When Halley’s comet, that star with the quetzal’s tail, flared across Mexican skies in 1910, it heralded not only the centennial of Independence, but a deeply transformative episode, the Revolution launched by Francisco I. Madero on November 20, what Javier Garciadiego calls “the true beginning of a process, the birth of the modern Mexican state.” The great chorus of Mexican historians agree. And yet, almost unknown and curious as it may sound, a vital taproot of this revolution lies in the Burned-Over District of New York State. [Read more…] about The Burned-Over District and Mexican Revolution
Now in my 7th year of teaching a full-year 9th grade course on Western New York History in an all-girls independent high school in Buffalo (Buffalo Seminary), I’m convinced that local history offers untapped potential to inspire students – but I think I’ve just scratched the surface.
I also suspect that other teachers have made the same discovery, so I’m looking to identify and connect with local history teachers in order to support and learn from each other.
For me, three things have made teaching local history different from teaching other history courses. First, students usually arrive in class knowing much more about the subject than they anticipate, quickly discovering a source of empowerment. They see the connections among related historical narratives. [Read more…] about Local History Teachers Unite! Share Your Local Texts
Stereographs were the latter day virtual reality, an inventive means to immerse the viewer into another place and time. Two photographs are exposed simultaneously but from slightly different perspectives. When the final print is viewed through a stereoscope a depth of field is introduced that brings the photograph more to life.
In 2018 I digitally re-imagined many dozens of American Civil War scenes using an animation process that essentially reveals that same depth of field but on more common 2D screens. In doing so, the need for specific viewing equipment is eliminated and the immersive nature of the stereoscope is maintained. [Read more…] about Motion Imagery of Ellis Island Revealed in Stereographs
I don’t think there’s a more magnificent forest tree or more glorious shade tree than the sugar maple (Acer saccharum); a deciduous tree that matures in 30-50 years, generally growing to between 70 and 90 feet tall, with a crown that turns a brilliant, fiery yellow, orange, or red at summer’s end. The sugar maple is the official state tree of New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It’s also the national tree of Canada. And the maple leaf is the Canadian national emblem. [Read more…] about Maple Sugaring Has A Long History
The journal New York History turns a century old in 2019 and this summer readers will find volume 100, issue number 1, in their mailboxes and see notices of the digital delivery of the journal in their email inboxes.
The most anticipated change at the journal, which is under new stewardship of Cornell University Press collaborating with the New York State Museum, is a welcome return to the past. The journal, after being a digital-only publication since 2012, will return to glorious print. Readers will be able to peruse bound paper issues and consult PDF and reflowable e-journals as their interests and reading needs determine. We know that paper and screens have their respective and complementary places in our reading lives, and the editors of the journal have ensured that all readers will have a choice of formats. [Read more…] about New Directions for ‘New York History’ Journal
The skyscraper can trace its ancestry back many years, millennia in fact, before the existence of New York City. The book of Genesis tells the story of Babel, the Babylonian city in which Noah’s descendants tried to erect the mythological tower: ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into Heaven.’ For their presumption the people were punished: their words were made incomprehensible to one another. This aetiological tale of the diversity of speech could easily be applied to New York, home to the speakers of some 800 languages, a city in which cab drivers routinely set their satnavs to Russian, Bengali or Serbo-Croatian. [Read more…] about 1930s Gotham Rising: New York Skyscrapers
This week on “The Historians” podcast Albany Times Union reporter Paul Grondahl talks about his recent series of articles on the history of immigration in the Capital District. You can listen to the podcast here. [Read more…] about Paul Grondahl On Albany Area Immigration History
What follows is an open letter sent to New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia from Carol Kammen and Judy Wellman.
We write as members of the Commission on Local and Public History that was convened ten years ago by Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Carole Huxley to advise the Department of Education on the appointment of a State Historian. [Read more…] about An Open Letter To NYS The Education Commissioner
What follow is an guest essay by Mark Castiglione – Acting Executive Director, Hudson River Valley Greenway and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Path Through History Workgroup Liaison; and Ross D. Levi – Vice President, Marketing Initiatives, Empire State Development
Even though few states have had as much impact on history or are home to as many authentic historic attractions, New York State has not always come to mind for history lovers as quickly as places like Boston, Philadelphia, and Virginia. In an effort to help change this perception, Governor Cuomo created the Path Through History [PTH] initiative to draw attention to New York’s unparalleled history and grow heritage tourism throughout the state, and through it promote economic development and create jobs. As we conclude the busy summer travel season, it’s worth noting how far we have come in promoting heritage tourism in New York as well as the future opportunities that exist to expand the effort. [Read more…] about Guest Essay:
Path Through History Highlights Historic Assets
Fort Nassau: the first Dutch trading house built in North America, was constructed on Castle (Westerlo) Island on the Upper Hudson where Albany is. It was but a small redoubt, yet deemed the acorn from which sprouted the American Middle States. This trading post lasted only three years and was badly damaged by a spring freshet and abandoned. Eventually even its ruins were silted over and forgotten.
In 1796, Albany contemplated a plan to acquire patents for water lots and extend South End streets opposite the north end of Castle Island, out into the Hudson River. It was similar, on a smaller scale, to the way Manhattan expanded out into the Hudson and East Rivers. In the course of finally implementing this in the 1840s, dredging was found necessary to adjust the upper end of Castle Island and Island Creek to accommodate the plan. [Read more…] about John Wolcott: Pinpointing Fort Nassau 1614