170 Acres Preserved At Saratoga Battlefield


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Saratoga National Historical Park finalized the acquisition of 170 acres of historically significant land in April, after 10 years of collaboration with the Open Space Institute (OSI). After a minor administrative boundary adjustment to the park in 2016, Saratoga successfully secured funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to provide for the transfer of the property from OSI. Continue reading

Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics


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fear city book coverIn her new book Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics (Metropolitan Books, 2017), historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the story of the 1975 financial crisis that engulfed New York City. When the news broke that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue. Continue reading

New Book on Environmental Movement Illustrates Uses of History


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Climate of HopeA new book by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former executive director of the Sierra Club Carl Pope illustrates some interesting uses of history.

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Business and Citizens Can Save the Planet (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017) discusses how cities, businesses, and individuals can take action to confront global warming and improve the environment. There are lots of interesting examples and proposals. But these three themes may be of particular interest to readers of The New York History Blog. Continue reading

American Ambulance Field Service in WWI


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ww1 ambulanceOn Saturday, May 13 at 2 pm, the Wilderstein Historic Site will host a lecture about the American ambulance field service in World War One, by Thomas Fife.

“Alsace Revisited: American Ambulance Field Service Section Three 1915 to 1916” will discuss the beginnings of the American Ambulance Field Service in France and chronicle American Ambulance driver Henry Suckley’s eldest son Henry’s participation with Section Three during its first two years in Alsace and at the Battle of Verdun. Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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A Close Look at the Seneca Falls Historical Society


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Readers may be aware of the recent wave of disparagement around this notion that there are “too many house museums.” The “too many” campaign was launched about fifteen years ago by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in part to provide protective cover as they shifted more of the responsibility for their chain of house museums onto the communities where they are located; as they sold off others and also to make a point about adaptive reuse – that every old house worth saving does not need to become a museum – obviously.

It had corrosive effects and has influenced some organizations to disengage from past commitments. It has spawned a sub-culture of consultants offering themselves as a solution to sky-is- falling scenarios that they repeat at professional conferences and in various writings and lectures. To listen to most of what’s out there on the subject you’d think that Americans were turning their backs on local history at unprecedented levels and that the future of the past was grim and foreboding. Continue reading

John Brown Day Saturday in Lake PLacid


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john brown livesAaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club; immigrant-rights organization Migrant Justice; and Don and Vivian Papson, founders of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association, will receive Spirit of John Brown Freedom Awards at the John Brown Day celebration on Saturday, May 6, at 2 pm.

The annual event, which is organized by North Country-based human rights and freedom education project John Brown Lives!, will be held at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. The public is welcome. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Brings Education Onto Lake Champlain


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Students aboard CarillonFort Ticonderoga recently received a grant from the South Lake Champlain Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation to support regional youth maritime educational programs. Aboard the 60-foot touring Carillon, each 90-minute narrated boat tour focuses on the historical importance of the Lake Champlain waterway through centuries of history, and highlights elements of geography, natural history, and lake stewardship. This experience enables students to better grasp the strategic importance of the Champlain-Hudson corridor in the 18th century and its role in the founding of America. Continue reading

NYG&B Record Editor Retires, Successor Sought


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the record journalThe New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) is seeking an editor to produce The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. The current editor, Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS has announced her plans to retire by the end of 2017.

Continuously published since 1870, The Record is the second oldest genealogical journal in the country and one of the most distinguished. Published quarterly, it concentrates on people and places connected to New York City, State, and region and features compiled genealogies, solutions to problems, and unique source material. Continue reading