On April 30th, 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt opened New York’s World’s Fair with an address in which he praised the commercial festival as a “symbol of peace.” An idea dreamed up at the height of the depression, the theme of the Fair was “The World of Tomorrow.” Its opening slogan was an inspiring “Dawn of New Day.” [Read more…] about Arthur Szyk: The Artist As Soldier
World War Two
In Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World (Simon & Schuster, 2020), a crisply-written, well-researched book, Lesley Blume, a journalist and biographer, tells the fascinating story of the background to John Hersey’s path-breaking article “Hiroshima” and of its extraordinary impact upon the world.
In 1945, although only 30 years of age, Hersey was a very prominent war correspondent for Time magazine — a key part of publisher Henry Luce’s magazine empire — and living in the fast lane. That year, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, A Bell for Adano, which had already been adapted into a movie and a Broadway play. Born the son of missionaries in China, Hersey had been educated at upper class, elite institutions, including the Hotchkiss School, Yale, and Cambridge. During the war, Hersey’s wife, Frances Ann, a former lover of young Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, arranged for the three of them to get together over dinner. Kennedy impressed Hersey with the story of how he saved his surviving crew members after a Japanese destroyer rammed his boat, PT-109. This led to a dramatic article by Hersey on the subject — one rejected by the Luce publications but published by the New Yorker. The article launched Kennedy on his political career and, as it turned out, provided Hersey with the bridge to a new employer – the one that sent him on his historic mission to Japan. [Read more…] about John Hersey and the Hiroshima Cover-up
My father was employed as an administrator at the Mount McGregor Veterans Rest Camp, Saratoga County, upon his discharge from the Army. Mom was a Registered Nurse at the Camp Infirmary. I lived on Mount McGregor from April 1946, the day I arrived in my mother’s arms, until I left for Boy Scout Camp Saratoga in July 1960. Five boys and one girl within two years of my age lived on Mount McGregor during that time. We were a loosely knit mostly outdoor group. [Read more…] about Memories of a Childhood at Mount McGregor
During World War II, when many athletes went into military service, the military post at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site became a regional baseball powerhouse, due in part to the posting there of former professional and minor league ballplayers, even including a former starting pitcher for the New York Yankees. [Read more…] about When Fort Ontario Was A Baseball Powerhouse
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 12th, 1885, Tracy Mygatt was inspired by her New England ancestors’ religious convictions and translated those spiritual roots into radical social change, one that was highlighted by her own political determination.
After her graduation from Bryn Mawr College in 1908, she devoted her life to a number of reform causes, which included child labor and unemployment, world peace through her association with peace organizations and calls for world government, and an economic system based on democratic-socialist principles. [Read more…] about Trailblazing Women: Peace Activist Tracy Mygatt
This week on The Historians Podcast, Jennet Conant discusses her book The Great Secret: The Classified World War II Disaster That Launched the War on Cancer. Also heard is film maker Nick Spark who lobbied for U.S. government recognition of medical doctor Stewart Alexander whose work chronicling the Bari disaster in southern Italy was the impetus to developing chemotherapy. [Read more…] about Secrets, Poison Gas and Chemotherapy (Podcast)
This week on The Historians Podcast, City Historian Christopher Leonard discusses Schenectady during the Second World War, plus he takes a look at Schenectady and the Erie Canal. [Read more…] about Schenectady During The Second World War (Podcast)
Late on the afternoon of September 11th, 1945, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jack Wilpers, a 25-year-old bookie’s son from Saratoga Springs, busted into the home of one of the United States’ most hated living persons. What he did over the next couple of hours would change history. [Read more…] about The New York Man Involved in the Capture of Tojo
During the Civil War personal identification of soldiers killed and severely wounded in combat was daunting, because of inadequate record keeping in both the Union and the Confederate armies.
An early attempt to ID them was called “name discs” or “soldier pins,” but these met with limited success. Historians estimate that 50% of those killed in the Civil War were simply marked unknown. [Read more…] about To Identify The Dead: World War Two Student ‘Dog Tags’
In the 1990s I would visit Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA) vice president and archivist Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) at his home in Niskayuna to learn as much as I could from him about wilderness preservation.
After he died, Paul was named one of the 100 top conservationists in the United States by Audubon magazine. I was the executive director of the AfPA and learned a great deal from Paul during the last decade of his life. [Read more…] about Cutting The Scotia Runway: An Adirondack Conservationist During The War