On Friday, September 28th, SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall presented the New York State Author and State Poet Awards. These awards were instituted in 1985 when Governor Mario Cuomo and the State Legislature empowered The New York State Writers Institute, located at the University at Albany, to award the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction Writers (State Author) and the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poets (State Poet) to authors whose career achievements warranted distinction.
The citations are awarded every two years to one fiction writer and one poet of excellence. During their two-year terms the state laureates promote and encourage fiction writing and poetry throughout New York through public readings and appearances. Continue reading
James Fenimore Cooper’s knowledge of the French and Indian War may have been sketchy, but he was interested enough in its history to contemplate a visit to Lake George, which he finally did with a party of Englishmen in August, 1824.
Lord Edward Stanley, who would later become the 14th Earl of Derby and Great Britain’s Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria, was a member of the party. As they crossed the Hudson River at Glens Falls on the return trip to Saratoga, Stanley noted in his journal, “Cooper… was much struck with the scenery which he had not before seen; and exclaimed, ‘I must place one of my old Indians here.” Continue reading
This week on The Historians Podcast, former CIA historian Nicholas Reynolds discusses author Ernest Hemingway’s involvement with American and Soviet spy agencies in the 1940s. Reynolds is author of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy.
Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
A small private press located in a Western New York village has left behind a rich legacy in printing history.
Typographer, printer and print historian Richard Kegler uncovers an almost lost history of the Aries Press in his new book, The Aries Press of Eden, New York, (RIT Press, 2016.)
Spencer Kellogg Jr., a businessman and book designer, founded Aries Press during the 1920s with a vision to produce high-quality book designs. Kellogg hired talented workers with a passion for printing, including a craftsman connected to the nearby Roycroft campus. He also commissioned type designer Frederic Goudy to create a typeface for Aries Press. While the press was only open for four years, it produced many fine standard-setting examples of printing. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast Mark Zwonitzer discusses his book The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism (Algonquin, 2016). Author Mark Twain and Secretary of State John Hay were friends for many years. Hay began his career in public service as Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary during the Civil War. You can listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
When American writer Henry James labeled the group of American women sculpting in Rome the “white marmorean flock,” he also made another note. “One of the sisterhood was a negress, whose color, picturesquely contrasting with that of her plastic material [white marble], was the pleading agent of her fame.” Like many of his contemporaries, James attributed the success of Edmonia Lewis to her skin color while also disregarding her mixed-race heritage.
In the early nineteenth century, it was difficult to be an American sculptor. There were no professional art schools, no specialized carvers, few quality materials, and only a few practicing sculptors in America. The pilgrimage to Rome was a necessity for those who aspired to be sculptors. If a woman wished to pursue sculpting, she confronted additional obstacles. Continue reading
Owen Chase was the first mate on the ill-fated American whaling ship Essex, which was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820.
The crew spent months at sea in leaking boats and endured the blazing sun, attacks by killer whales, and lack of food. The men were forced to resort to cannibalism before the final eight survivors were rescued. Continue reading
The Pomeroy Foundation has awarded the city of Beacon, New York, a marker grant for the Margaret Fuller marker to be installed and dedicated in the spring of 2016.
Rev. Michael Barnett, representing women’s rights activist Margaret Fuller for the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network’s 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in NYS 2017 Committee, collaborated with Elizabeth Evans, Assistant to the Mayor, and Robert Murphy, President of the Beacon Historical Society, to provide the primary source documentation. Continue reading
While the tourism industry has prospered in Sullivan County, New York for more than 150 years now, the concept of fall foliage as a tourism tool is relatively new.
The idea of promoting the changing colors of the leaves on the trees to encourage tourists to visit an area did not exist much at all before the late 1930s, and although both the Berkshires in Massachusetts and the Poconos in Pennsylvania were promoting fall foliage tours as far back as the 1940s, the Catskills did not begin to cash in on the idea until the 1950s. Continue reading
Among the foreign issues America has dealt with many times is hostage taking. Kidnappers have claimed various motives, but it was frequently done to extort money in support of a cause. Extortion kidnappings have often involved seizing of American missionaries and threatening to kill them unless ransom was paid. More than a hundred years ago, there occurred what is referred to as “America’s First Modern Hostage Crisis,” which is actually the subtitle of a 2003 book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Teresa Carpenter.
“The Miss Stone Affair” is the title, referring to Protestant missionary Ellen Maria Stone. A North Country man was a key player in her story, which riveted the nation for half a year. Continue reading