Farmers’ Museum Conference Celebrates Agriculture


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Farmers Museum Agriculture Conference“A Celebration of Our Agricultural Community”, a conference on food and farming at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, will inform and inspire farmers and the public, unifying and driving the agricultural economy in Central New York. The conference takes place Saturday, November 15 from 9:00 am-5:00 pm and is free to the public.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Richard Ball, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Addressing the topic of food systems will be Jason Evans, Assistant Professor of Agriculture, SUNY Cobleskill. Doug Thompson of G&T Farm will speak on the impact farming has on our communities and economies, as well as pasture management. Continue reading

New History of Science Journal Launched


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BJTCambridge University Press and the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) have announced their partnership to launch a new, peer-reviewed, open access, thematic journal, for the history of science. A call for proposals for the first volume of BJHS Themes has been released, seeking thematic collections of papers that animate, provoke and inspire the scholarly community.

Each volume of the journal will be free to read online from the date of its publication. By launching the journal in this way, the BSHS and Cambridge will encourage widespread engagement with the important ideas each volume will present, stimulating public and scholarly debate that will enhance our collective understanding of science in history.To fully promote onward exploration of each volume’s theme, the journal will use a Creative Commons license that permits re-use and dissemination. Continue reading

John Philip Sousa’s Montgomery County Connection


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Painting of Sousa by Capolino courtesy the Music Division, Library of CongressJohn Philip Sousa, “The March King” who composed “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, unsuccessfully courted a woman from the Mohawk Valley and remained a close friend of hers through the years.

Jessie Zoller was born in 1856 in the hamlet of Hallsville in the town of Minden. Minden historian Christine Oarr Eggleston said Jesse was the daughter of egg farmer Abram Zoller and his wife Alma Tuttle Zoller. After the Civil War, Abram Zoller held a high post in the U.S. Treasury and his wife and daughter were living with him in Washington. Continue reading

Electric City: General Electric in Schenectady Lecture


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General Electric in SchenectadyThe Schenectady County Historical Society will present a talk, “Electric City: General Electric in Schenectady”, which explores the history of General Electric in Schenectady from the company’s creation in 1892 to the present.

Julia Kirk Blackwelder draws on company records as well as other archival and secondary sources and personal interviews to produce an engaging and multi-layered history of General Electric’s workplace culture and its effects on community life. Her research demonstrates how business and community histories intersect, and her nuanced look at race, gender, and class sets a standard for corporate history. Continue reading

Jacob Leisler Institute Opening In Hudson Nov 3


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Leister HouseThe Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History has announced the opening of its office at 46 Green Street in Hudson, New York, on November 3. The Jacob Leisler Institute is a study and research center devoted to colonial New York under English rule, as well as a permanent home to the Papers of Jacob Leisler Project.

At its organizing meeting recently in Albany, Dr. David William Voorhees was elected Executive Director of the Institute and Dr. Firth Haring Fabend its President. Continue reading

Bruce Dearsyne: Strengthening Public History in NYS


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New-York-State-Map1Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion here on The New York History Blog about the status and role of local government historians, including, for instance, a summary of a special issue of the journal Public Historian three years ago on the status of history in New York State, and, most recently, Peter Feinman’s post “The State of Municipal Historians,” which resulted in many comments.

Local government historians are unique to New York State. They give us an edge over other states in the local history arena. Their potential is immense. But their status and role need to be strengthened. Continue reading

Memories of the Way We Were and Are


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Dont ForgetLong time readers of my posts may recall the importance of Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.” Her explanation of how she originated the idea for the corporate merger is a classic expression of the serendipity of the unexpected juxtaposition leading to thinking.

The eureka moment occurs not when one expects it but when things click in one’s mind. That’s why I enjoy thumbing through a newspaper rather than simply extracting predetermined information from the web – you never know what connections will be made…nor do the editors of the newspaper who are examining each article in isolation. Continue reading

Bill Bray: Churubusco’s Democratic State Chairman


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NYH01AFDRLehmanSmithBrayAs we near Election Day, I’m reminded of a man from a remote corner of the North Country, an individual who was once the right-hand man of a future president—and not just any president. Not everyone loved him, of course, but Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of the few to consistently appear near the top of “our greatest leaders” lists. The right-hand man I’m referring to was known professionally as M. William Bray (Bill to his friends), a native of the town of Clinton, which borders Canada in northwestern Clinton County. Continue reading

New-York Historical Society Annouces 2014-15 Fellows


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NYC_Historical_SocietyThe New-York Historical Society has announced eleven fellows who will be in residence during the 2014-15 academic year. Leveraging its collections of documents, artifacts, and works of art documenting American history from the perspective of New York City, New-York Historical’s fellowships provide scholars with material resources and an intellectual community to develop new research and publications that illuminate complex issues of the past. Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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This Week’s Top New York History News


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Washington Irving’s Spooky Tale of Mamakating Hollow


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IrvingIt was once without question the best known ghost story set in Sullivan County, written by one of America’s most respected writers, and yet it is largely unknown today.

It combines detailed descriptions of the rich and bountiful beauty of this area in the 19th century with cleverly conceived ghouls as hideous as any in American literature.

It is Washington Irving’s 1838 short story “Hans Swartz: A Marvelous Tale of Mamakating Hollow” and it is still appropriate reading this Halloween season, more than 170 years after it was penned. Continue reading

Western Erie Canal Communities Conference Nov 6th


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Western Erie Canal AllianceThe Western Erie Canal Alliance, in conjunction with the Landmark Society of Western New York, will present a conference, “Something Old… Something New”, in celebration of historic Main Streets as centerpieces of community economic success.

The conference will take place on Thursday, November 6, 2014 from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, at the Fairport Electric building in Fairport, NY, hosted by The Village of Fairport. Continue reading

Realist Art Exhibit: Eugene Speicher At NYS Museum


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Speicher_KingstonsThe New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring the work of New York artist Eugene Speicher. Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher explores Speicher’s diverse art career ranging from portraits to still life to landscape.

On display in West Gallery through March 22, 2015, the exhibition features more than 70 artworks by Speicher, who was born in Buffalo, NY. Continue reading

The Half Moon and The Hermione: A Tale of Two Ships


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Half_Moon_ReplicaIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So it goes for two ships and their diametrically contradictory paths through history.

The Half Moon is a full scale replica of the original Dutch ship of exploration sailed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. The original Half Moon was the first European ship to document entry into what we now call the Delaware Bay and River, and to explore the Hudson River to its navigable limits.

The HermioneThe Hermione is a full scale replica of the French ship that brought LaFayette to America in 1780 and which joined Admiral de Grasse’s fleet for the Battle off the Capes on the lower Chesapeake and the siege at Yorktown. The ship then sailed to Philadelphia in 1781 where the Continental Congress visited and paid tribute to it. Continue reading

NYS Barge Canal on National Register of Historic Places


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nys_barge_canal_system_map-100The National Park Service has announced that it has listed the New York State Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as a nationally significant work of early twentieth century engineering and construction that affected transportation and maritime commerce for nearly half a century.

The New York State Barge Canal National Register Historic District spans 450 miles and includes the four branches of the state’s canal system: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals– all much enlarged versions of waterways that were initially constructed during the 1820s. The nomination evaluated 791 features and included 552 contributing structures and buildings. Continue reading

Drums along the Mohawk 1939 Premiere Returns


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DrumsalongthemohawkIn celebration of the Glove Theatre’s 100th Anniversary the Glove Performing Arts Center will present a re-enactment of the World Premiere of the film “Drums along the Mohawk” from 1939 on November 1, 2014 at the theater in Gloversville, NY.

“Drums along the Mohawk” was a Technicolor picture, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Directed by John Ford, screen-play by Lamar Trotti and Sonya Levien and based upon the novel by Walter D. Edmonds, the film starred Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda depicting the Mohawk Valley at the time of the Revolutionary War with a gripping love story between the two leading characters.   Continue reading

‘Immoral Tendencies’:
When Amsterdam Banned Burlesque


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Rose Hill FollyTwo Amsterdam clergymen had concerns and asked Mayor John Dwyer to do something about the situation. The Rose Hill Folly Company was planning to perform on Wednesday, November 6, 1889 at the Potter Opera House on Market Street.

The formidable Reverend John McIncrow of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and Reverend Donald Sprague of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church told the mayor the company had an “immoral tendency.” The clergymen also asked Dwyer not to allow the “posting of indecent pictorial advertisements of shows” in the city. Continue reading