The Columbia County Historical Society (CCHS) has announced a new permanent outdoor exhibit featuring eight narrative panels set along the treeline of its rural properties on Roue 9-H: the c.1850 Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse and the 1737 Luykas Van Alen House located at 2589 Route NY-9H in the Town of Kinderhook. [Read more…] about Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse & Luykas Van Alen House Get Interpretive Panels
Washington Irving was the son of immigrants. His father was a Presbyterian Scot, his mother Cornish. He was born on April 3rd, 1783, the same week that New Yorkers celebrated the ceasefire that ended the American Revolution. His parents named their son after George Washington. They had settled at 131 William Street, Manhattan, and were part of the city’s merchant class.
Washington began writing letters to the New York Morning Chronicle in 1802. He gained recognition as a satirical author in 1809 with A History of New York using the pseudonym Dietrich Knickerbocker. He riveted readers with his irreverent combination of fact and fancy. [Read more…] about Andalusian Allure: From Washington Irving to Thomas Edison
The new book The Majestic Nature of the North: Thomas Kelah Wharton’s Journeys in Antebellum America through the Hudson River Valley and New England (SUNY Press, 2019), edited by Steven A. Walton and Michael J. Armstrong, features the travel diaries of nineteenth-century artist, educator, and architect Thomas Kelah Wharton, documenting his trips in the lower Hudson River Valley and New Orleans to Boston and back. [Read more…] about 19th Century Hudson River, New England Travel Diaries Published
Washington Irving was an historian and writer. Some historians and biographers have called him the first great American author.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Michael Lord, Director of Education at Historic Hudson Valley, joins us to explore the life of Washington Irving, his home, Sunnyside, and the historic Hudson Valley region he immortalized in stories such as Diedrich Knickerbocker’s History of New York, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and “Rip Van Winkle.”
It was once without question the best known ghost story set in Sullivan County, written by one of America’s most respected writers, and yet it is largely unknown today.
It combines detailed descriptions of the rich and bountiful beauty of this area in the 19th century with cleverly conceived ghouls as hideous as any in American literature.
It is Washington Irving’s 1838 short story “Hans Swartz: A Marvelous Tale of Mamakating Hollow” and it is still appropriate reading this Halloween season, more than 170 years after it was penned. [Read more…] about Washington Irving’s Spooky Tale of Mamakating Hollow
The history of Kinderhook is rich with the lore of headless horsemen, love-struck schoolmasters and a sleepy small town. This is primarily due to Washington Irving, his wild imagination, and the short-story “Legends of Sleepy Hallow.”
On August 2, New York Times bestselling biographer Brian Jay Jones will speak on the life of Irving and his habit of using artistic license when it came to the history of the area. At 4:00 pm at the Kinderhook Reformed Church (21 Broad St in Kinderhook), Jones will address the historical myths plucked from Irving’s satirical history The History of New York written in 1809 in his talk, “Washington Irving and the (Re)Creation of Dutch New York” as part of the Columbia County Historical Society’s Dutch New York: Fact and Fiction lecture series. [Read more…] about Washington Irving and the (Re)Creation of Dutch NY
On April 3, 1783 Writer and satirist Washington Irving was born in New York City. He best known for his short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” but I will always love him best for coining the name of New York’s basketball team!
In 1809, Irving published his first major book, A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker. Through the Knickerbocker pseudonym, Irving poked fun at the city’s self-important Dutch elite, in which Knickerbocker was a fairly common last name. He also pulled an elaborate prank in anticipation of the book’s release, posting “missing person” adverts in city newspapers, claiming Knickerbocker, a Dutch historian, had gone missing from his hotel room. [Read more…] about Happy Birthday Washington Irving!
Three time-honored stories by Washington Irving, classic tales told again and again, have been released together in the cloth-bound box set A Washington Irving Treasury (Universe Publishing, 2012). The high-spirited stories of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow present memorable folk characters that have become part of America’s literary lexicon, while Old Christmas preserves the nostalgia, warmth, and joy of English Christmas traditions. [Read more…] about New Washington Irving Treasury Box Set Published
Washington Irving‘s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is one of the best-known works of American literature. But what other myths lie hidden behind the landscape of New York’s Hudson Valley?
Imps cause mischief on the Hudson River; a white lady haunts Raven Rock, Major Andre’s ghost seeks redemption and real headless Hessians search for their severed skulls.
Local storyteller Jonathan Kruk relates the other myths that lie hidden behind the landscape of the Lower Hudson Valley in Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley (History Press, 2011). [Read more…] about Books: Sleepy Hollow Legends and Lore
Even in the supersized world of New York City, Union Square stands out for its astonishing legacy. Yet most of that rich history was lost in the square’s descent from a city showplace to an area approached only at personal peril.
Union Square’s 300-year story is finally told by author/photographer James Isaiah Gabbe in The Universe of Union Square, a coffee-table book and companion DVD (Visions & Voices) that marks the first time the history of the square has been captured from a progressive cultural perspective.
The book relates the people, places and events that shaped so much of America’s progressive tradition while the DVD brings the chronicle up to the moment through 60 lively interviews with city officials, business owners, artists, activists, clergy and others whose lives are intertwined with this remarkable place. More information about the book and a full list of interviewees can be found online.
Gabbe, a former journalist and historian is a longtime resident of Union Square and was for many years the president of the Union Square Partnership – the nation’s first business improvement district.
As president of the Union Square Partnership Gabbe thought he knew the area’s history well enough to create a nicely illustrated brochure, but wherever he turned, Gabbe heard stories that led him through a warren of intrigue and Dickensian characters.
Three years, hundreds of interviews and site visits later, The Universe of Union Square spans 265 pages of fascinating vignettes and nearly 1000 archival images and contemporary photographs. Visions & Voices, the companion DVD, brings the chronicle up to the moment through 60 lively conversations with city officials, community activists, business leaders, academics, clergy, artists and others whose lives are intertwined with this remarkable place.
Gabbe’s exploration extends to an eight-block radius beyond the confines of the park, touching nine adjacent neighborhoods that together form Union Square’s “Universe.”
“Who knew that such a small area of land would become a cauldron in which an unprecedented diversity of people would shape America’s restless, progressive soul,” Gabbe said. “By turns violent and peaceful, with triumph and dismay, Union Square was witness and party to the growth of a nation.”
The Universe of Union Square explores the area’s people, architecture, institutions and happenings through eight thematic chapters – highlights include:
* Peter Stuyvesant’s Harvest: From the Lenape Nation and European Walloons to “blue bloods” and immigrants, a look at the area’s changing populations, including the criminal fringe, from prosperity through hard times between World War I and the 1980s. Includes notable architectural landmarks, the Greenmarket and acts of violence.
* Democracy’s Stage: The “universe’s” history – and legacy – as New York’s center of free public expression. From Civil War protests and Lincoln proclaiming “right makes might” to serving as headquarters for the nascent labor movement and political activists of all persuasions – through to providing the world a haven to mourn and heal after 9/11.
* Creative Cauldron: Celebrating the impresarios, actors, writers, artists and musicians who have made their mark here. Covers the area’s role as the original “heart” of Broadway and the Yiddish theater; the earliest center for American opera; the birthplace of American vaudeville and the modern nightclub; and home to many famed arts clubs and enterprises that founded the film industry.
* Inventive Ventures: This is where gutsy entrepreneurs built the peerless Ladies’ Mile, a collection of urban shopping emporiums that set the stage for modern department stores but have never been equaled. And where scores of other fascinating enterprises were fostered, including world-famous Strand Book Store, Blatt Billiards and the landmarked Bowlmor bowling alley.
* Fibers of the Future: Past and present, individuals and organizations exemplifying compassionate and visionary citizenship, from the selflessness of baker Charles Fleischmann, who fed anyone willing to wait in line for bread, to Tammany Hall, which began as a noble civic and political service to immigrants but ended in infamy. This was also home to Peter Cooper, Helen Keller, Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt, Ida Tarbell, Margaret Sanger and Bill Wilson – all of whom changed society in momentous ways.
The Universe of Union Square also covers the area’s 60 institutions from preschools to universities, libraries to museums – many like NYU, New School, Cooper Union, Stuyvesant and Washington Irving High Schools – created to serve the working class, immigrants and women, who had no access to education. And Gabbe recounts tales of Emma Goldman, Andy Warhol and the Mad Bomber among scores of other famous and infamous characters as it documents the area’s modern resurrection from decades of urban decay.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.