How the Schoharie Creek Shaped History (Tuesday)


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schoharie creekSchoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host Schoharie County Historian Ted Shuart during the last of this year’s Tuesday Talk series. Shuart will present on the historic role that the Schoharie Creek has played in NYS History with a presentation called: “How a river shaped History; the unique role of the Schoharie Creek in the settlement of upstate New York” on November 29th. Continue reading

‘City On Fire’ Novelist Garth Risk Hallberg Reading Tuesday


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city-on-fireGarth Risk Hallberg will discuss and read from his international bestseller City on Fire (2015) at 8 pm on Tuesday, November 29 in University of Albany’s Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue in Albany.

His debut novel was named one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue.

City on Fire is set in New York City and spans a seven month period between New Year’s Eve 1976 through the city’s blackouts in July of 1977. The story revolves around a varied web of characters — two estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; two suburban teenagers involved in Manhattan’s punk scene; a magazine reporter; and a detective — whose lives interconnect around a shooting in Central Park. Continue reading

Dr. Bradford VanDiver: Adirondack Renaissance Man


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bvdiver1976Bradford B. VanDiver, president of the ADK Laurentian Chapter four decades ago, had a deep impact on my life, which is not surprising because he was a lifetime teacher. But the truth is, I never met him — at least not in person. His passion for many pursuits was first revealed to me through the pages of one of several books he authored. What I discovered was a native New Yorker and eventual North Country transplant who was truly a Renaissance Man.

At a young age, innate curiosity across many fields of science drove my quest to know more about animals, plants, rocks, and “bugs” that were routinely encountered on all sorts of outdoor expeditions. When VanDiver’s book, Rocks and Routes of the North Country, New York (1976) was released in 1976, I immediately obtained an autographed copy, which still resides on my desk to this very day. He presented a wealth of knowledge supported by scientific terms, but written for the layman as a practical guide to discovery. The book accompanied me on hundreds of hours of exploration across the Adirondacks, and in part led me to write my own first book.

But VanDiver was much more than a professional rock hound — professional as in a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Washington. He also taught at universities in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and for a year in Munich, Germany, during a sabbatical from Potsdam State, where he spent 24 years as professor of geology. Continue reading

New Book: Northern Men with Southern Loyalties


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northern-men-with-southern-loyaltiesIn the decade before the Civil War, Northern Democrats, although they represented antislavery and free-state constituencies, made possible the passage of such pro-slavery legislation as the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Law of the same year, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the Lecompton Constitution of 1858.

In Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis (Cornell University Press, 2016) author Michael Todd Landis contends that a full understanding of the Civil War and its causes is impossible without a careful examination of Northern Democrats and their proslavery sentiments and activities. Continue reading

New Book: An Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters


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an-oneida-indian-in-foreign-watersAn Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters: The Life of Chief Chapman Scanandoah 1870–1953 (Syracuse University Press, 2016) by Laurence M. Hauptman is a biography of Chief Chapman Scanandoah, a decorated Navy veteran who served in the Spanish-American War, a skilled mechanic, and a prizewinning agronomist who helped develop the Iroquois Village at the New York State Fair.

He was also a historian, linguist, philosopher, and early leader of the Oneida land claims movement. However, his fame among the Oneida people and among many of his contemporaries today rests with his career as an inventor. Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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Mary Boylan: Plattsburgh’s Little-Known Theater Treasure


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y1-maryboylanOn the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City, Greenwich Village has long been home to progressive thinkers and artists of all types, as well as ground zero for several movements. In the 1950s and 60s, it was a mainstay of the nation’s bohemian culture, hosting beatniks, folk music originals, the strong counter-culture movement, and the Beat Generation, with such icons as Maya Angelou, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Rod McKuen.

The coffeehouse scene flourished at that time, when a remarkable alternative to commercial theater was developed: Off-Off-Broadway, where productions ran the gamut from scripted to impromptu, and venues ranged from old warehouses to small cafes. At the heart of this historic movement was a little-known North Country actress and writer who was widely respected in the New York City arts community.

Mary Elizabeth Boylan was born in Plattsburgh, New York, in February 1913. Her father, John, was a mainstay of the community, serving as district deputy of the Knights of Columbus for four years, president of the chamber of commerce for two years, and general manager of the Mountain Home Telephone Company. In 1924, when Mary was 11, the family moved to Rochester, New York, where her dad became president of the Rochester Telephone Company three years later. Continue reading

CFP: Making New Connections in Early America, 1750–1850


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usa-1850-mapProposals are invited for a two-day conference on entangled history in Early America from 1750 to 1850, which will be held at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies in Philadelphia, PA during April 2018.

The organizers are looking for scholars who challenge traditional narratives of imperial or national history by applying a wider lens to Anglo-America. The goal is to foster a wide-ranging debate on relations across borders – geographic, political, legal, social, and ethnic – in the Americas. Continue reading