Category Archives: Books

George Rogers Clark & The Fight for the Illinois Country


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ben_franklins_worldIn the Treaty of Paris, 1783, Great Britain offered the new United States generous terms that included lands in between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.

Why did the biggest empire with the greatest army and navy concede so much to a new nation?

Because George Rogers Clark and his men seized the Illinois Country and held it during the American War for Independence.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, William Nester, a Professor of Government and Politics at St. John’s University and author of George Rogers Clark: ‘I Glory in War’ (University of Oklahoma Press, 2012), leads us on an exploration of the life and deeds of George Rogers Clark. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/102

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Furs and Foes: Tales of Colonial New York


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savage wilderness book coverFormer Upstate New York resident, John M. Cahill’s new book Savage Wilderness (W & B Publishers Inc, 2016), is a novel of life on the frontier of 17th-Century New York,  Savage Wilderness is the second book in Cahill’s The Boschloper Saga.

In 1687, the Colony of New York was in dire financial straits. The flow of beaver pelts, the life’s blood of the colony, had slowed to a trickle. In response, New York’s governor, Thomas Dongan, granted licenses to a group of Albany traders to enter New France and travel to Michilimackinac at the juncture of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. There, they would trade furs with the Ottawa and other “far” Indian people, thus diverting those furs from Montreal to Albany. Continue reading

Pirates & Pirate Nests in the British Atlantic World


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ben_franklins_worldPirates are alive and well in our popular culture. Thanks to movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and television shows like Black Sails, we see pirates as peg-legged, eye-patch wearing, rum-drinking men.

But are these representations accurate? What do we really know about pirates?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Mark Hanna, an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, and author of the award-winning book Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740, (UNC Press, 2015) helps us fill in the gaps in our knowledge to better understand who pirates were and why they lived the pirate’s life. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/099

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New Guide To NYC Archives Published


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New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family HistoriansThe New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has announced the release of anew book, New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians (NYG&B, 2016), by Aaron Goodwin.

The 245-page guide will help make research at the New York City Municipal Archives far more approachable and will introduce researchers to many previously-unknown record collections housed there. Continue reading

New Book: FDR On His Houseboat


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fdr on his houseboat book coverIn the midst of the Jazz Age, while Americans were making merry, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was stricken by polio and withdrew from public life. From 1924 to 1926, believing that warm water and warm air would help him walk again, he spent the winter months on his new houseboat, the Larooco, sailing the Florida Keys, fishing, swimming, playing Parcheesi, entertaining guests, and tending to engine mishaps.

During his time on the boat, he kept a nautical log describing each day’s events, including rare visits by his wife, Eleanor, who was busy carving out her own place in the world. Missy LeHand, his personal assistant, served as hostess aboard the Larooco. Continue reading

Custom Houses and the Making of the American State


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ben_franklins_worldCould customs collectors, the tax men of early America, be the unsung founders of the early United States?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the creation of the United States customs service and its contributions to the establishment of the federal government with Gautham Rao, an Assistant Professor of History at American University and author of National Duties: Custom Houses and the Making of the American State (University of Chicago Press, 2016). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/098

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Rhinebeck: Our Time At Fox Hollow Farm


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our time at foxhollow farmDavid Byars’ new book, Our Time at Foxhollow Farm a Hudson Valley Family Remembered (SUNY Press, 2016) is a pictorial history of a wealthy Hudson Valley family in the early decades of the twentieth century. Illustrated with the family’s extensive collection of personal albums compiled during the nascent years of photography, it provides a fascinating insight into the regional, social, and architectural history of the era. Continue reading

Ron Chernow Wins Empire State Archives and History Award


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Ron ChernowPulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow will receive the 2016 Empire State Archives and History Award from the New York State Archives Partnership Trust at a public program on Wednesday, November 2 at 7 pm.

Chernow is the author of Alexander Hamilton, the 2004 biography adapted by Lin-Manuel Miranda for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.

The public is invited to hear Chernow speak about his career as an author, biographer and historian with prominent Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Continue reading

New Book Focuses on Western New York’s Aries Press


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the aries pressA small private press located in a Western New York village has left behind a rich legacy in printing history.

Typographer, printer and print historian Richard Kegler uncovers an almost lost history of the Aries Press in his new book, The Aries Press of Eden, New York, (RIT Press, 2016.)

Spencer Kellogg Jr., a businessman and book designer, founded Aries Press during the 1920s with a vision to produce high-quality book designs. Kellogg hired talented workers with a passion for printing, including a craftsman connected to the nearby Roycroft campus. He also commissioned type designer Frederic Goudy to create a typeface for Aries Press. While the press was only open for four years, it produced many fine standard-setting examples of printing. Continue reading

New Book: Spring Trout And Strawberry Pancakes


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spring trout and strawberry pancakesAuthor William J. “Jay” O’Hern’s new book, Spring Trout & Strawberry Pancakes: Quirky Cures, Camp Recipes & the Adirondack Characters Who Cook Them Up, looks at some old Adirondack folks, their stories, and how their favored recipes brought mouthwatering meals to Adirondack tables.

With vintage photographs, Spring Trout & Strawberry Pancakes highlights hand-picked camp recipes, background stories of old camps and characters, historic photos, tales, time-tested household cleaning tips and old-fashioned remedies for common ills. Continue reading