler, history professor at the University of Massachusetts, and author of Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750 (Ashgate, December 2015). Chandler discusses the use of English law in the prosecution of sexual misconduct in colonial New England. You can listen here. Continue reading
Artist Camilla Huey has a close to the skin interpretation of founding father Aaron Burr. While we know about his schemes to gain and keep political power, Huey tempts us to think about Burr’s gender politics. Was the former Vice-President who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, a full-fledged Lothario, or might there be another story?
The film “The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Binding and Corsetry” premiering at Symphony Space at 95th St. and Broadway in Manhattan on Saturday, November 14 at noon offers a much more complicated and nuanced view of the man and his significant female others. As Thomas Paine wrote in that revolutionary era “If we take a survey of the countries and the ages… we will find the women adored and oppressed. Man who has never neglected an opportunity of exerting his power, in paying homage to their beauty has always availed himself of their weakness… at once their tyrant and their slave.” Continue reading