Erie Canal-Related Grants Available


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ErieCanalwayGrants_RexfordSunset_DebbieKrohlThe Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is accepting applications through Friday, October 17, 2014 for 2014-2015 Erie Canalway Grants. Grants ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 will be awarded for projects that serve to advance the goals of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan.

“We are looking for strong partners who can mobilize the Corridor’s extraordinary heritage assets to create long-term value for our communities and locally-based economies,” said Erie Canalway Executive Director Bob Radliff. Continue reading

NYC Exhibit: Mac Conner, One of New York’s Original ‘Mad Men’


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Detail from How Do You Love Me in Womans Home Companion, 1950The Museum of the City of New York announces Mac Conner: A New York Life – the first exhibition of more than 70 original artworks by illustrator McCauley (“Mac”) Conner, one of New York’s original “Mad Men.” In the 1940s – 60s, Conner’s captivating advertising and editorial illustrations graced the pages of major magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and The Saturday Evening Post, helping shape the popular image of postwar America.

The latest in an ongoing series of exhibitions that examines the lives and influence of New Yorkers, Mac Conner: A New York Life explores one man’s prolific career in New York as the world’s media capital and the country’s publishing center in the pivotal years after World War II. The exhibition will remain on view through Sunday, January 19, 2015Continue reading

The Catskills Conference That Changed The World


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shawanga (1)In the middle of September of 1959, more than160 of the world’s most prominent scientists– eight of whom would go on to earn a Nobel prize– gathered at a remote mountain lodge for three days of discussions that have become known as “the conference that changed the world.”

The remote mountain lodge that played host to this groundbreaking get together was not in the Swiss Alps or the Himalayas of Tibet, but in Sullivan County, New York. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Names New Board Members


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Aug 2014 morningFort Ticonderoga named four members to its Board of Trustees: Dr. Eliot Cohen, Washington, DC; Dr. John Macionis, Mount Vernon, Ohio; Craig Treiber, Long Island, New York; and Susan Darrin, Hague, New York.

The Fort Ticonderoga Association preserves North America’s largest 18th-century artillery collection, 2,000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, the Carillon Battlefield, and the largest series of untouched 18th-century earthworks surviving in America. Continue reading

Talk Marks Battle of Plattsburgh Bicentennial


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taylor_alan_1812Author and historian Alan Taylor will present a lecture entitled “The Civil War of 1812: A Continent Divided” on Friday, September 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, 1610 NYS Route 22 (at Whallons Bay Road) as part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Plattsburgh.

A leading historian of early United States history, Alan Taylor won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.  He was also a Pulitzer Prize recipient in 1996 for William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic.  Taylor currently teaches at the University of Virginia. Continue reading

Two Historians Among 2014 MacArthur Fellows


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2014 macarthur fellowsRecognizing 21 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the The MacArthur Foundation today named its 2014 MacArthur Fellows, including two historians: Tara Zahra, 38, or the University of Chicago, and Pamela O. Long, 71, of Washington, DC.

Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 with no stipulations or reporting requirements, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions. Continue reading

Ignoring New York’s 350th Birthday


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Articles about the Transfer of New Netherland on the 27th of August, Old Style, Anno 1664One of the news items in a recent summary of “This Week’s Top New York History News” here at The New York History Blog had a link to an article from the Albany Times Union (reprinted from the New York Times), entitled “New York Won’t Celebrate 350th Birthday.” The article noted that neither the city nor the state was commemorating the takeover of New Netherland by the British in August, 1664.

The writer suggested that “a dispassion for the past” among the public was a basic explanation. Continue reading

American Revolution Authors At Fort Plain Museum


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Fort Plain MuseumThe Fort Plain Museum will be hosting authors Don Hagist and Todd Andrlik to talk about their recent books about the American Revolution this Thursday, September 18th at 7 pm. Hagist will be speaking about his book British Soldiers: American War which details the lives of British soldiers during the American Revolution. Also scheduled is author Todd Andrlik who will speak on his book Reporting the Revolution. The book is a collection of newspaper articles written and published in the colonial newspapers both here in America and in Great Britain. The articles offer insights on the war in America and how these events were viewed by the common people.

Additionally Hagist will offer a glimpse of a new book he is writing based on an 1864 publication Last Men of the Revolution. Recently the Fort Plain Museum, working in cooperation with the Hagist, uncovered research on a 2nd New Hampshire soldier stationed at Fort Plain. The soldier, Samuel Downing was photographed at the age of 102 with what was then a relatively new technology. Hagist is revisiting the topic and exploring the lives of these early veterans who lived well into the middle of the 19th century. Continue reading

Africa Center Event, Chelsea Clinton Elected Co-Chair


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9-9-meet-the-africa-centerThe Africa Center, Africa’s Embassy to the World, will open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, September 20th, with an all-day “Meet The Africa Center” festival from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. A private concert performance will follow from 8:00 pm until midnight.

Once known as The Museum for African Art, The Africa Center, is located less than 20 minutes from the United Nations, at One Museum Mile, and plans to permanently open in late 2016. The Africa Center has also announced that Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, has been elected as the new co-chair of the Board of Trustees for The Africa Center. Continue reading

Path through History: Some Modest Proposals


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Path Through historyWhat do you give as a present to someone who already has everything? By every official measure from the Albany-Manhattan bubble, the Path through History is a rip-roaring success. This makes the choice of a 2nd Birthday gift difficult. Nonetheless, I would like to try to offer some suggestions.

which also take into account Bruce Dearstyne’s concerns, raised both by post in New York History and at State Legislator Engelbright’s New York History Roundtable, May 29, about the failure to observe the designated New York History month in November. Continue reading

Women’s Rights NHP Celebrates Hispanic Heritage


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10603247_852663494758937_7013260567214500798_nWomen’s Rights National Historical Park will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15, 2014) with an artwork exhibition and gallery talk by the renowned artist Andrea Arroyo.

The exhibit will be on view from September 17th through October 15th, 2014, in the Women’s Rights NHP Visitor Center. On Saturday, September 27th, there will be a free artist talk and reception from 1-4 pm. Continue reading

Fred Kerslake’s Famous Pig Circus, Part 2


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PB1 FK PosterThe three mains stars hogging the limelight from Fred Kerslake were pigs Jerry, Peggy, and Pete, whose antics were irresistible. Recognizing the possibilities, booking agents sought them for summer tours and winter vaudeville circuits. Rave reviews followed in Buffalo, Chicago, Philadelphia, and a host of other stops in between. Audiences couldn’t get enough of watching pigs play leapfrog, read, and count―it was both bewildering and hilarious at the same time.

Professionals were taking notice as well. Among them was Germany’s Carl Hagenbeck, who pioneered the displaying of animals in their natural habitats rather than in caged enclosures. Hagenbeck emphasized properly selecting animals with the right temperament for training or display choosing only a few prospects from a large group, and then using what was described as “constant patience, firmness, and kindness” to train them. Still, there’s no denying that whips were used to tap or give a quick sting to animals during training. Continue reading

Irish Heritage Festival In Newburgh On Sunday


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Irish US flagThe Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands will continue its popular Heritage Series this year with an afternoon to enjoy the story of local Irish-Americans on Sunday, September 21st.

The Irish Feis (a Gaelic word for festival) will be held at the Newburgh Heritage Center, 123 Grand Street. Doors will open at 3:00 P.M. to the sounds of the Newburgh Firefighters Pipe Band leading visitors from their headquarters just down the street. Continue reading

Adirondack History: John Thurman And Elm Hill


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Thurman Marker sign 2The Townships of Johnsburg and Thurman were named for John Thurman when Warren County was split off from Washington County in 1816. Beyond the boundaries of these two townships, however, few have heard of him or his accomplishments.

The story of John Thurman is an important chapter in the history of the Adirondacks. For too many, Adirondack history is limited to the great camps, guide boats, and environmental protection. Yet there is so much more.

For hundreds of years the Adirondacks were a dark and dangerous place; anyone traveling through the area had best be well-armed. However, after the American Revolution the Adirondacks became, for the first time, a land of great opportunity, ready for exploration and commercial enterprises. Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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The Historians: Albany Ales and The 1957 Chevy


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians”, Craig Gravina discusses Albany ale, the Albany political machine’s favorite beer (Hedrick’s) and other sudsy topics. Gravina, from Albany, and Alan McLeod of Canada, are co-authors of Upper Hudson Valley Beer, published by History Press.

In the second half hour of the show, I talk with Earl Swift, author of Auto Biography: A Classic Car, An Outlaw Motorhead and 57 Years of the American Dream, the story of a 1957 Chevy.

Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/

Continue reading

This Week’s Top New York History News


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Battle of Plattsburgh: A Pivotal Naval Battle


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Saratoga (left) and Eagle (right) engaging Confiance at Battle of PlattsburghThey were headed this way. British troops had done that before, without success, but these were not just any British troops. They were 11,000 troops fresh from their victory over Napoleon.

By that third summer of the War of 1812, British shore raiding parties were taking a great toll in the Chesapeake Bay. Supported by a fleet of more than 30 warships, they would put troops ashore near a town, and either burn it, or demand ransom from the inhabitants. Continue reading

Remembering 9/11: Visiting the Memorial Plaza


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9-11 Memorial MuseumOver the past few weeks, I have had two occasions to visit the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. The first was at the invitation of City Wonders Tours, a tour company seeking to promote its tour.

The second was following the memorial service to Alexander Hamilton by the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society at nearby Trinity Church, the final stop of the City Wonders tour. The following comments are based on these visits. Continue reading

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum Names New Director


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Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and GardenThe Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden at 421 East 61st Street in Manhattan has announced the promotion of Acting Director Terri Daly to Museum Director.

A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Daly holds an M.B.A. from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University. She joined the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden in 2003 and has held positions as Interpreter, Educator, and most recently Marketing Manager. Continue reading