Tag Archives: SUNY Albany

The Lenape: Lower New York’s First Inhabitants

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Dr. David Oestreicher will present a lecture, The Lenape: Lower New York’s First Inhabitants on Sunday, November 8, 2:00-4:00 PM at the SUNY Albany Center for Arts and Humanities. For over twelve thousand years, the region that is now lower New York, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware was home to groups of Lenape (Delaware Indians) and their prehistoric predecessors. By the late 18th and early 19th centuries, however, after a tragic series of removals had taken them halfway across the continent, the broken remnants of these tribes finally came to settle in parts of Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Ontario. By the late 20th century, only a handful of elders could still speak their native language, or had knowledge of the traditional ways.

In this lecture, David M. Oestreicher combines archaeological and historical evidence with decades of firsthand ethnographic and linguistic research among the last Lenape traditionalists. He gives a brief overview of the prehistory of the Mid-Atlantic region, describes how the Lenape and their neighbors subsisted at the time of European contact, why they ultimately left their homeland, and where they are living today.

Dr. Oestreicher touches upon the major historic events involving the Lenape, including the arrival of Henry Hudson — contrasting Hudson’s own words with Lenape oral traditions collected by Oestreicher and others over the centuries. He relates how the Lenape language, ceremonies, religious beliefs and life ways were impacted by removal from their traditional homeland.

The presentation includes a slide (or powerpoint) program featuring native artifacts, maps, illustrations and photographs of various life activities, and images of some of the most important tribal traditionalists — the last repositories of their culture. The talk concludes with an account of efforts today by the Lenape to reclaim their ancient heritage and revive long abandoned traditions. Those attending the presentation will have a unique opportunity to learn about our region’s original inhabitants — not the romanticized Lenape of popular mythology and recent new-age literature, but a special people as they really are.

For further information about this event, please contact:

E. James Schermerhorn
The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany
Phone: (518) 459-0608


This lecture is a part of the New York Council for the Humanities Speakers in the Humanities program.


Suny Albany’s Hudson 400 Schedule Details

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Throughout the fall semester SUNY Albany will be marking the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain’s voyages of exploration with a series of events. The events are all free and located at four venues – UAlbany (a few locations), Albany Institute of History & Art, New York State Museum, and WAMC Performing Arts Center–The Linda.


Wed. Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall
Reception and Book Signing to Follow
The Hudson: A History

Tom Lewis, Professor of English, Skidmore College Lewis will speak on his 2005 book, The Hudson: A History, a grand retelling of the river’s past featuring well-known and little-known stories of explorers, traders, soldiers, artists, politicians, writers,
Industrialists and environmental crusaders. Filmmaker Ken Burns said, “What Tom Lewis has so wonder-fully done here is willed to life one of the greatest rivers in our history, insisting that it offer up deep secrets and best stories.” In addition to authoring The Hudson and other books, Lewis has consulted on, written, and produced a number of documentary films for public television. Co-Sponsors: Archives Partnership Trust, New York State Writers Institute, and UAlbany offices of the President and Provost.

OCTOBER (State Humanities Month)

Tues. Oct. 6, 7:30 – 8:45 p.m. at the UAlbany Main Campus, University Hall
Women’s Work: Building the 19th-Century Hudson Valley Economy
Susan Ingalls Lewis, Associate Professor of History, SUNY New Paltz

Ranging from cooks, collar-workers, and canawlers to farm wives, factory operatives, and female entrepreneurs, 19th-century working women were vital to the economy of the Hudson Valley and Empire State. Lewis will discuss numerous women who might once have been labeled “exceptional” because of their occupations, but can now be recognized as typical members of 19th-century communities. Lewis teaches courses in New York State history, American women’s history, and American social and cultural history. Her publications include Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, New York, 1830-1885.

Sat. Oct. 10, 12 p.m. at UAlbany Main Campus, Earth Sciences 241
Saratoga, a Battle on the Hudson that Changed the World
Warren Roberts, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of History, UAlbany

This battle fought 25 miles above Albany has been called the most important battle of the last 1,000 years. Persuaded by the victory at Saratoga that the Americans might prevail against Britain, France joined the American Revolution. The staggering cost to France in doing so contributed to a fiscal crisis that led to the French Revolution. Thus these first two great modern revolutions were connected by the Battle of Saratoga. Roberts will consider its historical importance, discuss key players, and reflect on some of its absurd, even comic aspects. Roberts’ forthcoming book is Early Albany Stories, 1775-1825. For more on UAlbany – Community Day visit: http://www.albany.edu/ualbanyday/

Sat. Oct. 17, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. at the Albany Institute of History & Art
The Hudson-Mohawk Region: Silicon Valley of the Nineteenth Century
P. Thomas Carroll, Executive Director, Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway

Almost two centuries before the apricot orchards of Santa Clara County turned into the fabled Silicon Valley, a network of self-conscious regional developers in the Upper Hudson made the Greater Troy area a similar mecca for technological entrepreneurs. This lecture will illustrate what they did and explain why it happened so similarly to
what occurred much later in California. Carroll is an American cultural historian who specializes in the history of science and technology. Beyond his role at the Gateway, Carroll is also Executive Director of RiverSpark, New York State’s first Heritage Area. Free admission to lecture; charge to tour galleries.

Tues. Oct. 20, 7:30 – 8:45 p.m. at the UAlbany Main Campus, University Hall
The Hudson River and America’s Transportation Revolution
David Hochfelder, Assistant Professor of History, UAlbany

This presentation will focus on the pivotal role of the Hudson River as a transportation corridor from the days of Britain and France vying for power in Colonial America to the new nation’s expansion as a commercial powerhouse through the building of the interstate highway system after World War II. Hochfelder will discuss the Hudson during the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars, the Erie Canal era, and Albany’s days as a rail center. He will also cover the importance of the Northway.
Hochfelder specializes in the history of American technology and public history.

Thurs. Oct. 22, 6:00 – 7:15 p.m. at the Albany Institute of History & Art
Albany, the River and the World
The Honorable John J. McEneny, NYS Assemblymember ( 104th Assembly District)

From fur trading to nanotechnology, Albany is a player on the world stage. Its strategic location on the upper Hudson made it a safe place for a state capital and a major gateway for commerce. McEneny will tell the story of Albany, the river, and the world through the people and power brokers who define its place in history. A fifth generation Albanian, McEneny has had a distinguished career in public service including over 16 years in the Assembly. He is a well-known teacher, speaker, and author regarding local history-related fields. His book, Albany, Capital City on the Hudson, is in its 27th year.

Tues. Oct. 27, 7:30 – 8:45 p.m. at the UAlbany Main Campus, University Hall
Dangerous Waters: Pirates and Piracy on the Hudson, 1600-1928
Gerald Zahavi, Professor of History, UAlbany

Zahavi will survey the history of piracy on the river since Henry Hudson’s exploration led to the river’s growth as a major commercial conduit for Euro-American trade. Like all such corridors, the Hudson drew its share of plunderers. As local 17th-century Albany records noted, “pirates in great numbers infest the Hudson River at its mouth
and waylay vessels on their way to Albany. . . .” Zahavi will offer glimpses into the many colorful and sometimes violent individuals who transformed the river into “dangerous waters,” even into the 20th century. Zahavi directs UAlbany’s Documentary Studies Program.


Sun. Nov. 1, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. at the New York State Museum’s Huxley Theater
Picturing History: The Artwork of Len Tantillo
Len Tantillo, Artist

The artist’s paintings capture the dynamic life and look of the Hudson River Valley from pre-Colonial days and Dutch settlement through the era of steamboat travel and commerce. Tantillo will discuss his interpretation of the past through research and the creative process as well as his exhibition of 60 works in Hoorn, Holland for the Hudson Quadricentennial. Tantillo has been a full-time artist for 25 years, creating numerous historical and marine paintings, many focusing on the Hudson River. In 2004 he was the subject of a national public television documentary, “Hudson River Journeys.” Tantillo was commissioned in 2005 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to paint “Dutch House, 1751 (Bethlehem, NY).”

Fri. Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. at WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio, The Linda
Once Upon The Hudson: A Quadricentennial Concert
The Hudson River Ramblers and The Barefoot Boys

Come along on a journey of words and music to discover the majestic beauty and rich history of “America’s First River.” Guided by skilled storytellers and musicians, you’ll encounter Henry Hudson and Robert Fulton, sloop skippers, canawlers, and jamcrackers. You’ll hear Native legends, colonial tunes, folk songs, sea shanties, and stories of river imps and revolutionary war battles-spanning 400 years and 300 miles of
life. The Hudson River Ramblers are master storyteller Jonathan Kruk and folk singer Rich Bala. Performing together since 1990, they transform historic material into interactive, family-friendly shows throughout NYS. Pete Seeger called their CD, Revolution on the River “a great way to learn about those bloody times!” The Barefoot Boys–Rich Bala, Tom White, and Rick White–are a folk trio specializing in traditional songs of the Hudson/Catskill region. Taconic Weekend commented on the
“timeless songs played with expertise, feeling, and a sense of humor.”

Sun. Nov. 8, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. at the New York State Museum’s Huxley Theater
The Hudson River on Film: Commerce, Nature, and the American Horizon
William Husson, Lecturer, Dept. of Communication, UAlbany

The Hudson River is well known as both a commercial waterway and an environmental treasure. Perhaps less well recognized but no less important is the river as a symbol of American values, dreams and aspirations. Husson will focus on the way in which documentary and fiction films have explored these three features of the Hudson – the
commercial, the environmental, and the symbolic. Husson’s teaching and research interests relate to visual communication, mass media effects and communication theory.

Thurs. Nov. 12, 6:00 – 7:15 p.m. at the AIbany Institute of History & Art
Ancient Peoples along the Mohicanituk
Christopher Lindner, Archaeologist in Residence, Bard College

This survey of twelve thousand years, long before Europeans arrived in the Hudson Valley, will concentrate on fishing practices as well as evidence of both hunting and the gathering of wild plants. Lindner will introduce a new outdoor exhibit on ancient use of the estuary, located on the Greenway Trail at Bard. He recently excavated large
5,000-year-old campsites at the college and the Rhinebeck town park. As Director of Bard’s Archaeology Field School, he has conducted several summer digs researching the Guinea community, an early 19th-century settlement of African-American freed and fugitive slaves in Hyde Park.

Sun. Nov. 15, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. at the New York State Museum’s Huxley Theater
Beauty, the Boss, and the River: Planning Albany’s Riverfront, 1900-1920
John Pipkin, Distinguished Service Professor, Dept. of Geography and Planning, UAlbany

The Delaware & Hudson Building is the most visible reminder of a political struggle over Albany’s riverfront in the early 20th century. Civic pride was affronted by the visual squalor of the river basin and Boss Barnes began a modest beautification program. Engaging a wide range of stakeholders, the project grew in scope and moved from a brief flirtation with City Beautiful ideology to a recognizably modern style
of urban policy and planning. Pipkin’s research interests include American urbanism, 19th-century landscapes, geographic thought, and planning history.

Thurs. Nov. 19, 8:00 p.m. at the UAlbany Main Campus, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading and Talk
Fred LeBrun, Journalist

One of the defining voices of the Times Union for more than forty years, LeBrun has served the newspaper as suburban beat reporter, city editor, arts editor, restaurant critic and metro columnist. LeBrun will talk about his “Hudson River Chronicles,” recounting an 18-day adventure downriver from Mount Marcy to New York Harbor in 1998 – an event that is still commemorated by a richly documented website
(www.timesunion.com/SPECIALREPORTS/hudsonriver/main.asp). Sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.


Tues. Dec. 1, 7:30 – 8:45 p.m. at the UAlbany Main Campus, University Hall
Walker Evans and the Cultural Landscape of the Hudson Valley
Ray Sapirstein, Assistant Professor of History and Documentary Studies, UAlbany

The most influential art photographer of the 20th century, Evans has been identified primarily as a photographer of the U.S. South working for the Farm Security Administration during the Depression era. However, Evans made many of his earliest images as an artist in the Hudson Valley, developing a distinctive panoramic vision. Sapirstein teaches 19th- and 20th-century cultural history, visual studies, and documentary video production. He conducted the research for his talk as a fellow in
the Walker Evans Archive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

SUNY Albany Announces 400th Events

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Throughout the fall semester SUNY Albany will be marking the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain’s voyages of exploration with a three-part Hudson 400 program that includes an art exhibition, a “talks and concert” series, and a conference. The formal kick-off occurs tonight (September 15) from 5 to 7 p.m., at the University Art Museum. The museum will hosts the opening reception of “Uncharted” a new exhibit featuring works from ten artists inspired by themes of travel and discovery. To view the entire Hudson 400 program visit: http://www.albany.edu/outreach/hudson_400/hudson_400_events.html

CFP: 11th Annual Researching New York Conference

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Founded by history graduate students, Researching New York, an annual conference on New York State History, is one of the major endeavors of the History Graduate Student Organization and the History Department. This is a great opportunity for graduate students to present a paper on ANY aspect of New York State history.

Even if your primary work does not focus on New York State history, often it is possible to work from a seminar paper or a small section of your work that has connections to a New York issue or theme. You can contact us at resrchny@albany.edu if you have any questions about the presenting your work at the conference. The program Committee will review the proposals in July and you will be notified whether your
paper or panel is accepted shortly thereafter. You can see previous programs at the Conference Web site, http://nystatehistory.org/researchny.

The organizers of the 11th Annual Researching New York Conference invite proposals for panels, papers, workshops, roundtables, exhibits, documentary, and media or multimedia presentations on any facet of New York State history–in any time period and from any perspective. The conference will be held at the University at Albany on November 19th and 20th, 2009.

To mark the upcoming Hudson-Champlain Quadricentennial, for Researching New York 2009, we encourage submissions that speak to the conference theme, 400
years of Exploration: the Hudson-Champlain Corridor and Beyond. We especially invite proposals that explore and interpret not only the exploits of Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain, but the many kinds of exploration that have taken place in the ensuing 400 years of New York State’s rich and diverse history-including consideration of how we remember, celebrate, interpret, and commemorate historical events.

Researching New York brings together historians, researchers,archivists, museum curators, librarians, graduate students, teachers, Web and multimedia producers, and documentarians to share their work on New York State history. Presentations that highlight the vast resources available to researchers, as well as scholarship drawn from those resources, are encouraged.

Proposals are due by June 28, 2009. Full panel proposals, workshops, roundtables, exhibits, film screenings and media presentations are welcome. Partial panels and individual submissions will be considered. For panels and full proposals, please submit a one-page abstract of the complete session, a one-page abstract for each paper or presentation, and a one-page curriculum vita for each participant. Individual submissions should include a one-page abstract and one-page curriculum vita. Submissions must include name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Please submit electronically to resrchny@albany.edu. All proposals must note any anticipated audio visual needs.

SUNY Albany Puts Old Student Newspapers Online

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Peter Bae’s Clio’s Room blog has announced that SUNY Albany’s Special Collections and Archives has put copies of the university’s newspaper from 1916 to 1985 online. Currently you only have the option to browse the papers via pdf, but they are working on a full text search.

You can find them online at:

Looks like a great resource, particularly for the history of student activism, education, youth culture, and more.

SUNY Albany Offers New History and Media MA Degree

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The University at Albany’s Department of History has introduced a new 36-credit History and Media concentration to its Masters program, allowing students to learn and apply specialized media skills — digital history and hypermedia authoring, photography and photoanalysis, documentary filmmaking, oral/video history, and aural history and audio documentary production — to the study of the past. The History and Media concentration builds on the Department’s strengths in academic and public history and its reputation as an innovator in the realm of digital and multimedia history.

Among the History and Media courses to be offered beginning in the fall of 2009 are: Introduction to Historical Documentary Media; Narrative in Historical Media; Readings and Practicum in Aural History and Audio Documentary Production; Readings and Practicum in Digital History and Hypermedia; Readings in the History and Theory of Documentary Filmmaking; Readings in Visual Media and Culture; Introduction to Oral and Video History; Research Seminar and Practicum in History and Media.

Instructors in the History and Media concentration will vary but will include a core faculty including: Gerald Zahavi, Professor; Amy Murrell Taylor, Associate Professor; Ray Sapirstein, Assistant Professor; Sheila Curran Bernard, Assistant Professor.

For more information, contact Gerald Zahavi, zahavi@albany.edu; 518-442-5427.