Al Smith was many things during his political career: reform champion after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, four-time governor of New York State, the first Catholic presidential candidate. But he was always a New York City boy at heart. [Read more…] about Redeeming Al Smith: New York’s Four-Time Governor
Dennis Warren left his job as a coal shoveler on the New York Central Railroad in Albany to ship out to the First World War. His transport ship had a close call with a German submarine on the way over, but got there in time to take part in what one of the bloodiest military campaigns in American history.
For Americans after the war, the Argonne would mean what Normandy meant just 25 years later – sacrifice. Sadly, that sacrifice in the Argonne Forest was never repaid to Dennis Warren, who met the death of a smuggler – running from an officious and invasive law on a treacherous mountain road near Port Henry on Lake Champlain.
According to the newsman who reported his death at the age of 29, “Canadian Ale was spread across the road.” [Read more…] about Smugglers & The Law: Prohibition In Northern New York
The Roaring Twenties saw the collision of an emerging culture of celebrity with the established popularity of sports, creating one of the twentieth century’s most enduring personalities — baseball hero Babe Ruth.
In 1928, Ruth not only led the New York Yankees to their third World Series victory, he also threw himself into politics, campaigning enthusiastically for New York State governor and Democratic presidential nominee Al Smith. Smith’s liberal and progressive platform appealed to diverse, working-class Americans, often marginalized by the policies of other politicians. [Read more…] about Babe Ruth, Sports and 1920s Identity Politics
Saturday, October 8th, 1927, was a great day for a burglar in Ballston Spa, NY. The Saratogian newspaper announced that “Ballston Spa closed down shop this noon and went to the Saratoga Battlefield celebration. Scores of Ballstonians, many of them taking part in the pageant, went to the historic battlefield this morning, but the great exodus did not take place until early this afternoon. Stores, mills, offices and shops closed at noon and throughout the forenoon there was a hustle and bustle of people getting ready to go to the celebration.” [Read more…] about The Creation of the Saratoga Battlefield Park: A Short History
Initially many thought the severe Wall Street crash of October 1929 was a temporary phenomenon and like many subsequent crashes (i.e. 1987, 2008) the stock market would recover in a few months or years.
Unfortunately, this did not prove to be the case. After some upward spurts, stocks on the New York Stock Exchange continued to fall for the next three years and economic conditions throughout the country continued to worsen, so that by 1932 the market closed at 41, a drop of 89% over its 1929 high of 381. Employment in Wall Street firms plummeted, as the once heady activity evaporated and the Great Depression took hold.
The response would require a great reset between Wall Street and working Americans. [Read more…] about The First Great Reset: Wall St, the Great Depression & the Pecora Commission
The break-up of Standard Oil and other monopolies during the Trust-busting Era, created somewhat greater competition, but did not significantly impact Wall Street, or its major players. For example, after the success of the Justice Department in the 1911 Supreme Court Case United States v. Standard Oil (in which the Court ruled that Standard Oil of New Jersey violated the Sherman Antitrust Act), the company was ordered broken into 34 ostensibly independent companies. *
The stock in each of these companies was distributed to Standard Oil Company shareholders (principally the Rockefeller family) and each company had separate boards of directors and separate management, but by and large they continued to operate on separate floors of the same building — 26 Broadway in Manhattan. [Read more…] about Wall Street History: Individual Investors & The Crash of 1929
James R. McManus was born in Hell’s Kitchen in 1936 and recently died in 2019. For 54 years (from 1962 to 2016) he was the Democratic Party District Leader from the Hell’s Kitchen area. This was a position that his father Eugene E. McManus had held for 20 years before him.
Previously Eugene McManus’s great grand uncle, Thomas J. McManus, had held the position, since the formation of the McManus Democratic Club in 1892, when he defeated the prior District Leader George Washington Plunkitt, author of Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics (1905). [Read more…] about Tammany’s Last Stand: The McManus Club & The McGovern Campaign
Trivia clue: This New York governor showed up too late to play in a November 12th golf game promoted as a friendly match between “is” and “to be.”
Correct response: Gov. Nathan Miller, the Republican incumbent who just weeks before had lost re-election to Democrat Al Smith, who Miller had un-seated two years earlier. [Read more…] about Lighthearted Political Anecdotes From NNY Newspapers
Correct response: Who is J & C Fischer of New York City? [Read more…] about NY Newspaper Anecdotes From Political History
It was about 1931. Apperson was an General Electric engineer fighting to protect Lake George and other wild places. As Schaefer said, it was the pure sense of joy that Apperson exuded about conservation in the Adirondacks which galvanized young people looking for a cause.
These were very important years for the Adirondacks, as for the nation. The 1932 national election loomed, as the Great Depression sucked hope and savings from so many. One can imagine the anxiety that gripped the country and the opportunity for hucksters, demagogues, as well as statesmen. [Read more…] about Al Smith, John Apperson, FDR & The Fight That Expanded NYS Forests