Berlin, May 1915. Three feminists on an historical mission — Jane Addams and New York native Alice Hamilton from the United States, and Aletta Jacobs from the Netherlands — meet Wilbur H. Durborough. The American photographer and filmmaker had traveled to Berlin with his cameraman, Irving G. Ries, to shoot footage for his war documentary On the Firing Line with the Germans (1915). [Read more…] about Jane Addams, Alice Hamilton & The Hague Women’s Congress
Chuck Connors & Slum Tourism in Chinatown
Dating from 1785, Edward Mooney House at 18 Bowery, at the corner of Pell Street in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, is one of New York’s oldest surviving brick townhouses. Built shortly after the British evacuated New York and before George Washington became President, its architecture contains elements of both pre-Revolutionary (British) Georgian and the in-coming (American) Federal style. Designated in 1966 as a landmark sample of domestic architecture, Mooney House has three stories, an attic and full basement.
The property itself and the land on which it was built are manifestations of Manhattan’s socio-political emergence. The house harbors a history of various functions that involved a diverse mix of tenants and occupants, reflecting the chaotic rise of the metropolis. [Read more…] about Chuck Connors & Slum Tourism in Chinatown
William O. Stillman: Leader of Humane Societies, Friend of Animals & Children
William O. Stillman was born on September 9th, 1856 in Normansville, now known as Elsmere in the town of the Bethlehem, Albany County, NY. His parents were Rev. Stephen Lewis Stillman and Lucretia (Miller) Stillman.
Rev. Stephen Lewis Stillman was a Methodist minister at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Adamsville (now Delmar) and a descendant of a family that had emigrated from London, England. Lucretia (Miller) Stillman was of Dutch descent. Rev. Stephen suddenly died in 1869, when William was 12 years old. After his father’s death, William and his mother moved to Albany. [Read more…] about William O. Stillman: Leader of Humane Societies, Friend of Animals & Children
The Rockland County Work Camp That Inspired The Civilian Conservation Corps
Ninety years ago this month, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the bill that created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC established labor camps around the nation where unemployed men did forestry work and park improvements.
Much of their hard work is evident in state and national parks, which are still enjoyed by the public. At the time of its creation, the CCC was described as a “novel work-relief plan.” But it was not entirely novel. A similar program was being run in Rockland County, New York. [Read more…] about The Rockland County Work Camp That Inspired The Civilian Conservation Corps
Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the 20th Century
Before 1870, humanity lived in dire poverty, with a slow crawl of invention offset by a growing population. Then came a great shift: invention sprinted forward, doubling our technological capabilities each generation and utterly transforming the economy again and again. Our ancestors would have presumed we would have used such powers to build utopia. But it was not so. When 1870 – 2010 ended, the world instead saw global warming; economic depression, uncertainty, and inequality; and broad rejection of the status quo.
Brad DeLong’s Slouching Towards Utopia (Basic Books, 2022) tells the story of how this unprecedented explosion of material wealth occurred, how it transformed the globe and why it failed to deliver us to utopia. [Read more…] about Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the 20th Century
New York Pork: A Porcine History of the Big Apple
In 1895 New York City’s newly appointed reformist Mayor William Lafayette Strong nominated engineer and Civil War veteran Colonel George Waring to take on the demanding post of Sanitation Commissioner.
A native of Pound Ridge in Westchester County, Waring had fine-tuned his skills as a landscape and drainage (sewage) engineer having been involved with the construction of Manhattan’s Central Park. [Read more…] about New York Pork: A Porcine History of the Big Apple
When The Yeggs Hit Upstate New York
It was late on Wednesday, January 19th, 1910, and Police Chief W. R. Bronner was making his evening rounds through the quiet village of Mohawk, in the town of German Flatts, Herkimer County, NY, making sure all was safe for both business and residents.
Somewhere near the intersection of Main and Washington streets, he encountered four men who engaged him in conversation as they all walked along. Before he could resist, he was relieved of his pistol, gagged, and brought into the Masonic Hall billiard room that the Yeggs had broken into earlier in the evening. Once inside, Bronner was bound with wire taken from pictures on the wall. [Read more…] about When The Yeggs Hit Upstate New York
New Book On The Hill: A Tipi In A NYC Shantytown
The book The Hill (Autonomedia, 2021) by Gabriele Schafer traces the steps of how a shantytown went from the anonymity of waist-high huts hidden in the weeds, to a tour-bus, school-group and celebrity stop; from addicts and recluses just getting by, to a drug supermarket; from a close-knit encampment, to a crime scene that entangles everyone from drug dealers, to users, to cops, to Schafer and Nick Fracaro… when one day tragedy strikes.
In the middle of the night on Thanksgiving 1990, the same weekend that the film Dances with Wolves opened, life partners Schafer and Fracaro erected a 25-foot-tall replica of a Lakota tipi in New York City’s then longest-existing shantytown, known as “The Hill,” located at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge at Canal and Chrystie Streets. [Read more…] about New Book On The Hill: A Tipi In A NYC Shantytown
Albany’s Clinton Ave Historic Apartments Wins Preservation Award
Albany’s Clinton Avenue Historic Apartments have won a 2021 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award from the Preservation League of NYS.
The Clinton Avenue project involved the careful rehabilitation of 70 historic rowhouses spread across a one-mile span in Albany’s Clinton Avenue and Arbor Hill Historic Districts. The development includes 3 studios, 123 one-bedrooms, 68 two-bedrooms, and 16 three-bedrooms – a total of 210 apartments.
Tenants include households who earn from 50%-90% of the area median income, providing much-needed affordable housing in the city of Albany. Supportive housing has also been included, with 40 units reserved in partnership with DePaul, who provides services under contract with the Office of Mental Health. [Read more…] about Albany’s Clinton Ave Historic Apartments Wins Preservation Award
Lethal Chambers: The Curse of Anglo-American Eugenics
The relationship between politics and science has always been complicated, and at times, disastrous.
The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by the British scientist Francis Galton who advocated that society should promote the marriage of the “fittest” individuals by providing monetary incentives.
Numerous intellectuals and political leaders (Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes in Britain; Woodrow Wilson and Alexander Graham Bell in the United States) came to accept the idea that society should strive for the improvement of the human race through governmental intervention. [Read more…] about Lethal Chambers: The Curse of Anglo-American Eugenics