Blauvelt State Park, in the Rockland County town of Blauvelt has a storied history. At first, it was a facility where members of the New York State National Guard (and the Naval Militia) could practice shooting. It was first used in October 1910, though still under construction at the time. Later on, the site would be called Camp Bluefields (Blauvelt means “blue field” in Dutch), but at this time the facility was known as the Blauvelt Rifle Range. [Read more…] about Blauvelt State Park: Rockland County’s Storied Martial History
The African Burial Ground, Columbia University & Manhattan’s Grave-Robbers
On July 26, 1788, the Convention of the State of New York, meeting in Poughkeepsie, ratified the Constitution of the United States and, in doing so, was admitted to the new union as the eleventh of the original thirteen colonies joining together as the United States of America.
For New Yorkers, it had been an eventful year. [Read more…] about The African Burial Ground, Columbia University & Manhattan’s Grave-Robbers
Active Dissent: 1970s College Protests in New York
On May 8th, 1972, New Paltz students went from dorm to dorm at the state university, pulling fire alarms, their reaction quick and spontaneous. Few students had television sets, but word spread quickly about President Nixon’s broadcast announcing he had ordered the mining of North Vietnam ports.
Just hours after Nixon’s address, around midnight, the college’s assistant director of housing placed a frantic call to campus security. [Read more…] about Active Dissent: 1970s College Protests in New York
Edgar Allan Poe’s European Legacy
A hundred years ago the Edgar Allan Poe Museum was founded in Richmond, Virginia. To celebrate the anniversary author and preeminent Poe collector Susan Jaffe Tane donated the pocket watch that Poe carried on him whilst writing his short story The Tell-Tale Heart shortly before he moved to the city of New York where he spent his last years.
In this tale the murderous narrator compares the thumping of his victim’s heart to the ticking of a clock. [Read more…] about Edgar Allan Poe’s European Legacy
The Architecture of Joseph Urban: Mar-a-Lago & The New School
Joseph Urban may be a somewhat forgotten figure in America’s annals of culture, but during his lifetime he enjoyed an almost legendary reputation. An all-round creative talent, Urban was a prolific Gilded Age illustrator, set designer, and architect of private dwellings, theaters, and a university building in the city of New York. His Gingerbread Castle was built for a fairy tale themed amusement park in Hamburg, New Jersey.
His feeling for color and choice of materials did much to revitalize American stage design and architecture. The contrast between two of Urban’s extant buildings shows the range of his talent as an architect. It goes beyond that: the marked stylistic difference seemed to foreshadow the divisiveness of contemporary society. [Read more…] about The Architecture of Joseph Urban: Mar-a-Lago & The New School
Harry James Carman: Farm Boy to Columbia University Dean
“Here is a good dirt farmer gone wrong” is how Harry James Carman described himself.
He started out as a farm-raised country boy in Saratoga County, NY and rose to the position of Dean of Columbia University in New York City. [Read more…] about Harry James Carman: Farm Boy to Columbia University Dean
A Lively New History of Barnard College Published
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The new book A College of Her Own: The History of Barnard (Columbia University Press, 2020) by Robert McCaughey offers a comprehensive and lively narrative of Barnard College from its beginnings to the present day. [Read more…] about A Lively New History of Barnard College Published
Grad Students Study Jay Heritage Preservation Issues
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) is offering a studio course this fall semester titled “Radical Re-construction: Materializing Social Justice at the Country Estate of John Jay, a Founder of American Democracy.”
The studio is being led by Jorge Otero-Pailos, the school’s head of historic preservation and a member of JHC’s board of trustees, and Mark Rakatansky, an adjunct associate professor at the school and principal of Mark Rakatansky Studio. [Read more…] about Grad Students Study Jay Heritage Preservation Issues
New Book On 1968 Columbia Student Protests
Paul Cronin’s new book, A Time to Stir: Columbia ’68, (Columbia University Press, 2018) reflects upon the 50th anniversary of the Columbia University student uprising and the legacies of the 1960s.
For seven days in April 1968, students occupied five buildings on the campus of Columbia University to protest a planned gymnasium in a nearby Harlem park, links between the university and the Vietnam War, and what they saw as the university’s unresponsive attitude toward their concerns. [Read more…] about New Book On 1968 Columbia Student Protests
Peter Feinman On Culture Wars At Columbia University
On April 5, while doing research, I took a lunch-break and picked up a copy of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Columbia University undergraduate newspaper. In reading the paper, I came across several articles directly related to history and the current culture wars.
Since I have a sample of only one newspaper, I can’t determine if the contents were typical of the campus news coverage, if it was just a chance day, or some combination of both. In any event, my lunch time reading turned into a fascinating glimpse into the front-lines of the culture war. Read about it here: History at Columbia University: Report from a Battle Front in the Culture Wars