This week on “The Historians” podcast Radio Boston news producer Jamie Bologna of WBUR-FM interviews Bob Cudmore about Cudmore’s years as a radio reporter in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, when GE was starting to downsize there. Listen to the podcast here. Listen to WBUR’s finished reports on the story here. Continue reading
The Saratoga National Historical Park (Saratoga Battlefield) will show Revolutionary War army trades at work, on Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Armies had a lot more to do than fight in the Revolutionary War. They employed and contracted with a variety of professional tradesmen and women who worked to provide and repair supplies needed by the troops. Blacksmiths made and repaired ironwork; Tailors sewed and fixed clothing; Woodworkers built and fixed wheels and artillery carriages; Tinsmiths made artillery cartridge casings; and Cordwainers made shoes for the troops. Continue reading
In his short novel, Washington Square, Henry James wrote about New York women of the Gilded Age; elegant ladies who strolled the sidewalks of the city’s shopping district, Ladies’ Mile.
These New York women admired window displays of shirtwaists, an elegant button-down blouse with rows of tiny and elaborate tucks. The shirtwaist was favored by New York women as a symbol of chic modernity. But the silhouette of fashionable ladies came at a price paid by their downtrodden sisters, immigrant women living in the city’s tenements. These newest New York women worked long hours for low wages in the city’s notorious sweatshops. Continue reading
The Center for the Study of Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society is holding the Diane and Adam E. Max Conference in Women’s History, which will take place on March 6.
The day-long event, occurring during Women’s History Month, will explore the garment industry and its historical impact on women. Continue reading
Recently the Treasury Department has announced its intent to place a prominent woman of historical importance on the U.S. currency. There is no one who is more deserving of this honor than Frances Perkins, a New York woman, who was probably the most significant and important female government official of the 20th century.
As Secretary of Labor throughout President Franklin Roosevelt’s four terms and the first woman ever to hold a cabinet position, Frances Perkins designed most of the New Deal Social Welfare and Labor Policies, such as social security, the minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and protections for unions, and reshaped America. Continue reading
Shifting alliances can make strange bedfellows and surprising adversaries. The push to integrate the New York City Plumbers Union as the Civil Rights Act was cobbled together 50 years ago shows how our perceptions and expectations can change with time.
Not long before the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, construction began on what is now the Hunt’s Point Food Distribution Center, the largest food distribution complex in the world. Full integration of the union workers at Hunts Point, supported by many, might have derailed or undermined this important legislation. Continue reading
Fans of the popular PBS television series can enjoy a “Downton Abbey experience” at Staatsburgh State Historic Site (also known as Mills Mansion) this fall.
The site will present two different tours that compare Staatsburgh to Downton Abbey. Staatsburgh, the turn-of-the-century home of socialite Ruth Livingston Mills and her husband, industrialist Ogden Mills, was a real-life American version of the British drama. Continue reading
How and where did the North American and Caribbean colonies fit within the British Empire?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Abigail Swingen, professor of history at Texas Tech University and author of Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire
(Yale University Press, 2015), leads us on an exploration of how colonists and British imperial officers viewed the colonies and their place within the British Empire during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/036
A “little short of madness.” That is how Thomas Jefferson responded when two delegates from New York approached him with the idea to build the Erie Canal in January 1809.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Janice Fontanella, site manager of Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in Fort Hunter, New York, joins us to discuss the Erie Canal, its construction, and the impact that this waterway made on New York and the United States. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/028
Modestly but eloquently, Sue Fraczek described her life as an Amsterdam mill worker, “When I went to work, I was scared to death. It was my first time in a carpet mill. It was hot. It was noisy.”
Fraczek was surprised to see herself as a young mill worker in a still picture prominently featured in “Historic Views of the Carpet City,” the WMHT-TV documentary on Amsterdam first shown in 2000. Co-producer Steve Dunn chose the picture of the young woman at a yarn twisting machine to symbolize the documentary that he and I produced. Continue reading