On the June 2021 episode of Crossroads of Rockland History, author Brenda Ross visited the program to speak about the Toni Morrison retrospective that she curated for the Historical Society of the Nyacks. This is the first exhibit to open in the Historical Society’s new museum space. [Read more…] about A Toni Morrison Retrospective in Nyack
This week on The Historians Podcast, Bevis Longstreth is author of the novel Chains Across the River (Honeycomb, 2021), a historical novel dealing with the great chains that American forces stretched across the Hudson River during the American Revolution to prevent the British fleet from sailing from New York City to Albany. [Read more…] about Chains Across The Hudson River (Podcast)
The idea of utopia as a place of peace and plenty away from the hardships of ordinary life, is a recurring theme in literature. The term entered popular usage after publication of Thomas More’s Utopia in 1516. His Eden is an idyllic island society wholly removed from the corruption of sixteenth century England. [Read more…] about Myth and Migration: The Old West As Urban Invention
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Charles J. LaRocca’s new novel The Red Badge to Gettysburg: An Episode of the American Civil War (2021) is a sequel to Stephen Crane’s classic novel, The Red Badge of Courage, based on the actions of the 124th NYSV, the famed “Orange Blossoms” from Orange County, New York. [Read more…] about New Civil War Novel Based On 124th NY Volunteers
Pictures of street hawkers with their trade shouts recorded in captions of poetry or prose are known as “Cries.” They first appeared in Paris around 1500. This early creation of an urban iconography included socially marginal people such as vagrants, beggars, prostitutes, and others.
Fifty years later, these images were established as a stylistic category across Europe. Eventually, they would make their way to New York. [Read more…] about Urban Cries: Street Hawkers’ Shouts in New York & London
Although much remains unclear about the origins of Cockney rhyming slang, there is a consensus that it stems from London’s East End, dates back to the 1840s, and is alive and thriving. One slang expression reads “on one’s tod,” meaning: on one’s own; all alone. The phrase is a shortened version of the original “on one’s Tod Sloan.”
In full, these four words offer a multi-colored mosaic of socio-cultural events involving Manhattan, London, and Paris. [Read more…] about Slang, Stirrups, Paris in the 20s, and the Invention of the Bloody Mary
In the third episode of the podcast series Legends and Lore of the Empire State, A New York Minute In History explores the inspirations behind Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820). [Read more…] about The Inspiration Behind Ichabod Crane And The Headless Horseman (Podacst)
The Empire State Center for the Book has decided to postpone its annual event honoring inductees to the New York State Writers Hall of Fame due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The group said the decision was made in consultation with its co-sponsor and collaborator the New York State Writers Institute at the State University at Albany. Organizers say it will be the first time in 11 years the induction ceremony has not taken place. [Read more…] about NYS Writers Hall of Fame Induction Postponed
On March 25, 1833, the celebrated Shakespearian actor Edmund Kean collapsed on stage at London’s Covent Garden while playing the role of Othello. He died shortly thereafter.
Sixteen days later, New York-born Ira Frederick Aldridge – known as the ‘Negro Tragedian’ – was asked to replace him as the Moor. His chequered career in England coincided with the final push towards the abolition of the slave trade there. [Read more…] about New York’s Black Othello, Ira Aldridge
In the first edition of his Dictionary of the English Language (1755) the term lexicographer is defined by Samuel Johnson as a ‘harmless drudge that busies himself in … detailing the signification of words’. A dunce, in other words. Really?
Born in New York, George Washington Matsell was the son of an immigrant family from Helhoughton (near Fakenham), Norfolk. His father ran a bookshop on Broadway. Following in his footsteps, George opened up his own premises on Chatham Street, Manhattan (renamed Park Row in 1886). A man of words (in 1866 he acquired ownership of the National Police Gazette), he also took an interest in matters of law and order. He became a magistrate in 1840 and was appointed the first Commissioner of the New York City Police Department after its formation in 1844. [Read more…] about Words From Underground: Madness and the OED