Onondaga Historians Marking Split Rock Explosion


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split rock explosionThat particular summer’s day, July 2, 1918, began, or more like continued, like all the days before it as the munitions manufacturing facility at Split Rock in Onondaga was an around the clock operation.

The owners of the site, Semet-Solvay (better known to most as Solvay Process) knew the importance of this plant as it supported WWI efforts, at first filling the demands of the European powers – England, France and Italy – before the entrance of the United States into the war and its’ need for the products manufactured at Split Rock. This plant produced a variety of products important to the fight against Germany, such as T.N.T., picric acid, poison gas, and smokeless powder (gunpowder for shells). Continue reading

State Museum Opening Fort Orange Exhibit May 5th


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Fort Orange, 1635, L. F. TantilloOn May 5, the New York State Museum is set to open an exhibit highlighting artifacts from Fort Orange, the 17th-century precursor of the state’s capital city.

The exhibition, titled “a small fort, which our people call Fort Orange,” examines the archaeological discovery of the fort in 1970, as well as the lasting impact of Dutch settlement of New York 400 years ago. The title is taken from Johannes De Laet, a director of the Dutch West India Company, recorded in 1625. Continue reading

Fire Dept History Focus of Schoharie Co Historians Spring Meeting


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The Annual Spring Membership Meeting of the Schoharie County Historical Society will be held on Monday, April 30 at the Schoharie Fire Department, located at 114 Fort Road in Schoharie, NY.

The evening will begin with refreshments at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 7 p.m. membership meeting, a program on the history of the Schoharie Fire Department and tours of the new fire house. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Continue reading

Anthony Comstock, Censorship and Obscenity


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lust on trialAmy Werbel’s new book Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018) takes a look at Anthony Comstock, America’s first professional censor.

In Lust on Trial, Werbel presents a colorful journey through Comstock’s career that doubles as a new history of post–Civil War America’s risqué visual and sexual culture.

Born into a puritanical New England community, Anthony Comstock moved to New York in 1868 armed with his Christian faith and a burning desire to rid the city of vice.

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The Great Awakening in New England


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ben_franklins_worldIn this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Douglas Winiarski, a Professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Richmond and the author of the Bancroft prize-winning book, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England (OIEAHC, 2017), helps us explore the religious landscape of New England during the 18th century and how New Englanders answered these powerful questions during the extraordinary period known as the Great Awakening.You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/182

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Oneida Community And The Crusade For Public Morality


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ministers warMichael Doyle’s new book The Ministers’ War: John W. Mears, The Oneida Community, and the Crusade for Public Morality (Syracuse University Press, 2018) takes a look at Hamilton College philosophy professor and Presbyterian minister John W. Mears and his fight against every sin and carnal lure, from liquor to free love.

In The Ministers’ War, Doyle explores the ways in which Mears’ multipurpose zeal reflected the passions behind the nineteenth-century temperance movement, the fight against obscenity, and the public animus toward unconventional thought. As an speaker, author and political candidate, Mears was a prominent moralizer.
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“Wild Jess” Elliott: Setting the Record Straight


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camp elliottJessie Elliott was a unique figure in the history of the Beaver River country in the west central Adirondacks. Visitors to the tiny settlement of Beaver River are still told she went to prison for her role in the bootlegging that was rampant in the lumberjack days of the early 1920s. She is listed among the “lawless ladies” in Niki Kourofsky’s recent book, Adirondack Outlaws. Pat Thompson’s memoir about life in Beaver River claims Jessie rode her steed through the settlement with her long hair flowing and a pistol in a holster on her belt. More fantastic stories about Jessie can be found in Bill Donnelly’s Short History of Beaver River where she is described, among other things, as a good-looking Calamity Jane, a bootlegger, and a prostitute. The truth underlying the legends reveals a much more complex and interesting wilderness woman. Continue reading

Historical New Paltz Documents Being Digitized


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View Looking Down Broadhead Street toward Huguenot Street Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has been awarded a $59,966 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program to support planning for the preservation and digitization of selections from its own archival collections, as well as collections from the Town of New Paltz, the Reformed Church of New Paltz, and the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz. This is the third NEH grant awarded to HHS in two years. Continue reading

Grant Cottage Seeks Volunteers


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Ulysses S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site in Wilton (Saratoga County) has announced they are seeking volunteers to assist with operations throughout the upcoming season.

Volunteer opportunities are available for adults and teens (age 14 and up). Available positions include Tour Guide, Visitor Center Greeter, Education Assistant, and Parking Attendant. Schedules are flexible, and training is provided. No experience is necessary. Continue reading