On September 7, 1864, William Whitlock, aged thirty-five, left his wife and four children in Allegany, New York, to join the Union army in battle. More than 100 years later, his unpublished letters to his wife were found in the attic of a family home.
These letters serve as the foundation for Allegany to Appomattox: The Life and Letters of Private William Whitlock of the 188th New York Volunteers, by Valgene Dunham (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2013), which gives readers a vivid glimpse into the environment and political atmosphere that surrounded the Civil War from the perspective of a northern farmer and lumberman. Continue reading
No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2013) explores the complicated history of the suffrage movement in New York State by delving into the stories of women who opposed the expansion of voting rights to women.
Author Susan Goodier makes the case that, contrary to popular thought, women who opposed suffrage were not against women’s rights. Instead, conservative women who fought against suffrage encouraged women to retain their distinctive feminine identities as protectors of their homes and families, a role they felt was threatened by the imposition of masculine political responsibilities. Continue reading
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the leading innovators of all time comes alive like never before in Edison and the Rise of Innovation (Sterling, 2013) by Leonard DeGraaf. Perhaps America’s first business celebrity, Edison was more than history’s most prolific inventor.
Edison pursued more than a thousand patents by combining scientific knowledge, well-equipped laboratories, talented collaborators, investment capital and a bit of showmanship, according to DeGraaf, who argues that in the process Edison changed the way we innovate new technologies. Continue reading
Former Palisades Interstate Park Commission Executive Director and New York State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Palisades Parks Conservancy Board of Directors.
During her career in the fields of natural and cultural resources preservation, Carol Ash has served as the first director of the Office of Environmental Policy and Management for the Port Authority of NY and NJ, the NYC Regional Director of the NYS DEC, the PIPC Executive Director, and the NY State Parks Commissioner. Continue reading
In recognition of Archives Month and in celebration of Albany County’s 330th Anniversary there will be an Open House at the Albany County Hall of Records to see an exhibit of Albany’s earliest records on Thursday, October 31, 2013, from 10AM to 12 noon.
The highlight of the exhibits on display will be the Dongan Charter, the original charter that made Albany a city in 1686. Although the charter is faded, the signature of Governor Thomas Dongan is still visible at the bottom of the last page, as is Dongan’s seal which is attached to the page with red wax and a tan and blue cord.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday – October 31 through November 2 - Historic Cherry Hill will present a dramatic tour reliving the infamous 1827 murder that occurred at the Cherry Hill mansion, one-time home of the Van Rensselaer family.
The public is invited to step into the experiences of the Cherry Hill household on the evening of May 7, 1827, when a hired hand murdered a household member. The dramatic tour will investigate the scene of the crime and the differing perspectives of those who were there on that fateful evening. Continue reading
Historian and art enthusiast Jim Mackin will present “Artists of Taconic State Park” at a lecture and slide show on Saturday, October 26th at 1pm at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society, Corner of Route 344 and Miles Road in Copake Falls. Admission is free.
Mackin will share with the audience his quest to find artists who have painted in Taconic State Park since the early 1800s. His presentation will include related local and park history as well as stories about some of the renowned artists whose works found their way into prominent museums. The presentation will feature many images that illustrate how inspiring Taconic State Park has been to artists for nearly two centuries. John Frederick Kensett, Asher B. Durand and David Milne are among the artists expected to be featured. Continue reading
The Albany Ale Project is bringing back some of the beers of Albany’s past! In partnership with C.H. Evans Brewing Company, an adaptation of a 1901 recipe for “Amsdell’s Albany XX Ale” is about to be available for the first time in over 100 years.
A ceremonial “cask tap” event is planned for Saturday, November 2, 2013, from 5 to 7pm, at the Albany Institute of History & Art, to celebrate its return. Speakers include: the founding members of the Albany Ale Project, C.H. Evans’ brewer Ryan Demler, and the Institute’s Curator of History and Material Culture, Dr. W. Douglas McCombs. Food will be available and, of course, C.H. Evan’s version of one of Albany’s historic brews. Continue reading
On September 30, the recently reopened historic Capitol Theatre in the village of Port Chester in the Town of Rye, in the county of Westchester, founded in the days of vaudeville, beloved by the Grateful Dead, rechristened by Bob Dylan, and just host to Willie Nelson, hosted Flashbacks.
A musical to the history of the town written by local sisters and educators Camille Linen and Donna Cribari, Flashbacks tells the story of high school students who complete a historical multimedia project and are drawn to the local river that mysteriously produces figures from the town’s past as primary source documents. Continue reading
George Chahoon, a man who lived in the North Country for 60 years, mostly in Ausable Forks, was the focus of two of the most remarkable incidents in the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War.
When the South seceded, it had named Richmond, Virginia, as its capital city. During the post-war years, appointees chosen by the military were placed in power to guide the recovery. Then in 1868 George Chahoon, a native of Chenango County, but a Virginia resident for most of his 28 years, was installed as mayor of Richmond, replacing a popular leader who had served in the position for 15 years. Continue reading
The hill that separates the outlet of Lake George from the creek that opens into Lake Champlain is among the oldest portages in continuous use in North America.
The Native Americans gave it a name: Ticonderoga, “the place between waters.”
Up and down its slope have passed explorers and naturalists such as Isaac Jogues and Peter Kalm, travelers such as Thomas Jefferson and, of course, the armies of the French, the British and the Americans as supremacy over North America and its strategic waterways shifted from one nation to another. Continue reading
Although the role of the Dutch in Early American history has been largely ignored, the facts are that New Netherland antedates New England, and religious toleration and ethnic diversity in the United States began with the Dutch.
Why isn’t this better known and taught in our schools? Because, until now an easy to read, short introduction to the history of New Netherland has been lacking. Firth Haring Fabend of Montclair, NJ, a recognized historian of the field, was commissioned by the New Netherland Institute to write New Netherland in a Nutshell (New Netherland Institute, 2012) to fill the gap. Continue reading
The significant events in New York State history are well known to educators, students and New Yorkers alike. But often, the role that women played in these events has been overlooked.
In Remarkable Women in New York State History (History Press, 2013), Edited by Helen Engel and Marilynn Smiley, members of the American Association of University Women in New York State have meticulously researched the lives and actions of more than 300 of New York’s finest women. Continue reading
After almost six years of building this New York History Blog, I’ve reached a crossroads. It’s become clear that whatever history community there is, it has little interest in supporting this effort financially. So this is the last chance – a final appeal, before I close-up shop.
I’ve worked nearly every day to build an audience to promote the news and events of the state’s historical resources, the largest audience of its kind, far larger than all the state’s history-related journals and magazines combined. Continue reading
Before 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment requiring the direct election of U.S. Senators went into effect, the state legislature elected them. In the pre-Seventeenth Amendment era, 150 years ago, one of the most tangled and acrimonious U.S. Senate elections took place.
The term of the incumbent Republican U.S. Senator, Preston King of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, was set to expire on March 3, 1863. King sought reelection but powerful forces within the Republican Party led by the aging party boss Thurlow Weed and former U.S. Senator William H. Seward opposed King, as did the Democratic Party. King’s political fate would be decided by the newly elected 1863 legislature after it organized itself for business on January 6, 1863. Continue reading