One of my favorite things about working at The Hudson River Valley Institute is the wide variety of random (though usually regional) questions that we receive by phone and email. (The answer to the most frequently asked question is still “Bannerman’s Island.”
Recently, the random question came from within Marist College: “Can you get us a boat for graduation?” This had first occurred serendipitously in 2009 when The Half Moon was sailing past during the ceremony as part of the Quadricentennial events. Last year, the college worked with the Beacon Sloop Club to bring the Woody Guthrie for the day.
This year, I reached out to Engineer Jessica DuLong and our friends aboard the historic fireboat John J. Harvey; the stars aligned, even though the rain clouds never cleared, and the Class of 2013 was treated to a full salute of the ship’s water cannons as they were dismissed. Continue reading
It was from the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh that General George Washington commanded the final 16 months of the American Revolution. And it was from that house that he set out to quell a mutiny that was brewing amongst his officers. He triumphed in both of those instances. Continue reading
It was long past the eleventh hour of my publication timetable and I still needed to get one last image to illustrate the article “‘No Mortal Eye Can Penetrate': Louis Ransom’s Commemoration of John Brown” which would be appearing in our Autumn issue. I turned to the Library of Congress’s website, found and saved the file along with the metadata in order to be able to cite it correctly, and sent the last of the material to our designer.
Six short weeks later, the Autumn 2012 issue of The Hudson River Valley Review was out to great acclaim, and just a few even shorter days after that I received my first correction. It was about that image, and it was from Jean Libby, who had been cited in the article as the curator and author of the John Brown Photo Chronology. It was clear that I had gotten something wrong. Continue reading
One of our contentions at the Hudson River Valley Institute has always been that you can go anywhere by starting exactly where you are. The closest I ever came to losing this argument was at a Teaching American History conference with a gentleman from New Mexico. “It’s easy for you – the Hudson Valley has nearly 400 years of colonial history and documented prehistory before that,” he said “all we have are aliens (Roswell) and those German POW scientists from WWII.” (He had just finished a presentation about the latter). But he went on to explain that even in that state’s most isolated towns, there was at least one war memorial with the names of local soldiers who served their country, and when they shipped out, they charted a course around the nation and the world leaving a path for students today to trace through history. Continue reading
It may be true that our past is behind us, but some of it remains nearer than the rest. Distance provides a remove from which to appraise the value of a person, thing,or event. The lack of such distance can limit our perspective on the nearer parts, and in some instances, might destroy our heritage before we have a chance to adequately consider it.
Consider two examples of Capitol architecture. The 1899 New York State Capitol is heralded as a triumph. The virtual tour proudly states that the building took 32 years and $25 million to construct. It highlights the “grand spaces” and extravagant details throughout the building such as its carved staircases, its paneled chambers, and the exotic materials used inside and out. I have visited it myself and would recommend the tour to anyone with an interest in architecture or government. Continue reading
In my last post I discussed the variety of topics and writers represented in the The Hudson River Valley Review, but the issue I am most proud of is Autumn 2010 [pdf], dedicated to exploring our region’s role and legacy of Landscape Architecture.
Included in the issue is an introduction to Andrew Jackson Downing (arguably its most influential figure in of regional and national import), an exploration of the creation of the Mohonk Mountain House and its network of carriage roads, the original call for the creation of an Appalachian Trail, Thomas Cole’s creation of his estate Cedar Grove, and a photo essay presenting Bannerman’s Castle. Continue reading
As Associate Editor of The Hudson River Valley Review, published by The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI), I get to explore the region that I call home and to share these finds with our readers.
While our website allows us to be as expansive as our associates and interns are interested in being, it is the journal that I find most rewarding with its approximately 150 pages per issue that forces us to focus our interests and energies into a concise product every six months. The Hudson River Valley Review is published each spring and autumn, alternating between thematic and open issues. Continue reading