The new children’s book Jacob Riis’s Camera: Bringing Light to Tenement Children (Calkins Creek, 2020) by Alexis O’Neill and illustrated by Gary Kelley, is a revealing biography of a pioneering photojournalist and social reformer Jacob Riis, showcasing how he brought to light one of the worst social justice issues plaguing New York City in the late 1800s – the tenement housing crisis – using newly invented flash photography. [Read more…] about Children’s Book Features Reformer, Photographer Jacob Riis
I imagine there was a lot more hand-wringing prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in Switzerland as compared to other countries, because since 2008 it has been a federal crime there to isolate social animals. Makes you wonder if Swiss authorities have brought charges against themselves yet, or whether they’re waiting until after the crisis lets up. [Read more…] about Social Isolation: Live Long and Prosper Together
The term “red light district” is believed to have first appeared in print in Ohio in 1894.
One folk etymology relates that red light districts referred to areas frequented by off-duty railroaders, but this is probably apocryphal. The story goes that railroaders would hang their lanterns outside so the crew-callers could find them, but red lights already had an association with prostitution, and therefore areas of vice, long before that. [Read more…] about Mame Fay: Stories From Troy’s Red Light District
Through Sophie’s Eyes (Cahaba, 2008) is a remarkable memoir by Sophie Kussmaul (1875-1968), granddaughter of Princess Regina Henry, first cousin to Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, and niece of Dr. Adolf Kussmaul, a noted Heidelberg physician.
Edited by Sinclair Seevers, the memoir spans her first six decades, two thirds of Kussmaul’s long life. It’s a vivid account of her shy childhood in the 1870s through the years of the Great Depression. [Read more…] about Memoir Recounts The Remarkable Life of Sophie Kussmaul
The Office of Cultural Education (OCE), made up of the New York State Archives, Library and Museum, has been working to support New York State’s cultural community throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. [Read more…] about NYS Pandemic Documentation Initiative Underway
When I was growing up in the 1950s, my mother had one of those old Maytags. The washing machine agitated the clothes in the soapy water until she turned it off.
Then each garment would be passed through the wringers to squeeze out as much water as possible. Finally, the damp clothes would be put out on the clothes line, our “solar-powered dryer.” [Read more…] about Dirty Laundry: The Backyard Clothesline In The 1950s
Oneida County History Center has announced The Coney Island of Central NY: Sylvan Beach in its Heyday, a virtual lunchtime lecture set for Wednesday, June 17th, from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. [Read more…] about Sylvan Beach: The Coney Island of Central NY
Graveyards are for the living. It’s something I think about every autumn, when my local Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks comes alive with children on our annual fifth grade field trip.
Ahead of time, the students research a person buried there. As we walk down to the graveyard from school, excitement builds. Upon arrival the kids race around, looking excitedly for their person. It’s like a bizarre version of an Easter egg hunt. [Read more…] about Life in the Graveyard
Home isolation does not mean we can’t experience that thrill of curiosity and discovery that comes with a visit to an historic house.
Kendra Gaylord, creator and host of the Someone Lived Here podcast, does just that. From Steepletop in Austerlitz, New York, to Sailors’ Snug Harbor in Staten Island, each episode weaves an on-site visit with the story of who lived there. On our latest episode, you’ll hear why Kendra created the series, how she does it, and who had the best gift shop. [Read more…] about Capturing the Life in the Historic House (Podcast)
Her hair was flaming red and so were her freckles. Born Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith on August 14, 1894 in Alderson, West Virginia, she was the youngest of four children.
“I am hundred percent American Negro with a trigger Irish temper” – as she summarized her genealogy. The “Queen Victoria” in her birth name is both puzzling and amusing, but whatever the explanation she lived her life as a royal – Queen of Montmartre. [Read more…] about Ada ‘Bricktop’ Smith: Queen of Montmarte