Tag Archives: Albany

John L. Dunlap: America’s Second ‘Old Hickory’


By on

0 Comments

In 1863, urged by New York’s 35th Regiment to run for President, Watertown’s John L. Dunlap consented and was again promoted as the Second Old Hickory of America. He wanted Ulysses Grant as his running mate (Grant was busy at the time, leading the North in the Civil War), and he received impressive promises of political support at the Chicago convention.
A poll of passengers on a train running from Rochester to Syracuse yielded surprising results: For Abraham Lincoln, 50 votes; George B. McLellan, 61; John C. Fremont, 6; and Dr. John L. Dunlap, Watertown, 71!

History reveals that Lincoln did, in fact, triumph, but Dunlap didn’t lose for lack of trying. He secured the nomination of the Peoples’ Party at their convention in Columbus, Ohio, and none other than Ulysses S. Grant was selected as his vice-presidential running mate. Dunlap received congratulations from New York Governor Horatio Seymour for winning the nomination.
The widely distributed handbill (poster) for Dunlap/Grant used the slogan, “Trust in God, and keep your powder dry,” and promised, “Clear the track, the two Great War Horses of the North and West are coming! The one will suppress the rebellion with the sword, and the other will heal the nation with his medicines and his advice.”
Among Dunlap’s early campaign stops in the 1864 election were Troy, Albany, and Washington, D.C. He was handicapped by having to campaign alone since Grant was still pursuing Lee on the battlefield. But as always, Dunlap gave it his best effort. Known as a fierce patriot and a man of the people, he was very popular at many stops.
Two years later, he sought the nomination for governor and also received 12 votes for representative in the 20th Congressional Districtnot a lot, but higher than four of his opponents.
In 1868, Dunlap again pursued the presidency, this time seeking General Philip Sheridan as his running mate. Had the effort been supported, he would have squared off against two familiar faceshis former running mate, Grant, was the Republican nominee, while his former opponent for governor, Horatio Seymour, won the Democratic nomination.
Shortly after President Grant’s inauguration, he received a special congratulatory gift: a case of medicines from Dr. John L. Dunlap. In a related story (from the Watertown Daily Times in the 1920s), the Scott family of Watertown claimed that Dunlap once sent a bottle of cough syrup via Judge Ross Scott to Secretary of State William Seward (in Auburn, New York).
Seward delivered the bottle to Lincoln, who reportedly said, “Tell Dr. Dunlap I’ve tried it on my buckwheat pancakes and it’s the best substitute for maple syrup I know of.”
In 1870, Watertown’s John L. Dunlap was named as a candidate for Congress, and in 1872 he declared once again for the presidency. When General William Tecumseh Sherman toured the North Country, Dunlap met with him and suggested they become running mates. Included in his proposed platform was a single term of only four years for any president, and the elimination of electors in favor of counting the people’s votes.
An Ogdensburg newspaper supported his candidacy with these words: “Dr. Dunlap is a staid and conservative old gentleman. If elected, he would lend honor, virtue, dignity, and character to the party.” The Watertown Re-Union added, “Whatever may be said of the other candidates, Doctor Dunlap is a genuine Jackson Democrat, one of the real old stock.”
Of eight candidates, the Ogdensburg Journal said Dunlap was “the most consistent, if not the ablest, of all named. … If the people should be so fortunate as to elect him as their President, they will find him a true man.”
In Albany (the doctor’s old haunts prior to 1850), a Dunlap Club of 6,000 members was organized, and in Vermont, adjacent to his longtime home in Washington County, New York, he enjoyed strong support. For a campaign with meager resources, things were going quite well.
But then, as if to legitimize his candidacy, the unthinkable happened: an assassination attempt. The Troy Weekly Times reported that an effort to shoot Dr. Dunlap had failed, and that he had also been offered money in exchange for withdrawing his candidacy. Other newspapers denied the bribe story.
Meanwhile, the good doctor continued giving speeches in major cities (including his old July 4th oration from two decades earlier, which was ever-popular) and continued selling his medicines. He sought the nomination at several different party conventions, but was unsuccessful.
Just weeks after the 1872 election, Dunlap was off to Europe. It was at this point in his life that certain events occurred, events that would somewhat cloud his career and paint him as truly eccentricand for good reason.
Through his decades as a Washington County physician, his years of selling medicines to anyone that he met, and a lifetime of politics, Dunlap had always been a vigorous self-promoter. He loved the limelight, and it seemed to love him as well. The media was more than happy to offer the latest news on Dunlap’s unusual life. Yes, he was different, but he was clearly an intelligent man who enjoyed living life to the fullest.
Next week: The conclusionDunlap rises to the international stage.
Photo: Advertisement for one of Dunlap’s syrups (1863).
Lawrence Gooley has authored eleven books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 24 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.

Albany County Hall of Records to Celebrate 30 Years


By on

0 Comments

Albany County Hall of Records will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 10AM-2PM. All interested chroniclers of history are invited to the open house at 95 Tivoli Street, Albany, New York.

Speakers will talk about the history of the Hall of Records, there will be exhibits on display, and tours of the facility will be available. Light refreshments will be included.

The Hall of Records includes the County Archives, Micro-Imaging and Records Center and currently holds over 22000 thousand cubic feet of inactive records and 9000 cubic feet of archival records in its two locations. You can read their latest newsletter here.

Replica Ship Half Moon Opportunities Announced


By on

0 Comments

William T. (Chip) Reynolds, Director, New Netherland Museum and Captain, Replica Ship Half Moon has announced that work is proceeding on fall programming and regular ship-board projects, and the ship will be holding an upcoming sail training opportunity.

On July 21-22 crew old and new alike will come together on the Half Moon to train in sail handling and ship operations. The two day program will depart from and return to Peckham Wharf in Athens, NY while anchoring out on the evening of the 21st. Crew will board 8am Saturday and depart late afternoon on Sunday.  No prior experience necessary; all training will be provided. Preference will be given to those who have volunteered with the Half Moon this season.

If you would like to participate in the sail training weekend, send an email with your name, phone number, location and the information for an emergency contact to: hmvolunteer@gmail.com

Dockside work continues on the Half Moon as they prepare for sail training and other programming through the summer and Fall of 2012. Crew have been working around the ship on various projects. Doug Lyke has been working on rewiring bilge pumps and radio wires; Gene Tozzi repaired the decorative anchor on the front of the ship; Woody Woodworth and Bob Hansen have installed new water pumps and other elements for the ship’s generator.

In addition to work around the ship, they’ve also said goodbye to bo’sun Wesley Jasper who spent three months living and working aboard the Half Moon, and who is headed to the Rotterdam Maritime Academy in the fall.

Work will continue weekdays throughout the summer. If you are interested in joining in and assisting with maintenance work around the ship, contact them at 518.443.1609 or by email at: hmvolunteer@gmail.com

This season, the Half Moon will be open for school and public tours in Albany NY Sept 22 & 23 and Sept 29 & 30 and public viewing in Connecticut.

Half Moon also offers school class tours. Educators looking to sign-up their class Sept 21, Sept 24-28 and Oct 1-4, should contact Carol Ann Margolis at the Albany Convention and Visitor’s Bureau: 518.434.0405

The 85-foot replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed while exploring the Hudson River in 1609 has a volunteer crew of 15 and was built in Albany, N.Y. in 1989 to commemorate the Dutch role in exploring and colonizing America. The Half Moon replica has six sails on three masts, sporting 2,757 square feet of canvas. It’s equipped with six cannons and four anchors.

The original ship, called the Halve Maen, was commissioned on March 25, 1609 for the Dutch East India Company. The company hired Hudson, an Englishman, to search for a passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He thought he had found that passage when he sailed up the river that now bears his name. In making his trip up the river, Hudson claimed the area for the Dutch and opened the land for settlers who followed. His voyage came 10 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. 

For general information about the replica Half Moon check their website.

Photo provided.

Partners for Albany Stories Honoring Retiring Assemblymen


By on

0 Comments

Partners for Albany Stories (PAS) will host a reception to honor Assembly Majority Leader Ronald Canestrari, Assemblymember John J. McEneny, and Assemblymember Robert Reilly for their significant contributions to Albany’s historic and cultural resources. The event will take place at the Albany Institute of History & Art on Wednesday, June 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, with presentations at 6 PM.

PAS is a collaboration of historic, cultural, and preservation organizations working to develop an integrated historical narrative and marketing approach for the city of Albany and build the capacity of our member institutions to serve the community’s economic development goals.

Light refreshments will be served. Suggested donation is $15.00 per person, and can be made online at albanyinstitute.org or by phone at (518) 463-4478, ext. 405. Registering online will record your RSVP as a tax deductible donation.

Suffrage Campaign Wagon on Display at Capitol


By on

0 Comments

A horse-drawn suffrage campaign wagon used by suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns to organize for Votes for Women is on exhibit at the state capitol in Albany, through May 2012. The artifact of the suffrage movement is representative of the tens of thousands of women nationwide who participated in the 72-year movement to win the right to vote for women.

The story of the Edna Kearns suffrage campaign wagon is detailed in a blog and web site called Suffrage Wagon News Channel (suffragewagon.org), which for the past two years has been publishing news and stories of the Votes for Women movement. Suffrage Wagon News Channel is published by Marguerite Kearns, the granddaughter of Edna Buckman Kearns, and it features the writings and organizing of Edna Kearns who worked on Long Island and New York City as an writer and editor of suffrage news as well as an on-the-ground organizer for the state and national campaigns.

“All types of people are amazed when they hear stories of the suffrage movement,” says Marguerite Kearns, who said she grew up listening to family stories about Grandmother Edna, but she didn’t learn about the suffrage movement in school.

“My grandmother died in 1934, so what I know is from the papers my grandmother saved. As I read my grandmother’s writings and news clippings, I am touched by the dedication and persistence of her generation. We stand on strong shoulders, and this type of strength is something we don’t have to reinvent. It’s part of a collective memory that comes alive when stories of the movement are shared.”

Suffrage centennials have been celebrated in the western states where women first won the right to vote. Oregon, for example, has numerous events scheduled for its centennial in 2012. And New York State is putting preliminary plans in place to celebrate its centennial in 2017. The national centennial for Votes for Women is set for 2020 in the United States.

The exhibit is sponsored by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo at the state capitol to recognize women’s accomplishments and as a way to make history more real for his three daughters.

Historic Cherry Hill Opens, Fundraiser Planned


By on

0 Comments

Historic Cherry Hill in Albany, a non-profit historic house museum built in 1787 and lived in continuously by five generations of the same family until the death of the last family member in 1963, opens for the public season on Wednesday April 4th. The museum has 20,000 objects, 30,000 manuscripts, 7,500 textiles, 5,000 books and 3,000 photographs in its collection and offers a behind-the-scenes restoration tour exploring the large restoration project currently underway on Wednesday afternoons at 1, 2 and 3pm and on Saturday afternoons at 2 and 3pm.

A special fundraiser to benefit the museum will be held on Saturday, April 14th from 5:00pm to 7:30pm. Participants will join Van Rensselaer family member Elsie Whipple and Cherry Hill hired hand Jesse Strang on the 185th anniversary of their romantic rendezvous at Hill’s Tavern, explore the historic tavern building and learn about their tryst that led to murder. The fundraiser is hosted by The Tailored Tea at the Historic Hills House, formerly known as Hill’s Tavern and will include wines and specialty teas as well as homemade sweet and savory treats. Tickets are $50.00 per person. For more information or to order tickets, call Historic Cherry Hill at (518) 434-4791.

Admission to Cherry Hill is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students and $2 for children between the ages of 12 and 18. The museum also offers an Architecture Hunt for Families on Saturdays between 1 and 2pm. Admission for the Hunt is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-11. The museum is open from April through December for tours on these days. For more information visit the museum’s website.

Medical Center to Scan Albany Institute Mummies


By on

0 Comments

In preparation for the 2013 exhibition The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, the Albany Institute of History & Art’s two mummies, each thousands of years old, will be brought to Albany Medical Center for CT scans and x-rays, using modern imaging techniques to learn the mummies’ genders, causes of death, and more. Leading experts in body imaging and Egyptology will direct the procedures and analyze results.

The Albany Institute of History & Art’s two mummies were acquired from Cairo, Egypt in 1909, were brought to the Albany Institute from Cairo in 1909 by Samuel W. Brown, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. The mummies and their coffins have been seen by generations of visitors.

Arthur Pielli, Radiology Manager at Albany Medical Center, and two radiologists, Phuong Nguyen Vinh, MD, and Michael Edward Schuster, MD will examine the mummies. The results will then be analyzed with the help of Egyptologist and medical doctor Dr. Robert Brier, a Senior Research Fellow at Long Island University known as “Mr. Mummy,” and Dr. Peter Lacovara, the exhibition’s guest curator and Senior Curator of Egypt, Nubia and Near East at the Carlos Museum at Emory University.

The mummies were last examined by x-rays and CT scans on November 12, 1988. This preliminary analysis helped to determine the mummies’ sex, approximate ages, and various insights into the mummification process. The x-rays and CT scans show a number of bundles inside both of the mummies. Based on the last scan, it was determined that the partially unwrapped mummy is Ankhefenmut, a priest in the temple of Mut at Karnak in Thebes during Dynasty XXI (c.1085-945 BC).

Ankhefenmut is reported to have died in 966 and was probably between 55 and 65 years old at the time of his death. The wrapped mummy is a woman. Her name is not known because the top of the coffin was badly deteriorated and left in Cairo by Samuel Brown in 1909. According to Brown she also came from the cache at Deir el-Bahri. X-rays reveal that she was probably between 35-45 years old when she died.

During Dynasty XXI, a change in the practice of mummification occurred. The internal organs were no longer placed in canopic jars, but were usually wrapped in linen packages. These packages were then placed in the empty body or placed between the legs. Canopic jars, however, continued to be a part of the funerary equipment, but were made smaller.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery was a well-crafted fake toe, possibly made of ceramic, carefully attached to the right foot of the wrapped mummy. It is presumed that the toe was fashioned for the woman during the mummification process because of the belief that one had to be physically intact to enter the afterlife. This discovery was highlighted on The Learning Channel’s program, The Ancient ER, in February 2003.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany Medical Center, University at Albany Foundation, and the University at Albany Center for Humanities, Arts, and TechnoSciences.

Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy of Ankhefenmut, a priest in the temple of Mut at Karnak in Thebes during Dynasty XXI (c.1085-945 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.

William Kennedy’s Prohibition Story:
An Interview with Exec Producer Dan Swinton


By on

Comments Off

The passage of the Volstead Act and prohibition against intoxicating liquor caused a profound change in American culture by breaking the traditional mold of heroes and anti-heroes. Popular media has romanticized the anti-hero “gangster” role, and some of the greatest actors of the movie-making era have portrayed names like Al Capone, “Bugs” Moran, “Bugsy” Siegal and “Machine Gun” Kelly on the silver screen. In many instances, thugs, authorities and officials become the puppets of the crime boss, or the authorities become as violent as the criminals do.
Continue reading

See New St. Peter’s Church Exhibit First, Free


By on

1 Comment

Visitors to the Albany Institute of History & Art on Friday, March 2 from 5–8 PM can enjoy a free sneak peak at the museum’s newest exhibition, St. Peter’s Church: 300 Years of History & Art before it’s officially opening on March 3. The event is in association with Albany’s 1st Friday art walk, showcasing the art scene in downtown Albany. The show, running through April 29, will examine the role St. Peter’s Church has played in shaping Albany and the upper Hudson Valley.

The exhibition showcases the distinguished history of St. Peter’s Church in Albany, New York, which begins in 1708 when England’s Queen Anne sent missionaries to establish friendly relations with the Iroquois.

A gambrel-roofed masonry edifice with a bell tower was completed in 1715. Located on State Street, just below present day Chapel Street, it was the first Anglican Church built north of New York City and west of the Hudson River. In 1802 Albany architect Phillip Hooker designed a new Federal Style church near the same location, which Richard Upjohn of New York City, well-known for his Gothic Revival Style replaced in 1860. His son, Richard M. Upjohn added the impressive bell tower in 1876.

The richly decorated interiors include work by leading artists designers including windows designed by the English artist Edward C. Burne-Jones and fabricated by the William Morris Company of London in 1880; the chancel windows made by Clayton and Bell of London in 1885; and the rose window over the State Street entrance made by the Tiffany Company in 1892. Drawn from the collections of St. Peter’s Church and the Albany Institute, the exhibition includes the rarely seen 1712 Queen Anne Communion Service, land grants, portraits, furniture, drawings, prints, maps, and photographs arranged to highlight the history of the church and its role in the historical events that molded the region.

The show will be located within the Entry Gallery of the Albany Institute of History & Art, which is situated at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. In conjunction with the show, the Institute is hosting a three-part lecture series entitled “300 Years, One Congregation” for a more in-depth look at the church and its legacy. Visit albanyinstitute.org for more information.

RELATED EVENTS:

300 Years, One Congregation: Three Buildings, Four Distinguished Architects
Sunday, March 4 at 2 PM
John G. Waite, FAIA, and Doug Bucher of John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC will present a lecture on the architectural and artistic history and legacy of St. Peter’s Church. Free with museum admission.

300 Years, One Congregation: One Faith: The Stained Glass Windows at St. Peter’s Church

Sunday, March 25 at 2 PM
Mr. Anthony Anadio will present an illustrated lecture of the stories told by the thousands of pieces of stained glass created by some of the world’s finest artisans that are part of St. Peter’s Church. The lecture will be followed by a tour of St. Peter’s to see the actual windows. Free with museum admission.

Illustration: St. Peter’s Church circa 1850 by James Eights (1797-1882), watercolor.

Chris Pryslopski: Preserving the Recent Past


By on

3 Comments

It may be true that our past is behind us, but some of it remains nearer than the rest. Distance provides a remove from which to appraise the value of a person, thing,or event. The lack of such distance can limit our perspective on the nearer parts, and in some instances, might destroy our heritage before we have a chance to adequately consider it.

Consider two examples of Capitol architecture. The 1899 New York State Capitol is heralded as a triumph. The virtual tour proudly states that the building took 32 years and $25 million to construct. It highlights the “grand spaces” and extravagant details throughout the building such as its carved staircases, its paneled chambers, and the exotic materials used inside and out. I have visited it myself and would recommend the tour to anyone with an interest in architecture or government. Continue reading

St. Peter’s Church in Albany the Focus of Events


By on

0 Comments

The Albany Institute of History & Art will be presenting the first of a three lecture series “300 Years, One Congregation”, about St. Peter’s Church on State Street on Sunday, February 12 at 2 PM. In this first lecture “In One City of Two Cultures, Ministering to Three Nations” the history, purpose, and influence of St. Peter’s Church in Albany will be explored by a panel of experts, including the Reverend Paul Hartt, Rector, Ms. E. Connie Powell, Church Archivist and Mr. Chris Grill, Mentor at Empire State College. This event is FREE with museum admission.

The lecture series is in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition “St. Peter’s Church in Albany”, opening at the Albany Institute on March 3 and running through April 29, 2012. The exhibition draws from the collections of St. Peter’s Church and the Albany Institute and includes the rarely seen 1712 Queen Anne Communion Service, land grants, portraits, furniture, drawings, prints, maps, and photographs to highlight the history of the church and its role in the historical events that shaped Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley.

The other two lectures included in the series are:

Three Buildings, Four Distinguished Architects

SUNDAY, MARCH 4 | 2 PM
John G. Waite, FAIA, and Doug Bucher of John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC will present a lecture on the architectural and artistic history and legacy of St. Peter’s Church. FREE with museum admission.

One Faith: The Stained Glass Windows at St. Peter’s Church

SUNDAY, MARCH 25 | 2 PM
Mr. Anthony Anadio will present an illustrated lecture of the stories told by the thousands of pieces of stained glass created by some of the world’s finest artisans that are part of St. Peter’s Church. The lecture will be followed by a tour of St. Peter’s to see the actual windows. FREE with museum admission.

RELATED EXHIBITION:
ST. PETER’S CHURCH IN ALBANY

MARCH 3–APRIL 29, 2012

The distinguished history of St. Peter’s Church in Albany, New York begins in 1708 when England’s Queen Anne sent missionaries to establish friendly relations with the Iroquois. A gambrel-roofed masonry edifice with a bell tower was completed in 1715. Located on State Street, just below present day Chapel Street, it was the first Anglican Church built north of New York City and west of the Hudson River. In 1802 Albany architect Phillip Hooker designed a new Federal Style church near the same location, which Richard Upjohn of New York City, well-known for his Gothic Revival Style replaced in 1860. His son, Richard M. Upjohn added the impressive bell tower in 1876. The richly decorated interiors include work by leading artists designers including windows designed by the English artist Edward C. Burne-Jones and fabricated by the William Morris Company of London in 1880; the chancel windows made by Clayton and Bell of London in 1885; and the rose window over the State Street entrance made by the Tiffany Company in 1892. The exhibition, drawn from the collections of St. Peter’s Church and the Albany Institute, include the rarely seen 1712 Queen Anne Communion Service, land grants, portraits, furniture, drawings, prints, maps, and photographs arranged to highlight the history of the church and its role in the historical events that shaped Albany and the upper Hudson Valley.

Illustration: St. Peter’s Church circa 1850 by James Eights (1797-1882), watercolor.

Albany Institute ‘Lives of Abraham Staats’ Sunday


By on

1 Comment

This Sunday, January 29 at 2 PM the Albany Institute of History & Art will host Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars as he tells the life story of Abraham Staats, a Dutch founding father of Albany. Ruijssenaars is a Senior Scholar in Residence at the New Netherland Institute, and operates the research firm Dutch Archives. The event will be FREE with museum admission.

The lecture will examine Abraham Staats’ varied roles in the Capital Region, beginning with Staats’ 1642 emigration from Amsterdam to Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck (now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties). As a surgeon, Staats not only treated ailing residents, but also acted as advisor to the Patroon. He served as a magistrate of the court; and outside the court, he was often called on to resolve disputes between his neighbors. Well-respected within Rensselaerswijck, Staats was also something of a diplomat. Entitled to trade in beavers, he learned the Algonquin Indian language and was therefore able to act as an intermediary between colonists and Native Americans. The sloop Staats purchased to further his commercial interests placed him in contact with leaders in New Amsterdam and allowed him to develop a personal relationship with Peter Stuyvesant.

Following the talk, guests are invited to explore Albany’s Dutch colonial history by visiting the permanent exhibition Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity, located on the third floor of the museum. The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with a valid ID, $6 for children 6-12, and FREE for members and children under 6.

Photo: The Abraham Staats house, which he built, is currently the oldest home in Columbia County.

AIHA Presents Dennis Gaffney Civil War Lecture


By on

0 Comments

The Albany Institute of History & Art will host local freelance author Dennis Gaffney on Sunday, January 8 at 2 PM, as he shares a series of stories from the Civil War. The lecture is free with museum admission.

Gaffney’s book, The Civil War: Exploring History One Week at a Time, has been widely praised as a reader-friendly way to learn about the Civil War. Amateur historian and Civil War buffs will both learn something new at Gaffney’s talk, which will include details about the role of Albany and New York State in the war effort. Also covered will be topics involving the medical history of the Civil War, which complement the current exhibition Albany and the Civil War: Medicine on the Home and Battle Fronts.

Following the lecture Gaffney will be available to answer questions and to sign copies of his book, which will be available for sale at the Museum Shop. The book signing session is free and open to the public. The Albany and the Civil War exhibition will be on display in the Albany Institute Entry Gallery through February 26, 2012.

Early Albany Deptartment Store Exhibition Opens


By on

0 Comments

The Albany Institute of History & Art is presenting Temple of Fancy: Pease’s Great Variety Store, an exhibition featuring Richard H. Pease’s upscale “Five and Dime” where Albany families could purchase fancy goods, toys, household items, children’s books, and games from the 1830s to 1855. The exhibit will draw from the collections of the Albany Institute, and includes a reproduction of Pease’s 1850-51 Christmas card, considered to be the very first printed in America, on loan from the Manchester University Museum in England, where the only surviving copy resides. The exhibit opened November 19, and will run through March 25, 2012.

Before F. W. Woolworths’, Whitney’s, or even Myer’s department store, there was Pease’s Great Variety Store, located in the Temple of Fancy at 516 and 518 Broadway in Albany. As with other fancy goods stores, Pease’s catered to the middle and upper middle class selling highly decorated goods like ceramics, prints, furniture and other decorative household items that progressively thinking people might have wanted to purchase.

The 1844 Wilson’s Albany City Guide provides a flattering description of Pease’s: “For richness and extensive variety of novelties, combining the beautiful, the useful and the ornamental, this establishment excels any in town. Mr. P. has many fancy articles which are surpassingly rich; exceeding anything in elegance that we have ever thought, dreamed or read of.” Pease’s advertisement in the Albany Evening Journal on December 17, 1841, was the very first time Santa Claus was used to advertise a store. They also produced the hand-colored lithographs of fruit for Ebenezer Emmons’ Agriculture of New York published between 1846 and 1854.

Temple of Fancy: Pease’s Great Variety Store will be on display in the library cases at the Albany Institute of History & Art, located at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. The exhibition . Coinciding with the exhibition, the Albany Institute has produced a 20-page booklet, “Pease’s Great Variety Store and the Story of America’s first Christmas Card”, that will be available for sale in the Museum Shop.

Illustrations: Above, courtesy Albany Institute of History & Art; below, America’s First Christmas Card, Designed and printed by Richard H. Pease for his “Pease’s Great Variety Store in the Temple of Fancy” c.1851. Image courtesy of Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections.

Four Indian Kings Lecture in Albany Thursday


By on

0 Comments

On Thursday, November 17, the State University of New York Press will present the Third Annual John G. Neihardt Lecture, featuring a talk by renowned novelist, historian, and lifelong dream explorer Robert Moss. Co-sponsored by the Albany Institute of History & Art, the event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Albany Institute, located at 125 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany. The program will begin at 4:00 pm and a reception will follow the lecture.

Moss will begin his lecture, “Four Indian Kings, Dream Archaeology, and the Iroquois Struggle for Survival on the New York Frontier,” with a bit of entertainment by following the adventures of Four Indian Kings at the court of Queen Anne in 1710 as they are taken to see Macbeth and to a horrible scene of bear-baiting. He will then discuss his own development of a discipline he calls dream archaeology which involves reclaiming authentic knowledge of ancestral traditions through a combination of careful research, active dreamwork, and shamanic journeying across time and between dimensions. He will end his lecture by delving into the Iroquois struggle for survival before the American Revolution.

Born in Australia, Robert Moss is the bestselling author of nine novels, including his Cycle of the Iroquois (Fire Along the Sky, The Firekeeper, and The Interpreter) and nine nonfiction books on dreaming, shamanism, and imagination, including Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, and The Secret History of Dreaming. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, magazine editor and foreign correspondent, he spent seven years researching the background to his Cycle of the Iroquois, walking the battlefields of the French and Indian War, studying the languages, traditions, and spiritual practices of the Iroquois and their neighbors, and mining documentary sources. He gives lectures and seminars all over the world. Moss lives in upstate New York.

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) was the celebrated author of many books of poetry, fiction, and philosophy. His work includes The River and I; Man-Song; and the legendary Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux all of which are available from SUNY Press. The John G. Neihardt Lecture was established by Coralie Hughes, Neihardt’s granddaughter, in honor of his legacy.

For more information on SUNY Press and the Neihart Lecture can be found online.

Photo: Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, one of the “Four Indian Kings” who traveled to London in 1710. The print, by John Verelst, is entitled “Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations.” The title “Emperor” was a bit of a stretch, he belonged to the council of the Mohawk tribe, but not to that of the Iroquois Confederacy as a whole.

Photographer Hardie Truesdale at AIHA


By on

0 Comments

Renowned photographer Hardie Truesdale will be presenting images from his stunning new book Hudson River Towns: Highlights from the Capital Region to Sleepy Hollow Country at the Albany Institute on Sunday, November 13 at 2 PM.

Published in October 2011 by SUNY Press/ Excelsior Editions, this book is the newest collaboration between Truesdale and regional travel writer Joanne Michaels. With more than 120 full-color photographs that lavishly display the dramatic faces of the cities, towns, and villages along the river, Hudson River Towns reveals a dimension of the region unseen by most travelers and local residents.

Taking this armchair journey through one of America’s most beautiful and historic regions will inspire everyone to think differently about their surroundings. Following the lecture Truesdale will be available to answer questions and sign copies of the book, which is available for sale in the Albany Institute Museum Shop. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Vietnam War Graffiti Exhibit Opens Veterans Day


By on

0 Comments

The personal thoughts and feelings of American soldiers and Marines going to war in Southeast Asia come to life in the “Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam” exhibition opening Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at the New York State Museum.

The stories of these soldiers and Marines are told through the graffiti they left behind on the bunk canvases they slept on, aboard a ship that brought them to Vietnam in 1966-67. Eight canvases inscribed by soldiers from New York state are included in the traveling exhibition, open until Feb. 26, 2012. Uncertain about their future, the young troop passengers inscribed personal thoughts about families, hometowns, patriotism, love, anxiety, discomfort and humor.

Their canvases, bunks and personal items were discovered in 1997 onboard the General Nelson M. Walker. The transport ship was being scrapped after seeing service during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. In between it was in reserve status in a Hudson River berthing area, near New York City, for six years. Military historian Art Beltrone discovered the historic graffiti and other artifacts during a trip to Virginia’s James River Reserve Fleet, where the ship had been relocated from New York.

When discovered, the Walker was a veritable floating time capsule, filled with hundreds of historical artifacts relating to the Vietnam War, the 1960s, and the men who went to war. Many of those artifacts will be on display. Included is an original eight-man rack of sleeping bunks, complete with the original mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets and life vests. The rack shows how confining living space was during the uncomfortable 18-23 day, over 5,000-mile voyage to Vietnam. There also is clothing, shoes, comic books, magazines and copies of The Walker Report, the ship’s official newspaper written, printed and distributed by troop passengers. Other personal objects left behind, such as playing cards, empty cigarette and candy wrappers, liquor bottles, religious tracts and rosary beads, were found hidden under the sheets.

The multi-dimensional exhibition also includes two short films, “Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam” and “Discovery of a Forgotten Troopship,” which can also be viewed online.

The exhibition is curated by Beltrone and his wife, Lee of Keswick, Va. Together they founded the Vietnam Graffiti Project (VGP) which, assisted by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is dedicated to finding the graffiti writers and Walker voyage passengers to tell and preserve their stories. VGP is still trying to identify many of the writers, including many of those from New York state. Among those who have been found are Harmon Adams of Kenmore, near Buffalo, and Dave Dubreck of Churchville, near Rochester.

Albany Institute Celebrates Mummy Collection


By on

0 Comments

The Albany Institute of History & Art will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the Albany Mummies’ arrival with a Mummy Birthday Party on Sunday, November 6 from noon to 5 PM. This annual Family Festival is FREE with museum admission and will include Egyptian themed art activities, tours, and refreshments.

Learn the history of the mummies and ancient Egypt through guided tours of the Ancient Egypt exhibition at 1 PM and 3 PM. Children are invited to bring a toy to mummify in our art studio between 1 and 4 PM. Using hieroglyphics, participants can decorate cupcakes provided by The Placid Baker of Troy, NY.

The two mummies were brought to the Albany Institute from Cairo, Egypt in 1909 by Samuel W. Brown, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. The mummies and their coffins have been seen by generations of visitors and have become part of Albany history. They remain objects of ongoing international study, slowly unveiling clues about the ancient world in which they once lived. The Albany Institute will present a major exhibition on Egypt in 2013, The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, which will tell the full story of the mummies’ journey to Albany.

For more information about the Mummy Birthday Party contact Barbara Collins, Education Coordinator, at (518) 463-4478, ext. 405, collinsb@albanyinstitute.org.

Related Exhibition: Ancient Egypt Permanent Exhibition in the Egyptian Gallery

Three key concepts: “The Nile,” “Daily Life,” and “The Afterlife,” are explored through objects, text, and hands-on activities to give an overview of ancient Egypt. This gallery features the Albany Institute’s mummies, along with loan objects from major national museums.

Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy, male, Late Dynastic to Early Ptolemaic Period, (525-200 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.

Historic Albany Floods Talk by Jack Mc Eneny


By on

0 Comments

To commemorate Archives Month and in recognition of the disastrous effect of Hurricane Irene on their neighbors, County Clerk Thomas G. Clingan has invited Assemblyman John J. McEneny to speak on the topic of historic floods in Albany and the surrounding region. His presentation will be held on Wednesday, October 26th from 10 am – 12 noon at the Albany County Hall of Records. An exhibit of flood-related historical records will be on display, as well as practical information for protecting and salvaging records in water-related emergencies. Tours of the Hall of Records will also be offered.

A lifelong Albanian, McEneny graduated from Christian Brothers Academy, Siena College, New Mexico State University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served in the Peace Corps in Columbia, South America, and directed youth programs in Albany before heading the Albany City Human Resources Department from 1971-1984. McEneny served as Albany County Historian and remains involved in documenting and preserving Albany history. He is the author of the book Albany, Capital City on the Hudson, first published in 1981.

Seating for the presentation is limited. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP: 436-3663, ext. 202 or jbrothers@lbanycounty.com

Photo: Broadway in Albany on March 29, 1913 (Postcard Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art)