Was there a conservative Enlightenment? Could a self-proclaimed man of learning and progressive science also have been an agent of monarchy and reaction?
Cadwallader Colden (1688–1776), an educated Scottish emigrant and powerful colonial politician, was at the forefront of American intellectual culture in the mid-eighteenth century.
While living in rural New York, he recruited family, friends, servants, and slaves into multiple scientific ventures and built a transatlantic network of contacts and correspondents that included Benjamin Franklin and Carl Linnaeus. Over several decades, Colden pioneered colonial botany, produced new theories of animal and human physiology, authored an influential history of the Iroquois, and developed bold new principles of physics and an engaging explanation of the cause of gravity. Continue reading
Can history help us solve the present-day political and cultural crisis in the United States?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate whether the past might help us with the present with Rachel Shelden, author of Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War (UNCPress, 2013). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/078
After a nationwide search, the board of trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum has appointed a new Executive Director.
“It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Jim Letts as our new Executive Director,” Anthony Ianniello, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum said in a statement issued to the press. “While serving as the CEO of the Saratoga Regional YMCA for the past 12 years, Jim has had amazing success, growing the Y’s membership from 6900 to 26,900 while raising many millions of dollars through capital campaigns to support and expand the Y’s facilities and activities. We think he is a perfect fit for our extremely active, rapidly growing museum and are thrilled to have him on board for our busy summer season!” Continue reading
Plans are being developed for commemoration of at least three significant historical events next year – the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State, the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, and the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I. These are all exciting opportunities to call attention to New York’s history.
But the New York historical community might consider going even further with these three events. In fact, the historical community might consider making 2017 a special year for New York history. Here are a few possibilities: Continue reading
What role did the Bible play in the development of British North America and early United States?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we address this question by exploring the place of the Bible in early America. Our guide for this exploration is Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of In the Beginning Was the Word The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 (Oxford University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/073
Nina Esperanza Serrianne’s new book America in the Nineties (2015, Syracuse University Press) takes a step back to the decade of the 1990s, from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
This book delves into the post–Cold War and pre–War on Terror era which was a unique moment in American history regarding both foreign and domestic policies. Continue reading
The Museum of the City of New York is presenting a new exhibit, “Picturing Prestige: New York Portraits, 1700-1860,” an ensemble of iconic New Yorkers presented through portraits, which were commissioned as status symbols and painted by the very best artists a young nation had to offer. Continue reading
In Nicholas Miraculous: The Amazing Career of the Redoubtable Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler (Columbia Univ. Press, 2015), Michael Rosenthal explores the life of Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler (1862–1947).
To some, like Teddy Roosevelt, he was “Nicholas Miraculous,” the fabled educator who had a hand in everything; to others, like Upton Sinclair, he was “the intellectual leader of the American plutocracy,” a champion of “false and cruel ideals.” Ezra Pound branded him “one of the more loathsome figures” of the age. Whether celebrated or despised, Nicholas Murray Butler was undeniably an irresistible force who helped shape American history. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast, jewelry designer Aja Raden has an account of how jewels have affected the course of history. Raden is author of Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession and How Desire Shapes the World (Harper Collins, 2015). You can listen here.
“The Historians” podcast is also heard each week on RISE, WMHT’s radio information service for the blind and print disabled in New York’s Capital Region and Hudson Valley. The podcast is recorded at Dave Greene’s Eastline Studio. Continue reading
“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