NYS Women’s Suffrage Commemoration Update


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Photo courtesy the National Susan B Anthony Museum & House.In 2017 it will be 100 years since New York State signed woman’s suffrage into law, three years before the US passed the 19th Amendment. This was a milestone for the state and a transformative moment in American democracy.

Thanks to public help last November, Senator Betty Little and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther circulated letters outlining a $3.9M request to support the centennial. This funding would support grants, programs, and statewide events and activities at cultural heritage sites, museums, libraries and other community organizations. Signers from both houses added their support to these letters, but thus far no funding has been included in either the Senate or House budgets. Continue reading

Gardens of Eden: Long Island’s Planned Communities


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gardens of edenRobert B. MacKay’s new book Gardens of Eden: Long Island’s Early Twentieth Century Planned Communities (2015, W.W Norton & Co.) examines Long Island at the turn of the twentieth century, and how it saw an explosion of architectural ambition.

Well-known for the country houses that bloomed through the Progressive Era as seasonal havens for the captains of New York finance and industry, Long Island also afforded people of more modest means the opportunity to strike out from the city.

Gardens of Eden tells the story of Long Island’s “residential parks,” richly gardened suburbs with such distinctive directives as the exclusive housing of teachers, public outreach by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a taboo on right-angled intersections. Continue reading

History Book Considers America in the 1990s


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america in the 90sNina Esperanza Serrianne’s new book America in the Nineties (2015, Syracuse University Press) takes a step back to the decade of the 1990s, from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

This book delves into the post–Cold War and pre–War on Terror era which was a unique moment in American history regarding both foreign and domestic policies. Continue reading

Baby McKee: Early American Child Celebrity


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The McKee children, printed in Harpers Round Table in 1895Caroline Scott Harrison, the wife of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, died in the fall of 1892, after a trip to the Adirondacks failed to cure her tuberculosis. Her death left the White House without a first lady. Harrison’s daughter, Mary Scott McKee, filled that role for the last few months of Harrison’s term (he lost his bid for re-election that November). In those days, presidential terms ended in March, so Mrs. McKee carried on as first lady for about five months.

She and her husband, James Robert McKee, and their two children Benjamin Harrison McKee and Mary Lodge McKee had been living at the White House during her father’s term. The presidential grandchildren – especially Benjamin, who got labeled as “Baby McKee” – were media sensations. (Though it was often stated that he had been born in the White House, both he and his sister were actually born in Indiana.) Continue reading

Historian Ari Kelman On The American Civil War


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ben_franklins_worldThe American Civil War took place over 150 years ago.

The war claimed over 600,000 American lives and its legacy affects the way present-day Americans view civil rights and race relations.

The Civil War stands as an important, watershed event in United States history, which is why, in this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we will discuss the event with Civil War historian Ari Kelman, the McCabe Greer Professor of History at the Pennsylvania State University. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/072

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Grant Applications Available From Preservation League


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Preservation League of New York State LogoApplications are now available to eligible municipalities and not-for-profit organizations to compete for Preserve New York and Technical Assistance Grants (TAG), the signature grant programs of the Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

A total of $265,128 is available in 2016. This includes $255,128 in funding from NYSCA and $10,000 from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor for the TAG program. The League will disburse this amount over two grant rounds, Preserve New York and TAG in the spring, and an additional TAG funding round in the fall. Continue reading

Mohawk Valley American Revolution Conference Announced


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Fort Plain MuseumThe Fort Plain Museum has announced this years Conference on the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley. Nine authors and historians will present on various topics related to the conflict.

On Thursday, there will be a bus tour of the Western Mohawk Country Historic Sites, including Fort Plain/Fort Rensselaer (Fort Plain Museum), the General Herkimer Home, the 1747 Nellis Tavern, the Van Alstyne Tavern (Homestead), Fort Klock, the Palatine Church, the Stone Arabia and Klock’s Battlefields, the Stone Arabia Churches, and the Grave of Colonel John Brown, the Hero of the Battle of Stone Arabia. After the tour, the Fort Plain Museum will hold a cocktail reception with refreshments. Continue reading

A Short History of the Finger Lakes Wine Country


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finger lakes wine countryThe new book Finger Lakes Wine Country (2015 Arcadia Publishing), by Finger Lakes local author Sarah S. Thompson, is a photographic journey covering 150 years of viticulture and winemaking in New York’s Finger Lakes region, and its pivotal role in American wine history.

The book is a regional history of the wine industry, told through more than 200 vintage images from collections of area wineries, museums, historical societies, archives and passionate residents. Continue reading