“Back number” in contemporary parlance means “back issue.” Today we take for granted the availability of old newspapers and other periodicals, as well as their invaluable glimpse into our past. But this was not the case in the 19th century. [Read more…] about Back Number Budd: A 19th Century One-Man Newspaper Archive
Weegee the Famous: Paparazzo of the Nameless
The term paparazzo and its plural form paparazzi were first used in English in a Time magazine article dated April 14th, 1961, entitled “Paparazzi on the Prowl.” The piece put the spotlight on a new type of photographer that was giving Rome’s elegant district around Via Veneto an unpleasant reputation. [Read more…] about Weegee the Famous: Paparazzo of the Nameless
Science & Suckers: The Cohoes Mastodon & The Cardiff Giant
In 1866, NY State Geologist James Hall received a message from T.G. Younglove, an official at Harmony Mills in Cohoes, New York, informing Hall that while conducting some excavations to expand the mill they uncovered a “great pothole” at the foot of Cohoes Falls where the Mohawk River begins to empty into the Hudson.
The “great pothole” contained a large jawbone “of some unknown beast,” much larger than that of an elephant. [Read more…] about Science & Suckers: The Cohoes Mastodon & The Cardiff Giant
Sadakichi Hartmann: A German-Asian-American Artist’s Struggle for Identity
In response to the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the founding of a new federal agency, the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which began forcibly removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast and relocate them to isolated inland areas. Around 120,000 people were detained in remote camps for the remainder of the Second World War. [Read more…] about Sadakichi Hartmann: A German-Asian-American Artist’s Struggle for Identity
Smugglers & The Law: Prohibition In Northern New York
Dennis Warren left his job as a coal shoveler on the New York Central Railroad in Albany to ship out to the First World War. His transport ship had a close call with a German submarine on the way over, but got there in time to take part in what one of the bloodiest military campaigns in American history.
For Americans after the war, the Argonne would mean what Normandy meant just 25 years later – sacrifice. Sadly, that sacrifice in the Argonne Forest was never repaid to Dennis Warren, who met the death of a smuggler – running from an officious and invasive law on a treacherous mountain road near Port Henry on Lake Champlain.
According to the newsman who reported his death at the age of 29, “Canadian Ale was spread across the road.” [Read more…] about Smugglers & The Law: Prohibition In Northern New York
Misinformation Nation: Truth in Revolutionary America
The new book Misinformation Nation: Foreign News and the Politics of Truth in Revolutionary America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022) by Jordan E. Taylor reveals how foreign news defined the boundaries of American politics and ultimately drove colonists to revolt against Britain and create a new nation.
“Fake news” is not new. Just like millions of Americans today, the revolutionaries of the eighteenth century worried that they were entering a “post-truth” era. Their fears, however, were not fixated on social media or click-bait, but rather on peoples’ increasing reliance on reading news gathered from foreign newspapers. [Read more…] about Misinformation Nation: Truth in Revolutionary America
Lake George’s Arthur Knight Writes Home From World War One
On November 11th, 1918, German delegates signed the armistice formally ending the “Great War,” four years of killing and unprecedented – at least at the time – mass destruction.
Lake George resident Arthur Knight, who within a few years would become editor of the Lake George Mirror and serve in that capacity until 1969, was among the two million Americans who, in answer to their nation’s call, joined the American Expeditionary Force to fight on the side of Britain and France and their allies. [Read more…] about Lake George’s Arthur Knight Writes Home From World War One
Universal Newsreels In The National Archives
The Universal Newsreel Collection is the largest donated newsreel collection in the Moving Image and Sound Branch at the National Archives. The popular collection includes nearly 4,000 edited releases which were originally shown in movie theaters, as well as 8,500 reels of unedited outtakes. [Read more…] about Universal Newsreels In The National Archives
Stephen Myers of Albany: Abolitionist Writer, Advocate & Underground Railroad Activist
Stephen Myers was a Black activist in connection with the Underground Railroad and African American rights in general. He was born and enslaved in Hoosick, Rensselaer County, New York State and raised when it was a slave state working on progressive abolition. He was the principal agent and a key writer for the Northern Star and Freeman’s Advocate, he was also the editor of The Elevator and The Telegraph and Temperance Journal.
As early as 1831 he was assisting fugitives from enslavement making their way to Canada. He was also active in 1827 with a group of little-known significance called the Clarkson Anti-slavery Society. As time went on he was involved in organizing and serving as a delegate to many of the Colored Men’s Conventions of the 1830s to the 1860s, to secure African American rights. He was involved in voting rights campaigns through the NYS Suffrage Association, was involved in organizing a school, and sued Albany Schools over segregation. [Read more…] about Stephen Myers of Albany: Abolitionist Writer, Advocate & Underground Railroad Activist
Scandalous Hamiltons: A Gilded Age Grift
The new book The Scandalous Hamiltons: A Gilded Age Grifter, a Founding Fathers Disgraced Descendant, and a Trial at the Dawn of Tabloid Journalism (Citadel Press, 2022) by Bill Shaffer takes a look one of the greatest scandals of the Gilded Age, and the story that helped give rise to the sensational tabloid journalism still driving so much of the news cycle in the 21st century. [Read more…] about Scandalous Hamiltons: A Gilded Age Grift