Category Archives: Books

Death, Suicide, & Slavery in British North America


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ben_franklins_worldEarly America was a diverse place. It contained many different people who had many different traditions that informed how they lived…and died.

How did early Americans understand death? What did they think about suicide?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Terri Snyder, a Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton and author of The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America (University of Chicago Press, 2015), helps us answer these questions and more as she takes us on an exploration of slavery and suicide in British North America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/125

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Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldWhat did the American Revolution mean and achieve? What sort of liberty and freedom did independence grant Americans and which Americans should receive them?

Americans grappled with these questions soon after the American Revolution. They debated these issues during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, in the first congresses, and as they followed events in revolutionary France and Haiti during the 1790s and early 1800s.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, James Alexander Dun, an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and author of Dangerous Neighbors: Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), joins us to explore the ways the Haitian Revolution shaped how Americans viewed their own revolution. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/124

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New Shaker Book Highlights Watervliet Settlement


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their name is wicks book coverThere is a new book about the Shaker community and the original (1776) Shaker settlement in the United States in Watervliet, NY.

‘Their Name is Wicks’: One Family’s Journey Through Shaker History by Ann C. Sayers shines a light on the peak years of Shaker history, from the 1820s to the 1850s.

This is the first comprehensive study of a whole (and very large) family who moved to the Watervliet Shaker community. Continue reading

Revolution: The Men Who Lost America


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ben_franklins_worldDid the Americans win the War for Independence? Or did the British simply lose the war?

The history of the American War for Independence is complicated. And history books tell many different versions of the event, which is why we need an expert to guide us through the intricacies of whether we should look at the war as an American victory, a British defeat, or in some other light.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Andrew O’Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (Yale University Press, 2013) joins us to explore British viewpoints of the American War for Independence. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/122

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The Dutch Moment in the Atlantic World


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ben_franklins_worldThe Spanish, French, and English played large roles in the origins of colonial America. But so too did the Dutch. During the 17th century, they had a “moment” in which they influenced European colonization and development of the Atlantic World.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Wim Klooster, a Professor of History at Clark University and author of The Dutch Moment: War, Trade, and Settlement in the Seventeenth Century Atlantic World (Cornell University Press, 2016), guides us through Dutch contributions to the Atlantic World.  You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/121

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A Schenectady World War I Reading and Discussion Group


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As the centennial of World War I begins, Schenectady County Historical Society and Humanities NY will host a World War I Reading and Discussion Group entitled “Our World Remade.” Texts will include historical accounts; novels; poetry; government documents; news accounts; journals and letters from soldiers, nurses, politicians, pacifists, and other eye-witnesses to the tragic and transformative events of The Great War. Continue reading

New Book: The Best of New York Archives


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A new book, The Best of New York Archives: Selections from the Magazine, 2001— 2011 (SUNY Press, 2017) is available now for pre-order. The book offers readers a chance to discover or rediscover some of the most popular articles on New York State history from the pages of the award-winning New York Archives magazine.

Articles from Pulitzer Prize winners and best-selling authors tell stories of New York State’s rich history based on research in archival records around the state.

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The Heart of the Declaration of Independence


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ben_franklins_worldOn June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia moved that the Second Continental Congress resolve “that these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States…”

The Second Continental Congress adopted Lee’s motion and on June 11, 1776, it appointed a committee to draft a declaration of independence.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Steve Pincus, the Bradford Durfee Professor of History at Yale University and author of The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government (Yale University Press, 2016), leads us on an investigation of the Declaration of Independence and the context in which the founders drafted it. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/119

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The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island


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ben_franklins_worldHow did the smallest colony and smallest state in the union became the largest American participant in the slave trade?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Christy Clark-Pujara, an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYUPress, 2016), joins us to explore the history of Rhode Island and New England’s involvement with slavery.

You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/118

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Battle of Lake George Book Talk, Signing Feb 4th


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battle-of-lake-george-bookSchenectady County Historical Society will host a book talk and signing with historian William Griffith on Saturday, February 4th at 2 pm at the Mabee Farm Historic Site.

In his book The Battle of Lake George (2016) Griffith tells the story of the first major British battlefield victory of the French and Indian War.

In late summer in Lake George, 1755, a bloody conflict for control of Lake George and its access to New York’s interior took place between the British and French forces. Against all odds, British commander William Johnson rallied his men through the barrage of enemy fire to send the French retreating north to Ticonderoga. The stage was set for one of the most contested regions throughout the rest of the conflict. Continue reading