Robert Furman’s book Brooklyn Heights: the Rise, Fall and Rebirth of America’s First Suburb (The History Press, 2015) is a substantial illustrated history of Brooklyn. The book takes a look at the moving forces of history, and shows that technology is the great creator and destroyer, especially in the rise and fall of cities.
Brooklyn was once a great industrial city, like many others. It was enabled by transportation technology: steam ferries, railroads, canals. It was once the largest freight port in the world, in particular in Red Hook’s Atlantic and Erie Basins. They were the discharging end of the Erie Canal, and later expanded into international shipping. Continue reading
She’s the woman who dueled with Aaron Burr and won. Move over Alexander Hamilton. The life of Eliza Jumel is a tale about a woman who pulled hard on her Yankee bootstraps to make good on the American dream.
Margaret Oppenheimer’s splendid book, The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: Marriage and Money in the Early Republic (Chicago Review Press, 2015), takes readers along on a tale of intrigue, scandal and innuendo. Far from a steamy beach read featuring men in white wigs, this meticulously-researched tale paints a detailed and scholarly portrait of New York City and the way in which the city’s growth provided fertile ground for the ambitions of its heroine. Continue reading
The new book Fading Structures in the Finger Lakes: Images and Verse (Fast Pencil, 2015) by Michael W. Duttweiler explores 24 structures in the Central Finger Lake Region. These structures once stood strong, but have since been run down and abandoned.
Each image is paired with a poem conveying the allure and intrigue of the deserted structures. Poems by Conant, Kilmer, Frost, Dickinson, Whitman, Tennyson and other well-known authors are included.
Duttweiler hopes that by conveying the beauty of these fading structures, local organizations will be encouraged to support historic preservation. Continue reading
Art Deco Mailboxes: An Illustrated Design History (W.W Norton & Co., 2015) by Karen Greene and Lynne Lavelle features a full-color photographic survey of early mailboxes, located in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and beyond. Many of these mailboxes have since been removed, forgotten, disused, or painted over, others are still in use, are polished daily, and hold a place of pride in lobbies throughout the country.
As American art deco architecture flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, mailboxes and their chutes became focal points in landmark buildings and public spaces such as the GE Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Woolworth Building, 29 Broadway, the St. Regis Hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, and more. Continue reading
New York State’s first 21 Governors had a profound impact on the development and growth of the State and Country from 1777-1864. The stories of their extraordinary lives show how the State of New York and the United States developed from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War.
Todd Elzey’s book Biographical Sketches of New York’s First 21 Governors (Be Informed Books, 2015) presents intriguing stories of these men, including: Continue reading
Michael Leroy Oberg’s new book Professional Indian: The American Odyseey of Eleazer Williams (2015, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press) follows Eleazer Williams on his odyssey across the early American republic and through the shifting spheres of the Iroquois in an era of dispossession.
Oberg describes Williams as a “professional Indian,” who cultivated many political interests and personas in order to survive during a time of shrinking options for native peoples.
He was not alone: as Oberg shows, many Indians became missionaries and settlers and played a vital role in westward expansion. Through the larger-than-life biography of Eleazer Williams, Professional Indian uncovers how Indians fought for place and agency in a world that was rapidly trying to erase them. Continue reading
What role did the Bible play in the development of British North America and early United States?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we address this question by exploring the place of the Bible in early America. Our guide for this exploration is Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of In the Beginning Was the Word The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 (Oxford University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/073
Robert B. MacKay’s new book Gardens of Eden: Long Island’s Early Twentieth Century Planned Communities (2015, W.W Norton & Co.) examines Long Island at the turn of the twentieth century, and how it saw an explosion of architectural ambition.
Well-known for the country houses that bloomed through the Progressive Era as seasonal havens for the captains of New York finance and industry, Long Island also afforded people of more modest means the opportunity to strike out from the city.
Gardens of Eden tells the story of Long Island’s “residential parks,” richly gardened suburbs with such distinctive directives as the exclusive housing of teachers, public outreach by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a taboo on right-angled intersections. Continue reading
Nina Esperanza Serrianne’s new book America in the Nineties (2015, Syracuse University Press) takes a step back to the decade of the 1990s, from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
This book delves into the post–Cold War and pre–War on Terror era which was a unique moment in American history regarding both foreign and domestic policies. Continue reading
The new book Finger Lakes Wine Country (2015 Arcadia Publishing), by Finger Lakes local author Sarah S. Thompson, is a photographic journey covering 150 years of viticulture and winemaking in New York’s Finger Lakes region, and its pivotal role in American wine history.
The book is a regional history of the wine industry, told through more than 200 vintage images from collections of area wineries, museums, historical societies, archives and passionate residents. Continue reading