Category Archives: Books

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

Stony Brook Harbor: A New Natural History


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between-stony-brook-harbor-tides-bookStony Brook Harbor, or Three Sisters Harbor as it was known historically, is a pristine Long Island north shore pocket bay.

Untouched by major commercialization, it has been designated a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat by the New York State Department of State and a Significant Coastal Habitat by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Despite these designations however, there is constant pressure to increase development in and around the harbor. Continue reading

A Cattaraugus County Man’s Account of World War 1


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somewhere in france book coverThe United States entered World War I in April 1917, and by the end of the conflict two million American soldiers were fighting on French soil.  One of them was Private Frederick A. Kittleman. In Somewhere in France: The World War I Letters and Journal of Private Frederick A. Kittleman (Excelsior Editions, 2017), Thomas J. Schaeper transcribes journal entries and letters, showing a young man proud to join the army and excited about his adventures.

The letters are contrasted with Kittleman’s journal, which recounts the gritty details of battle that he shielded from his family in their correspondence. Schaeper provides detailed annotations of the journal and letters, which, together with a number of illustrations, paint a picture of the experiences of a private in WWI, his opinion on America’s participation in the final, bloody campaigns of the war, and the psychological and physical effects that the war had on him. Continue reading

New Critical Edition of ‘Twelve Years a Slave’


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twelve years a slave bookTwelve Years A Slave (W.W. Norton Critical Edition, 2017) offers the autobiography of Solomon Northup, based on the 1853 first edition. It is accompanied by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kevin Burke’s introduction and detailed explanatory footnotes.

Solomon Northup was a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, DC, in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release. Continue reading

Laurence Hauptman On Chief Chapman Scanandoah


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an-oneida-indian-in-foreign-watersProfessor Laurence M. Hauptman joined host Jane E. Wilcox on the latest Forget-Me-Not Hour podcast to discuss the history of the Iroquois Confederacy in Central and Western New York and his latest book, An Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters: The Life of Chief Chapman Scanandoah 1870-1953.

Hauptman told the story of Chief Chapman Scanandoah, gave tips for researching the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora, as well as discussed the status of Iroquois treaties and land claims. Larry also talked about his inspiration for writing numerous books on the Iroquois. Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

New Book: The Dutch Moment


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the-dutch-moment-bookIn The Dutch Moment: War,Trade, and Settlement in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World (Cornell University Press, 2016), Wim Klooster shows how the Dutch built and eventually lost an Atlantic empire that stretched from the homeland in the United Provinces to the Hudson River and from Brazil and the Caribbean to the African Gold Coast. The fleets and armies that fought for the Dutch in the decades-long war against Spain included numerous foreigners, largely drawn from countries in northwestern Europe. Likewise, many settlers of Dutch colonies were born in other parts of Europe or the New World. The Dutch would not have been able to achieve military victories without the native alliances they carefully cultivated. The Dutch Atlantic was quintessentially interimperial, multinational, and multiracial. At the same time, it was an empire entirely designed to benefit the United Provinces. Continue reading

A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park


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a-history-of-brooklyn-bridge-parkNancy Webster and David Shirley’s new book, A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park (Columbia University Press, 2016), recounts the grassroots, multi-voiced, and contentious effort, beginning in the 1980s, to transform Brooklyn’s defunct piers into a beautiful, urban oasis.

By the 1970s, the Brooklyn piers had become a wasteland on the New York City waterfront. Today, they have been transformed into a park that is enjoyed by countless Brooklynites and visitors from across New York City and around the world. The movement to resist commercial development on the piers reveals how concerned citizens came together to shape the future of their community. Continue reading