Category Archives: History

New York History

50 Yrs of NYC Landmarks Exhibit Planned


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Astor Place, NYCThe Museum of the City of New York will present a new exhibit, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, a comprehensive exhibition exploring the roots and impact of a landmark preservation movement and its impact on New York City. The exhibit will run Tuesday, April 21 through September 13, 2015.

New York’s landmark preservation movement developed over many years, but was galvanized by large historic losses in the early 1960s, most notably the demolition of the world famous and architecturally significant Pennsylvania Station in 1963. Continue reading

NYS Museum Opens Shaker Photography Exhibit


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Round Stone Barn, wagon entry levelThe New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring Shaker photographs. A Promising Venture: Shaker Photographs from the WPA features the photography of Noel Vicentini and documents Shaker sites, architecture, craft and people.

On display in Photography Gallery through December 31, 2015, the exhibition is organized by Hancock Shaker Village and features more than 100 photographs. This exhibition complements the State Museum’s 7,000 square-foot exhibition, The Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries, which explores the history and culture of the Shakers. Continue reading

New Netherland to Empire State: NY Furniture


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New York State ChairSettled 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

Sullivan County’s First African American Firefighter


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MontMansionHouse2During the night of April 26, 1874, fire broke out in the livery stables of LeGrand Morris’ Exchange Hotel in Monticello, NY. Village residents were roused from their beds to form a bucket brigade to battle the blaze, but were unable to keep it from spreading to, and destroying, the hotel itself. A number of other businesses, including George Hindley’s saloon, Kent’s Barber Shop, Billing’s Flour and Feed Store, and the printing plant of the George M. Beebe’s Republican Watchman newspaper, were also consumed.

Largely because of that fire, the third major blaze in three years to rock the small village of about 900 residents, Monticello organized its first fire department less than a year later. Continue reading

The Albany African American Home Social Club


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johnson_portraitIn a book titled Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880-1902, author Willard B. Gatewood includes a few sentences about Albany, NY’s Home Social Club. According to Gatewood, it “represented the pinnacle of the city’s black social structure.”

Portraying the club as an aristocratic, elitist organization seems unfair, based on my research. Yes, the club’s membership included some black professionals over the years, but among its long-term adherents were waiters, barbers, and railroad porters. Continue reading

Black History Talk Begins Huguenot Street Series


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Augustus Freer in his WWII uniform c 1942Historic 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

Buffalo History Museum Closing Until April


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Buffalo History MuseumThe Buffalo History Museum will be closed from February 23 until April 16 for exhibit viewing and tours. The ongoing electrical updates and technology improvements necessitates exhibit closings as the project enters the final phase of completion.

All programs, events, rentals, staff offices, visitor services and the Museum Gift Shop will remain open during regular hours from Tuesday- Friday. The Research Library will remain open during regular weekday hours and will be closed on Saturday. Continue reading

Shoveling and Plowing in the Good Ol’ Days


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ShovelingSnow01Earlier this winter, our forecast in Clinton County was light rain and temps in the upper 30s, conditions that were expected to last a couple of days. Forty-eight hours later, 23 inches of the heaviest, wettest snow imaginable covered everything in sight. Tree collapsed, power outages were frequent, and roads were a slushy mess. Removal of the stuff from driveways was best done by machine, but for some of us, manual effort was the only way to go. As I toiled, my mind wandered to similar jobs I’ve endured in decades past. Continue reading

Fellowships In Reformed Church History Offered


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Crest_of_the_Reformed_Church_in_AmericaThe Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary of New Brunswick, NJ and Queens, NY invites proposals for three scholarly research fellowships during the 2015-16 academic year.

The three fellowships offer an opportunity for research in Reformed Church history, research and/or presentation in Reformed Church worship and liturgy, and research in Reformed Church in America women’s studies. Continue reading

REDC Awards Nurture Infrastructure, Ignore History


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REDC RegionsThis post is part of a continuing series on discerning the actual policies of New York State regarding promoting history by following the money it awards through the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) process.

The focus in this post is on where the State awards money in support of cooperation and collaboration. In other words, the awards here aren’t for a specific event or site but are more sweeping in scope. They seek to support multiple organizations and entities working together on behalf of a larger goal than any one group could achieve on its own. There are lessons to be learned here for the history community which is not the recipient of any of these awards. Continue reading

Historic District Council’s Landmarks @50 Conference


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unnamed(40)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

Amsterdam: Short History of People’s Silk Store


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Peolple's Silk Store Amsterdam NYSamuel L. Kupferberg’s ancestors were in the fabric trade so it was only logical that he pursued that line of work. Born in Romania in 1893, Sam had 17 siblings. Two of his older brothers had started fabric businesses in New York City. Getting to America from Codaesti, Romania was an issue for Sam. During World War I Romanian Jews were confined to their villages. After the war Sam left the old country in 1920 for New York City where he worked with his oldest brother, Jacob.

In 1926 Amsterdam’s People’s Silk Store, which sold fabrics and draperies, was for sale. Sam took the train upstate, bought the business and kept the name. Continue reading

West Point’s Remarkable Class of 1914


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West Point 1915The cadets of the United States Military Academy, West Point, are intimately twined with the country’s history. The graduating class of 1915, the class the stars fell on, was particularly noteworthy. Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 (36%) attained the rank of general, the most of any class in. Michael Haskew’s West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On (Zenith Press, 2014) explores the achievements of this remarkable group.

Although Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, both five-star generals, are the most recognizable, other class members contributed significantly to the Allied victory in World War I, World War II and played key roles either in the post-war U.S. military establishment or in business and industry after World War II, especially in the Korean War and the formation of NATO. Continue reading

New Illustrated History of Hudson, NY


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Hudson NYA new pictorial history authored by Lisa LaMonica, Hudson (Arcadia Publishing, 2014) features over 200 images depicting scenes of the City of Hudson and it’s surroundings’ history.

In vintage photographs, Hudson covers a history that includes the story of the Mohicans, whaling, and the multitude of factories in the Industrial Age, as well as the city’s modern-day transformation. Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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This Week’s Top New York History News


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