Category Archives: History

New York History

The Double Life of Father Schmidt


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father hans schmidtOn September 5, 1913, Mary Bann, of Woodcliff, New Jersey, and a male companion, were walking near an abandoned dock near the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, when she spotted a bundle resting near the riverbank. It was wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine, and fairly large in size. Though her companion wished to dissuade her from getting near it, Mary had a stubborn mind, thus she hiked down to the side of the river and grabbed the package. She untied the string, unfurled the brown paper and the newspaper under it, and was soon shocked by the sight: it was the upper torso of a young woman. Her companion quickly hurried to find a policeman. Continue reading

Praatjes: 17th-Century New Amsterdam Merchants


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new netherlands praatjesIn the latest episode of the “New Netherland Praatjes” podcast, the New Netherland Institute’s Senior Historian and Education Director Dennis Maika chats with Russell Shorto about Maika’s work on 17th-century New Amsterdam/Manhattan merchants and his work promoting the importance of the seventeenth-century Dutch colony to the New York State Education Department. Topics include the economic structure of the colony, including the role of the Dutch West India Company, and the role of state regulation in the economy. Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

A New Biography of Dr. E. L. Trudeau


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a rare romance in medicine book coverHistoric Saranac Lake has announced the release of a major biography of Dr. E. L. Trudeau by Mary B. Hotaling. The book, entitled A Rare Romance in Medicine: The Life and Legacy of Edward Livingston Trudeau, is now available to purchase from Historic Saranac Lake, and will soon be for sale in local bookstores.

The new biography expands upon Dr. Trudeau’s autobiography, published posthumously in 1915. The doctor’s great-great-grandson, Doonesbury Cartoonist Garry Trudeau, wrote the Foreword. Dr. Andrea Cooper, former Francis B. Trudeau Chair in Tuberculosis and Related Research at the Trudeau Institute, and Dr. Ian Orme, professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University, contributed the closing chapter. The final chapter sets Dr. Trudeau’s work in the context of the continuing study of the cellular immune response to TB. Continue reading

Exhibit: Frederic Church’s Summer House at Olana


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olanas summer houseDavid McAlpin, a principal at Fradkin & McAlpin Architects, is among a group of 21 noted architects and landscape architects, including Steven Holl, Laurie D. Olin, Peter Pennoyer and Diana Balmori, who have been invited to solve a mystery that is more than 130 years old.

Each was asked to submit a design for “the Summer House” at Olana, the Hudson, New York, estate of the great American landscape artist Frederic Church. Continue reading

Irish Fenians In The North Country


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fenian meetingToday we would label them a “paramilitary organization.” In the years immediately following the American Civil War, life in the Adirondacks was briefly interrupted by the Fenians, also known as the Fenian Brotherhood.

The Fenian Brotherhood was an Irish Republican organization founded in New York in 1858 by John O’Mahoney. Their name is derived from legends about ancient Irish warriors called the Fianna.

Their goal was an Irish Republic free of British rule. Continue reading

Harvard University & Colonial North America


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ben_franklins_worldWhat can the collections of the Harvard University Libraries teach us about our early American past?

It turns out, quite a lot.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Taylor Stoermer, a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, takes us through the Harvard Libraries’ new digital and free-to-use history archive: the Colonial North American Project. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/093

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18th Century Fashion Show at Knox’s Headquarters


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Tiffanie Downs, from Pine Bush, portraying an upper class lady in her silk gown (provided).On Saturday, August 13th from 5 to 7 pm, Knox’s Headquarters presents a fashion show of 18th century civilian and military clothing.

Visitors will see elegant ladies gowns of silk, gentlemen officer wear and the patched and worn garments of the lesser sort. Learn who would have worn the clothing, why it is constructed in that manner, and what function it served. Accompanying the clothing display will be a power point demonstration and narrator describing the portraits and research behind the gowns. Staff members of the New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Sites have painstakingly researched and constructed by hand reproductions of period clothing. Continue reading