Tag Archives: New York State Library

NYS Library Offers Civil War Noontime Programs


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The NYS Library will offer two noontime programs in January. On Thursday, January 14th, Christopher Morton will present “A Banner Decade: Ten Years of the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project.” Morton, who is the Flag Project curator, will discuss the history of the Battle Flag Collection and highlight the Flag Project’s accomplishments to date while showcasing a number of interesting and historic flags from the collection. And on Friday, January 22nd, historian Michael Russert will present “The Edward McPherson Farm and the Battle of Gettysburg.” Russert will discuss how the battle, fought on the McPherson farm and on surrounding land on July 1st, 1863, had a life-changing effect not just on the family that lived on that farm, but on rural Adams County of Pennsylvania and its inhabitants. The programs will be held in the Librarians Room, 7th floor, Cultural Education Center, Madison Avenue, Albany. Those interested in participating can register online here.

A Banner Decade: Ten Years of the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project

In 2000, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) initiated a preservation campaign and developed plans for archival long-term housing of the New York State Battle Flag Collection administered by the Division of Military & Naval Affairs (DMNA). This inter-agency partnership, known as the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project, is responsible for the flag collection’s conservation, storage, research, and interpretation. The year 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the Flag Project. Over the last decade, OPRHP textile conservators from the Peebles Island Resource Center, with assistance from the Flag Project curator, have preserved and placed into temporary storage over 500 flags from the collection and have provided educational and interpretive services for the interested public. Christopher Morton, the Flag Project curator, will discuss the history of the Battle Flag Collection and highlight the Flag Project’s accomplishments to date while showcasing a number of interesting and historic flags from the collection.

The Edward McPherson Farm and the Battle of Gettysburg

War often has a profound effect on the civilian population in its path. This talk will examine how the battle fought on the land of the Edward McPherson farm and on surrounding land on July 1st, 1863 had a life changing effect on the family that lived on that farm. The talk will make use of primary documents such as census records, personal remembrances, and military accounts to personalize how families in the path of warfare are altered. The focus will be on the antebellum history of the property and how the Battle of Gettysburg changed the rural Adams County of Pennsylvania and its inhabitants. Historian Michael Russert will give this presentation.

NYS Library Awards 2009 Residencies, Invites Applications


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The New York State Library has announced the recipients of the 2009 Research Residency grants for research in New York State history. In addition, researchers interested in conducting original research at the New York State Library may now apply for the 2010 program, which will include four Cunningham residencies of $1,000 and at least one Quinn fellowship of $2,500.

The New York State Library has awarded six grants for research in New York State history in 2009 through the Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Research Residency Program in New York State History and Culture.

Four grants were awarded through funds provided by a trust fund endowment created by a bequest from the estate of Anna K. Cunningham. The Cunningham fund was established in 1997 to benefit scholars using the unique collections of the New York State Library to study the history of New York. The funds celebrate the sisters’ lifelong interest in the study of New York State history.

Anna Cunningham (1906-1996) was Supervisor of Historic Sites of New York State, as well as serving on the boards and councils of many state and national historic preservation organizations.

Mary Cunningham (1917-1986), whose personal papers are among the collections of the State Library, held various executive positions in the New York State Historical Association, was a founder and the first editor of American Heritage magazine, and was a founder of the Yorkers program for teaching and involving young New Yorkers in the State’s history.

Through generous support from the Doris Quinn Foundation, the New Netherland Institute and the New York State Library made two additional special Cunningham grants of $2500 each for specialized research in Dutch-related documents and printed materials at the New York State Library.

2009 Recipients

Grant recipients in the 2009 Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Research Residency Program in New York State History and Culture are:

Nancy Siegel
Associate Professor of Art History
Towson University
Carlisle, PA
Project title: To elevate the mind: female instruction, women artists and the Hudson River School.

Margaret Lasch Carroll
Asst. Professor of English
Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
Project title: Influence of 19th century Bishop John McCloskey and 20th century Gov. Martin Glynn on the Irish ethnicity and Attitudes of Albany, NY.

Robert Chiles
University of Maryland
Project title: The gubernatorial administration of Alfred E. Smith and its importance to U.S. political development In the years preceding the New Deal.

Susan Ingalls Lewis
SUNY New Paltz
Project title: Research for a college text book on the history of New York State.

The 2009 Cunningham-Quinn fellows are:

Kim Todt
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14850
Project title: Transformation of the Mercantilist system from 1630 through 1790 in New Netherland and Colonial New York.

Andrea Mosterman
Boston University
Project title: Sharing Spaces in a new world environment: African-Dutch contributions to North American Culture.

Four Cunningham residencies and one Cunningham-Quinn residency are awarded annually by the New York State Library. A second Cunningham-Quinn residency was awarded for 2009 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Dutch era in American colonial history.
2010 Applications

Academic and public historians, graduate students, independent researchers, writers, and primary and secondary school teachers are invited to submit applications for the 2010 Cunningham and Cunningham-Quinn residencies. Applicants must conduct original research at the New York State Library.

Four Cunningham residencies of $1,000—and at least one Quinn fellowship—will be awarded in 2010. Applications must be postmarked by January 29, 2010. A panel of scholars and library staff will review proposals. The panel’s decisions will be announced by April 2, 2010.

Applications and information on how to apply for the 2010 Cunningham and Cunningham-Quinn research residencies can be found here: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/library/researchres.htm

New Netherland Project Featured in New Documentary


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The New York State Library’s New Netherland Project is featured in the documentary “Uncovering America’s Forgotten Colony: The New Netherland Project.” The documentary focuses on the work of Dr. Charles Gehring and his colleagues and highlights more than 30 years of uncovering America’s forgotten Dutch colonial history through the transcription and translation of the official archives of New Netherland. The documentary “Uncovering America’s Forgotten Colony: The New Netherland Project” was produced by Mogul One Productions in partnership with the New Netherland Institute. DVDs are available for $19.95, at http://ForPeopleWhoThink.com. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to support future work of the New Netherland Project.

One of the most unique history projects in America, the New Netherland Project provided the documentation and inspiration for Russell Shorto’s recent best seller, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America.

A program of the New York State Library, the New Netherland Project has been working since 1974 to translate and publish the official 17th-century Dutch colonial documents of one of America’s earliest settled regions. Originally created under the sponsorship of the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York, the New Netherland Project has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the New York State Office of Cultural Education. Translated documents and other work by the New Netherland Project can be accessed at www.nnp.org.

Also based on the work of the New Netherland Project, the exhibit Light on New Netherland is the first to introduce adults and children to the scope of the 17th century colony of New Netherland. Previously on view at the State Museum in Albany, the exhibit will tour the regions once encompassed by New Netherland, appearing at venues to include the GaGa Arts Center in West Haverstraw, New York; the Museum of Connecticut History at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford; the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities in Cold Spring Harbor, New York; Federal Hall in Manhattan; and the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.

The book Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters (Mount Ida Press) further explores the history of America’s earliest colony with a collection of twelve essays. Designed to appeal to a general audience and scholars alike, the book features an opening chapter by Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World: the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. The book was published by the New Netherland Institute and Mount Ida Press in April 2009.

NYS Library Offers Noontime Public Programs in May


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The NYS Library will offer three noontime programs in May. On Wednesday, May 13th, librarian Bill Schilling will present “Patents,” an introduction to the patenting process in the United States. On Wednesday, May 20th, local authors Frankie Bailey and Alice Green will present “Wicked Albany,” a look at the effect that the Volstead Act of 1919, which established Prohibition, had on Albany. Then on Wednesday, May 27th, architect James Comegys and engineer Benjamin Marra from the NYS Office of General Services will discuss the State’s efforts to achieve sustainable building and LEED certification in “Green Building.” All programs are free and open to the public.

Patents (Wednesday, May 13th, 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.)

In the field of invention and design, a United States patent is the grant of an exclusive property right to the inventor for a fixed period of time. This class is an introduction to the patenting process in the United States. It will cover basic concepts about patents and the statutory requirements for obtaining them. It will also include a hands-on introduction to doing a preliminary patent search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s web site using the U.S. patent classification system. Senior Librarian, Bill Schilling will present this program. This program will be held in the Computer Classroom on the 7th floor of the Library and registration is required. No food or drink is permitted in the room.

Wicked Albany (Wednesday, May 20th, 12:15 – 1:15 p.m)

Albany, New York, experienced massive upheaval when the Volstead Act of 1919 established Prohibition. Crime already proliferated in the capital of the Empire State, with rival political machines stooping to corruption and organized crime flexing their heavy-handed powers of persuasion. As it did nationwide, Prohibition in Albany served merely to force alcohol-related commerce underground and lawlessness and violence to the forefront of city activity. Local authors Frankie Bailey and Alice Green chronicle this evolution in Albany, relying on archival records and examining the greater social impact of the city’s moral decline. This program will be held in the Huxley Theater on the 1st floor of the Cultural Education Center.

Green Building (Wednesday, May 27th, 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.)

What does green mean in terms of building design? The attributes of green building design will be discussed by architect James Comegys and engineer Benjamin Marra from the Design and Construction group of OGS. They will describe how the OGS agency’s goal of sustainability in all state operations is reflected in building projects. Case studies of buildings for New York state agencies seeking LEED or green building certification will be presented.

Songs from the Piano Bench (Wednesday, May 27th, Noon – 2:00 PM)

Listen in while enjoying your lunch or lend your voice as singers perform a variety of songs, including popular folk, rock-and-roll, Victorian parlor, Civil War, Sesame Street, etc. Many selections are chosen from the more than 35,000 pieces of sheet music in the New York State Library Collection. Music and words are provided and instrumentalists are welcome. This session is held monthly in the 4th Floor Gallery of the State Museum. For more information, e-mail kstorms@mail.nysed.gov or call 518-474-2274.

Sanford Family Diaries Now Available Online


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The Sanford collection, which was donated to the NYS Library last summer, consists of nine manuscript journals, a small group of letters, and a manuscript recipe book. Nathan Sanford (that’s him at left) was Chancellor of NYS from 1823-1826, a NYS Assemblymember and Senator, US attorney general, and a US senator. The family was well connected and Nathan’s descendants married into other prominent families such as the Gansevoorts, Stuyvesants, and Motts.

Most of the journals were kept by Nathan’s son, Robert; covering his days as a student at Union College to 1881, they provide a wealth of detail into the daily lives of New York’s upper class. The other journals were kept by female family members. The recipe book is marvelously descriptive and comprehensive and would be of interest to anyone researching aspects of the domestic sphere in the 19th century.

A Van Rensselaer Era Program at NYS Library


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Friends of the New York State Library are presenting a program entitled “The Van Rensselaer Era” that features Stefan Bielinski and Charles Gehring with senior librarian Fred Bassett. The program, which unfortunately costs $35 per person, will be held this Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 1:00 p.m at the Huxley Theatre of the Cultural Education Center (Madison Avenue between Eagle and Swan Streets in Albany).

Stefan Bielinski, founder and director of the Colonial Albany Social History Project (a model community history program at the New York State Museum), will describe and depict the individual members of the Van Rensselaer family, Albany’s “First Family” within the city context for the period 1700-1860 (1:00-1:55 p.m.).

Dr. Charles Gehring, Director, New Netherland Institute and translator of New York Colonial Dutch documents, along with senior NYS Librarian Fred Bassett will display ten of the most significant of the original Dutch documents in the New York State Library’s Van Rensselaer Manor Papers collection dating from 1630 concerning Rensselaerswyck. These scholars will describe the historic importance and relevance to the people of Albany, Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties of the Van Rensselaer Manor and the Van Rensselaer family (2:00-3:00 p.m.).

To reserve seats send send $35 per person by Monday, April 20, 2009 to:

The Friends of the New York State Library
P.O. Box 2247
Empire State Plaza Station
Albany, NY 12220

Ticket will be held at the Huxley Theatre on April 23 after 12:15 p.m; Tickets at the door will be $40.

State Library Puts Military History Records Online


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In 1895, Governor Morton appointed a state historian whose duties were “to collect… edit, and prepare for publication all official records… and data, relative to the colonial wars, war of the revolution, war of 1812, Mexican war and war of the rebellion.” The New York State Library recently digitized the State historian’s 1st Annual Report (1895), 2nd Annual Report (1896) and 3rd Annual Report (1897). The 2nd Annual Report includes Volume 1 of the Colonial Muster Rolls for 1664-1760 (Appendix H); the 3rd Annual Report includes Volume II of the Colonial Muster Rolls (Appendix M), as well as an index of names contained in the Colonial Muster Rolls (pages 899-1130). The annual reports of the State Historian are among the many historical documents that the New York State Library has made freely available online. [Link]

Sir William Johnson Papers on CD Revised


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Twenty volumes of papers and correspondence of Sir William Johnson have been released in a revised second edition digital CD format by the New York State Library, which holds the papers. Johnson was British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New York from 1755 through 1774. He is best remembered for his diplomatic achievements among the various Native American tribes and as a military leader during the French and Indian War. This set of primary documents dating from 1738 to 1808 provides a fascinating glimpse into the pre-Revolutionary interactions among the British, French, and Iroquois empires.

The Sir William Johnson Papers were originally published in 14 volumes of print, including a general index, from 1921 to 1965. Valuable for colonial research, the earliest six volumes have been out-of-print for years. The newly released CD is a revised and expanded second edition of an earlier CD released in 2007. It includes the complete 14 volume set along with the “Calendar of the Sir William Johnson manuscripts in the New York State Library” compiled by Richard E. Day in 1909. The
CD also features several enhancements, including: more than 100 newly digitized illustrations from the New York State Library collections; dozens of new color digital photographs of locations and scenes from the Mohawk Valley and Lake George appropriate to Johnson’s legacy, including Johnson Hall and Fort Johnson; improved accuracy of scans to nearly 98%; electronic indexing allowing simultaneous searching of the entire collection; and bibliographic consistency in volume and page numbering with printed volumes.

The CD is available from the New York State Library for $20. To purchase a copy, contact Aimee Pelton in Documents and Digital Collections via phone at (518) 474-7492 or email apelton-AT-mail-DOT-nysed-DOT-gov.

Movies and The Streets of Albany: 2 Public Programs


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The New York State Library is hosting two noontime talks in December. “From Nickelodeons to Cell Phones: A Brief History of the Motion Picture” on Wednesday, December 3rd, and “Gutters and Street Paving: Elkanah Watson, the New England Migration, and the Improvement of Albany, New York in the Early Republic” on Wednesday, December 10th.

From Nickelodeons to Cell Phones: A Brief History of the Motion Picture

Bruce G. Hallenbeck, author of the upcoming book “Comedy Horror Films: A Chronological History” and director of the independent feature film “The Drowned,” will present a freewheeling history of the movies, from the earliest silent films of Thomas Edison and others to today’s Hollywood blockbusters. The focus of the program will be on how films and filmmaking have changed and evolved over the past hundred-plus years and of how cinematic cycles come and go. A discussion of how digital filmmaking has “democratized” the process will also be included. The talk will be interspersed with numerous film clips from such classics as Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Blackmail,” and Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast.” This program will be held in the Huxley Theater on the first floor of the Cultural Education Center.

Gutters and Street Paving: Elkanah Watson, the New England Migration, and the Improvement of Albany, New York in the Early Republic

In 1800, the culture of the New England migrants collided with the culture of Dutch Albany’s burghers, thus changing the city forever. Albany’s most vocal migrant, Elkanah Watson, settled in Albany in 1789 and criticized Albany and its Dutch citizens for their backwards ways. In attempting to make Albany a competitor in both the domestic and European trade, Watson launched many campaigns to “improve” Albany by encouraging New England-branded improvements to the city’s landscape such as street lighting, paved streets, better wharves, and proper street drainage and gutters. Elizabeth M. Covart, 2007 research resident at the New York State Library, will examine Albany’s changing public spaces in the Early Republic and the true impact that Elkanah Watson and his fellow New England migrants had on Albany and its longtime Dutch-American residents.

NY State Library Research Grants Announced


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The New York State Library has announced the availability of grants for research in New York State history. The Cunningham Research Residency Program was established to benefit scholars using the unique collections of the New York State Library to study the history and culture of New York. The New Netherland Institute and the Library will also make a Quinn-Library grant for specialized research in Dutch-related documents and printed materials at the New York State Library. Four Cunningham residencies ($1,000) and at least one Quinn fellowship ($2,500) will be awarded in 2009.

The Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Trust Fund

Funds for the research residencies are provided by a trust fund endowment created by a bequest from the estate of Anna K. Cunningham on behalf of her sister, Mary, and herself. It is a fitting celebration of the sisters’ lifelong interest in the study of New York State history. Anna Cunningham (1906-1996) was Supervisor of Historic Sites of New York State, as well as serving on the boards and councils of many state and national historic preservation organizations. Mary Cunningham (1917-1986), whose personal papers are among the collections of the State Library, held various executive positions in the New York State Historical Association, was a founder and the first editor of American Heritage magazine, and was a founder of the Yorkers program for teaching and involving young New Yorkers in the State’s history.

Quinn-Library Research Residency For 2009

Through generous support from the Doris Quinn Foundation, the New Netherland Institute (www.nnp.org) and the New York State Library will make a special Cunningham grant of $2500 in 2009 for 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 encouraged to apply for these funds.

Eligibility requirements and application information are available online here.