The important contributions to the field of ornithology of citizen-scientist Greene Smith have been obscured by the Underground Railroad and abolition fame of Smith’s father Gerrit Smith. As important and well-known as are the Underground Railroad sites on the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro NY, it is Greene’s Ornithon that most piques visitors’ curiosity about the builder and collector of that bird museum.
This public fascination prompted Norm Dann to turn the focus of his Smith research to Greene Smith and his Birdhouse. Dann’s study of family letters, military records, Greene’s personal Catalogue of Birds, the pursuit of Greene’s hunting apparatus, and the ownership and investigation of the Birdhouse site, have culminated in the March printing of Greene Smith and the WildLife: The Story of Peterboro’s Avid Outdoorsman – the first publication on this absorbing story. Continue reading
Nighttime in the past was different than today-far darker and more hazardous. In the Middle Ages night was seen as a sort of anti-time, the very negative of day, when all things bad happened and only people with evil intent were found on the street.
All this began to change in the 18th century. Street lighting in big cities became more common and medieval curfews were abandoned. Less a source of fear than in the past people were more likely to see beauty in a starry sky and to seek out nightly entertainment instead of hiding behind locked doors. Yet the 18th century was still very much a period of transition. Continue reading
The 44th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial Archaeology will be held at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Albany May 28th through May 30th, 2015.
Established as a Dutch fur trading post in 1614, and chartered in 1688, Albany is the oldest continuously chartered city in the county and capital of New York State since 1879. Transportation – river navigation, canals, railroads and highways – has always been one of its defining characteristics. Continue reading
The distinctive footprint that disrupts Manhattan’s grid west of Broadway between 155th and 158th Streets – the Audubon Park Historic District – did not come about by accident or from the demands of local topography. It unfolded from careful planning and alliances among like-minded property owners, whose social and political connections ensured that when progress swept up Manhattan’s west side, they would benefit.
As a result, Riverside Drive splits at 155th Street where its 1911 branch snakes across the grid to 158th Street while its 1928 branch pushes straight up the river. At the same time, Edward M. Morgan Place – a one-block remnant of the earlier Boulevard Lafayette – slices across Audubon Park’s eastern side, severing a corner from what was once a geographically unified suburban enclave. Continue reading
It’s not too early to start planning for New York State History Month in November. One of the themes that the state’s history community might consider this year is reform in New York State. There are few better examples of a New York reform leader than Elizabeth Cady Stanton and November 15 is the bicentennial of her birth.
She was born Elizabeth Cady in Johnstown on November 15, 1815. She observed how the law treated women as subordinate to men through observing the work of her father, an attorney and judge. She derived a hatred of slavery and confidence in political change from her cousin, Gerrit Smith, who lived in nearby Peterboro. She married a leading abolitionist, Henry Stanton, in 1840, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton was always independent, opinionated, determined, sometimes headstrong, never resting. Continue reading
Fort Ticonderoga will host the Seventh Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 15, 2015, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference, while intended for educators, is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history.
The conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. The conference precedes Fort Ticonderoga’s Twentieth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, a weekend-long seminar focused on the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Continue reading
Anthony Musso, author of Staatsburg: A Village Lost in Time (2014), will give a talk entitled “Staatsburg: Its Estate Owners and Their Impact on the Village” at Staatsburgh State Historic Site on April 11, 2015.
The tiny community of Staatsburg was once the home of several large estates. As Musso writes in his book on Staatsburg, each of the estates “had an impact on the character, finances and preservation of the village and its surroundings.” Continue reading
This Saturday, March 28, 2015, Schuyler Mansion will host “Fabric For Furniture: Historic Choices,” presented by Elizabeth Lahikainen as first of the site’s 2015 spring lecture series focusing on 18th-century interior decoration, Schuyler Splendor: The Making of an 18th Century Home of Good Taste.
Elizabeth Lahikainen, an internationally recognized textile conservator specializing in historic upholstery, will discuss 18th century design trends, fabrics appropriate for different chair styles, and what is available in today’s market. Utilizing fabrics of unusual weave and motifs, she will demonstrate combinations using chairs from Schuyler Mansion’s collection. Continue reading
The 14th Annual Underground Railroad Public History Conference, “Breaking Free: Civil War, Emancipation, and Beyond,” will take place April 17-19, 2015 at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY.
“The Civil Rights Movement: Teaching with Common Core and the NYS Social Studies Framework, in the Shadow of Ferguson, Missouri,” by Alan Singer of Hofstra University, starts off the conference weekend at The Educators’ Workshop, at which anyone interested in the topic is welcome. Continue reading
Long Island Traditions, dedicated to documenting, presenting and preserving the maritime traditions of recreational and commercial fishermen, is sponsoring two tours that explore the maritime traditions of Freeport. “Boating with the Baymen” will hold its first Freeport tour on Sunday, May 31 at 2 pm.
The spring/summer tour for the season explores the traditions of fishermen and baymen, and bay house owners including Bob Doxsee of Doxsee Sea Clam in Point Lookout, bay house owners and boat builders John Remsen Sr. and his son John Remsen Jr., and Freeport baymen Joey Scavone, Collin Weyant and Lucas Krucher. Themes of the tour will include “looking backwards” and “bay houses” led by Doxsee and John Remsen Sr., working the waters including Remsen Jr., Scavone, Krucher and Weyant, and “The next generation” focusing on Scavone, Krucher and Weyant. Continue reading
The Fort Plain Museum, in the heart of upstate New York, has announced a Conference on the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley.
The conference will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 1-3, 2015. Conference attendees will arrive at the Fort Plain Museum Friday evening followed by a cocktail reception and presentation on the history of Fort Plain/Fort Rensselaer. Saturday will include a full day of talks by six authors with a box lunch provided. On Sunday a bus tour will begin at the Fort Plain Museum exploring six historic colonial sites with a guided tour by Fort Plain Museum chairman, Norm Bollen. Continue reading
The New York Chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) has announced its spring meeting, to be held on April 18, 2015. The event will take place at St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, NY (off I-787, just north of Albany).
The meeting will include talks on conservation, rural cemeteries (including Albany Rural Cemetery), public programming at St. Agnes Cemetery, and other topics. In the afternoon attendees can take self-guided tours of St. Agnes Cemetery and adjacent Albany Rural Cemetery. Maps and information about points of interest at the cemeteries will be provided. Continue reading
Presented by Robert Pascucci, Ph.D., will present “Electric City Immigrants: Italians and Poles of Schenectady, 1880-1930”, on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 2 pm at the Schenectady County Historical Society, 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady.
Dr. Pascucci’s presentation will focus on the two largest immigrant groups, Italian and Polish, that settled in Schenectady during its period of rapid economic growth that was fueled largely by General Electric and the American Locomotive Company. How these two immigrant groups adjusted to the city will be examined, as well as the impact that the new arrivals had on Schenectady. Continue reading
Friends of Taconic State Park will presents “Artifacts from the Copake Iron Works” on Sunday, March 15th from 2 to 4 pm at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society in Copake Falls, NY.
Jim Mackin, vice president of Friends of Taconic State Park, along with members of the group’s museum committee, will speak about the history of the Copake Iron Works and efforts to catalog the many artifacts uncovered in the Iron Works machine shop. Continue reading
On March 19, 2015 at 7 pm, renowned authority on Civil War medicine Carolyn Ivanoff will present a lecture entitled “Myths, Maggots, Minie Balls, Gangrene and Glory”. Ivanoff will explain, among other things, how Civil War surgeons saved lives despite horrific conditions and discuss the subjects of nineteenth century hygiene, military medical practices and surgical innovations. Continue reading
New York Times best-selling author, television host and library advocate Brad Meltzer will serve as 2015 Honorary Chair of Preservation Week, April 26 – May 2, 2015, a time when libraries throughout the country will provide information and expertise on how to archive and preserve individual and institutional treasures.
During Preservation Week, themed “Pass it on,” participating libraries will offer special programs and services to help connect library users with preservation tools; promote the importance of preservation; and enhance knowledge of preservation issues among the general public. Continue reading
The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) in Peterboro, NY has suspended its two year cycle of inductions and commemorations in 2015 in order to address President Abraham Lincoln as The Great Emancipator.
During this Sesquicentennial year of Lincoln’s death, the end of the Civil War, and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, NAHOF and its Peterboro heritage partners will provide public programs on Lincoln from March to October 2015. Continue reading
Settled by the Dutch and claimed by the English, as writer Russell Shorto has observed, New York was “a Babel of peoples—Norwegians, Germans, Italians, Jews, Africans . . . Walloons, Bohemians, Munsees, Montauks, Mohawks, and many others”. In the landscapes they shaped, buildings and furniture they made, New Yorkers created a place “unlike any other, either in the North American colonies or anywhere else.”
This unique legacy is reflected in New York furniture. The 2015 Winterthur Furniture Forum, March 4 to 7, 2015 at the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware, celebrates furniture from the Empire State with lectures, workshops, and tours exploring new discoveries, shedding light on lesser-known cabinetmakers, and highlighting regional and cultural diversity. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz is introducing a new “Fourth Saturday” event series. The first event in the series, on Saturday, February 28, with feature a lecture by Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers, Professor of Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz.
Dr. Williams-Myers will be presenting a lecture entitled “There is a River: Social and Economic Contributions of Africans Along the Hudson, From the Dutch Period to the American Revolution.” In honor of Black History Month, this lecture will focus on the influence of enslaved labor on the economic development of the Hudson River colonies, and the societal impact of African participation in both the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Continue reading
The New York City Historic District Council’s 2015 Preservation Conference “Landmarks @50” celebrates the milestone 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law and imagines what preservation might look like in the future.
Since 1965, preservation activities have had a tremendous positive effect on New York City showing that historic preservation is neither weepy nostalgia nor dusty museums. Preservation is active work, which engages diverse communities across the city and both reflects and informs New York’s cultural, political, and economic milieu. Innumerable successes have been won in the last 50 years, but there is still great work to be done. Continue reading