Author Archives: Editorial Staff

John Jay Medal Awarded Historian Joseph Ellis


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John Jay Medal AwardsOn May 14th, the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) held its second John Jay Medal Dinner and recognized two individuals whose efforts have helped elevate and strengthen the legacy of native New Yorker, John Jay.

JHC’s first honoree was Prof. Joseph J. Ellis, one of the nation’s leading historians and the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation.  Ellis’ exhaustive and illuminating research for his newest book The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution 1783-1789 restores John Jay to the pantheon of nation-builders alongside Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Continue reading

Erie Canalway Photo Contest Call for Entries


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erie canalway pic contestEntries are being accepted through August 26, 2016 for the 11th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. The contest captures the beauty, history, people, and character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit images in four contest categories: On the Water, Along the Trail, Canal Communities, and Classic Canal. Winning photos will be featured in the 2017 Erie Canalway calendar, which is available free of charge in December. Continue reading

Report Tracks Erie Canalway Trail Progress


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cyclist on the erie canalwayParks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) have released their sixth annual report – Closing the Gaps: A Progress Report on the Erie Canalway Trail 2015  – detailing progress made in completing the statewide Erie Canalway Trail as a continuous, off-road route. With 288 of 360 miles open to the public, the Canalway Trail is 80% complete and well on its way to becoming the longest trail of its kind in the United States, and a significant tourist destination for Upstate New York.

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New Biography of Playboy, Yachtsman Gordon Bennett


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gordon bennett book coverAfter a drunken evening in New York’s lavish Union Club, three of the richest men in America made a bet that would change the course of yachting history. Six men died in the brutal first race across the Atlantic, turning the perception of yachting from gentleman’s pursuit to rugged adventure. The $90,000 prize (about $15 million today) helped to herald the “gilded age” of America.

Sam Jefferson’s new book Gordon Bennett and the First Yacht Race Across the Atlantic (Bloomsbury, 2016) tells the tale of James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the playboy son of the New York Herald multi-millionaire. Continue reading

The Psychic Highway: How The Erie Canal Changed America


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the psychic highway book cover

Michael Keene’s book The Psychic Highway: How the Erie Canal Changed America (Willow Manor Publishing 2016) takes a look at a time of intense individual focus and enlightened change in the ways in which people communicated along the canal.

It was as if a bolt of electricity struck western New York, lighting it up as fertile ground for ideas and lifestyles that had never been expressed or attempted before. It was a time of religious re-birth, ongoing social reform and making one’s life the best it could be in the present and in the future. Continue reading

Devin Lander Appointed New York State Historian


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Devin LanderState Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today announced the appointment of Devin Lander as New York’s State Historian. Lander, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York (MANY), is expected to join the Education Department on May 19, 2016.

The State Education Department, the Department’s Office of Cultural Education, and the State Museum have been under fire for their handling of the State Historian’s position in recent years, including their downgrading the job to a lesser-paid position reporting to the Chief Curator of the State Museum.  Among those critical of the decision to reduce the role of State Historian have been former State Historian Robert Weible and members of the Commission on Local and Public History, convened ten years ago by Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Carole Huxley to advise the Department of Education on the appointment of a State Historian. Continue reading

What’s New At The Old Copake Iron Works?


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copake iron works furnaceThe Roeliff Jansen Historical Society will host “What’s New at the Old Copake Iron Works,” an illustrated lecture by Edgar M. Masters, on Sunday, May 15th at 2pm at the Society museum, 8 Miles Road in Copake Falls.

Masters’ program will begin with a look back at the Copake Iron Works in 2008 when Friends of Taconic State Park first began planning the preservation of the long derelict, but historically important, 19th century industrial site. He will continue with a photo review of the work done in the ensuing years and a quick discussion of future plans, including the re-creation of part of the railroad that once circumnavigated the Copake Iron Works. Continue reading

John Brown Lives! To Recognize Danny Glover, Alice Green, Brother Yu


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John Brown Day 2016 PosterActor and activist Danny Glover, Albany civil rights leader Alice Green and youth advocate Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi Burgess will be the first recipients of the Spirit of John Brown Freedom Award, to be awarded at the John Brown Day 2016 celebration on Saturday, May 7th, at 1 pm.

The annual event, which is organized by Westport-based human rights and freedom education project John Brown Lives!, will be held at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. The public is welcome. Continue reading