Tag Archives: Canada

NYS Library’s September Noontime Programs


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In September, the New York State Library will offer three noontime author talks and book signings. On Wednesday, September 9th, Mark Jodoin will discuss his book “Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada,” which tells the stories of ten young men and women who were forced to flee north, into what became Ontario and Quebec, because they remained loyal to the British government. On Wednesday, September 16, Dr. Margaret Lynch-Brennan will discuss her new book, “The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930,” one of the first books written on Irish servant girls. And on Wednesday, September 23, Michael Esposito, author of “Troy’s Little Italy (Images of America),” will talk about the Italian immigrants who settled in Troy, beginning in the late 1880s, and the community they created there. All programs run from 12:15 to 1:15 and are free and open to the public.

Sept. 9: Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada

In 1778, New York State patriots forced colonists loyal to the British government to flee north into what became Ontario and Quebec. Many of the defiant young British Americans soon returned south as soldiers, spies and scouts to fight for their multigenerational farms along the Mohawk River, Lake Champlain and the Hudson River Valley. Eventually defeated, they were banished from their ancestral homelands forever. Mark Jodoin, author of the book Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada offers an enlightened look back at ten young men and women who were forced north into what became Ontario and Quebec, sharing the struggles that these Loyalists faced during our nation’s founding.

Sept. 16: The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930

“Bridget” was the Irish immigrant servant girl who worked in American homes from the second half of the nineteenth century into the early years of the twentieth century. She was widely known as a pop culture cliché: the young Irish girl who wreaked havoc working as a servant in middle-class American homes. Many contemporary Irish-American families can find one or more of these Irish Bridgets in their background. Come hear Dr. Margaret Lynch-Brennan discuss her new book, “The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930.” This is the first book to be written on Irish servant girls. This program will be held in the Huxley Theater on the first floor of the Cultural Education Center.

Sept. 23: Troy’s Little Italy

Italian immigrants began arriving in Troy in large numbers in the late 1880s, escaping the abject poverty of their homeland. They settled among Irish immigrants who had arrived fifty years earlier in Troy’s first and eighth wards just south of the central business district, an area bustling with activity. The neighborhood contained blocks of two and three story brick buildings, a mix of row houses and free standing homes. Within a few years, these Italian immigrants began opening small businesses, particularly on Fourth Street, the neighborhood’s “Main Street,” and it was typical of the mixed residential and commercial communities in many American cities. Michael Esposito will discuss the neighborhood and its people from his new book “Troy’s Little Italy.”

Early American Ethnohistory 1st Book Prize Announced


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SUNY Press is proud to announce a new competition for the best single-authored dissertation or first book manuscript in the field of early American Ethnohistory – The Francis Jennings First Book Manuscript Prize in Early American Ethnohistory. They welcome unpublished, nonfiction manuscripts that illuminate American Indian history or the history of Indian-European relations in what is now the United States and Canada from the time of initial contacts between American Indians and Europeans through the era of the early republic United States, ca. 1800. The competition is open to scholars who have not published a peer-reviewed book and whose work is grounded in cultural and/or cross-cultural analysis using ethnohistorical research methodology.

If a winner of the competition is selected, he or she will receive a publication contract with SUNY Press and a $3,000 advance. Non-winning manuscripts may also be considered for publication in the Ethnohistories of Early America series published by SUNY Press. All submissions must be postmarked by July 1, 2008, and should include a cover letter, C.V., proposal, including a 4-5 page overview of the scope of the project and analysis of competing titles, and a complete manuscript, at least 150 double spaced pages, Courier font.

Submissions should mention the competition in the cover letter, and also indicate if any material from the manuscript has been previously published. All submissions must be exclusive submissions to SUNY Press for the duration of the contest, and finalists will be notified by September 1, 2008.

Please send all submissions to:

Dr. Gary Dunham
Executive Director, SUNY Press
194 Washington Ave., Suite 305
Albany, NY 12210

Direct all questions to:

Dr. James T. Carson
Department of History
Queen’s University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 Canada

Dr. Greg O’Brien
Department of History
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

SUNY Press Announces Indigenous Studies Series


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State University of New York Press has announced a new series in Indigenous Studies, the SUNY series in Ethnohistories of Early America (Edited by James Carson, Queen’s University and Greg O’Brien, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro). This series showcases cutting-edge research in the field of ethnohistory, focusing on what is now the United States and Canada from the time of initial contacts between American Indians and Europeans through the era of the early republic United States, ca. 1800.

“Ethnohistory” is defined broadly to be more than American Indian history or the history of Indian-European relations-though that is expected to be the primary area of focus. We will also consider works in the time period on any subset(s) of the North American population that is examined and written about through cultural and/or cross-cultural analysis using ethnohistorical research methodology. To encourage a diverse readership, particularly students, all books in the series will be available simultaneously in hardcover, paperback, and electronic DirectText editions.

Manuscripts and proposals should be sent to:

Dr. Gary Dunham
Executive Director, SUNY Press
194 Washington Ave., Suite 305
Albany, NY 12210
Phone: 518-472-5000 / Fax: 518-472-5038

Direct all questions to:

Professor James Carson
Department of History
Queen’s University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 Canada

Professor Greg O’Brien
Department of History
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

Online Resource: Immigrants to Canada (1803-1865)


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The Library and Archives of Canada has just announced a new online resource, Immigrants to Canada (1803-1865). According to the site:

In 1803, the British Parliament enacted legislation to regulate vessels carrying emigrants to North America. The master of the vessel was required to prepare a list of passengers. Unfortunately, few such lists have survived and therefore, there are no comprehensive nominal lists of immigrants arriving in Canada before 1865.

Some lists have been identified and indexed by name in this database. It also includes other types of records such as declarations of aliens and names of some Irish orphans.

Here is the link.

Stolen 1612 Map of Canada to be Auctioned?


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Thanks to The Map Room we learn that a rare copy of Samuel de Champlain’s 1612 map of Canada set to be auctioned at Sotheby’s next month, may be the same map discovered missing from Harvard University in 2005.

The Calgary Herald has the whole story:

The Harvard map was found missing in 2005 during an FBI investigation into a string of thefts from major libraries in the U.S. and Britain that saw about 100 cartographic treasures – worth an estimated $3 million US in total – sliced from centuries-old atlases and exploration journals.

Massachusetts antiquarian E. Forbes Smiley, a well-known collector and dealer of rare maps, eventually admitted to the thefts and is serving three years in a U.S. prison for the crime.

He helped authorities recover many of the stolen maps as part of a plea bargain, but the 1612 Champlain map removed from Harvard’s Houghton Library was not among those he admitted taking.

The Champlain map is one of top-priced items at Sotheby’s Nov. 13 Natural History, Travel, Atlases and Maps sale. According to the Calgary Herald the map was the first to be published to show Montreal, Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes as a chain of connected waterways.

Civil War Fort Montgomery Needs Preservation


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According to an editorial in the Plattsburgh Press Republican this week, Fort Montgomery – not the Hudson River American Revolution fort, but the Lake Champlain (mostly) American Civil War one in Rouses Point – is in ruins, the victim of nothing less then neglect.


According to the Press Republican:

In April 1980, a huge portion of the northwest bastion collapsed into the moat, and cracks in the rest of the structure have raised concerns that a similar fate awaits the rest of the fort.


And there are other obstacles. Liability is an acute concern, as the unstable structure has long been used as a party spot for teens. Also, the location is surrounded by environmentally sensitive wetlands.


But the potential as a historic landmark and tourist destination — accessible by car, bus or boat — is undeniable. In fact, it can be seen by the preservation of a similar landmark, Fort Lennox, just a 20-minute drive upriver in Isle aux Noir, Quebec.

It took hundreds of stonemasons thirty years to build (1844 and 1871), according to the great Wiki:

Named for Revolutionary War hero General Richard Montgomery who was killed at Quebec City during the 1775 invasion of Canada, construction began on Fort Montgomery two years later in 1844. Fort Montgomery was one of a very few “Permanent” or “Third System” forts built along the Northern Frontier, most being constructed along the Atlantic Coast. Work on the fort remained almost continuous through 1870, with the peak of construction taking a frenzied pace during the American Civil War, amidst rumors of possible British intervention against the Union from Canada. These fears were actually proven to be not that far fetched when the Confederate led St. Albans Raid, the northernmost action of the Civil War, took place in nearby Vermont in 1864 involving an incursion by the enemy from Canada.

In 1926 the United States Government sold Fort Montgomery along with its adjacent Military Reservation at public auction. During the period of disuse which followed, as had also happened with the abandoned 1816 fortification, many locals visited the fort, carting off untold amounts of lumber, bricks, windows, and doors for use in their homes and other buildings. Ultimately the majority of the fort, aside from the gutted westward facing officer’s quarters, a small portion of the southern wall and 3 bastions, (2 of which remain today) was demolished in 1936-1937. Its massive stones were crushed and dumped into the lake for fill to construct a nearby bridge between Rouses Point, New York and Alburg, Vermont. After a number of private owners, the property was sold to Victor Podd, Sr. who constructed the headquarters of the Powertex Corporation on the adjacent “Commons” to the west of the fort. Island Point, the actual fort site, was left untouched. During the mid-1980s Podd worked with local historical societies to have the State of New York purchase the property with a view toward possible restoration of the site. Despite being offered the fort at no cost, negotiations were unsuccessful and the State declined to accept the property. Since May 2006 Podds’ heirs have attempted to sell the fort on eBay. The first auction ended on June 5, 2006, with a winning bid of $5,000,310. However, the sale was not completed, and the fort and lands surrounding it remain for sale.

There are current concerns among local preservationists that what remains of the fort today is in danger of a catastrophic structural collapse. This is in part due to the removal of iron reinforcing rods, emplaced around 1886, which were likely cut out for their scrap value during the wartime scrap metal drives of World War 2. These rods were originally devised to brace up and support the massive weight of the fort’s detached outer wall face, a defensive element of the fort’s construction which later proved over time to be a structural flaw. Previously a third remaining bastion on the northern side of the fort suffered a similar collapse and was completely destroyed in 1980, mostly falling into the moat.

Thanks in part to a National Register of Historic Places listing in 1977, the fort is often confused with “Fort Blunder,” for which construction began in 1816. Thanks to a surveyor error, it was discovered that this first fort had been accidentally built on the Canadian side of the border and the site was abandoned. Materials from the fort were taken by locals for local building projects. It was never officially named.