Long Island Preservation Awards Announced


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289 east main streetThe Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) will recognize two organizations and three projects for preservation excellence on Long Island at a ceremony to be held at 2 pm on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at SPLIA Headquarters in Cold Spring Harbor.

Also, filmmaker Jake Gorst will be presented the Huyler C. Held Award for Publication Excellence, followed by a screening of “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion”. Continue reading

Podcast: Martha Washington


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ben_franklins_worldGeorge Washington stands as one of the most famous Americans in history, but what do we know of Martha?

Who was the woman who stood beside and encouraged Washington? How did she assist him as he led the Continental Army and governed a new nation?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate the life of Martha Washington with Mary Wigge, Research Editor at the Martha Washington Papers Project. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/074

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Some Interesting History Anniversaries in 2017


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New York State MapPlans are being developed for commemoration of at least three significant historical events next year – the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State, the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, and the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I. These are all exciting opportunities to call attention to New York’s history.

But the New York historical community might consider going even further with these three events. In fact, the historical community might consider making 2017 a special year for New York history.  Here are a few possibilities: Continue reading

Remembering The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire


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The figure of death on the Asch BuildingIn his short novel, Washington Square, Henry James wrote about New York women of the Gilded Age; elegant ladies who strolled the sidewalks of the city’s shopping district, Ladies’ Mile.

These New York women admired window displays of shirtwaists, an elegant button-down blouse with rows of tiny and elaborate tucks. The shirtwaist was favored by New York women as a symbol of chic modernity. But the silhouette of fashionable ladies came at a price paid by their downtrodden sisters, immigrant women living in the city’s tenements. These newest New York women worked long hours for low wages in the city’s notorious sweatshops. Continue reading

Crailofest Celebrates New World African Culture


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Crailo Historic SiteThe public is invited to the opening day of Crailofest, a celebration of African culture in the New World, on April 2, 2016.

From 12:30 until 2 pm, Crailo will be open for self-guided exploration of a new exhibit A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World and the permanent exhibit A Sweet and Alien Land.

Two more Crailofest days will take place on May 7 and June 4 with dramatic performances, poetry readings, stringed instrument performances, jazz, dance, art and food.

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Biographical Sketches of New York’s First 21 Governors


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biographical sketches of NY's first 21 governorsNew York State’s first 21 Governors had a profound impact on the development and growth of the State and Country from 1777-1864. The stories of their extraordinary lives show how the State of New York and the United States developed from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War.

Todd Elzey’s book Biographical Sketches of New York’s First 21 Governors (Be Informed Books, 2015) presents intriguing stories of these men, including: Continue reading

Eleazer Williams: Professional Indian


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professional indianMichael Leroy Oberg’s new book Professional Indian: The American Odyseey of Eleazer Williams (2015, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press) follows Eleazer Williams on his odyssey across the early American republic and through the shifting spheres of the Iroquois in an era of dispossession.

Oberg describes Williams as a “professional Indian,” who cultivated many political interests and personas in order to survive during a time of shrinking options for native peoples.

He was not alone: as Oberg shows, many Indians became missionaries and settlers and played a vital role in westward expansion. Through the larger-than-life biography of Eleazer Williams, Professional Indian uncovers how Indians fought for place and agency in a world that was rapidly trying to erase them. Continue reading

Larry Wittner: A Short, Happy Life As A Baseball Fanatic


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Roy Campanella With Baseball FansAs a child, I was a baseball fanatic.

This fanaticism did not reflect any athletic ability on my part. Far from it! Growing up, like Bernie Sanders, in a lower middle class area of Brooklyn during the 1940s, I was often pressed into joining baseball games with the other boys in my neighborhood. But I was a terrible fielder, as well as a mediocre hitter. Stationed at my usual post in right field, I almost invariably missed the few fly balls or ground balls that headed my way. Also, when I finally caught up with them, I often managed no more than an inaccurate throw to the frantic infielders. When local kids chose up sides before the game, the organizers usually made me one of their last selections. Who can blame them? Continue reading

The Bible In Early America


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ben_franklins_worldWhat role did the Bible play in the development of British North America and early United States?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we address this question by exploring the place of the Bible in early America. Our guide for this exploration is Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of In the Beginning Was the Word The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 (Oxford University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/073

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