Manhattan artist George Deem is remembered for referencing the history of painting by re-imagining Old Masters in a contemporary context. He re-configured iconic pictorial images through visual ploys such as repetition and erasure, or through the addition of components of contemporary life and art. [Read more…] about George Deem, Bulldozers and Stalinist Suppression
Thomas Jefferson, America’s first Ambassador to France and the nation’s third President, developed a liking for the more genteel aspects of life in Europe. The man who requested that a cellar be constructed at the White House, has been named the first American wine connoisseur. He ordered his supplies directly from the finest French vineyards.
Jefferson also had a passion for music and was a devoted violinist. As part of his early ‘gentlemanly’ education he had been taught to play the instrument. Later in life he compiled a music library at his Monticello estate in Charlottesville that contained works by Vivaldi, Corelli, and Handel, and compositions by contemporaries such as Haydn and others. [Read more…] about The Violin, George Gemünder & The Sound of New York
Widely regarded as one of the great composers, Bartók spent the last three summers of his life in Saranac Lake, in the Adirondack Mountains. Historic Saranac Lake maintains the cabin where Bartók stayed the year of his death, in 1945, and shows it to the public by appointment. [Read more…] about Historic Saranac Lake Acquires Béla Bartók Artifacts
Brad Kolodny returns to The Long Island History Project podcast to update us on what he’s been doing during the intervening thirty episodes since he last appeared. Turns out he’s got a new book and a new historical society.
The Jews of Long Island (SUNY Press, 2020) is out now and in it Kolodny documents the personal and communal stories of Jews on Long Island from the l8th through the early 20th centuries, uncovering a cast of thousands from itinerant peddlers to early baseball players to vacationing vaudevillians. [Read more…] about The Jews of Long Island (A New Book)
The ossuary under the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini at Via Veneto in Rome houses the skulls and bones of some 4,000 former Capuchin monks who were interred there between 1631 and 1870. The dead were buried without coffin and later exhumed to make room for newly deceased. Their remains were transformed into “decorative designs.”
In the summer of 1867 Mark Twain visited the Capuchin Convent and recorded his observations of the crypt’s “picturesque horrors” in The Innocents Abroad. What the novelist witnessed were arches built of thigh bones; pyramids constructed of “grinning” skulls; and other structures made of shin and arm bones. Walls were decorated with frescoes showing vines produced of knotted vertebrae; tendrils made of sinews and tendons; and flowers formed of knee-caps and toe-nails. [Read more…] about Macabre Mania From Charles Allan Gilbert to Andy Warhol
Sterling Forest State Park in Orange County, NY is growing by an additional 130 acres that includes a portion of the former Greenwood Forest Farms, the first resort in New York State incorporated by and for Black families.
Between its founding in 1919 and through the 1960s, a portion of this property was Greenwood Forest Farms, which was founded by a group of prominent Black families and civic leaders from New York City, the resort became a haven for cultural and civil rights leaders from Harlem and Brooklyn, including writer Langston Hughes. Some descendants of the original pioneers now live in the neighborhood year-round. [Read more…] about Sterling Forest State Park Expands With Purchase of Historic Black Resort
In Celebration of Black History Month, the Schenectady County Historical Society has released A History Erased: Rediscovering Black Schenectady, a new documentary exploring the history of Black people in Schenectady.
A History Erased: Rediscovering Black Schenectady is produced by SCHS and investigates the missing story of Schenectady’s 19th century Black population. From the beginning, Schenectady’s African American population was a small and marginalized community. This documentary looks at what happened to Black Schenectadians over the course of the 1800s; how they responded to the end of slavery, to industrialization, and to ongoing racial concerns; why the small community nearly vanished; and the marks it left on Schenectady’s culture and society. [Read more…] about New Documentary Celebrate Schenectady Black History
Migration is more than the mere movement of people and populations. It implies a transmission of ideas, customs, and practices. The arrival in the mid-nineteenth century of large numbers of political refugees in the United States from German-speaking territories would transform economic and cultural life in the locations of settlement. It had a major impact on the philosophy of education in Boston, New York, and elsewhere. [Read more…] about A History of Kindergarten: From Spa to Tenement
In spring 1905, painter Hubert Vos received a letter at his Manhattan residence from the Dutch Legation in Peking inquiring if he would be able and willing to travel to China and paint the portrait of a prominent official. The invitation was vague, but too tempting to refuse for a painter who had made the portraiture of racial types his specialty. [Read more…] about Painter Hubert Vos’s ‘Exotic People’: Maastricht to Manhattan and Beyond
Capital Region radio station WGY, New York State’s oldest broadcaster, will celebrate their 100th year with a live afternoon of broadcasting on Sunday, February 20th.
WGY’s original licensee was General Electric (GE), headquartered in Schenectady. In early 1915, the company was granted a Class 3-Experimental license with the call sign 2XI. That license was canceled in 1917 due to the First World War, but 2XI was re-licensed in 1920. [Read more…] about Radio Station WGY’s 100th Anniversary of Broadcasting