Tag Archives: New York State Library

Event: State Capitol and the Great Fire of 1911


By on

0 Comments

On Sunday, March 6, at 2:00 pm, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host a free lecture and book-signing by Paul Mercer and Vicki Weis, authors of the recently published book, The New York State Capitol and the Great Fire of 1911 (Arcadia Publishing, 2011). The lecture will complement a library case display at the Albany Institute of 10 historic photographs documenting the event, including the only known photo in existence of the full view of the building fully consumed by flames.

Weiss and Paul, of the New York State Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections will discuss their pictorial history of the fire, which occurred on March 29, 1911. The book combines dramatic photographs with eyewitness accounts of the fire, which severely damaged the western portion of the capitol.

Virtually the entire collection of the State Library—as well as significant holdings of the New York State Museum—were destroyed in the blaze, which struck as the Education Department was mere months from relocating to the State Education Building across the street. The book tells not only the story of the fire and its aftermath, but also recounts the history of the construction of the capitol, as well as the pre- and post-fire history of the library.

The Albany Institute of History & Art’s library case display documenting the event includes a selection of 10 rare photos, showing both exterior and interior views taken during and after the actual fire. It also includes images of many of the firemen who responded to the blaze, The display opens on March 4 and closes in June. Viewing is free and open to the public.

The March 6 lecture and book-signing is free and open to the public. Museum admission is not included. Call (518) 463-4478 or visit www.albanyinstitute.org for more information.

More New Netherland Documents Now Online


By on

0 Comments

Out of print for many years and inaccessible to researchers, the first volume of the Register of the Provincial Secretary of New Netherland is now available on the web courtesy of the New Netherland Research Center. This archive, originally comprising 49 books, contained copies of correspondence, land conveyances, court proceedings, resolutions of council,regulations, contracts, leases,and more. The Provincial Secretary was responsible for recording the proceedings of the High Council and maintaining these archives for future reference.

In the 19th century, E. B. O’Callaghan decided that the Dutch records could be organized more logically. His “improvement” was to tear the books apart and rearrange the documents according to genre. The original 49 books became 23 volumes, each containing a specific type of document.

The first volume in his scheme,Register of the Provincial Secretary 1638-41, consists of wills, inventories of estates, depositions, and other documents. O’Callaghan produced translations of the three volumes of “Registers” and the first volume of “Council Minutes.”

Some years later another translator, A. J. F. van Laer, judged O’Callaghan’s work to be unreliable and undertook a new translation. By 1911 he had completed a translation of the first volume; this and the original records were lying on his desk when a disastrous fire broke out in the State Library. Van Laer’s work was destroyed, together with the Dutch originals.

Although all the Dutch records suffered varying degrees of damage, only this volume, volume one of the colonial Dutch records, was completely destroyed. All that remains of its Dutch original is a transcription of documents 95-143, which Van Laer happened to have at his house.

To continue his projected new translation, Van Laer had to use the surviving O’Callaghan translation. However, as the Dutch originals were still fresh in his mind, he was able to correct O’Callaghan’s translation in extensive footnotes. Van Laer eventually also translated the next three volumes (“Registers” for 1642-47 and 1648-57,and “Council Minutes” for 1638-49) as arranged by O’Callaghan.

These were not published until 1973, several years after his death in 1955. Minor changes only have been made to the text and to Van Laer’s notes, and corrections are incorporated according to Van Laer’s notations.

Offensive language or situations have been put back in the text, as have several pages that had inadvertently been left out. Future volumes in this series will consist of a scan of the original document, a transcription of the Dutch, and a translation with annotations. To browse or download volume one of the register, go to:
http://www.nnp.org/nnrc/Documents/vanLaer/index.html.

New Netherland Research Residencies


By on

0 Comments

The Quinn Library Research Residency consists of specialized research in Dutch-related documents and printed materials at the New York State Library. Researchers interested in the history of New Netherland and the Dutch Colonial Atlantic World are also encouraged to apply for the special Cunningham Grant of $2,500.

The Quinn Archives Research Residency consists of up to one year in Albany, working in the rich collections of the New Netherland Institute and the New York State Archives.

Researchers interested in the history of New Netherland and the Dutch Colonial Atlantic World are also encouraged to apply for the research residency, which carries a stipend of $2,500.

The Quinn Library Research Residency Award application must be postmarked by January 28,2011 and is due January 29,2011. The Archives Research Residency Award application is due January 15,2011. Each award is for $2,500 and the successful candidate has a year from the time the awards are announced to complete his/her research.

A panel of scholars and library staff will review proposals. The panel’s decisions will be announced by April 14, 2011.

More information and the application link can be found at http://www.nnp.org/nni/Research%20&%20Education/quinn.html

If you’d like to discuss the suitability of your research topic for one of these awards, contact cgehring@mail.nysed.gov or jvenema@mail.nysed.gov or mdshattuck@gmail.com

New Expanded Saturday Hours for NYS Archives, Library


By on

0 Comments

The New York State Library and New York State Archives will institute new Saturday hours beginning on October 16th. Saturday hours of operation at the two facilities, located on the 7th and 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center (CEC) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free public parking will be available in the Madison Avenue parking lots adjacent to the CEC. Directions and parking information is available on the New York State Museum website.

This new policy for expanded access does not affect the hours of the New York State Museum, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. However if a major holiday (e.g. July 4th, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day) falls directly on a Saturday, the Library and Archives will not be open (checking their websites is advised for such holidays).

The New York State Library has served New Yorkers, New York State government and researchers from throughout the United States for more than 190 years. It is the largest state library in the nation and the only state library to qualify for membership in the Association of Research Libraries. The Library’s research collection of more than 20 million items includes major holdings in law, medicine, the social sciences, education, American and New York State history and culture, the pure sciences and technology.

The New York State Archives identifies, preserves, and makes available more than 200 million records of colonial and state government dating back to 1630 that have enduring
value to the public and private institutions and to all the people of the Empire State and the nation.

Tracing Your Ancestors to the Dutch Settlers


By on

1 Comment

Theodore P. Wright, Jr., Ph.D., Vice President of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany and a trustee of the New Netherland Institute, will discuss resources to aid in tracing your ancestors to the Dutch Settlers, specifically in an area under the jurisdiction of the Court of Rensselaerswijck prior to the year 1665 or in Esopus (Kingston, NY) prior to the year 1661. The program will be held in Librarians Room, New York State Library, Cultural Education Center, 7th floor 310 Madison Avenue, Albany 12230 on Thursday, June 17th, 12:15 – 1:15 PM Online registration is available.

The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany was founded in 1924, in connection with the celebration of the tercentenary of the settlement of the City, and was instituted to: perpetuate the memory and virtues of the individuals who resided here during the time it was a Dutch colony; and to collect and preserve records and information concerning the history and settlement of Albany and its vicinity, including genealogical records of the settlers and their descendants without regard to race, creed, or country of origin.

For more information about this program, contact Sheldon Wein or Mary Beth Bobish at NYSLTRN@mail.nysed.gov, or call at 518-474-2274.

Lecture: Sex and the City: The Early Years


By on

0 Comments

In 1633, Griet Reyniers invented the role of the Manhattan woman on the prowl, personifying the bawdy world the Dutch created when they settled in the Hudson Valley and surrounding region. On May 14th, Bill Greer explores this world in his talk “Sex and the City: The Early Years” as part of the New York State Library’s noontime programs.

Using art, literature and folklore, Bill will discuss the Dutch culture of the era and the libertine characters like Griet who transplanted it to the Hudson Valley. The wanton ways of these early settlers helped fuel a conflict between the people and their rulers, a conflict many historians argue laid the foundation for the freedom-loving society that America became.

Bill is the author of The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan, a novel of New Amsterdam. De Halve Maen, Journal of the Holland Society, describes the book as a “romp through the history of New Netherland that would surely have Petrus Stuyvesant complaining about the riot transpiring between its pages.” He is a trustee and the Treasurer of the New Netherland Institute, a nonprofit organization supporting research and education in Dutch-American history. The Institute currently is working with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center in Albany.

The talk will be in the Huxley Theater on the first floor of the Cultural Education Center, home of the New York State Library, Museum and Archives, at 310 Madison Avenue, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY. It will run from 12:15 to 1:15 on Friday, May 14th. The program is free and attendees are invited to bring lunch.

State Library Puts Revolutionary War Materials Online


By on

0 Comments

The New York State Library has a new web page that highlights and links to materials relating to the American Revolutionary War that have been scanned from print copies in the State Library’s collection.

One of the items recently digitized is “The Balloting Book and Other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in the State of New York,” which contains copies of several acts relative to Revolutionary War bounty lands and the payment given of officers and soldiers for service in the War. An alphabetical listing of the names of soldiers and officers in each regiment is provided and includes the rank and company of the soldier, the township number, the lot number, the acreage, and date of patent.

Another item recently digitized is “New York in the Revolution as Colony and State,” a compilation of papers that relate to the services performed by New York in the Revolutionary War, including muster and pay rolls of men serving in the Line, Levies, Militia, and Navy (Privateers).

In addition, several manuscript documents have been digitized. For example (shown above), “A Representation of Major John Andrè, Adjutant General to the Kings Forces in North America, Going From the Vulture Sloop of War to the Shore of Havershaw [sic] Bay in Hudsons [sic] River the Night of the 23d. of September 1780, in a Boat Which Was Sent For Him […]” is a digital copy of an engraving from a drawing sketched by Major Andrè on the morning on which he was executed.

NY Awarded $9.5M to Exapand Library Broadband


By on

0 Comments

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has been awarded $9.5 million in a matching grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to expand computer access in public libraries across New York State. The funding is being provided through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

The grant will support the State Library’s Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary project to help low-income, unemployed, underemployed, and other vulnerable populations in upstate New York. High unemployment rates, a distressed economy, and a lack of affordable public access to high-speed broadband services, education, training and technical support have been particularly acute in geographically isolated upstate communities. The grant will enable the State Library and its public library partners to purchase equipment to expand the public’s access to computers and teleconferencing.

Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary will provide more than 860 computers in 30 libraries and five mobile training centers across 41 economically distressed upstate New York counties with populations totaling 6,655,824 (2008 census). This grant will allow libraries to extend hours, provide 24/7 access to job search resources, and serve an estimated 50,000 additional users per week system-wide.

New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner said, “Libraries are vital to our communities and our economy. The increased broadband capacity, training and online resources funded through this grant will provide more New Yorkers with access to essential online information for work, healthcare, education, and citizenship as well as E-government resources.”

“What librarians and libraries do everyday is vitally important work,” said State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries Bernard Margolis. “Yet, even though New Yorkers turn to their public libraries more in difficult economic times, libraries themselves have suffered cuts and reductions to their valuable services. This grant will enable our libraries to continue to do critically important work and to expand the opportunities, education, and services that high speed Internet provides to the unserved and underserved in our communities.”

The New York State Library, within NYSED, worked with partner libraries throughout the state and the New York State Office of the Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) to submit the proposal for the grant. In order to participate in this matching grant, partner libraries must make an in-kind contribution to support the project. The total in-kind match is $5.4 million. (A list of partner libraries accompanies this release.)

“CIO/OFT is very proud to continue supporting the innovative Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary project,” said Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State CIO, Director of the Office For Technology, and Chair of the Broadband Development and Deployment Council. “In these tough economic times, access to free resources is critical for New York’s citizens. Many times, computers located in libraries are the only point of broadband contact for many citizens. Those who do not own a computer or have access to the internet often go to the library, where it is available for free. And for those who have never used a computer help is available. These grants will help ensure our libraries can continue to provide high-speed, reliable internet services and digital literacy training programs for our communities.”

The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, funded by ARRA, provides matching grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. Funded at $4.7 billion, BTOP will also advance ARRA’s objectives to spur job creation and stimulate long-term economic growth and opportunity.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. NTIA plans to announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.

The New York State Library is the largest state library in the nation. In addition to its research collection of more than 20 million items, the State Library provides leadership and support to libraries and library systems throughout the state, maintains a Talking Book and Braille Library serving more than 39,000 New Yorkers, offers 24-hour access to an online catalog, and provides residents with 24/7 access to NOVELNY, New York’s first virtual library. The State Library is located in the Empire State Plaza in Albany. For information call 518/474-5355 or go to www.nysl.nysed.gov.

NY Native American and Rev War Records Go Online


By on

0 Comments

A collection of records from New York State pertaining to American Revolution and Native American policy have been recently scanned from paper copy volumes in the New York State Library collection. The documents are full-text searchable and freely available online as PDF documents on the State Library’s website. The newly available records include documents relating to military bounty lands, and volumes of New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, which was compiled in the late 19th century from available records of the American Revolution.

The records also include several items related to Native American affairs from the 1940s. Particulalrly those of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Indian Affairs, which was established in 1943 “to make a comprehensive study of the rights and obligations of the several tribes of Indians residing upon Indian reservations within the state; to inquire into all treaties, and the nature and extent of the title to lands granted to Indians; and to inquire into all matters relevant to its investigation”.


Revolutionary War materials:

The Balloting Book and Other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in the State of New York

This book contains copies of several acts relative to Revolutionary War bounty lands and the payment given of officers and soldiers for service in the War. An alphabetical listing of the names of soldiers and officers in each regiment is provided and includes the rank and company of the soldier, the township number, the lot number, the acreage, and date of patent. Dead and miscellaneous persons laying claim to land are also listed. The book also contains Lieutenant Michael Collonly’s return of names from Continental Army muster rolls and an accompanying list of names from the return of Colonel John Lamb. Another section of the book provides the number and names of townships in the military tract. The final section lists the names and lots of Canadian and Nova-Scotia refugees.

New York in the Revolution as Colony and State

This publication is a compilation of papers located in the NYS Comptroller’s Department that were arranged and classified by James A. Roberts, Comptroller. The papers included in the volume relate to the services performed by New York in the Revolutionary War, including muster and pay rolls of men serving in the Line, Levies, Militia, and Navy (Privateers). A personal name index and indexes to “sundry persons”, pensioners and applicants for pensions and commanding officers are included in the volume. This 2nd edition was published in 1898.

New York in the Revolution as Colony and State: Supplement

This supplement is a compilation of papers located in the NYS Comptroller’s Department related to the participation of New York State in the Revolutionary War. Included in this supplement is information on aspects of the military and naval service during the War including Courts-Martial, deserters, pay, bounties, pensions, American prisoners of war, hospitals, Indians, fortifications, military Roads, military stores, clothing, provisions, privateers and ships. The volume also includes information on the civil service during the War including the judiciary, the legislature and the executive and executive bodies. This supplement was printed in 1901.

Native American materials:

Hearing before the Joint Committee on Indian Affairs
Thursday, Jan. 4, 1945 at Ten Eyck Hotel, Albany, N.Y., 10 a.m.

This hearing considers federal legislation concerning the criminal and civil jurisdiction of New York State courts over Indian Reservations in New York State. The legislation was intended to end confusion over the extent of federal and state jurisdiction over offenses committed on Indian property within New York State.

Public hearing had at Salamanca, New York Court Room, City Hall

August 4-5, 1943

This hearing was convened by the Joint Legislative Committee on Indian Affairs to gain information on the issues that arose over attempts by New York State to gain and maintain civil and criminal jurisdiction over the Seneca Nation’s Allegany Reservation, which included the city of Salamanca. The dispute arose over the authority of the Seneca Nation to cancel land leases in Salamanca for non payment. The leases had been authorized by Congress to establish villages within the Allegany Reservation.

Public hearing had at Thomas Indian School, Cattaraugus Reservation, N.Y.
Wednesday, Sept. 8, 1943

This hearing was convened by the NYS Joint Legislative Committee on Indian Affairs to gain information on the operation of the Thomas Indian School and problems with its operation caused by the conflict between the federal and state governments over what legal authority has jurisdiction on the reservation and ultimate responsibility for regulating affairs of the school.

Report of New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Indian Affairs

The New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Indian Affairs was established by Senate resolution in 1943 “to make a comprehensive study of the rights and obligations of the several tribes of Indians residing upon Indian reservations within the state; to inquire into all treaties, and the nature and extent of the title to lands granted to Indians; and to inquire into all matters relevant to its investigation”. (New York State Legislative Manual, 1943). Reports were made annually to the Legislature from 1944-1964. In addition, a supplemental report was made in 1959.

New York State Library Online Catalog Crashes


By on

0 Comments

A notice at the New York State Library’s home page reports that technical issues have crashed the state library’s online catalog. The catalog has been unavailable since yesterday. A simple notice reads: “The Library’s catalog will be unavailable until further notice. We are working with the vendor to resolve the problem and apologize for the inconvenience.” Visitors can still search the Library’s website but catalog access to collections is down.