Category Archives: History

New York History

Robert Moses’ Least Controversial Triumph


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robert mosesThe many controversies that surrounded Robert Moses during his long career as New York’s “Master Builder” were sharpened by his long battle with Jane Jacobs and by Robert Caro’s 1974 biography, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (1974).

But his least contentious achievements are also the most unknown: the construction of the New York Power Authority’s hydroelectric plants along the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers. Continue reading

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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New Whaling Exhibit at the Southampton Historical Museum


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sperm-whale-in-a-flurry-by-louis-ambroise-garneray-c-1840An interactive and inclusive exhibit, Hunting the Whale: The Rise and Fall of a Southampton Industry adds new discoveries to the accumulation of documentation and artifacts collected over more than 100 years to illuminate Southampton Village’s prominent role in the whaling industry at its mid-19th century height.

Whaling tools, maps, illustrations, archival images and text will be displayed with an eye toward making the exhibit accessible to audiences of varied interests and all ages. Among those whose roles will be highlighted are local indigenous people, slaves, servants, whaling captains, and the families that were sustained by the whaling industry.

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Call for Papers: Women in New Netherland


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New Netherland InstituteThe year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State. The New Netherland Institute is aiming to use this centenary and their Annual Conference to highlight the role of women in the development of the seventeenth-century Dutch colony of New Netherland and early New York.

The conference will convene in Albany, at the New York State Museum on the 22nd and 23rd of September 2017. Continue reading

Old Stone Fort Announces Winter Lecture Series


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Jeff O'Connor discussing colonial Schoharie historyThe Old Stone Fort has announced a new winter lecture series set to begin on Tuesday, February 7th 2017 from 7 to 8:30 pm. The series continues on the first Tuesday of every month through May 2nd.

The first presenter for the entire series will be Jeff O’Connor, author of Thunder in the Valley and the upcoming book Skohere and the Birth of New York’s Western Frontier 1609-1731. Jeff also owns Turning Point 1777, a historical tour guide service located in Cobleskill. Continue reading

The Orange Riots of 1870 and 1871


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orange riotIn the 19th century extremely violent conflicts took place between mostly Northern Irish Protestants (Orangemen) and Irish Catholics.  The Orange Riot of 1870 began on July 12 (known as Marching Day in Northern Ireland), when a parade was held in Manhattan by Irish Protestants celebrating the victory at the Battle of the Boyne of William III, the King of England and Prince of Orange, over James II in 1690. Continue reading

A Short History Of The Hudson River Day Line


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the-hudson-river-paddlewheel-towboat-oswegoAbraham Van Santvoord, a descendent of one of the earliest Dutch settlers in Albany, was born in Schenectady on December 18, 1784. At the age of 14, he worked with his granduncle John Post who owned a shipping business in Utica. Since, at the time, there were few roadways, and the ones they had were snow covered in the winter and mud bogs in the spring, most shipping was done by water.

Van Santvoord successfully ran a shipping business on the Mohawk River. During the War of 1812, he contracted with agents of General Stephen Van Rensselaer of Albany to store and ship provisions westward on the Mohawk to support Van Rensselaer’s troops planning to invade Canada. Continue reading