The Redford Glass Company, in the town of Saranac, Clinton County, NY was in business for only 20 years (over 200 years ago) and produced products that demonstrated unique skilled craftsmanship that survive to this day. The Company, that was once famous and esteemed for its crown glass windowpanes, has become synonymous with unique and priceless glassware. [Read more…] about Redford Glass: Clinton County’s Unique, Priceless Glassware
This week on The Historians Podcast, When Mommy Was a Commie (Troy Book Makers, 2022) is a comic historical novel set in Schenectady in the early 1950s, inspired by real-life episodes from America’s spy war with Russia. Author Jon Sorensen was a newspaper reporter for The Schenectady Gazette, Buffalo News and New York Daily News. [Read more…] about When Mommy Was a Commie
The first known Chinese restaurant in America, Canton Restaurant, is believed to have opened in San Francisco in 1849. Today, according to the Chinese American Restaurant Association, more than 45,000 Chinese restaurants operate across the United States, more than all the McDonald’s, KFCs, Pizza Huts, Taco Bells and Wendy’s combined.
Their story begins with Chinese immigrants to California in the mid-nineteenth century — mostly from Canton province — drawn by the Gold Rush of 1849 and fleeing economic problems and famine in China. Though some headed to the gold fields, most Chinese immigrants to the San Francisco Bay area provided services for the miners as traders, grocers, merchants and restaurant owners. [Read more…] about Chinese Restaurant History in New York City
The Hudson Area Library has announced two newly-launched online oral history archives: the Hudson Area Library Oral History Project (HAL OHP), an open collection of interviews collected locally over the past decade, and the Black Legacy Association of Columbia County Oral History Project (BLACC) collection from the 1980s. [Read more…] about Hudson Area Library Launches Online Oral History Collections
The Fulton Fish Market stands out as an iconic New York institution. At first a neighborhood retail market for many different kinds of food, it became the nation’s largest fish and seafood wholesaling center by the late nineteenth century.
Waves of immigrants worked at the Fulton Fish Market and then introduced the rest of the city to their seafood traditions. In popular culture, the market — celebrated by Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker — conjures up images of the bustling East River waterfront, late-night fishmongering, organized crime, and a vanished working-class New York. [Read more…] about The Fulton Fish Market: A History
This week on The Historians podcast, Rod Correll discusses his memoir Learning to Be a Leatherman: A Rite of Passage (Troy Book Makers, 2022). Correll lived in the leather business for 50 years, from childhood up to when he left the business in the 1980s. [Read more…] about Learning To Be A Leatherman: A Leather Business Memoir (Podcast)
This week on the Becoming Barnum podcast, we have the opportunity to learn about an employee in a less glorified, though still significant, position: the ticket-taker and bookkeeper for PT Barnum’s museum, one Frances Clarkson.
The name “Frances” is mentioned in earlier letters about a person leaving the museum, an incident that seemed to upset Barnum. Yet those letters gave no clue as to the role or identity of that individual. [Read more…] about PT Barnum Podcast: Frances Clarkson, Barnum Museum Ticket Taker
Hanging above a window in our Twitchell Lake cabin northeast of Big Moose, Herkimer County, in the Adirondacks is this five-foot-long saw with a handle at both ends, and a row of sharp knife-like teeth. I have never used it, but now know it is an antique crosscut saw for use by one or two persons. [Read more…] about William Seward Webb’s Railroad & Logging The Adirondacks
In her new biography, Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2022), Elizabeth D. Leonard chronicles Butler’s successful career in the law defending the rights of the Lowell Mill girls and other workers, his achievements as one of Abraham Lincoln’s premier civilian generals, and his role in developing wartime policy in support of fugitives from enslavement as the nation advanced toward emancipation. [Read more…] about Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life
“Men Working in Slate Quarry,” the 1939 Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded mural displayed at the Slate Valley Museum in Granville, Washington County, NY is as good an example as you will find of “Art for the People.”
The subject of the museum’s current exhibition “One Painting, Many Stories,” explores many of the artistic, cultural and political contexts within which the mural was created. [Read more…] about Granville’s WPA Mural of Working in a Slate Quarry