Perspectives on Empire State History

November 15 & 16, 20l2
University at Albany, SUNY

Sponsored by:

The University at Albany
Department of History &
History Graduate
Student Organization

The New York State Archives Partnership Trust

With additional support from:

M.E. Grenander Department of
Special Collections & Archives,
University Libraries

The New York State Museum

The College of Arts & Sciences

The Office for Research

University Auxiliary Services

The New York State Historical Association & The Farmer's Museum



(518) 442-5431












































































































































































Researching NY 2012

11:30 AM – 4:00 PM
University at Albany, Science Library, Barnes and Noble Reading Room

SESSION I – 12:15-1:30 PM

Women’s Suffrage: Variations on a Theme

Building a “Center of Activity”: Manhattan and Suffrage
Lauren Santangelo, City University of New York, CUNY

The Fight Against Women’s Suffrage: New York, 1915-1917
Amanda Ferro, Siena College

Comment: Susan Goodier,Hamilton College

Going to the Sources

Sir William Johnson’s Johnstown: A Study of the Robert Adams Daybook
Gayle Ann Livecchia, Mohawk Valley Historical Research

A Widow’s Share: Maria van Rensselaer’s Struggle for Rensselaerwyck, 1674-1689
Andrew T. Ford, Siena College

Comment: Eric Morser, Skidmore College

SESSION II – 1:45-3:15 PM

Engaging with New York City History: Pedagogical Techniques for Freshman Courses

Building Engagement through Peer Response: Freshman Research on New York City History
Phyllis Conn, St. John’s University

Engaging the Past: Teaching New York History to College Freshman through Comics and Graphic Novels
Caroline Fuchs, St. John’s University

“Promoting Information Literacy through Student Engagement with Wikipedia”
Benjamin Turner, St. John’s University 

Modernizing Business” Intended/Unintended Consequences

Print and Memory in the Early Republic
Steve Carl Smith, McNeil Center for Early American Studies
Mr. Smith is will not present.

Glenn Curtis, King of the Air: What He Did, How He Did It, Why It Matters
Kirk W. House, Steuben County Historical Society

Comment: David Hochfelder, University at Albany, SUNY

 Off-Site Sessions
Cultural Education Center
New York State Museum, Library & Special Collections, and Archives

3:30 PM: Transportation will be provided from the University at Albany to the New York State Museum and Cultural Education Center and back. To insure seating for all, you must reserve a seat; Seating will be available on the day of the Conference, as space permits. The shuttle bus will leave from, and return to, the University at Albany Science Library. If you prefer to drive, parking is free after 3 PM at the Madison Avenue lot, next to the Museum and Cultural Education Center. See the conference Web site for additional details.

SESSION III: 4:00-5:15 PM
New York State Museum –

Documenting, Preserving and Interpreting the History of Disability in New York State

Moderator: Christine Ward, New York State Archivist
Herman Eberhardt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum
Mark Pattison, New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
Douglas Platt, Buffalo Museum of Disability History

Historic Markers in New York State

Moderator: Robert Weible, New York State Historian
Gerry Smith, APHNYS
Paula Miller, William G. Pomeroy Foundation
Nancy Maliwesky, William G. Pomeroy Foundation

SESSION IV: 5:30-6:30 PM
Gallery Talks-New York State Museum

An Irresistible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War
Melinda Lawson, Union College
Jennifer Lemak and Aaron Noble, New York State Museum

Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks
Craig Williams, New York State Museum

1934: A New Deal for Artists
Cecile Kowalski, New York State Museum


Co-sponsored by the New York State Historical Association & The Farmer’s Museum

7:30 PM ~ Clark Auditorium

America Divided, Then and Now: The Civil War in Our National and Local Imagination
David W. Blight, Yale University

David BlilghtThe Civil War and emancipation continue to have an enduring and conflicted hold on America’s collective memory.  Professor Blight will discuss how the Civil War is remembered not only today, but also how it was remembered and celebrated during earlier, major Civil War anniversaries in 1911-1915 and  particularly the Centennial from 1961-65. He also will explore larger questions about the nature of memory and its influence on our understanding of history.

This free Researching New York event is co-sponsored by the New York State Museum with support from the New York State Writers Institute and is open to the public.

A professor of American History at Yale University, Blight is also the director of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition.  He has authored numerous works including, most recently, “American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era” Other notable titles include “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory,” which received eight book awards including the Bancroft Prize, the Lincoln Prize and the Frederick Douglass Prize; and “A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation.” A Slave No More” combines two newly discovered slave narratives in a volume that recovers the lives of their authors, John Washington and Wallace Turnage, and also provides an incisive history of the story of emancipation. Book signing immediately following Professor Blight’s talk.

The shuttle bus will return to the University at Albany Science Library immediately following the talk and book signing.


FRIDAY, November 16, 2012
Coffee, continental breakfast

SESSION V – 8:30-9:45 AM

Religion: Place and Space

“The Architectural Legacy Of The Pioneer Spiritual Leaders: The Burned Over District Of Western New York”
Sharon Williams Leahy, Savannah College

A Russian Monastery in Rural New York: A History of Holy Trinity Monastery and its Surrounding Environment
Bryan Herman, University at Albany, SUNY

Comment: Fr. Peter Olsen, St. Basil’s Russian Orthodox Church


Ending of Life: Of Towns and Murderers

Murder, Inc.: Sub-humans, Super-humans, & Monsters
Robert W. Whalen, Queens University of Charlotte

Historic Village Government Dissolutions in New York State
Lisa K. Parshall, Daemen College

Comment: Laura Wittern-Keller, University at Albany, SUNY


“Building Better Waterways: The Champlain Canal at Fort Edward, NY”

Paul Willard Gates, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Alex Lehning, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Comment: Jennifer Dorsey, Sienna College

SESSION VI – 10:15 – 11:45 AM

Place, Space, Geography

Technology and the Transformation of a Hudson River Landscape: The Development of the Pulp and Paper Industry at Palmer Falls
Stephen Cernek, Daniel Webster College

Milkcans and Forests: Events that Have Shaped New York’s Forests Over the Last 300 Years
Hugh O. Canham, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Emeritus

Audubon Park, Manhattan: Reconstructing a 19th Century Neighborhood Using 21st Century Research Techniques
Matthew Spady, Audubon Park Historic District, New York City

Comment: John Pipkin, University at Albany, SUNY

Civil War Stories

Saratoga Springs in the Civil War: Troops, Horses, and Business
Devin Mellor, Skidmore College

Upstate New York on the Brink of War: Abolitionists, The North, and the March Toward Civil War
Nicholas E. Thony, University at Albany, SUNY

Comment: Alice E. Malavasic, Hudson Valley Community College

Progressive Education Meets Catskill Traditions: Camp Woodland, Pete Seeger, and the Folk Festivals of the Catskills

Camp Woodland and the Progressive Education of Norman Studer
Bill Horne, Independent Historian

Using Archives to Explore the Camp Woodland Origins of Pete Seeger’s Guantanamera and More
Jodi Boyle, M.E. Grenander Special Collections & Archives, University at Albany, SUNY

Moderator: Brian Keough, M.E. Grenander Special Collections & Archives, University at Albany, SUNY



New York’s Nature Next Door: Cities and Forests in the Empire State
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College

Ellen Stroud Once denuded areas of northeastern United States are again a region of trees. Long seen as distinct, urban and rural areas are in fact intertwined: dichotomies of farm and forest, agriculture and industry, and nature and culture dissolve when looking at the history of northeastern woods. Focusing on the New York experience, Ellen Stroud will discuss how urbanization fostered a period of recovery for forests—with cities not merely consumers of nature, but creators as well. City dwellers bought abandoned land for country retreats and fought to have parcels set aside for nature study, recreation, and, perhaps most crucially, for watersheds. This emphasis on the urban origins of and dependence on the new eastern forests underscores the interactions between natural and cultural landscapes in the twentieth-century—cities, trees, mills, rivers, houses, and farms are all part of a single, transformed, regional landscape.

Ellen Stroud, an environmental historian at Bryn Mawr College, is associate professor in the Growth and Structure of Cities Department, Director of the Environmental Studies Program, and holds the Johanna Alderfer Harris and William H. Harris M.D. Chair in Environmental Studies. She is the author of Nature Next Door: Cities and Trees in the American Northeast, University of Washington Press, 2012. Her next project is Dead as Dirt: An Environmental History of the Dead Body. Professor Stroud will be available to sign her just published book, Nature Next Door: Cities and Trees in the American Northeast (also available for purchase), at the closing reception.


 SESSION VII – 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Challenges in Teaching New York State History At the College Level:
Establishing Regional Diversity and Balance

Susan Ingalls Lewis, SUNY New Paltz
Lauren Kozakiewicz, University at Albany, SUNY
Jocelyn Wills, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Jane Ladouceur, College of St. Rose

Community Action Community Change

Guerilla Television: New York Origins of Experimental Video
Peter Sachs Collopy, University of Pennsylvania

Making Schenectady Competitive: Capital, Labor, and Community in a Changing Economy
Stephen McErleane, University at Albany, SUNY

Maximum Feasible Conflict: The War on Poverty’s Community Action and Saul Alinsky in Rochester, NY, 1964-1967
Brian Keough, University at Albany, SUNY

Comment: Lisa Kannenberg, College of St. Rose

Government and Politics

Governor Alfred E. Smith and the Moreland Act
John T. Evers, University at Albany, SUNY

Rare Fish: Women Appointed to New York State Government before 1942: Emmeline Moore, Chief Aquatic Biologist
Rusty (Dorothy) Tobin, Empire State College

The Difference a Year Makes: How New York Democrats Managed To Lose Every Significant Race Twelve Months After Having the Best Election In Their History
Bill Mahoney, University at Albany, SUNY

Comment: Robert Chiles, University of Maryland, College Park



Listening Matters: Documenting,  Preserving,  and Telling  Stories of the Hudson Valley
Eileen McAdam

Eileen McAdamSome suggest that the modern environmental movement was launched in the Hudson Valley when a group of concerned citizens challenged Con Edison’s proposed hydroelectric plan in Cornwall New York resulting in a 17 year legal dispute, from 1963-1981, culminating in the defeat of the proposal to embed the world’s largest storage hydroelectric plant into the face of Storm King Mountain on the Hudson River. Before then, the idea of limiting pollution by corporations and defending scenic beauty, wildlife, and the environment, with the power of the law was relatively uncommon.  Storm Over the Mountain, tells the story of how that fight began with an image and grew to a movement.  We’ll hear the audio documentary and learn more about the fight and the stories from the community and the archives.

Eileen McAdam is co-founder and director of the nonprofit Sound and Story Project. Through original recordings and library and museum oral history collections, she uses the latest digital technologies and new and traditional media to engage people with the stories of the Hudson Valley. She has produced numerous radio programs including Untold Stories: the Hudson Valley's New Americans and Paradise Transformed: how a mountain, a roadway and a reservoir changed the Hudson Valley. The Sound and Story Project,, has received a 3 year major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to share archival oral histories through radio programs, websites, mobile apps and new media.

This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the University at Albany Documentary Studies Program.


RECEPTION immediately following.

This page last updated November 12, 2012