Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas at Knox’s Headquarters December 10th


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john ellison houseTour the 1754 house of John and Catherine Ellison from 5 to 8 pm on Saturday December 10th, decorated for Christmas and staffed by Revolutionary War era costumed interpreters.

For two Christmases, John and Catherine Ellison shared their home with the officers and soldiers of the Continental Army. Over the winter of 1780-81, General Henry Knox, his wife Lucy and their children Henry and Lucy were there, while two years later it was General Horatio Gates and his military family of aides de camp who shared in the season’s festivities. Continue reading

How The McEntees Spent Christmas


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McEntee- Christmas in the Catskills,1867“I went out after a Christmas tree and some laurel, through seas of mud,” wrote Jervis McEntee on Christmas eve, 1881, “to the place where I always go on the cross road between the Flat-bush and Pine bush roads. It rained a part of the time and turned into a snow storm on our return.”

Another year, McEntee’s usual places for a tree were so wet that he settled for a small hemlock on the side of the hill where he lived. It was a hill that offered a panoramic view of the entire village as well as the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River. His father James, an engineer who had helped build the nearby Delaware and Hudson Canal, had built the first house on the hill and the family still lived there. Continue reading

First Christmas Card On Exhibit In Albany


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First Christmas Card in HistoryThis Christmas season the Albany Institute of History & Art will be exhibiting America’s first commercially printed Christmas card. Printed in Albany around 1850, the card is on loan to the Albany Institute from the Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections in England as part of The Capital Region in 50 Objects exhibition. This is the only known copy of the card to survive and this is the first time the card has been on view in the United States. Continue reading

This Holiday Season Record Your Family’s Oral History


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Oral History Home InterviewsBy combining technology with time-honored techniques of interviewing and storytelling, this holiday season can be an ideal time for people to hear and preserve eyewitness accounts of life experiences from loved ones for future generations, says an historian at Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History.

“One thing almost all Americans share is regret that when we were children, we did not listen better when our parents, grandparents and older relatives or friends told stories about people and places alive only in their memories,” said Lois Myers, associate director of the institute. “Such oral traditions may be the most fragile links to our family history.”

With sound or video recordings, people can uncover and preserve the origins of family rituals — such as holiday celebrations, common sayings or even recipes, Myers said. Continue reading

Twelfth Night Celebration at Crailo Historic Site


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0104141631aTwelfth 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.

On Saturday January 10, 2015 Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer, NY, will welcome visitors for its annual Twelfth Night Celebration from 4 until 7 pm. Continue reading

The Lake Placid Legacy of Willis Wells


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WillisWellsNYHAmong the folks who played an important role in Northern New York regional history and personified the traditional Christmas spirit was Willis Wells of Lake Placid.

Long before Willis gained attention, his father, Duran, a native of Peru, New York, had become a North Country fixture, operating a peddler’s cart in the post-Civil War years. From the shores of Lake Champlain to the Paul Smith’s area, he supplied homes and farms with the daily needs of life, an important function in those early days when stores visited many of their customers. Continue reading

History Podcast: Christmas in Upstate NY


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The Historians LogoThis week’s episode on “The Historians” podcast includes a story about Christmas in the declining mill town of Nero, NY from my book You Can’t Go Wrong. I’ll also read a recent Daily Gazette column on Christmas through the years in Amsterdam, NY. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/

Coming up next week, will be Adirondack historian Phil Terrie. Also coming in January an interview with the author of the book Orphan Train (Harper Collins, 2013) and a conversation with Maria Riccio Bryce about the re-issue of the CD of her musical production Hearts of Fire, the story of the 1690 Schenectady massacre.
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Dutch History of Christmas Treats With Peter Rose


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ben_franklins_worldUndoubtedly, you have heard or read Clement Moore’s famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (1822), but have you ever wondered where the traditions of stockings, presents, and cookies come from? And what about jolly old Saint Nick? Who was he and why do we call him Santa Claus?

In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Peter G. Rose, culinary historian of Dutch foodways in North America and author of Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats (SUNY Press, 2014), joins me to discuss the origins of Santa Claus, cookies, and more in the United States.  You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/009 Continue reading

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