The position of New York State Historian was created in 1895. The Historian was appointed by the Governor until 1911, when the position was moved to the State Education Department. Since that time, it has been located in a number of offices including the Office of State History (1966-1976), and since then, in the State Museum.
State Historians’ job descriptions and priorities have varied over the years as well. The first State Historian, Hugh Hastings (1895-1907), had been a New York Times reporter and concentrated on documentary publications. The next one, Victor Hugo Paltsits (1907-1911), a librarian and expert in colonial history, was known for meticulous editing of published editions and laid the basis for expanding the position into the area of archives. Alexander C. Flick (1923-1939) edited and led the publication of a multi-volume history of the state. Louis L. Tucker (1966-1976) held the titles of State Historian and Assistant Commissioner for State History in the Office of State History and, in the early 1970’s, was also Executive Director of the New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Continue reading
The 2015 New York State Education Department/Office of Cultural Education Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core Conference will take place August 11 and 12, 2015. The Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core annual conference has a target audience of classroom teachers, school, public and academic librarians, public historians and representatives from museums, archives, public television, NYS historic sites, performing arts and other cultural institutions.
The purpose of the conference is to develop an understanding of the Common Core with the goal to create collaboration among classroom teachers and cultural institutions. Continue reading
The NYS Department of Education is about to hire a new State Archivist to replace Christine Ward who left the position in August.
News about the change has only come via a single announcement at www.statejobsny.com, which provided just one week for applications (that week ended Monday). Continue reading
The NYS Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education’s second Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core conference will be held in Albany on Tuesday, August 12, and Wednesday, August 13, 2014.
Proposals for an interactive lab in one of six curriculum areas are invited: The Arts, English Language Arts, Math, Science, Language other than English (LOTE), or Social Studies. Lessons or curriculum used during the lab must be aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards and must demonstrate inquiry through the use of primary sources and/or other cultural resources, such as historic objects, multimedia objects, maps, works of art, or natural resources such as plants, soil or rocks. Continue reading
Paul Grondahl at the Albany Times Union is reporting that the New York State Library is rapidly discarding tens of thousands of items in the stacks of the old State Library beneath the State Education Building.
State Librarian Bernard Margolis, who is overseeing the reduction of the stacks, blames years of State Library budget cuts and an increase in state Education Department paperwork. Opposition from State Library employees, who remain anonymous out of fear for their jobs, has gone unheeded.
Here are some of the details from Paul Grondahl: Continue reading
It’s true. November is New York State History Month.
In 1997, New York’s legislature added Section 57.02 to the state’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law and 1) designated November as New York State History Month, 2) defined the purpose of the month as the celebration of state history and the recognition of the contributions of state and local historians, and 3) authorized the Education Department to undertake projects to recognize the month (while the legislation failed to identify any specific projects, it did suggest student essay contests as one possibility). Continue reading
If there is one thing historians should know, it is that “things change.” After all, without change, history would have no meaning. And historians would have no jobs. Face it. Everyone may love history. But the reason some of us collect paychecks, practically speaking, is that we perform the unique and essential service of helping people understand history—not so we can all venerate the past but so that we can change the way things are and make history ourselves. Continue reading
In the past decade, the New York State Legislature desired to create three anniversary commemoration commissions. The Commissions were necessary to bring together persons qualified by experience to coordinate and facilitate commemorations and activities.
In 2002 and 2004, the Hudson – Fulton- Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, and the French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission (FIW) were created. In the past three years, three bills to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 (1812) with a Commission have been vetoed by Governors Patterson and Andrew Cuomo.* Continue reading
The posts here at New York History demonstrate the robustness of New York’s historical enterprise and the creativity and energy of people working in the field. But the posts also show the need for more leadership, coordination, resources, and new approaches. This post lists some sources from beyond New York that might provide useful perspectives for discussions about strengthening the historical enterprise in our state. (It is an expanded version of the list in my article in Public Historian last August.) Continue reading
Another one bites the dust. That was the message of a recent article in the New York Times (Mourning a Cultural Hub Disguised as a Used Bookstore, November 28, 2011) about the closing of a book store in Metuchen, NJ. As one patron of the bookstore noted of the owner, “(H)e turned it into a kind of a clubhouse for the community [where everyone knew your name] and somehow it worked.” Continue reading