One of the world’s first steamboats successfully completed a maiden voyage on the river Clyde in Scotland in 1798. That same year, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston proposed to the New York Legislature that he would develop a new form of public transportation, the steamboat ferry, in return for a monopoly on steam navigation in New York waters. Despite the Legislature’s skepticism that steamboat technology was viable, legislation granting Livingston the monopoly was enacted. [Read more…] about Hudson River Steamboats & Gibbons v. Ogden: 200 Years of the Commerce Clause
Historical Society of the New York Courts
Who Owns A Photo Of Your Face? A Rochester Teenager & Privacy Rights
In the 1890s, Rochester teenager Abigail Roberson was surprised to learn that a portrait she had taken at a local photographic studio was being used on 25,000 lithographic posters created by the Rochester Folding-Box Company to advertise Franklin Mills flour, without her prior knowledge or consent.
The poster, reading “Flour of the Family,” was distributed to stores, warehouses, saloons, and other places around Rochester, NY where her face was recognized by those she knew. Feeling humiliated by scoffing and jeering from her acquaintances she suffered a breakdown, and was confined her to bed under the treatment of a physician. [Read more…] about Who Owns A Photo Of Your Face? A Rochester Teenager & Privacy Rights
Alton B. Parker: New York’s Neglected Statesman
The History Channel’s new special on Theodore Roosevelt describes his victory in the 1904 presidential election but doesn’t even mention his Democratic opponent.
That was New York Court of Appeals’ former Chief Judge Alton B. Parker (1852-1926), probably the most neglected major party presidential candidate in U.S. history. Yet at the time of the election Parker was the leader of one of the nation’s two major political parties and one of the nation’s foremost judicial statesmen. [Read more…] about Alton B. Parker: New York’s Neglected Statesman
The Lemmon Slave Case: A Defense of New York State Abolition
Lemmon v. New York, or Lemmon v. The People (1860) was a freedom suit begun in 1852 with a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The case brought up questions about the legality of slavery within the United States , especially challenging the slavery laws between the northern and southern states.
While relocating to Texas by way of New York State, Virginia enslavers Jonathan and Juliet Lemmon brought to the city of New York eight enslaved people. They made up two family groups, each headed by a young woman: the first was Emiline (age 23), Edward (age 13), brother of Emiline; and Amanda (age 2), daughter of Emiline. The second was Nancy (age 20); Lewis (age 16), brother of Nancy; Lewis and Edward (age 7), sons of Nancy; and Ann (age 5), daughter of Nancy.
[Read more…] about The Lemmon Slave Case: A Defense of New York State Abolition
Justice from a Distance: NYS Courts Pandemic Oral History
When COVID-19 shut down New York, the courts stayed open. How the work of the courts continued is a central theme of a new digital archive of oral histories from the Historical Society of the New York Courts and the Unified Court System.
[Read more…] about Justice from a Distance: NYS Courts Pandemic Oral History