The book The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World (Liveright, 2021) by Linda Colley traces the global history of written constitutions from the 1750s to the twentieth century, modifying accepted narratives and uncovering the close connections between the making of constitutions and the making of war. In the process, Linda Colley both reappraises famous constitutions and recovers those that have been marginalized but were central to the rise of a modern world. [Read more…] about Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World
John Jay Homestead
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site will host its popular “John Jay’s Not-So-Big City” walking tour of Lower Manhattan on Saturday, October 1st. [Read more…] about John Jay’s New York City: Bowling Green to City Hall
An Independence Day Fair will take place at the John Jay Homestead, in honor of America’s founding. The Fair, hosted by the Bedford-Armonk Rotary will take place on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm at John Jay Homestead in Westchester. [Read more…] about Independence Day Fair at John Jay Homestead
As discussed in a previous post on this New York History Blog, the state’s historical community might want to consider organizing an effort to commemorate New York State’s Birthday.
We could use April 20, the date the first State Constitution was completed in Kingston in 1777, or April 22, the date it was first read and officially proclaimed, bringing the new state into existence. This would give us an opportunity each year not only to review New York State’s historical origins, but also to call public attention to various aspects of the state’s 240+ years of history.
We might want to consider designating a historical driving trail, a good fit for the I Love New York’s heritage tourism “Path Through History” program, perhaps calling it the New York Statehood Trail. “Path Through History” has its own list of Revolutionary War sites. [Read more…] about Bruce Dearstyne: The New York Statehood Trail
On May 3, 2014, John Jay Homestead State Historic Site in Katonah, N.Y. will sponsor a walk through lower Manhattan titled John Jay’s Not-So-Big City. The walking tour will trace John Jay’s haunts in New York in the late 18th century.
Founding Father John Jay, New York’s second Governor and America’s first Chief Justice, was born and educated in New York City, and spent much of his life there. The walking tour will trace his haunts, visiting the locations of the places where he lived and worked as one of New York’s leading lawyers and politicians, as well as U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chief Justice of the United States, and Governor of New York. The tour will recall the time when New York was the capitol city of a young republic, and present a reminder of how the geography and architecture of Manhattan Island have changed since the arrival of the first European settlers in the 17th century. [Read more…] about John Jay Manhattan Walking Tour May 3rd
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site will host its popular Spring Break Mini-Camps for children aged 5 to 10, Monday through Friday, April 14th through 18th. Each camp will last two hours, and be operated as a drop-off program.
On Monday, April 14th, from 10 am to noon, the program will be “Then & Now”. What was it like living 200 years ago? What did people do for heat and light? Where did their food and water come from? Children will explore the Carriage Barn Discovery Center, interact with artifacts from long ago, and make hand-dipped candles. [Read more…] about Spring Break Mini-Camps at John Jay Homestead
The ongoing look at the history infrastructure in New York State continues here with the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). Within this overall department, Historic Preservation defines itself quite rightly as “an important economic catalyst for New York State,” although the validity of this assertion often is overlooked by the powers that be. [Read more…] about Peter Feinman: OPRHP and NYS Cultural Heritage
On Sunday, October 30, 2011, Olana State Historic Site ended its 43rd visitor season, and changed over to its winter schedule (Friday through Sunday). Over 132,000 guests visited Olana in the past year, one beset with an abundance of rain, gasoline prices that threatened to hit $5 during peak travel season, two hurricanes and an October nor’easter. In December of this year Olana will mark another milestone as Linda E. McLean closes her last year as director at Olana State Historic Site, ending an almost 40-year museum career with New York State.
McLean completed a master’s thesis on the photograph collection at Olana, working with then director Richard Slavin, and her abiding interest in Olana and American art developed from that point on. She joined the staff at Olana as Director of Education, stepping up to acting director when Slavin left to accept a post in Cooperstown. In 1980 McLean was offered and accepted a position of Director in her own right at the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site in Westchester County, and remained there until 2000, when she returned as Director at Olana State Historic Site, filling the position vacated by the late James Ryan.
When asked why she was retiring at this point she answered without hesitation. “We have completed all the major parts of the comprehensive plan that was adopted when I first arrived. We have restored the full exterior of the building from the brilliant stencils around the cornices to the bricks and stone of the walls; the roof will be completed this coming summer. We have opened the second floor for touring, restored wall papers, opened a very successful gallery space, restored carpets, textiles, making rooms come alive with the color and beauty that until now had only been known to Olana’s first residents. There are now six restored buildings in use on the property with plans for the restoration of the rest of the barn complex. Overall we have leveraged several millions of dollars in the restoration of the site, the WHOLE site; collections, buildings, and the landscape. And if the years and work at John Jay Homestead are included, the list gets richer, better and longer. It has been a wonderful journey and I have met and had the privilege of working with some amazing people. With the completion of the comprehensive plan, a new Commissioner in Albany and new plans for the whole system of parks and historic sites, it is time to turn the page and turn the site over to a new director, someone who can harness the technology of the 21st century to take Olana through its next round of planning and beyond.”
“And,” McLean added,“it is now time for me to explore the world much as Church did as he gathered ideas for his great works. This is my time to “follow the road less traveled” and see where this next journey takes me. I have been very lucky to have been part of two spectacular historic sites and worked with the people who made them what they are. I have been most fortunate to complete my career at Olana, working to restore it to the grandeur that it knew as the home of artist Frederic Edwin Church. But more important to do this work in the community where I grew up, for the people of a community that nurtured me in my youth and gave me the foundation that allowed me to experience a 40-year career in a field I have loved from the beginning. Now it is time to move on, Church once said, about an hour south of Albany is the center of the world, and I own it, well, I can say, about an hour south of Albany is the center of the world and, for a while, I too, could call it my own.”
Linda is the fourth director for Olana State Historic Site. A successor has yet to be named. At this time all efforts in her office and at the historic site are focused on wrapping up the 2011 season and preparing for what will be a new chapter at Olana State Historic Site. “On behalf of the board and staff of The Olana Partnership, I want to thank Linda for her dedicated service to Olana,” stated Sara Griffen, president of The Olana Partnership. “She has been a true partner these last several years, a trusted colleague and supportive collaborator. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Photo: Main house at Olana. Courtesy Linda McLean.
John Jay’s Manhattan, an historic walking tour sponsored by John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, will take place Saturday, October 15. Participants will meet in lower Manhattan, and step off promptly at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine. The cost of participation is $20.00 per person; members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead can participate for $15.00.
Founding Father John Jay, America’s first Chief Justice, was born and educated in New York City, and spent much of his life there. The walking tour will trace his haunts, visiting the locations of the places where he lived and worked as one of New York’s leading lawyers and politicians, as well as U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chief Justice of the United States, and Governor of New York. The tour will recall the time when New York was the capitol city of a young republic, and present a reminder of how the geography and architecture of Manhattan Island have changed since the arrival of the first European settlers in the 17th century.
The walk will cover approximately 1¾ miles and take about two hours, proceeding at a leisurely pace over mostly level terrain. Comfortable footwear is highly recommended. The tour will both begin and end in lower Manhattan, convenient to several subway lines. Attendance is limited, and advance registration is required; payment is due in advance, and is non-refundable. To reserve your place and learn the tour’s initial gathering place, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 100.
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, N.Y. It is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment.
Curator’s Fabulous Finds, a series of artifact talks at John Jay Homestead, will continue on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m., and will be repeated on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. This fall’s lecture will examine and discuss portraits of members of the Jay family from the Homestead’s historic collection. The cost of admission will be $10.00 per person; members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead may attend at no charge.
The functions of portraiture and the differing ways people were portrayed over history will be explored, discussing pictures by such famous painters in the Homestead’s collection as John Trumbull and John Singer Sargent. The techniques of oil painting and watercolor will also be covered. Participants will get a close look at several paintings, and details of the lives of the people in them will round out the talk.
Space at the lecture is limited, and reservations are strongly suggested. To reserve seats, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 105.
John Jay was a President of the Continental Congress, the second U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the second Governor of New York State. He retired to Bedford in 1801 to live the life of a gentleman farmer. His home is now a beautiful sixty-two acre historic site that includes lovely walks, several gardens, farm buildings, and a richly-decorated main residence restored to the 1820s, the last decade of Jay’s life.
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, N.Y. John Jay Homestead is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment. The site is one of six historic sites and 15 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region. For additional information about John Jay Homestead, please visit www.johnjayhomestead.org.