Tag Archives: Christmas

Trial Over True ‘Night Before Christmas’ Authorship


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ChristmasTrialArt-webA jury trial in a real courtroom in Troy on Sunday, December 7th at 2 pm aims to solve a centuries-old controversy over who really wrote one of the most beloved holiday poems in the world: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Last year “The Trial Before Christmas” was a surprise holiday spectacle that gained national media attention and attracted more than 500 spectators to the Rensselaer County Courthouse – a standing-room-only crowd. But the jury was unable to reach a verdict, so the case will be heard again. Continue reading

Heritage Holidays in the Mohawk Valley


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Johnson Hall ChristmasIn conjunction with the City of Johnstown’s Colonial Stroll holiday activities, Johnson Hall State Historic Site will hold an Open House on Friday, December 5th from 5 pm to 8:30 pm.

Johnson Hall’s first floor will be decorated for the holiday season, where music of the 18th century will be performed by Liaison Plaisantes. Refreshments will be offered in the historic butler’s pantry. The museum shop will offer 20% off for holiday shopping that evening. Horse-drawn wagon rides of the mansion’s south lawn will be available to visitors between 6 pm and 8 pm. Continue reading

Gilded Age Christmas At Staatsburgh State Historic Site


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Staatsburgh ChristmasStaatsburgh State Historic Site is preparing for its festive Gilded Age Christmas, featuring decorations throughout the mansion and special children’s programs from late November through New Year’s Eve.

The site opens for the holiday season on Friday, November 28, and offers public hours Thursday through Sunday, from Noon to 4 pm (closed Christmas Day) through December 31. Staatsburgh will be open for special evening hours on December 12, from 6-8 pm, so that visitors can experience the decorated mansion after dark, and tour the historic rooms, populated with guides in period costume. Continue reading

Gifts of the Past At DuBois Fort Visitor Center


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HHS Teddy BearThe Historic Huguenot Street Curatorial Department has developed a new exhibit in honor of the winter holiday season. On display now in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, “Gifts of the Past” features a selection of historic children’s toys from the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection.

Holiday gift giving has been a tradition for several centuries. Around the world, Christmas traditions are influenced by the legend of a gift giver rewarding children for their good behavior with toys and treats. Items on display include the first model Teddy Bear, a set of alphabet blocks, handmade wooden dominoes, and a bisque handmade doll. Continue reading

St. Nicholas Day at Crailo Historic Site Dec 6th


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The Feast of Saint Nicholas, by Jan Steen, 1660sCrailo State Historic Site in the City of Rensselaer will host a St. Nicholas Day Open House on December 6, 2013 from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm.  For the Dutch settlers of this region The Feast of St. Nicholas was a day of celebration with favorite food and treats.

Children checked their shoes, left out the previous night, for presents from Sinterklaas. In Washington Irving’s History of New York (1809), Sinterklaas was Americanized into “Santa Claus” (a name first used in the New York press in 1773) and helped popularize today’s Christmas traditions. Continue reading

Christmas at the Fort Plain Museum Dec 6th


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Fort Plain MuseumThe Fort Plain Museum will be hosting its annual “Christmas at the Fort” event on Saturday December 6, 2014 from 10 am to 6 pm. The Museum will present the Grand Opening of their new exhibit “The Children’s Attic”, which features children’s toys used in the Fort Plain area c. 1770-1920 that have been donated by residents of Fort Plain.

In addition to the authentic objects on display, the exhibit will also feature reproduction garments (both male and female) which reflect clothing worn during the colonial and Revolutionary War era. Youngsters visiting the museum will be able to try on these items and pose for a special “Photo-Op” during their visit. Continue reading

Origins of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Jingle Bells


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A-VISIT_5The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center is continuing its winter lecture series with a presentation by Sloane Bullough about the origins of the famed Christmas story, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, and the well known carol, “Jingle Bells”.

The poem was first published anonymously as “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in the Troy Sentinel on December 23, 1823, having been sent there by a friend of Clement Clarke Moore, and was reprinted frequently thereafter with no name attached. It was first attributed in print to Moore in 1837 and Moore himself acknowledged authorship when he included it in his own book of poems in 1844. By then, the original publisher and at least seven others had already acknowledged his authorship. Continue reading

Remembering The Christmas of 1945


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1945 Ad Welcome Home VetsAmong the finest Christmas seasons in America’s long history took place in 1945. We’re constantly bombarded with how special the holidays are, so it’s tough for any one year to stand out as extra special, but 1945 makes the list.

Events across the Adirondacks that year epitomized the nation’s attitude. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all about celebrating, even though the most destructive war in history had just ended a few months earlier. We often mumble mindlessly that we’re proud to be Americans. But the first post-World War II Christmas was the real deal, worthy of the word “pride.”

To set the scene, consider the events that had transpired at that time. After being mired for a decade in the worst financial collapse in our history (the Great Depression), Americans had begun preparing for what seemed inevitable: joining the war in Europe. And then, between the Pearl Harbor attack and the war’s end four years later, hundreds of North Country boys and men were killed in action. Thousands more were injured or missing. Continue reading

It’s a Wonderful Life: The Bedford Falls Historical Society


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bedford-fallsThe film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” is an apt metaphor I frequently return to and during this holiday season, it’s useful to reflect on the Bedford Hills Historical Society. What role should the Bedford Falls Historical Society have played?

I’ve offered my view of the role of historical societies in communities here at The New York History Blog before. My contention has been, among other things, that historical societies fall into a dangerous and unsupportable trap if they think of their primary function is to support tourism. Quite the contrary, they are community organizations, part of the social fabric like schools and libraries which also are chartered by the New York State Education Department. Continue reading