“Dreaming of Timbuctoo,” the display put together by John Brown Lives! back in 2001, reveals the story of families that came to the Lake Placid area in the years before the Civil War, to establish farms and gain voting rights. Continue reading
“Dreaming of Timbuctoo,” the display put together by John Brown Lives! back in 2001, reveals the story of families that came to the Lake Placid area in the years before the Civil War, to establish farms and gain voting rights. Continue reading
There are serious issues which need to be addressed and few if any forums for discussion. It is astonishing how many people in the history community are not aware of the Path through History project or who have already given up on it on being anything credible – “an elegant show,” “the fix is in,” “I never heard of it.” In this post, I would like to share some things which are being done and suggest some things which should be done. Continue reading
One of the types of posts which I have writing is conference reports. The purpose is to share with people who have not attended a conference what I have learned by attending one. In this post I wish to deviate slightly by reporting on a conference I did not attend but from which relevant information still is available. The conference is the annual meeting of the American Historical Association just held in New Orleans.
January is the traditional time for looking forward and backwards according to the two-faced Roman god Janus. In that spirit, I wish to start 2013 with a look back on some developments in local and state history by focusing on Westchester County both because I live there and because I happen to go through an old folder of Westchester material as I was cleaning up. Continue reading
It is with deep regret and heavy heart that I have the onerous task to inform you that once again the world has come to an end. The passing of our beloved planet marks the third time in this still young century when we endured this ignominious ending to our long history.
First came the secular Y2K ending, then the Christian rapture in 2011, and now the Mayan recycling of 2012. The ending of the world has become as frequent as the storms of the century. We scarcely have time to catch our breath before once again the world will fall over its cliff into an abyss from which it can never recover. Continue reading
Are your kids interested in history? Do they like to learn about people and events of the past? Do they like to pretend to be those people or live in that time period? Then the multi-county 4-H Living History program might be for your kids. This is an excellent program for home school youth or public schooled children, who are ages seven and older, to explore their heritage, community, and expand their knowledge of local history. Continue reading
The essay on public history in the newly published second edition of the Encyclopedia of Local History, provides some fresh insights. The Encyclopedia, edited by Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen, a long-time leader in the field, and Amy H. Wilson, an independent museum consultant and former director of the Chemung County Historical Society in Elmira, is a rich source of fresh insights on all aspects of local history. Continue reading
Experience the Civil War in New York with the new exhibit at the New York State Museum and representatives from related historic sites on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at a free Historyhostel / Teacherhostel event sponsored by the Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education. Continue reading
To celebrate the National Day on Writing, October 20, THV invites students to write about places they love in the Hudson River Valley. With “Writing about Place,” THV joins the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Writing Project, and others to encourage
our desire to write.
The “Writing about Place” contest is open to K-12 students who live and/or attend school in the 11-county Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. Elementary students may submit poems in any style. Secondary students are invited to write essays or other creative nonfiction; middle school submissions may be up to 500 words and high school writing up to 750 words.
All writing will be considered for publication on THV’s blog and will be shared with staff at the place written about. Samples from last year include a story called Lost in Muscoot, poetry, and an essay about the Sloop Clearwater called Tug of War.
Three students–one each from an elementary, middle, and high school–will receive up to $750 to help cover the cost of visiting the place they love with classmates. Additional prizes are offered by the contest’s cosponsors: Cary Institute, Hancock Shaker Village, Hudson River Recreation, John Jay Homestead, New Castle Historical Society, Olana State Historic Site,
Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Scenic Hudson, and the Sloop Clearwater.
Student work will be read by teachers, site staff, THV’s coordinator, and representatives of NYS DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, and the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College. Readers will look for evocation of place, a
vivacious voice, and use of conventions appropriate to each student’s age and development.
Writing must be received by October 31. Word documents or PDFs, along with signed submission forms, should be e-mailed to Info@TeachingtheHudsonValley.org. More information about the “Writing about Place” contest, including the submission form, is available online.
The Larry J. Hackman Research Residency program is intended to support product-related research in such areas as history, law, public policy, geography, and culture by covering research expenses. Award amounts range from $100 to $4,500. The deadline for receipt of application materials is January 15, 2013.
Academic and public historians, graduate students, independent researchers and writers, and primary and secondary school teachers are encouraged to apply. Projects involving alternative uses of the State Archives, such as background research for multimedia projects, exhibits, documentary films, and historical novels, are eligible. The topic or area of study must draw, at least in part, on the holdings of the New York State Archives.
Information on the 2013 Larry J. Hackman Research Residency Program is available on-line at www.nysarchivestrust.org or by contacting the Archives Partnership Trust, Cultural Education Center, Suite 9C49, Albany, New York 12230; (518) 473-7091; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching the Hudson Valley (THV) and the Albany Institute of History & Art invite teachers, 4H and scout leaders, home schoolers, PTA activists, and others working with children and teens to drop in for a free place-based education resource fair at the Albany Institute between 3:30 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, October 16.
Erika Sanger, education director at the Albany Institute pointed out that, “Many educators are familiar with field trips offered by local museums, historical societies and sites, parks, and environmental groups in our region. Less familiar are the wealth of artifacts and primary sources, staff expertise, traveling trunks, in-school programs, and other resources sites are eager to share.”
Superintendent Sarah Olson, of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, added, “This is a great way to connect teachers and others with place-based resources in their own backyards.”
The fair is designed to give educators from sites in the Capital area an opportunity to talk with teachers and youth group leaders one-on one and describe what they have to offer. At the same time, teachers and others will be able to explain what would be helpful to them and their students.
Light refreshments will be served and there will be poster giveaways. While the event is free, interested parties are asked to RSVP to Info@TeachingtheHudsonValley.org or 845-229-9116, ext. 2035, with their name and school or organization.
The fair is made possible, in part, by the Hudson River foundation, www.HudsonRiver.org.
John Brown Lives! and North Country Community College have announced that Maine artist Robert Shetterly will be present for the unveiling of his portrait of abolitionist John Brown during Freedom Now, Freedom Then: The Long History of Emancipation, a two-day program designed for students, educators and the general public on November 30-December 1, 2012. The events will take place in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, New York.
Brown is one of the newest additions to the Americans Who Tell the Truth project that Shetterly began 10 years ago using portraits of contemporary and historical figures and their own words to offer a “link between a community of people who struggled for justice in our past and a community of people who are doing it now.”
With this portrait, Brown joins Shetterly’s pantheon of more than 180 Truth Tellers that includes Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth and Mark Twain from the nation’s past, and Bill McKibben, James Baldwin, Michelle Alexander, and Jonathan Kozol who are addressing some of humanity’s gravest concerns today.
Shetterly’s portraits have been exhibited across the country. His painting of Brown will be unveiled on Friday 30 November at North Country Community College, Saranac Lake campus, at the opening program of “Freedom Now, Freedom Then: The Long History of Emancipation”. Several other Shetterly paintings will also be exhibited at the college and at the other venues where events will be taking place.
Geared for area high school and college students, their teachers and professors, the Friday program of “Freedom Now, Freedom Then” will also feature independent scholar Amy Godine and Kenneth Morris, Jr., the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass.
Godine will talk about young men and women with North Country roots who have heeded the call for human freedman, including slain civil rights worker Andrew Goodman and criminal justice reformer Alice Green. A poster including Goodman, Green and four other civil rights champions done by Lake Placid artist Nip Rogers will also be on display.
Following in his forebear’s footsteps, Morris will talk with students about slavery in Douglass’ time and today, when more people are trafficked and held in slavery than at any other time in human history. Twenty-seven million people are enslaved in nearly every country on Earth, including the United States where State Department estimates that 15,000 women, men and children are trafficked each year. Morris will also discuss service-learning opportunities for students to join the 21st century abolitionist movement to end slavery once and for all.
Glory, the Edward Zwick film starring Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick, will be shown on Friday night (venue to be determined). Civil War Memory blogger Kevin Levin will lead a discussion immediately following the screening.
A cornerstone of John Brown Lives!’ work is to provide teachers in and outside of the classroom with high-caliber opportunities to engage with historians, scholars, anti-slavery activists and artists in an intimate setting. Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid will be the venue for a full day of workshops, presentations and conversations on the complex history of emancipation for educators, librarians, and the general public and will feature: Dr. Gloria Marshall-Browne on freedom and the Founding Documents; Dr. Margaret Washington on women and emancipation; Civil War Memory blogger Kevin Levin on film and emancipation; Magpie, the folk duo, on emancipation in song; Artist Robert Shetterly on art to promote courageous citizenship; Kenneth Morris, President of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, on engaging youth, congregations and communities in emancipation today; and Dr. Franny Nudelman on emancipation our texts and textbooks.
David W. Blight, preeminent scholar on the U.S. Civil War, will give the closing keynote address, “The Historical Memory of the Civil War and Emancipation at 150” on Saturday night in Lake Placid (venue to be determined). Dr. Blight is the Director of the Center for Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University and the author of numerous award-winning books and publications including American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.
For more information, presenter bios, and a complete schedule of workshops, film and music programs, visit John Brown Lives! on Facebook or contact either Martha Swan, Executive Director John Brown Lives!, or Cammy Sheridan, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at North Country Community College. Swan may be reached at 518-962-4798 or email@example.com. Sheridan is available at 518-891-2915, ext. 1271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a time of breaking bread and sharing stories among people with similar interests. We are a social species so bringing people together is good and it has advantages as people plan for collaborative activities in the future. Continue reading
As noted on September 17 here at the online news magazine New York History, the State Education Department has released a draft version of the “New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework” for review and comment until October 11 [online]. There is a link there for people to submit comments. After revision, the document will go to the Board of Regents for adoption as state education policy. Continue reading
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor recently received an $8,000 grant from the National Park Foundation that will enable 1,472 students from 27 schools in eight school districts across New York State to participate in educational field trips along the Erie Canal this fall.
“We have tremendous canal historic sites from Buffalo to Albany, but the cost of bringing students to them has become prohibitive for many districts. This grant removes that barrier so that students can experience firsthand the innovation and impact of the Erie Canal,” said Beth Sciumeca, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
In addition to Ticket To Ride funding, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor secured an additional $5,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to enhance the field trip program. These funds are being used to enlist the assistance of the Albany Institute of History & Art, which is developing a web-based curriculum guide and conducting teacher training and post-visit evaluations.
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is one of 35 national parks and heritage areas to receive a grant from the National Park Foundation, the national charitable partner of America’s National Parks. With support from Disney, the Ticket To Ride program provides financial resources for transportation and in-park educational programming that make field trips to national parks and heritage areas possible for schools across the country.
Looking for funding? This competitive grant program makes awards ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 and is aimed at funding projects that serve to advance the goals and strategies of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan.
Proposals related to historic preservation, conservation, recreation, interpretation, tourism, and community development will be considered. Eligible organizations and requested projects must be based within Corridor boundaries and include nonprofits, municipalities, and federally recognized Native American tribes.
The application deadline is Friday, October 12, 2012. A full grant description and application can be found online: www.eriecanalway.org/get-involved_grants-fund.htm. Awards will be announced in January 2013.
The program is administered by the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, in partnership with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission.
It is time for me to put up or shut up. My previous two posts have been about the Path through History project. I said the conference was a good first step but that the project was at the proverbial fork in the road. Many people in the historic community have witnessed these periodic forays into the world of cultural heritage tourism and our leery about another such effort no matter how sincere. I have pointed out some of what has been done already by different organizations throughout the state and raised the issue of where this project fits in given what has occurred.
The Path through History project held its long-awaited kickoff conference on August 28 in Albany. An estimated crowd of 250-300 people attended the all-day program which included lectures, breakout sessions, regional reports, a reception at the Executive Mansion … and great food. Continue reading
Governor Cuomo has announced the appointments of Marie Howe to serve as the 10th New York State Poet and Alison Lurie as the 10th New York State Author. Howe and Lurie will serve from 2012 to 2014.
“Marie and Alison represent the rich talent and diversity that New York has to offer,” Governor Cuomo said. “Both of them have inspired New Yorkers all across the state, and their works are major assets to us all. They are truly deserving of this honor, and hopefully their great work will now reach a new and even wider audience.”
Donald Faulkner, Director of the NYS Writers Institute, and ex-officio chair of the review committee for the Walt Whitman Award for State Poet of New York, said, “Seldom have I encountered a poet with such a sense of honesty, intimacy, and candor in her work. Marie Howe writes with refreshing openness about love, loss, and redemption. Hers is a voice that will continue to grow in its magic and sheer bravery.”
William Kennedy, Executive Director of the NYS Writers Institute, and ex-officio chair of the review committee for the Edith Wharton Award for State Author of the State of New York, said, “Alison Lurie is a wise and masterful teller of tales that often center on marital strife, domestic disorder, and academic absurdity–comedies of manners of our time but with a deeply human strain. She is a superior prose stylist with a wickedly satirical talent.”
About Marie Howe, New York’s 10th State Poet:
Marie Howe succeeds Jean Valentine as NYS Poet and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Billy Collins, John Ashbery, Sharon Olds, Jane Cooper, Richard Howard, Audre Lorde, Robert Creeley, and Stanley Kunitz.
Marie Howe said, “I’m honored, surprised, and delighted by this news. New York State has been my life long home: the rivers, the ocean, the maples, the old dismantled elms … I’ve grown up in love with the voices that have been singing from this land: the gorgeous din: the poets who have spoken and the poets to come.”
Marie Howe is the author of three books of poetry and is co-editor of a highly-praised anthology of writing on AIDS. Her poetry is widely admired for seeking answers to metaphysical questions in ordinary day-to-day experience. In Howe’s work, little incidents and inconsequential memories help to shed light on the nature of the soul and self, life and death, love and pain, sin and virtue.
Howe’s first collection, The Good Thief (1988) was selected by Margaret Atwood for the National Poetry Series. In making her selection Atwood described the poems in the volume as “intensely felt, sparely expressed, and difficult to forget; poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” Howe’s second book, What the Living Do (1997), is an elegy to her brother who died of AIDS. Publishers Weekly named it one of the five best poetry collections of 1997. Howe’s third collection, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2008) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
In 1994 Howe published an anthology (coedited with Michael Klein) In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic, which presents a wide range of voices speaking out on the impact of the disease.
Born in Rochester, Howe worked as a reporter for a Rochester newspaper and taught high school English before taking up poetry as a serious pursuit at the age of thirty. She is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the recipient of the Lavan Younger Poets Prize of the American Academy of Poets as selected by poet Stanley Kunitz in 1988, and National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships.
Of her work, Stanley Kunitz, the first named State Poet of the State of New York, wrote, “Marie Howe’s poetry is luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life. Her long, deep-breathing lines address the mysteries of flesh and spirit, in terms accessible only to a woman who is very much of our time and yet still in touch with the sacred.”
The advisory panel that recommended Howe as state poet included poets Sydney Lea (Poet Laureate of the state of Vermont), poet Mark Doty, former state poet Jean Valentine, and poet and Writers Institute Director, Donald Faulkner.
For more information on Marie Howe, visit www.mariehowe.com
About Alison Lurie, New York’s 10th State Author:
Alison Lurie succeeds Mary Gordon as NYS Author and joins a group of eminent authors who have served in the position, including Russell Banks, Kurt Vonnegut, James Salter, Peter Matthiessen, William Gaddis, Norman Mailer, E. L. Doctorow, and Grace Paley.
Alison Lurie said, “I am delighted and honored by this award from the state where I have spent most of my life, a state that has been the home of so many great writers as well as enthusiastic and dedicated readers.”
Alison Lurie is the author of ten novels, a short story collection, and several children’s books and works on nonfiction. She is widely regarded as the Jane Austen of contemporary American letters for her nuanced understanding and lifelike portrayal of social customs and the relationship between the sexes. Lurie’s witty and satirical novels examine middle class life, particularly of characters from an academic milieu in small college towns. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt declared in the New York Times that Lurie “has quietly but surely established herself as one of this country’s most able and witty novelists.”
Lurie is best known for her novels The War Between the Tates (1974), which was hailed as a classic of its time and place, and Foreign Affairs (1984), which received the Pulitzer Prize. Her other acclaimed novels include Love and Friendship (1962), Real People (1969), The Last Resort (1998) and Truth and Consequences (2005).
A champion of children’s literature, Lurie has also written both children’s books and scholarly nonfiction works examining the importance of children’s literature to global literacy and culture.
Lurie grew up in White Plains, NY and graduated from Radcliffe College. She taught at Cornell University from 1968 until her retirement as the Frederic J. Whiton Professor of American Literature in 1998.
The advisory panel that recommended Lurie as state author included the present laureate, novelist Mary Gordon, novelists Dave Eggers and Lorrie Moore, and novelist and Executive Director of the New York State Writers Institute, William Kennedy.
For more information on Alison Lurie, visit www.alisonlurie.com.
About the State Poet and Author:
The State Poet and Author are selected for two-year terms by the NYS Writers Institute, located at the University at Albany, SUNY. The choice for State Author and Poet is based on a substantial body of work of notable literary merit.
The NYS Writers Institute of the State University of New York, located at the University at Albany, was established as a permanent state-sponsored organization through legislation signed into law in 1984. The Writers Institute provides a milieu for writers, both renowned and aspiring, from all over the world to come together for the purpose of instruction and creative exchange.
In 1985 the governor and state legislature empowered the Institute to award the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction Writers (State Author) and the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poets (State Poet) to authors whose career achievements make them deserving of New York State’s highest literary honors.
Upon the recommendation of two advisory panels of distinguished writers convened under the aegis of the Institute, the governor awards the citations every two years to one fiction writer and one poet of distinction. Throughout their two-year terms the state laureates promote and encourage fiction writing and poetry throughout New York by giving public readings and talks within the state. The State Author and Poet are not paid, and there is no cost to the state for the designation.
NYS Poets and their terms of service are listed below.
NYS Authors and their terms of service are listed below.
More information on the NYS Poet and Author and the NYS Writers Institute can be found at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/
Photos: Alison Lurie (left) and Marie Howe.
The Prison Public Memory Project, focused on making prison history relevant as a guide to the future, today launched a website and blog (www.prisonpublicmemory.org) featuring its work in Hudson, NY a small town that is home to an historic prison and the site of the Project’s pilot effort.
Hudson Correctional Facility, a medium-‐secure state prison for men that opened in 1976, was originally built in the 1800’s as the House of Refuge for Women, the first reformatory for women in New York (1887 – 1904), and then transformed into The New York State Training School for Girls (1904-‐1975) where famed jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and other girls found to be delinquent by the courts were sent to be reformed.
Since 2011, Prison Public Memory Project founders and a growing team of contributors based in the Hudson Valley and around the state have been interviewing Hudson area residents including prison ‘alumni’; conducting research in local and state archives and libraries; and developing educational, interpretive and cultural activities to be offered in Hudson and on the website later this year and
Visitors to the website can view current photos of former prison workers and inmates and listen to audio clips from their oral histories; see old photographs and maps of the prison; and read prison documents and letters from the 19th and 20th centuries. Short articles tell about ordinary as well as extraordinary prison-‐related events and people that influenced local, state, and national history. One section of
the website invites visitors to become history detectives helping the Project team answer questions and find evidence and visitors are encouraged to contribute in other ways.
Even before its public debut, the website-in-progress grabbed the attention of a few people who offered their own stories and questions and photos. One woman wrote in “My mother’s stories of the (NYS Training) school (for Girls) were brutal, I want to find out if I have another brother or sister. maybe someone has information to help me.” Another woman wrote ” i was sent too hudson in 1964. it wasnt a very nice place to be. but i made my bed so i had to lay in it… once you got use to being there it wasnt, a bad place… it made me a better person some of these young girls now should have a place like that it taught you respect for your self and others.”
Project founder/director Alison Cornyn anticipates more public input as the site is officially launched and word-of-mouth spreads. “Prisons, especially old prisons like the one in Hudson, have touched thousands of lives over the course of their history, in both profound and ordinary ways. Using history, art, dialogue and new communications technologies, The Project will craft safe spaces and new opportunities for people from all walks of life – including those who lived and worked inside the walls ‐ to connect with the past and each other and engage in conversation, learning, and visioning regarding the role of prisons in communities and in society today and in the future”, said Cornyn, a Brooklyn based
interdisciplinary artist and new media producer whose previous projects have garnered numerous awards.
Illustration: New York State Training School For Girls.