Albany Public Library joined New York Heritage, a statewide digital library, in the spring of 2014 to raise awareness of its collections. The library’s Pruyn Collection of Albany History is a treasure trove of information about the leaders, citizens, buildings, governments, events, and history of New York’s capital city. The collection includes documents about urban renewal, the South Mall construction, city and state government, and African American history.
Albany Public Library’s digital collection on New York Heritage contains a small sample of our local history holdings. The full Pruyn Collection includes thousands of books, photographs, city directories, newspapers, documents, census records, city council minutes, maps, and more. We invite you to visit the Pruyn Collection of Albany History, which is housed at Albany Public Library’s Main Library at 161 Washington Avenue. Continue reading
He was the Supervisor of the Town of Thompson in Sullivan County, a member of the New York State Assembly, a State Senator, member of Congress, and New York’s first Superintendent of Banking, as well as one of Monticello’s most successful merchants. And in 1851 he joined with seven others in founding what would become one of America’s most respected newspapers.
He was Daniel Bennett St. John, and he was one of the original owners of the New York Times. Continue reading
There is a campaign to build The Museum of Political Corruption in Albany, New York. The campaign was started by and is being lead by College of Saint Rose Professor Bruce Craig Roter. With it’s motto of “it’s funny, but it’s serious”, it’s hoped the Museum will be a unique tourist attraction.
The museum is expected to serve as a reminder and cautionary tale to elected officials to uphold the high ethical standards demanded of their offices. “While there will be a good amount of humor, it will be used as a gateway to examine the serious subject of corruption in NY state politics,” Roter told The New York History Blog. “Museum goers will pay entrance bribes rather than fees, refreshments will be served at the Cozy Crony Cafe, and the museum auditorium will be called Tammany Hall.” Continue reading
Russell Shorto, the 2013 New Netherland Research Center Senior Scholar and author of The Island at the Center of the World and Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, as well as other acclaimed works, will talk about Dutch cultural heritage from Amsterdam and its influence on Albany, New York.
The talk will be followed by a signing of his most recent book Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, named one of Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2013 and described as “an expertly told history of a city of new, shocking freedoms and the tough-minded people that developed them.” Copies of the book will be available for sale. Continue reading
Albany was a busy port city throughout the nineteenth century. During its most active Underground Railroad days, the city was occupied by lumber and other businesses at the riverfront and numerous retail establishments along Market Street (our current Broadway), Pearl Street, and corresponding cross streets. Although it was the state capital (since 1797) Albany truly began to expand only after the completion in 1825 of the Erie Canal, which enhanced the city as a destination for riverboat shipping and traffic.
Commerce along the Hudson and Erie Canal system, and new forms of transportation such as the steamboat and the railroad, greatly increased the opportunities for people, including fugitives from slavery, to travel from port to port, and city to city. The new transportation systems, as well as burgeoning social movements of the antebellum period, such as Sunday School, temperance and women’s rights movements, provided abundant opportunities for the sort of networking that facilitated Underground Railroad efforts. Continue reading
This Saturday, June 7th, Historic Cherry Hill will present the Hudson River Family Day, from12:30 – 3:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Cherry Hill is a house museum in Albany which was once the five-generation home of the Van Rensselaer family.
Participants are invited to step into the 1700s and experience Hudson River sloop trade and daily life. The unique Hudson River Trading Game, with its 34-foot game board, will challenge all ages to experience the adventure of 18th century trade and travel on the river. Other activities will include colonial games, crafts and clothing, open house tours highlighting the 18th century architecture and history of Cherry Hill, and more. Continue reading
The New Netherland Institute (NNI), which is currently commemorating the 1614 establishment of Fort Nassau in Albany, has announced their Annual General Meeting (featuring a tour of the Van Schaick Mansion and a short talk by Russell Shorto); the line-up for the 37th New Netherland Seminar; and an opportunity to win a commemorative quilt. Continue reading
Beginning in the mid-1800s, steamboats carried people between New York City and the Albany area on the Hudson River. Romantic images lull us into believing it was a quiet means of travel, but a crowded river, faulty equipment and the bravado of the captains resulted in at least one major catastrophe every year. Night boats collided and sank, carelessness caused boiler explosions, races put passengers at risk and fires would quickly swallow the wooden vessels.
The grand Empire of Troy suffered many collisions. The Swallow broke in two on a rock, Reindeer’s explosion took forty lives at once and the Oregon and C. Vanderbilt entered into an epic and dangerous race. Collected from eyewitness accounts, these are some of the most exciting and frightening stories of peril aboard steamboats on the Hudson River. Now, local historian J. Thomas Allison has written Hudson River Steamboat Catastrophes: Contests and Collisions (History Press, 2013). Allison provides an entertaining look at the romantic but perilous age of steamboat travel on the Hudson River, including tales of reckless captains racing each other and passengers’ eyewitness accounts of collisions, crashes, explosions, and fires. Continue reading
John Gabriel and Rick Kelly, two cousins who grew up together listening to radio in the Capital Region, have written one of Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series books entitled Capital Region Radio 1920-2011. The book tells the history of Albany region radio programs and personalities from its early days to recent years through more than 200 vintage images.
The General Electric Company, with one of its main plants in Schenectady, began experimental broadcasts in conjunction with Union College in the early 1900s. Using many culled from the miSci Museum in Schenectady, and others, this new pictorial history shares the story of when WGY officially began broadcasting in February 1922 and General Electric started a long and storied history of pioneering radio technology and programming, which ultimately set the pace for worldwide broadcast development. Capital Region Radio pioneer WGY provided entertainment and news nationally during World War II, WTRY kept listeners updated during the blackout of 1965 and WOKO introduced rock and roll to the area. Continue reading
On Saturday, April 12 from 4pm to 7pm, the Table Hopping Blog and the Albany Institute of History & Art will host the third annual Hudson Valley Hops. This event is a celebration of the strong history of brewing in Albany and today’s craft beer industry. Guests can sample local craft beers, hear talks by beer historians and brewery experts, enjoy food, and take home a commemorative glass.
There will also be a special exhibition with artifacts that tell the history of brewing in Albany and the capital region. Historic photographs, advertisements, and packaging from local brewers will be on view for this event. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art will offer FREE admission to the museum on Monday, January 20, 2014 from 10AM-5PM. Gallery Tours will take place at 1PM and 3:30PM.
Guests of all ages are invited to spend the day viewing several new exhibitions including The Mystery of the Albany Mummies; Big and Bold: Contemporary Paintings, Collage, and Sculpture from the Albany Institute’s Collection (in the recently renovated Lansing Gallery); and The Hudson River School and the Nineteenth-Century Landscape. Additional exhibitions include, Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity; Nineteenth-Century American Sculpture: Erastus Dow Palmer and His Protégés Launt Thompson, Charles Calverley, and Richard Park (in the recently renovated Sculpture Court); Robert Hewson Pruyn: An Albanian in Japan, 1862-1865; and A Gather of Glass: Selections from the Museum’s Collection. Gallery Tours, led by museum docents, will start at 1PM and 3:30PM, and are also free. Continue reading
Historic Cherry Hill has been awarded funding from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for the conservation, rehousing, and select digitization of the museum’s collection of Van Rensselaer family receipt books and related clippings.
In all, there are 13 receipt books and numerous clippings and recipe fragments (in both manuscript and printed form) dating from the mid-eighteenth century through the early 20th century. The receipt books belonged to members of the Cherry Hill household. Continue reading
On Saturday January 4, 2014 Crailo State Historic Site will welcome visitors for its annual Twelfth Night Celebration from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Twelfth Night was one of the traditional holidays celebrated by the Dutch and English colonists of early New York. Twelfth Night was the final holiday of the season and was marked with unsurpassed feasting and revelry.
Featured during the event will be decorations, hearthside cooking demonstrations, seasonal music, seventeenth century reenactors, the Jolly Toy lady, and refreshments. In addition the Marketplace Museum Shop will be open, with a selection of unique items. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art will host veteran newspaperman and Albany Times Union editor at large, Harry Rosenfeld, for a lecture about his recent book, From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman on Sunday, December 15 at 2PM.
Rosenfeld will recount some of the most compelling moments of his life, from his childhood in Hitler’s Berlin, to his years at the Washington Post. After the lecture, Rosenfeld will be available to answer questions about the historic events he witnessed and he will also sign copies of his book. The lecture and book signing is organized by the Museum Shop at the Albany Institute of History & Art and is free with museum admission. Continue reading
The New York State Museum has opened a new exhibit featuring a selection of important New York State decorative and fine arts artifacts that were recently donated to the Museum by Peter Wunsch, President of the Wunsch Americana Foundation.
The exhibit, Building a Collection: E. Martin Wunsch and His Passion for Collecting New York State Decorative Arts, will be on display through March 5, 2014. The Museum’s Wunsch Collection consists of furniture, paintings, silver, ceramics and folk art crafted primarily between 1700 and 1900. The objects have labels indicating they were made by New York craftsmen or have a documented New York history. The Wunsch Collection illustrates changing stylistic trends in decorative arts and provides insight into how New Yorkers once lived. Continue reading
Individuals and organizations desiring to present programs at the annual conference of The New York State Council for the Social Studies and The New York Social Studies Supervisory Association at the Hilton in Albany on March 27-29 can now do so online.
The theme of this year’s confernce is Linking Communities Together: Academic, Civic and Cultural. In order to submit a proposal you will first need to become a member at a cost of $25 by clicking here. For each program delivered, presenters will receive $25 to cover personal expenses (travel, copying, etc.) related to program delivery. 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.
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
In conjunction with its newest exhibition The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host an international lecture series. The first lecture will take place on this Sunday, September 22, 2013, at 2 PM.
Dr. Peter Lacovara, Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, and guest curator of the new exhibition, will explore how he helped solve the mystery of the Albany mummies, gathered objects from around the world to tell the story of Ankhefenmut and his coffin, and how the exhibition offers a window into the life in ancient Egypt’s 21st Dynasty. The lecture is free with museum admission. Continue reading
Nationally acclaimed folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason along with Kim and Reggie Harris will present a free concert at the Clark Auditorium of the New York State Museum in Albany at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday, September 21st. The concert features Civil War music and highlights a weekend celebration of the Museum’s award-winning exhibition “An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War.” Continue reading