This Week’s Top New York History News


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Latest New York History News

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The Fracking Report In Historical Perspective


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George Bellows - Up the Hudson (1908)Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision in December to ban the use of hydrofracking in New York State was politically astute. The governor asserted he is merely following the recommendations in a new report from the State Health Department, A Public Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development.

That report, based on four years of research, is also politically judicious. It avoids condemning hydrofracking or sensationalizing its potential health risks. Instead, it concludes that “the overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information” studied for the report demonstrates that there are “significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF [High Volume Hydraulic Fracking], the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impact which could adversely affect public health.” The 184-page report is buttressed by 74 references, mostly well-documented studies and reports from the past few years. Continue reading

19th Century NYC Travelers Talk, Exhibit


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Hooker's Map (showing places of interest)The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden will host a lunchtime lecture about James Stuart and other travelers to New York City, this Friday, January 9th at 12:30 pm.

James Stuart was a guest at the Mount Vernon Hotel during his stay in New York City in 1833. His travel diary attracted considerable attention for the generally positive reviews he offered on American society compared with his British contemporaries. Continue reading

Our Most Popular Stories In 2014


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Here are the most popular stories published on The New York History Blog in 2014

N-Y Historical Society To Open 1914 Time Capsule by Editorial Staff
Replica Half Moon May Move To The Netherlands by John Warren
NYS Library Clearing Thousands of Items From Stacks by John Warren
Remembering Ancestors: Evolution of American Cemeteries by Peter Feinman
A Good Story: The Lifeblood of a Public Historian by Taylor Stoermer
The NYS History Commission Roundtable by Peter Feinman
Cultural Heritage Fail: The American Revolution in NYS by Peter Feinman
Debunking The ‘French Fort’ On Albany’s Castle Island Stephen T. McErleane
Researcher Pinpoints 1614 Albany Fort Location by Editorial Staff
American Revolution: Trouble at Poughkeepsie and Peekskill by Brian Barrett

Support The New York History Blog in 2015 – we need your help to keep publishing in 2015. Please consider making a contribution at our Rally.org page, or e-mail editor John Warren at jnwarrenjr@gmail.com about advertising.

1939: Nazi Saboteurs In Sullivan County


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NarrowsburgNazis[1]There have long been stories – most of them unsubstantiated – about the activities of the German American Bund in Sullivan County in the years leading up to World War II.

While the activities of that particular pro-Nazi organization in the region may be debatable, there is no question that a small group of men charged with plotting to overthrow the U.S. government and replacing it with a Nazi style dictatorship spent much of the summer of 1939 in Sullivan County. Continue reading

British Redcoats of the American Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldWhen we discuss the military history of the American War for Independence, we tend to focus on specific battles or details about the men who served in George Washington’s Continental Army. Rarely do we take the opportunity to ask questions about the approximately 50,000 men who served in the British Army.

In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast we speak with Don N. Hagist an independent scholar and author of British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution (Westholme Publishing, 2014). Don leads us on exploration of the “other” men who fought in the American War for Independence, the soldiers in the British Army. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/010 Continue reading

Update On MANY’s 2015 Legislative Priorities


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MANY LogoThe Museum Association of New York (MANY) has announced that the Museum Education Act is ready for introduction in the New York State Legislature and has outlined its priorities for 2015, including support for the Commission on New York State History Bill.

“We have held a series of meetings with the staff of the Office of Cultural Education and finalized the language of the [museum education] bill as well as planned a strategy with them for the 2015 Legislative Session,” an announcement to supporters said. Continue reading

Villa Balsamo: A Saratoga County Landmark


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Villa BalsamoA man who started in the knitting business in Amsterdam built the lavish structure now known as Villa Balsamo restaurant off Route 50 between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs.

According to historian David Fiske, Floyd J. Shutts was stymied by Amsterdam officials in 1918 when he tried to add on to his factory on Wall Street. Turned down in Amsterdam, Shutts bought property on Saratoga Avenue in Ballston Spa and opened the Ballston Knitting Company in 1920. Continue reading

FY 2015 Federal Funding For Arts, Culture Update


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United_States_CapitolCongress recently passed legislation that will fund most of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2015, which runs through the end of September. The $1.1 trillion overall, the legislation is almost identical to last year’s.

“While we should be heartened that Congress continues to support museums’ funding priorities, it is clear that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “In an era of tight budgets, policymakers need to know that museums are essential in their communities, and I hope everyone will join us at Museums Advocacy Day 2015 to make that case with legislators and their staff.” Continue reading

Knox Headquarters: Hauntings in the 18th Century


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220px-Hammersmith_GhostTwo or three hundred years ago people were terrified of what lurked in the night. Ghosts stalked the gloomy forests and hovered about dark corners, preying on the unwary. Learn what role ghosts, specters and apparitions played in the lives of these people.

Stories such as the Tedworth Drummer show that the supernatural was an ever present part of English and American life. Ghost appeared baring their death wounds, as walking corpses or disembodied heads. Continue reading

Areial Photos: New York Rural History From Above


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aerial photograph centered in Syracuse Onondaga County New York 1938Aerial photos can be helpful research tools for historians. Google Earth, which provides access to a vast collection of aerial photography stretching back 20 years, is just a sampling of the many aerial photos that have been made since French balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as “Nadar”, took a photo over Paris, France in 1858.

Much of New York Sate was photographed with the camera pointing straight down, an oblique presentation that is less useful to some historians. An effort to capture all of New York in an orthophotographic perspective (corrected to a uniform scale) started in 1936 with a contract to C.S. Robinson of Ithaca, NY. These images are particularly valuable resources for historians of all stripes. Continue reading

Charles Shaw: Ace Adirondack Attorney


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NYH1 CPShawAmong those to rise from humble Adirondack roots and pursue life in the big city was Charles P. Shaw, a native of Jay, New York, where he was born in 1836. “Humble,” meaning relative poverty, aptly described most North Country citizens in those early days. Shaw may have had an advantage since there were two doctors in the family: his father, Daniel, and his grandfather, Joshua Bartlett. As schooled professionals, they were more likely to emphasize among their family the importance of education.

For whatever reason, Charles was an excellent and precocious student. There survives in old newspapers an anecdote suggesting he was indeed an unusually bright pupil. Continue reading

Economic Development Councils And Path Through History


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REDC RegionsThe Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) awards for 2014 were recently announced. These councils were created by Governor Andrew Cuomo as a conduit for the disbursement of state funds among 10 designated regions. Each region holds meetings to discuss the economic development proposals which have been submitted for their region. The approved proposals are then submitted for statewide consideration and the results were announced in December. Now that the 2014 awards have been announced, it’s time to consider what it all means for the history community. Continue reading

Historical Dictionary of Slavery and Abolition


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Dictionary of Slavery and AbolitionSlavery’s origins lie far back in the mists of prehistoric times and have spanned the globe, two facts that most history texts fail to address.

A comprehensive 2nd Edition of Martin A. Klein’s Historical Dictionary of Slavery and Abolition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) provides a historical overview of slavery through the ages, from prehistoric times to the modern day, while detailing the different forms, the various sources, and the circumstances existing in different countries and regions. Continue reading

The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail Adams


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Culinary Lives of John and Abigail AdamsThroughout their 54-year marriage, John and Abigail Adams enjoyed hearty, diverse cuisine in their native Massachusetts, as well as in New York, Philadelphia, and Europe. Raised with traditional New England palates, they feasted on cod, roast turkey, mince pie, and plum pudding.

These recipes, as well as dishes from published cookbooks settlers brought from the Old World, such as roast duck, Strawberry Fool, and Whipt Syllabub, are included in this new historical cookbook by Rosana Y. Wan, The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail Adams: A Cookbook (Schiffer, 2014). Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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Philip Terrie On Adirondack History


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The Historians LogoThis week “The Historians” podcast features an interview with Philip G. Terrie, author of the book Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2008). Terrie has been researching and writing Adirondack history since 1971. He is an emeritus professor at Bowling Green State University and has been a visiting professor at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam. He was a consultant to the PBS documentary on the Adirondacks. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
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This Week’s Top New York History News


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Latest New York History News

Subscribe! More than 8,200 people follow The New York History Blog via E-mail, RSS, or Twitter or Facebook updates.

Make a Contribution! The New York History Blog is supported by you. If you think this site provides a valuable service, please make a small donation. Questions about contributions should be directed to editor John Warren.

A Short History of ‘Evacuation Day Day’ in NYC


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BOWLING GREEN Evacuation Day 2014At noon on November 25th about 25 people gathered at the flag poles at the north end of Manhattan’s Bowling Green to raise a specially designed flag with 13 stars and stripes.

It was a replica of the flag which was raised at the same spot on November 25, 1783 (Evacuation Day) when George Washington’s Continental army had marched into New York City officially ending the American Revolutionary War. Continue reading