As the recently appointed historian for the City of Ogdensburg I was stunned at the amount of historical artifacts and research that I had inherited that somehow was crammed into a very small space. I had always been interested in local history and in a previous life had worked as an archivist at the Ogdensburg Public Library, until teaching called me.
Twenty years later I was given the task of not only preserving Ogdensburg’s history, but making it accessible to others. Continue reading
Aerial photos can be helpful research tools for historians. Google Earth, which provides access to a vast collection of aerial photography stretching back 20 years, is just a sampling of the many aerial photos that have been made since French balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as “Nadar”, took a photo over Paris, France in 1858.
Much of New York Sate was photographed with the camera pointing straight down, an oblique presentation that is less useful to some historians. An effort to capture all of New York in an orthophotographic perspective (corrected to a uniform scale) started in 1936 with a contract to C.S. Robinson of Ithaca, NY. These images are particularly valuable resources for historians of all stripes. Continue reading
The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia is launching “LGBT Stories: A Collecting Project,” a new website that focuses on Jewish Americans in the barrier-breaking movement for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights during the twentieth century and beyond.
“The courageous story of the LGBT civil rights movement is a vital part of America’s ongoing search for freedom and NMAJH is proud to celebrate and share this history – with the public’s active participation,” says Ivy Barsky, the Museum’s Chief Executive Officer and Gwen Goodman Director. Continue reading
The New-York Historical Society has received a grant of $304,470 from the Leon Levy Foundation to preserve and process its institutional archives, which document the institution’s 210-year history. “The two-year initiative will improve scholarly access to the archives and open a trove of material for a broad range of research possibilities,” an announcement sent to the press said.
The records document various aspects of the New-York Historical Society, encompassing collecting, exhibitions, research, scholarly and social activities, and even day-to-day operations. As part of this two-year project, New-York Historical is expected to arrange and describe over 1,600 linear feet of records, converting them from a modestly used, in-house resource to publicly accessible research collection. Continue reading
Cambridge University Press and the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) have announced their partnership to launch a new, peer-reviewed, open access, thematic journal, for the history of science. A call for proposals for the first volume of BJHS Themes has been released, seeking thematic collections of papers that animate, provoke and inspire the scholarly community.
Each volume of the journal will be free to read online from the date of its publication. By launching the journal in this way, the BSHS and Cambridge will encourage widespread engagement with the important ideas each volume will present, stimulating public and scholarly debate that will enhance our collective understanding of science in history.To fully promote onward exploration of each volume’s theme, the journal will use a Creative Commons license that permits re-use and dissemination. Continue reading
Steve Seim is a volunteer researcher attempting to catalog cemeteries established for residents of asylums, poorhouses, poor farms, prisons, orphanages, and similar institutions – in other words, cemeteries for the unclaimed.
Most of the individuals laid to rest in these cemeteries were forgotten in their own lifetimes. It is his hope that they will not be forgotten to history. Continue reading
Staatsburgh State Historic Site has launched a blog about the mansion and estate, the Mills Family, their guests and staff, the site’s collections, and the Gilded Age.
“A tour of the house just scratches the surface of the rich history, the many personalities and fascinating events that occurred here,” says site manager Pam Malcolm. “Through the blog we can offer those interested in the site and the Gilded Age a closer look at the Mills Family and other members of New York’s turn-of-the-century elite society, Gilded Age life, and the work done behind the scenes by historians and conservators to preserve this history at Staatsburgh. We hope everyone will visit www.staatsburghstatehistoricsite.blogspot.com to take a look. We welcome suggestions from interested readers for future research and blog posts.” Continue reading
The Future of Museums Conference, a collaborative global conversation about technology, museums, and the future will be a free, online event held from 10am – 5pm US-Eastern Time on July 24th, 2014, and will feature keynote speakers and crowdsourced presentations.
Attendees can expect to learn best practices to implement in their museums, and will hear real-world examples of innovative practices in the field. Continue reading
The hand-written, photocopied flyer from 1980 asks a question and offers a response: “Gay at UB? Well, you are not alone!!”
The word “not” is underlined four times.
The flyer, as well as other materials in the University at Buffalo Libraries’ latest online archive, “LGBT at UB,” documents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history at the university from the 1970s to the late 1990s. Continue reading
Last week The Nation published its first installment of “Back Issues: Guided tours through the archive of America’s oldest weekly,” a new blog to be written by Richard Kreitner (Twitter: @richardkreitner).
The blog’s goal is to use the magazine’s historic archives (dating back to 1850) to cast light on news of the day. The inaugural post, “Come Explore the Treasure Chest That is Our 1950 ‘Spring Books’ Issue,” was published to coincide with publication of The Nation’s biannual books issue. Continue reading
Event submission for the New York State’s Path Through History Weekends Calendar is now available. The Path Through History Weekends will be held this year on June 7-8 and 14-15.
In 2012 Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the “Path Through History” program, a statewide tourism and economic development initiative that links historically and culturally significant sites, locations, and events via roadside signage, an online calendar, and two Path Through History Weekends in June. Continue reading
Governor Al Smith helped block the construction of a highway along the shore of Tongue Mountain, but it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who was instrumental in protecting the east shore of Lake George, documents in the Apperson-Schaefer collection at the Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College in Schenectady suggest.
With funding from the bond acts of 1916 and 1926, much of Tongue Mountain and many of the islands in the Narrows were now protected, permanently, as parts of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
But by 1926, John Apperson, the General Electric engineer who dedicated much of his life to the protection of Lake George, had become concerned about the future of the east side. Continue reading
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives has announced the availability for research of two collections of records of 20th century museum officials.
These are among 15 collections being arranged, described, and cataloged over 27 months with funding from the Leon Levy Foundation. Work on the approximately 300 linear feet of records by two full-time archivists began in January 2013. Finding aids are now available online for: Continue reading
The staff of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Archives has digitized more than a century of The Polytechnic student newspaper. The Poly archive is available online through the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Digital Collections, and can be searched by date or keyword.
The archive offers a window into the way Rensselaer students saw themselves and their Institute through history. Continue reading
The Guide to Dutch Manuscripts is now available as a searchable database on the New Netherland Institute‘s website.
The Guide is an online catalog of primary source material located in repositories throughout the United States. The purposes of the Guide are to 1) describe relevant documents and collections and 2) provide researchers with their location. Continue reading
MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, has partnered with BillionGraves to launch a global crowdsourcing initiative to help preserve the world’s cemeteries.
BillionGraves is a free iOS and Android application that lets users easily photograph and document gravestones and record their GPS locations. The gravestone photographs are then expected to be transcribed by volunteers on the BillionGraves website, resulting in searchable digital data. The app is expected to be available in 25 languages and support Gregorian, Hebrew and Julian dates. Continue reading
Big Data is a controversial subject featured in the news almost daily, from the NSA spying programs to the rise of corporate data brokers. For better or worse this data exists, and the high value of information to both governments and private interests alike, make it look as though the practice is here to stay in one form or another. But, it is not the entry of data collection into the many aspects of our lives that I am exploring here; rather it is how this data can be mined in the future by historians. Continue reading
You may be able to add a few more branches to your family tree thanks to “Green-ealogy” – a new genealogical research program launched by the Green-Wood Historic Fund and historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Staffed by five trained researchers, “Green-ealogy” provides unprecedented access to Green-Wood’s institutional records and historical collections of documents and photographs dating back to 1840. Launched on a trial basis almost a year ago, the initiative helps family members, genealogists, and others discover documents and images that have not seen the light of day for generations. Continue reading
Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, has announced the availability of an index to more than 10 million New York City birth, marriage and death records, spanning 1866-1948, for free online at Ancestry.com/NewYork.
The new index, made possible through a relationship with the New York City Department Of Records/Municipal Archives, enables people exploring their family history to discover and learn more about their possible New York roots. Continue reading
A new Sound and Story app is one component of A Year of Sounds and Stories: 365 Tales from Unexpected Places, a regional story campaign that aims to share, tell, and preserve the stories of everyday people in the Hudson Valley.
Using the app on your iPhone or iPad you can share your story while listening to new and archival stories from the Hudson Valley. Continue reading