Networking: Association of Public Historians of NYS

The August 2011 issue of The Public Historian focused on both the richness of the history of New York State and the diverseness of the systems in place to protect and promote that history. This same issue has been seen in recent blogs and articles on the online site New York History and elsewhere.

I appreciate the focus on our state’s history and the concern of many to ensure that our heritage is properly preserved for everyone. Unfortunately, too little attention has been paid to a system that already exists that links and networks with every other agency in the state – the Association of Public Historians of New York State. Read more

Peter Feinman: Considering Municipal Historians

This is the second in a series of posts on the New York State History infrastructure. The previous one was on County Historians. These posts draw on my experiences in initiating a series of county history conferences in the Hudson Valley this year and on Teacherhostels / Historyhostels I have conducted such as the one to the Mohawk Valley this summer prior to Tropical Storm Irene. Read more

Peter Feinman: The County Historian

Based on the county history conferences which I initiated in the Hudson Valley this year, I would like to take this opportunity to share my experiences and to offer some suggestions on changes which should occur. I am starting with the County Historian position since that position was my point of contact for proposing each conference. I dealt with 8 counties in the Hudson Valley and while they may not be a fair sample of the 62 counties in the state, they are a reasonable number upon which to base my comments. Also it should be noted that I was the constant, meaning I was the same person who interacted with all 8 counties. Read more

A Flood of History: New Yorks History in Peril

In recent months New York State has been the victim of horrendous flooding and devastation as the result of both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The path of devastation is both wide and long – reaching from Maryland and New Jersey up to Vermont.

Centuries of disaster records have fallen. We have seen the evacuation of major areas of New York City and entire towns cut off from contact with neighboring communities and the outside world. As news crews rush to film the spectacular scenes of water rushing through main streets as buildings rush toward certain destruction, there are other stories that are lost in the immediacy of the event. Read more

New Contributor: APHNYS President Gerald Smith

Please welcome our newest contributor here at the online journal New York History, President of the Association of Public Historians of New York State Gerry Smith.

Smith has been Broome County Historian since 1988 and City of Binghamton Historian since 1984. A native of Broome County, he graduated from Broome Community College and Binghamton University where he received his Masters in History.

Gerry recently retired from his full-time job at the Broome County Public Library after 32 years and began HistorySmiths, a consulting and research company. He is the author of several books, including Partners All: A History of Broome Count, New York and The Valley of Opportunity: A Pictorial History of Greater Binghamton, New York. He is currently the curator of “The Civil War” at Roberson Museum. He serves on several boards, including WSKG, and the Broome County Historical Society.

The Association of Public Historians began in 1999 with the merger of the former Association of Municipal Historians of New York State and the County Historians Association of New York State. The organization is the officially recognized agency to serve the needs of the over 1600 local government historians in every town, village, city, county and borough in the state. Today, hundreds of historians attend the organization’s annual conference or network and learn at one of the meetings of the twelve statewide regions. The APHNYS website connects historians through online resources, newsletters and specialized training on historic issues. APHNYS is currently involved in a statewide initiative on historical markers, and operates its Registered Historians program to promote professionalism and education for all appointed historians.

Association of Public Historians of NYS Meeting

The Association of Public Historians of New York State (APHNYS) has announced the schedule for the APHNYS 2010 Annual State Conference. The event will be held at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Buffalo, April 18th through April 20th, 2010.

The purpose of this APHNYSis to promote and encourage a greater understanding of the history of New York State and its local jurisdictions, promote and encourage the work of the officially appointed local government historians in New York State and its legal jurisdictions, and the Office of the State Historian, and to foster a spirit of cooperation and collegiality among all public historians in New York State. An overview what each day offers is below, but full details about the conference can be found at

Conference attendees have the opportunity to take advantage of both history and skills sessions, which are denoted in the following way: (S) &#8211 Skills Session OR (H) &#8211 History Session

Here’s a quick rundown of what each day offers&#8230-

SUNDAY, APRIL 18, 2010

Pre-Conference Activity: Tour of Buffalo City Hall, followed by Buffalo Naval Park/Original Erie Canal Slip

Conference Sessions include:

Historic Preservation 101: An Introduction to the Benefits of Local Preservation Planning, Tourism and Grants (S)

Bounties, Bonds and Banknotes: How the Union Financed Victory in the Civil War (H)

The Historian & the Landmarking Process (S)

The New York and Erie Railroad and the Economic Impact of Emigrant Paupers in Chautauqua County (H)

Basic Orientation for Newly Appointed Historians (S)

Evening Activities include:

Dinner followed by either Tour of Niagara Falls or APHNYS Movie Night at the hotel.

MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010

&#8220State of the State’s History&#8221 with State Historian Robert Weible

APHNYS 2010 Annual Meeting & Elections

Conference Sessions include:

Tricks of the Trade: Learning How to Use the New York State Library’s Online Catalog and Digital Collections Effectively to Tell Your Community’s History (S)

Bringing the War of 1812 to Life: A Public Television Station Recreates History (H)

Preserving and Presenting Tragedy in the Community (S/H)

Researching the CCC in Your Area & Preserving the Memories of Your Community’s CCC Members (S)

Websites, E-Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs & More: Social Media & the Historian (S)

Discovering a Civil War Story from Niagara County (H)

Public Historian’s Roundtable

Evening Activity: APHNYS Annual Awards Banquet with Keynote by Melissa Brown, Curator of the Pan-American Expo Museum


Conference Sessions include:

Becoming an APHNYS Registered Historian: Recognition for Your Great Career (S)

More Life and Less Latin: The General Education Board’s Work in New York (H)

The 2010 Census: Why America Continues to Count (S)

Local Government Records for the Public and Family Historians (S)

A Glorious Acquisition: The Siege of 1759 at Fort Niagara (H)

After Conference Activity: The Frank Lloyd Wright Experience

Tour of the Darwin D. Martin House Complex, the most extensive residential complex Wright ever designed.