This week on The Historians Podcast, Susanne Dunlap discusses her book The Portraitist, a novel based on the life of 18th century French artist Adélaïde Labilleo-Guiard, a feminist whose life went on amid the changes and terror of Paris in the French Revolution. She must find a way to carve out a life and a career — and stay alive in the process. [Read more…] about Art and The French Revolution
Fort Ticonderoga is seeking proposals for the Nineteenth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution to be held Friday-Sunday, September 22nd through 24th, 2023. [Read more…] about Seminar on the American Revolution Call for Papers
Utica, intersected by the Erie and Hudson Canal, is really a beautiful place. Free from the geometric regularity of most of the American cities, its tree-lined streets impart to it the truly American sylvan character, while the size and elegance of its suburban residences show that its people are prosperous to a degree unknown in similar cities in the old country.
But their commercial prosperity is not the only, or even principal, quality on which the Uticans pride themselves, as they rank only second to Boston in their opinion of their culture and appreciation of science and art; and, so far as I have been able to judge, with quite as much, if not more, reason. [Read more…] about A Photographer Visits Utica, Saratoga & Albany in 1878
Plastered on walls in public spaces and civic buildings, scattered in hotels and restaurants, hidden in private mansions, a plenitude of murals form part of New York City’s infrastructure.
Although American interest in the medium originated in the 1893 World Fair which presented visitors with numerous large-scale murals, the vogue for this form of artistic expression dates back to the Great Depression. With the introduction of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1933, federal funds were made available to support and promote public art. Muralism became fashionable. [Read more…] about New York: A Metropolis of Murals
Before the arrival of European settlers, the flatland area that would become Harlem (originally: Nieuw Haarlem after the Dutch city of that name) was inhabited by the indigenous Munsee speakers, the Lenape. The first settlers from the Low Countries arrived in the late 1630s.
Harlem was an agricultural center under British rule (attempts to change the name of the community to “Lancaster” failed and the authorities reluctantly adopted the Anglicised name of Harlem). During the American Revolutionary War in September 1776 it was the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights. Later, rich elites built country houses there in order to escape from the city’s dirt and epidemics (Alexander Hamilton built his Harlem estate in 1802). [Read more…] about Harlem on Fire: Langston Hughes & Wallace Henry Thurman
Banker and philanthropist Felix Moritz Warburg was born in January 1871 in Hamburg. In 1895 he married Frieda Schiff, the only daughter of the New York financier Jacob Schiff. In 1908 the couple had a six-story mansion built in a French Gothic Revival style on Fifth Avenue. Felix died in October 1937 and was buried in Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn. Seven years later his widow donated their estate as a permanent home for New York’s Jewish Museum.
The source and context of the topographic Warburg surname throws light on complex historical patterns of migration. [Read more…] about Bankers and Brush Makers: What’s in a Name?
Albany’s first museum was started in 1798 in a building on the corner of Green and Beaver streets. In the summer of 1808, two royal tigers were housed at the Thespian Hotel, a circus pitched its tent, and Ralph Letton started the Albany Museum.
The Albany Museum was located in the Old City Hall (Stadt Huys) on the northeastern corner of South Market Street and Hudson Avenue (today’s Broadway and Hudson Avenue). The Old City Hall was built in 1741 and was the site of the 1754 Albany Congress meeting where Benjamin Franklin first proposed the Albany Plan, a plan of union of the colonies that later was a basis for the U.S. Constitution. On its steps, the Declaration of Independence was first read to Albany on July 19, 1776 by the order of the Provincial Congress. With the construction of the new building on Eagle Street in 1808, the Old City Hall was converted into the Albany Museum. [Read more…] about The Albany Museum: Curiosities, Circus & Performing Arts
The socio-political and economic turmoil of the early twentieth century transformed American society. Between the conclusion of the Civil War and the end of the First World War, the country went from being a predominantly rural farming society to an urban industrial one. [Read more…] about Socialism, Greenwich Village & ‘The Masses’
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
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