Prior to the 1800s, printed documents were scarce and there was usually no generally accepted spelling for many words. Most words were written phonetically; whatever combination of letters caused a person to say the intended word was accepted. [Read more…] about Albany Artist Ezra Ames: A Biography
On this episode of A New York Minute in History, Devin Lander and Lauren Roberts discuss how the poor conditions of female textile workers in Capital Region cities led to the creation of a retreat on Lake George where women could “escape” the cities. [Read more…] about Georgia O’Keefe At Wiawaka On Lake George
In the early 19th century, Schenectady played host to a distinctly American process through which hundreds of Black people gained their freedom. Although Schenectady County had a small enclave of free African Americans into the late colonial period, the overwhelming majority of Black Schenectadians were enslaved.
As New York State legislation gradually abolished the institution of slavery by 1827, many Black Schenectadians had to confront a new reality in which they were legally independent, but by no means legally equal.
One of these people was John Wendell [Jr.] whose birth remains shrouded in mystery. [Read more…] about Schenectady Black History & Barber John Wendell
The Friends’ Trail Restoration Committee, members of the Adirondack Mountain Club, and some dedicated volunteers spent a weekend rebuilding sections of Dellwood Avenue at the Albany Rural Cemetery to turn the old carriage road into a safer walking trail. [Read more…] about Albany Rural Cemetery’s Dellwood Avenue Trail Restoration
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, there were a growing number of adventurers anxious to explore the sea, find new lands, chart new islands, and if they made their fortune while doing it, all the better.
There were also those just trying to get away from home and signing on to a whaling ship seemed the adventure of a lifetime. [Read more…] about James Eights: An Albany Artist-Scientist Who Explored Antarctica in 1830
California’s 8th Governor and long-time Senator Leland Stanford, namesake of Stanford University and one-time president of the Central Pacific Railroad, has a unique connection to New York State’s Capital District.
Leland was born in Watervliet in 1824, the son of Josiah Stanford and Elizabeth Phillips. Among his seven siblings were New York Senator Charles Stanford (1819-1885) and Australian spiritualist Thomas Welton Stanford (1832-1918). The elder Stanford was a wealthy farmer in the eastern Mohawk Valley before moving to the Lisha Kill in Albany County where Leland was born. [Read more…] about Leland Stanford, The Bull’s Head & Albany’s 19th Century Cattle Market
On this episode of Empire State Engagements, a conversation with Shayla Colon of the Albany Times Union on her series of articles “Two Sides of Pearl Street,” on how historical trends and urban policies have shaped contemporary life on one Albany thoroughfare. [Read more…] about Pearl Street in Albany: History & Contemporary Challenges
Tjerck Claeszen DeWitt immigrated to New Amsterdam (now New York City) from Grootholt in Zunterlant in 1656. Grootholt means Great Wood and Zunterland was probably located on the southern border of East Friesland, a German territory on the North Sea only ten miles from the most northerly province of the Netherlands.
By 1657, Tjerck DeWitt married Barber (Barbara) Andrieszen (also Andriessen) in the New Amsterdam Dutch Church and moved to Beverwyck (now Albany). While in Beverwyck, he purchased a house. At this time Albany contained 342 houses and about 1,000 residents, about 600 of whom were members of the Dutch Church. [Read more…] about Simeon DeWitt: America’s Surveyor General
Robert Yates (1738-1801) was born in Schenectady. His parents were Joseph and Maria Yates. He received a classical education in the city of New York and later studied law in the Albany law firm of William Livingston, who was later a signer of the U.S. Constitution.
Yates was admitted to the New York bar in 1760 and thereafter resided in Albany. From 1771 to 1775, Yates was on the Albany Board of Aldermen and considered himself a member of the Radical Whigs, a party carried over from England that had a reputation for strong opposition to corruption and the protection of liberty. [Read more…] about Robert Yates, John Lansing & The Constitution
This week on The Historians Podcast Bryan Jackson discusses his new book Why the Titanic Was Doomed (White Owl, 2022).
White Star’s HMS Titanic, the most magnificent ocean liner of her time, was destined for disaster before she left the docks at Southampton in April 1912 according to Jackson – doomed by her owner, designers and the men who sailed her. [Read more…] about The Titanic Was Doomed: A New Book By Bryan Jackson