Category Archives: History

New York History

Exhibit: Camps of the Mid-Hudson Valley


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summer camp kids postcardMud sliding, a plane dropping leaflets to open a camp’s “Color Wars,” a 14-year-old pitcher striking out a visiting Lou Gehrig, a polio epidemic, the controversial arrest of a popular camp owner, kids finding “lost” caves, folksinger Theodor Bickel entertaining campers.

These are some of the stories in the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society’s new exhibit on area camps, Swimming, Singing and S’mores: 120 years of camps in the Mid Hudson Valley. Continue reading

Chenango County African American Civil War Veterans


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Hannibal Molson“Thursday was a gala day for the colored people of [Norwich] and surrounding towns,” the Chenango Semi-Weekly Telegram reported on September 27, 1879. “The occasion being the reunion of the colored soldiers of the late war, under the auspices of the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company of this village.”

The African American fire company had been organized earlier that year and elected Civil War veteran Hannibal C. Molson its Foreman. The day’s program called for a dinner, a parade, and speeches in recognition of their honoree’s service followed in the evening by a meal at the Spaulding House, musical selections, and a ball at Concert Hall. Continue reading

Centennial Celebration of the Seal of New York City


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unnamed(9)On May 12, 2015, the Coat of Arms Foundation (COAF) in collaboration with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) hosted a presentation by Chris M. Jones on the centennial anniversary of the adoption of the seal of the City of New York on June 24, 1915.

Designed to reflect the full heraldic achievement – arms with charges, crest, supporters, and motto – the seal went into use for “requisite purposes… on documents, publications or stationery issued or used by or in the name or under the authority of the city or of any borough or department thereof.” Continue reading

Caniskek: The Meeting of Worlds in Athens NY


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entranceImagine it is 1665. The place is the wilderness along the banks of the river whose “waters flow both ways.” The native inhabitants are the Mohicans, the newcomers wishing to settle and trade are the Dutch. Exactly 350 years ago a deed was signed for the land the Mohicans called Caniskek, a place that would change forever and evolve into the present day town called Athens, New York. Continue reading

Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley


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thvsmallEducators and the public are invited to discover new and innovative ways to engage children and young people in the Hudson Valley region’s culture, history, and future at Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley: The Next 100 Years Depend on It.

The conference will be held July 28-30 at the Henry A. Wallace Education and Visitors Center on the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park. Registration is required. Continue reading

Charles M. Dickinson: Lowville Poet and Diplomat


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CMDickinson02Among the foreign issues America has dealt with many times is hostage taking. Kidnappers have claimed various motives, but it was frequently done to extort money in support of a cause. Extortion kidnappings have often involved seizing of American missionaries and threatening to kill them unless ransom was paid. More than a hundred years ago, there occurred what is referred to as “America’s First Modern Hostage Crisis,” which is actually the subtitle of a 2003 book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Teresa Carpenter.

“The Miss Stone Affair” is the title, referring to Protestant missionary Ellen Maria Stone. A North Country man was a key player in her story, which riveted the nation for half a year. Continue reading

Adirondack Architectural Heritage Celebrating 25 Yrs


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Stone Mill VisionsAdirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will transform its historic 1849 National Register-listed Stone Mill with lights, linens, great food, and music to host its 25th Anniversary “rustic-elegant” Gala event on Saturday August 1, 2015.

Located behind AARCH’s office building, this 11,000-square-foot mill overlooking the Ausable River once produced horseshoe nails for the Ausable Horse Nail Company and was at the center of the village’s economy for more than eighty years. The company’s success resulted from a number of forces and factors that all came together here. Iron from local mines, smelted with local charcoal, provided the raw material for the nails. Keeseville blacksmith Daniel Dodge invented a machine to mass produce horse nails and the Ausable River provided the power to run the mill’s machinery. After the company closed in 1923, the building became part of the R. Prescott and Sons complex, a furniture company that made radio and television cabinets in the 20th century. That company closed in the 1960s. Continue reading

This Week’s Top New York History News


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Schumer and Gibson on New York State History


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chuck schumer thomas coleSenator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Chris Gibson, and Governor Andrew Cuomo have all been in the news recently on the subject of history tourism. It is instructive to compare and contrast their involvement in the subject.

On July 1, Senator Schumer visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, Greene County. The site is a privately operated. The cause of the visit was the unexpected discovery what appears to be original paintings from around 1836 by Thomas Cole which had been hidden under layers of paint. Schumer was contacted about federal funding to preserve the art. He not only supports the request, but also toured the site with executive director Betsy Jacks. Continue reading

New-York Historical Opens Art as Activism Exhibit


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Roosevelt and Lehman Campaign PosterLong before digital technology made instant worldwide communication possible, political protests and calls for action reached the public through posters. Posted on walls and bulletin boards, slapped up on store windows and church doors, these works often featured bright colors and modernist art-inspired graphics, and were quickly mass-produced to inform communities, stir up audiences, and call attention to injustice.

This summer, the New-York Historical Society is presenting 72 posters dating from the early 1930s through the 1970s in Art as Activism: Graphic Art from the Merrill C. Berman Collection, on through September 13, 2015. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne on the State History Conference


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unnamed27-300x136The annual New York State History Conference, held at the end of June at Niagara University, demonstrated once again the robust diversity of the state’s historical community and its research, projects, and initiatives. There were many interesting sessions but I wanted to share impressions of five particularly interesting and important themes.

Cooperation. Paul D’Ambrosio, President of the New York State Historical Association, in welcoming conference attendees, emphasized the essential role of cooperation in sponsoring, organizing, and managing the conference. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution Planned


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Registration is now open for the Twelfth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution September 25-27, 2015. This annual seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the War for American Independence (1775-1783), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The Seminar takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. Continue reading

Humanities Council Seeks Advocates for Suffrage Centennial


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suffrage logoThe year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State, a milestone for the state and a transformative moment in American democracy.

The New York Council for the Humanities has launched an effort to get the New York State Legislature to appropriately mark New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial. “We feel that the New York State legislature has the opportunity and fiscal obligation to support the Commemoration,” an e-mail from the Council said. Continue reading

‘Kalmar Nyckel’ Sailing Into Newburgh


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Kalmar NyckelKalmar Nyckel will sail up the Hudson River into Newburgh for the first time in its history this July 24-26, for a weekend of day sails, guided deck tours, and more.

Kalmar Nyckel is a recreation of the original ship that brought the earliest settlers from Sweden to Delaware in 1638, just a couple of decades after the Mayflower. During the same period when the Dutch were settling New Amsterdam in what is now Manhattan, Kalmar Nyckel made four successive round trips to supply the colonists of New Sweden. Continue reading