Category Archives: History

New York History

The History of Genealogy


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ben_franklins_worldHistory has a history and genealogy has a history. And the histories of both affect how and why we study the past and how we understand and view it.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore why it’s important for us to understand that the practices and processes of history and genealogy have histories by exploring what the history of genealogy reveals about the early American past.

Our guide for this exploration is Karin Wulf, a Professor of History at the College of William & Mary and the Director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. You can listen to the podcast here: benfranklinsworld.com/114

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The Devil’s Kitchen: Warren County’s Nightmare for Drivers


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devilskitchenThe colorful name Devil’s Kitchen has been used in numerous book titles, restaurant names, and for hiking destinations in at least seven states. Close to home in upstate New York, we have a Catskill version, described here as “quite possibly the most hellacious [bicycle] climb in New York State.” The same area, with cliffs, numerous waterfalls, and slippery slopes, has seen many hiker deaths as well.

But there’s another Devil’s Kitchen farther north, located about midway on Route 9 between Chestertown and Warrensburg. Despite lacking the cliffs and stunning landscapes featured at other identically named places, deaths have occurred at the Adirondack site—which today exists in name only. Continue reading

Seward/Mapes Homestead Raises $9k For Preservation


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seward-mapes-homestead-restoration-committee-president-roger-dowd-presents-florida-mayor-james-pawliczek-with-a-check-towards-preserving-the-homesteadOn Thursday, December 14th, the Seward/Mapes Homestead Restoration Committee of Florida presented the Village of Florida’s governing Board with a $5,000 check toward the restoration of the Seward/Mapes Homestead. Added to a $4,000 contribution made earlier in 2016, the organization raised a total of $9,000 toward a New York State matching fund grant for historic preservation. Continue reading

The Astor Place Riot/Shakespeare Riots of 1849


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astor place riotThis conflict occurred on May 10, 1849 at the Astor Opera House in Manhattan, New York City. When it was over an estimated lay 25 people lay dead and more than 120 injured when militiamen fired into an unruly crowd that had gathered in front of this theatre. Incredibly, the riot was triggered by the appearance at this venue of a famous British Shakespearean actor, William Charles Macready. It seems that he was as involved in a bitter rivalry with an American actor, Edwin Forrest, and each man was revered by a contingent of diehard fans. Continue reading

New Book Explores History of Suffrage Statue


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the-woman-suffrage-statue-bookSandra Weber’s new book, The Woman Suffrage Statue: A History of Adelaide Johnson’s Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony at the United States Capitol (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016), recounts the jubilation and condemnation surrounding the Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The 7-ton neoclassical work of art seemed destined to provoke controversy; it was an unconventional form with a strange unfinished appearance, composed of portraits of real women and a mysterious fourth hump, and inscribed with a provocative message. Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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Historical Journal Rediscovers Long Island Woman Architect


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tjaden-and-workmenThough Olive Tjaden’s name is not known to most Long Islanders today, a mayor of Garden City in the 1930s reportedly suggested that the community be renamed Tjaden City, because she designed so many houses in the village.

Cornell University, her alma mater, named Olive Tjaden Hall for her in 1980. The story of this prolific woman architect appears in “Designing Suburbia: Olive Tjaden on Long Island,” in the recently issued Nassau County Historical Society Journal. Continue reading