Tag Archives: Gender History

New Project: Virtual Center for Prison Memories

The Prison Public Memory Project, focused on making prison history relevant as a guide to the future, today launched a website and blog (www.prisonpublicmemory.org) featuring its work in Hudson, NY a small town that is home to an historic prison and the site of the Project’s pilot effort.

Hudson Correctional Facility, a medium-­?secure state prison for men that opened in 1976, was originally built in the 1800’s as the House of Refuge for Women, the first reformatory for women in New York (1887 – 1904), and then transformed into The New York State Training School for Girls (1904-­?1975) where famed jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and other girls found to be delinquent by the courts were sent to be reformed.
Since 2011, Prison Public Memory Project founders and a growing team of contributors based in the Hudson Valley and around the state have been interviewing Hudson area residents including prison ‘alumni’- conducting research in local and state archives and libraries- and developing educational, interpretive and cultural activities to be offered in Hudson and on the website later this year and
next year.

Visitors to the website can view current photos of former prison workers and inmates and listen to audio clips from their oral histories- see old photographs and maps of the prison- and read prison documents and letters from the 19th and 20th centuries. Short articles tell about ordinary as well as extraordinary prison-­?related events and people that influenced local, state, and national history. One section of
the website invites visitors to become history detectives helping the Project team answer questions and find evidence and visitors are encouraged to contribute in other ways.

Even before its public debut, the website-in-progress grabbed the attention of a few people who offered their own stories and questions and photos. One woman wrote in “My mother’s stories of the (NYS Training) school (for Girls) were brutal, I want to find out if I have another brother or sister. maybe someone has information to help me.” Another woman wrote ” i was sent too hudson in 1964. it wasnt a very nice place to be. but i made my bed so i had to lay in it… once you got use to being there it wasnt, a bad place… it made me a better person some of these young girls now should have a place like that it taught you respect for your self and others.”

Project founder/director Alison Cornyn anticipates more public input as the site is officially launched and word-of-­mouth spreads. “Prisons, especially old prisons like  the one in Hudson, have touched thousands of lives over the course of their history, in both profound and ordinary ways. Using history, art, dialogue and new communications technologies, The Project will craft safe spaces and new opportunities for people from all walks of life &#8211 including those who lived and worked inside the walls ? to connect with the past and each other and engage in conversation, learning, and visioning regarding the role of prisons in communities and in society today and in the future&#8221, said Cornyn, a Brooklyn based
interdisciplinary artist and new media producer whose previous projects have garnered numerous awards.

Illustration: New York State Training School For Girls.

Sir William Johnsons Bookshelf: Millenium Hall

Sir William Johnson’s 1774 inventory of his New York western frontier estate, Johnson Hall, revealed a superb collection of books and other reading material.

Books were a bit more difficult to acquire in 18th century Johnstown than at present, so one could presume that selecting titles was considered, even more precisely than today, by recommended taste, by familiarity with an author, or perhaps from curiosity after having read a report of the book in the newspapers that arrived from New York City or from England via a New York City agent.
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Equality Weekend in Peterboro August 25-26

Irene’s flooding in August 2011 prevented Penny Colman from getting to Peterboro to discuss her new book Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World. Colman has arranged with the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark to discuss and sign her work at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, 2012.

Colman will highlight the friendship between Stanton and her cousin Gerrit Smith of Peterboro, who she once called “the sage of Peterboro.” Stanton spent summers in Peterboro in the 1830s and it was during these visits that she met Henry Brewster Stanton and he proposed marriage to her. Smith’s daughter Elizabeth and Stanton were close friends with each other and with Anthony.

In the spring of 1851 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were introduced to each other on a street corner in Seneca Falls NY. Immediately drawn to each other, they formed an everlasting and legendary friendship. Together, they challenged entrenched beliefs, customs, and laws that oppressed women and spearheaded the fight to gain legal rights, including the right to vote, despite fierce opposition, daunting conditions, scandalous entanglements, and betrayal by their friends and allies.

Penny Colman weaves commentary, events, quotations, and personalities into her book Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World and into her program on the two famous women’s rights activists. Colman writes about illustrious, but not typically well-known, women and a wide range of significant and intriguing topics in her books for all ages: Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II, Corpses, and Thanksgiving: The True Story. She has taught nonfiction literature and creative writing at colleges and universities, including Ohio State University, Queens College, the City University of New York and Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in Englewood, New Jersey.

The following day Sunday, August 26, Norman K. Dann PhD. shares his research for his upcoming book Cousins of Reform on the relationship between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Gerrit Smith. Respected researcher and author of Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform, Dann became interested in the lively and stimulating relationship between two of the principal leaders of 19th Century reform in America. Dann delighted and admired Stanton’s pluck in standing strong in her convictions – even when her admired older cousin challenged her.

Gerrit Smith’s reform efforts are also part of a new interpretive exhibition at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark installed in mid July. People coming to the Equality Weekend programs are encouraged to come before and stay after the presentations in order to view the new exhibits.

Admission at each site is three dollars. Students are free. For more information and updates www.sca-peterboro.org

Susan B. Anthony Festival Set For Saturday

The annual Susan B. Anthony Festival is set for Saturday, August 18, 2012 from noon to 5 p.m. in the Susan B. Anthony Square Park between Madison and King streets in Rochester. The events celebrates the 92nd anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women throughout the country the right to vote.

Music and entertainment will be provided in the park by the Hochstein School of Music and Dance as well as the Rochester Raging Grannies, a group that promotes peace, justice, and social and economic equality through song and dance. Food vendors and unique crafts vendors will sell their goods in the park.

 Authentic nineteenth-century base ball (it was actually two words when it first began in the 19th century!) demonstrations will be provided by Genesee Country Village’s women base ball team, in period costumes, following the rules and etiquette of the game as it was played in the 1800s.

Walking tours of this historic 19th century Historic Preservation District will also be offered. Tours of the Anthony House will be available beginning at 11 a.m. at the special admission price that day only of $5.00 for all ages.

The event is presented by the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association and the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. Deborah L. Hughes, President of the Anthony House, explains, &#8220This annual event is close to our hearts because it recognizes the date—August 26, 1920—when the 19th amendment was officially declared law by the Secretary of State after it was ratified by the required 36 states. It honors the women and men who struggled so long—over 72 years—and so hard—often at personal danger—to achieve equality for women. Many of those who worked so fervently in the cause, including Susan B. Anthony, did not live to see the amendment finally ratified. We thank them each year with this festival.”

For more information, visit www.susanbanthonyhouse.org or call 585-279-7490, ext. 10.

Votes for Women History Trail Makes Progress

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 signed by President Obama authorized the Women’s Rights National Historical Park (NHP) to administer a Votes for Women History Trail Route that would link properties in the New York State that are historically and thematically associated with the struggle for women’s suffrage in the United States.Upstate New York is home to some of the most significant locations of the women’s suffrage movement and the trail is expected to recognize some of the courageous women who led the way to equal rights and will also allow visitors to see the historic places where these pioneering actions occurred.

Although Women’s Rights NHP was authorized to develop and administer this vehicular route, until now no funds had been appropriated for this purpose. The National Park Service recently provided funds through the Park Service’s Washington office to begin the process of formally establishing the trail by defining the criteria for participation and a selection process by which trail sites would be selected.

The Women’s Rights NHP will be holding a public meeting to seek public comments and
suggestions on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 in Seneca Falls regarding the Votes for Women History Trail Route. All are invited to attend this meeting and share ideas. More information about the time and location of the August public meeting will be made available as soon as it is available.

For more information, please the website www.nps.gov/wori or call (315) 568-0024. 

To be considered for inclusion in the trail, the National Park Service requires that properties be historically significant and easily accessible to the public. The list of potential sites includes:

* Susan B. Anthony Memorial, Rochester

* Antoinette Brown Blackwell Childhood Home, Henrietta

* Ontario County Courthouse, Canandaigua

* M’Clintock House, Waterloo

* Jane Hunt House, Waterloo

* Jacob P. Chamberlain House, Seneca Falls

* Lorina Latham House, Seneca Falls

* Wesleyan Chapel, Seneca Falls

* Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, Seneca Falls

* First Presbyterian Church, Seneca Falls

* Race House, Seneca Falls, Seneca Falls

* Hoskins House, Seneca Falls

* Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, Auburn

* Harriet May Mills House, Syracuse

* Matilda Joslyn Gage House, Fayetteville.

Women’s Rights Anniversary Events Begin Today

The Women’s Rights National Historical Park program for the 164th Anniversary of the First Women’s Rights Convention begins today and continue through July 22, 2012 in Seneca Falls, NY. All events will be free of
charge.

Several programs are being offered during the Anniversary events. Artist Carol Flueckiger will present a program and several art workshops as a part of Women’s Rights NHP’s ongoing ARTS AFIRE! programs. Melinda Grube will portray Elizabeth Cady Stanton in two different programs on Saturday, July 21, and Pamela L. Poulin will portray Matilda Joslyn Gage in two different programs on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22.Paul and Mary Kuhn will present phrenology demonstrations, and Bonnie Breed will present lace-making demonstrations as part of the Anniversary events. The Hutchinson Family Revival will perform abolitionist, temperance, and women’s rights songs. Also, Women’s Rights NHP Social Media Coordinator Stephanie Freese will live-blog during the Anniversary events.

For more information about the program of events visit their website. A listing of the Convention Days events in Seneca Falls can be found on the Convention Days Committee website.

For more information, visit he Women’s Rights National Historical Park website or call (315) 568-0024. You can also follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their upcoming programs.

The Civil War And The Adirondacks: 1861-1865

One hundred fifty years ago this country was torn apart by a great civil war. The Adirondack Museum will host a weekend dedicated to remembering the Civil War in the Adirondacks, the men who fought it and their loved ones at home, this Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22.

Visitors will be able to meet the members of the 118th Volunteer Infantry (the &#8220Adirondack&#8221 Regiment&#8221) and President Lincoln at a Civil War Encampment and learn the fate of Adirondack Civil War soldiers of the 118th themselves at a specially produced  presentation by author Glenn Pearsall on Saturday (7:00 p.m.) entitled &#8220The Adirondacks Go To War: 1861 &#8211 1865.&#8221

In the Adirondacks many young men, boys really, left their hard scrabble farms and small towns for the first time in their lives to enlist. Learn what their thoughts were as they marched off to war and how they reacted to the horrors of war. Hear what it was like for the wives, children, mothers and father that they left behind, as well as the lasting impact of the war on the small towns in the Adirondacks following the war.

Pearsall spent two years researching the Civil War veterans from Johnsburg in the southeastern Adirondacks before preparing this special program based on letters and journals (which will be read by a Civil War re-enactors in uniform). The presentation will also include over 100 historic photographs of soldiers and battlefield scenes. &#8220Each member of the audience will be given a name of a soldier from the Adirondacks who fought in the war and will ultimately find out if they survived the war,&#8221  he told the New York History.

Pearsall’s presentation will focus on men serving with the 22nd New York (one of the first to respond to President Lincoln’s call to arms and recruited in Warren and Saratoga Counties), the 93rd (recruited from Essex, Fulton, Hamilton and Warren Counties who suffered horrific losses in the contest between U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee), the 96th or &#8220Plattsburgh Regiment&#8221 (recruited primarily from Clinton County), the 115th (recruited from Hamilton and Fulton Counties) and the 118th or &#8220Adirondack Regiment&#8221 (recruited from Clinton, Essex and Warren Counties, the first regiment to enter the Confederate capital in Richmond on its fall). Pearsall will also explain a special Adirondack link to the capture of John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.

The &#8220Adirondack Regiment&#8221 will also be the focus of the weekend-long encampment at the Museum.  Mustered into service in August 1862, over one thousand North Country men served in the unit. Re-enactors will camp at the museum and share stories of camp life, and what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War. Visitors will learn about the 118th assignments and movements, the battles they fought in, and the historic moment when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House.

President Lincoln will be portrayed by John R. Baylis, who has appeared as the 16th President of the United States at Gettysburg, Antietam, Cedar Creek, Ottawa, and as far south as Key West.

Pearsall’s presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The program will be offered at no charge to museum members- the fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, please visit www.adirondackmuseum.org or call (518) 352-7311.


Photo: A volunteer infantry soldier of the  118th &#8220Adirondack Regiment&#8221 (circa 1863, courtesy Adirondack Museum). 

Women’s Rights NHP Offers History Trading Cards

Trading cards have been popular with kids for generations, from images of sports figures to movie stars. Now, Women’s Rights NHP is offering free trading cards featuring cards of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Wesleyan Chapel, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Martha and William Wright.

The cards available at Women’s Rights NHP are part of a series of 550 cards available at participating national parks throughout the United States. To “earn” a trading card, kids may participate in a ranger-led tour or answer a question about their visit to the park.

“The trading cards are vehicles for telling some ‘lesser-known’ stories – including the stories of civilians, women, African-Americans and American Indians,” said Superintendent Tammy Duchesne. The trading cards are a great way to engage kids with our history as a nation, both here at Women’s Rights NHP and throughout the United States. According to Duchesne, the cards also provide an incentive to families with children to visit all parks which offer the cards.

For more information, please visit their website at www.nps.gov/wori or call (315) 568-0024. You can also follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their upcoming programs.
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New Book: Black Women and Politics in NYC

Julie A. Gallagher’s Black Women and Politics in New York City (2012, Univ. of Illinois Press) is a remarkable contribution to twentieth-century political history that documents six decades of politically active black women in New York City.  These are Black women as liberal reformers, from suffrage to civil rights, who waged struggles for justice, rights, and equality not through grassroots activism but through formal politics.

In tracing the paths of black women activists from women’s clubs and civic organizations to national politics&#8211including appointments to presidential commissions, congressional offices, and even a presidential candidacy&#8211Gallagher also articulates the vision of politics the women developed and its influence on the Democratic party and its policies. Deftly examining how race, gender, and the structure of the state itself shape outcomes, she exposes the layers of power and discrimination at work in all sectors of U.S. society. Continue reading

Elizabeth Cady Stanton House Reopens After Storm

Women’s Rights National Historical Park was affected by a storm cell which occurred during the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29th.  High winds, heavy rains, and hail affected the areas in and near the park, resulting in downed power lines, trees, and tree limbs.  A large chestnut tree located in front of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House suffered severe damage.

Due to the downed tree limbs andongoing cleanup efforts, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House was closed from May 29th to June 5th, but has now reopened.

Guided tours of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House are offered daily at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.  Please call the park’s Visitor Center Information Desk at (315) 568- 0024 from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., for more information about these programs.

Visit their website for more information and updates regarding tours at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House website. You can also follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their upcoming programs, or read its most recent newsletter [pdf].