Kathleen Hulser: A Gertrude Stein Legacy Spat

Controversy over Gertrude Stein continues to fester and boil, even after the great public acclaim for the Metropolitan Museum’s The Steins Collect show. Michael Kimmelman’s review in the New York Review of Books (“Missionaries,” New York Review of Books, April 26, 2012.  also his July 12 letter in response to criticism) revived old charges that Gertrude was a Nazi sympathizer. Kimmelman gave an overview of the exhibition, which focused on the early years of the Leo and Gertrude Stein in the ebullient art scene in Paris. Read more

Books: What Would Mark Twains Tale Of Today Be?

Samuel Clemens, known to most as the popular author and humorist Mark Twain, was also an astute observer of American politics-he just believed that the stark truth about corruption in government would go down more smoothly with a dose of humor. Robed in a white suit, white cravat, and white shoes, crowned with unruly white hair and smoking an ever-present cigar, Mark Twain became one of America’s first global celebrities.

Over 100 years later, Twain’s insightful commentary retains an uncanny relevance to the challenges facing contemporary America. His views are as fresh and provocative as those of any contemporary cable TV &#8220talking head,&#8221 Sunday morning roundtable debater, political blogger, or radio talk show host. Read more

In the Words of Women: Rev War And Nations Birth

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site will host a presentation entitled &#8220In the Words of Women: The Revolutionary War and the Birth of the Nation, 1765-1799&#8243- on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 7 pm.

The book In the Words of Women brings together the writings of women who lived between 1765 and 1799. These writings are organized chronologically around events, battles, and developments from before the Revolution, through its prosecution and aftermath. Read more

Seneca Falls Wesleyan Chapel Pews Updated

Women’s Rights National Historical Park Superintendent Tammy Duchesne has announced that replacement cushions for the “recycled pews” in the Wesleyan Chapel have been installed. “We are pleased with the new cushions. When we installed the wooden pews in July, we had plans to finish them with cushions so they would resemble the originals,” said Duchesne.

Park Historian Anne Derousie explained more, “The pews that are now in the Wesleyan Chapel were originally built in 1871 for the First Congregational Church of Seneca Falls, a descendant church of the Wesleyan Chapel. Nine of these pews were purchased by the Park in June, along with a set of pew cushions that were very worn.” These worn cushions were a valuable resource and were used to determine the size, color, and construction of the replacement cushions.

Public programs in the Wesleyan Chapel are offered daily at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. “Everyone is invited to experience the new cushions for themselves and join us for one or all of our ranger programs,” added Duchesne. The Wesleyan Chapel is the site of the First Women’s Rights Convention held July 19 and 20, 1848 and is the centerpiece of Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

For more information 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 (http://www.facebook.com/womensrightsnps) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/WomensRightsNPS) to learn more about their upcoming programs.

Program On Adirondack Bread, Beer Saturday

Adirondack Museum Curator Hallie Bond will present a program on the history of food in the Adirondacks, particularly the connection between bread and beer. The program, called “Traditions in Bread and Beer: Lives of Adirondackers Before Modernization,” will involve discussion and displays- participants will be able to sample both ingredients and final products.

Bond is co-writing a book about traditional food of the Adirondacks and has discovered connections between bread and beer- the two were complementary tasks for early Adirondackers. Her presentation will address how they were made before World War II and how transportation networks, particularly railroads, were established.

Bond has been a curator at the Adirondack Museum since 1987. She has curated a number of popular exhibits including &#8220Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters,&#8221 &#8220A Paradise for Boys and Girls: Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks,&#8221 and &#8220Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks.&#8221 She has written extensively about regional history and material culture.

The program will be held from 3 to 5 pm on November 10 at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb. The AIC is a branch of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute. For more information contact the AIC at 518-582-2200 ext. 11 or by email at [email protected]

Glens Falls Talk On Changing Perceptions Suburbs

The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, NY will host a talk on changing perceptions of the suburbs on Thursday, November 1, 2012, at 7 pm.

From Leave It to Beaver to Desperate Housewives, viewers have been presented with visions of suburbia that are simultaneously pastoral and gothic, nostalgic and repressive. Using still photos and video, Professor Keith Wilhite, Assistant Professor of English, Siena College, will show how popular culture constructs specific images of suburbia, as well as how those images change along with postwar suburban development. Read more

Exploring A Dutch Colony Under English Rule

Dr. David William Voorhees will give a presentation on how the Jacob Leisler Papers Project at New York University is transforming our understanding of the transition from Dutch New Netherland to English New York in the period from 1660 to 1700.

Jacob Leisler (1640-1691) was intimately bound to the economic, social, and political development of New Netherland and New York from his arrival in New Amsterdam in July 1660 in the employ of the Dutch West India Company until his beheading in New York City by the English governor in May 1691. Read more

NYC Documentary Film Screenings Set

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) of New York City will host a film series, “Across New York”, that highlights stories from across the City’s five boroughs on how the city came to be and the people who helped shape it.

All screenings will be held at the TRIBECA Film Center at 375 Greenwich Street, NYC- tickets can be purchased online. The cost is $5 per program for Friends of HDC, Seniors and Students, and $10 for the general public.

AT HOME IN UTOPIA
Thursday, November 1, 6PM
The acclaimed documentary At Home in Utopia. was written and directed by Michal Goldman. This film tells the story of the Eastern European, Russian and Polish garment workers who joined together to create a “Bronx Bohemia” known as the Coops. This cooperative apartment complex was built in 1925 on the corner of Allerton Avenue across from Bronx Park. The Coops were what some would consider the ideal community- based on the philosophies of communal living and designed with the ideas of a bucolic setting in mind, the Coops were a “dream home” to many. The residents wanted a design aesthetic that was uncommon in New York at the time- bright, airy and spacious, which was representative of the change that was sought to promote public health, safety and a sense of community. The residents of the Coops were also politically active as advocates for racial equality during a time of severe distress, violence and social injustice. Join us for this special screening and panel discussion of At Home in Utopia, where several of the former residents will discuss their lives in the Bronx. Directed by Michal Goldman, 2008, 133 minutes.

FLORENT: QUEEN OF THE MEATMARKET
Thursday, November 8, 6PM
Join the Historic Districts Council for a night of nostalgia as we view the documentary film Florent: Queen of the Meat Market. Florent, a 24-hour diner located in the Meatpacking District, was once the place to be. This legendary spot attracted artists, club-kids and the blue-collar workers who sought decent French-American cuisine at the wee hours of the morning, but who mostly flocked to
this space because of the energy the owner, Florent Morellet, exuded and brought to the establishment. Florent was also one of the leaders of the movement which successfully got the Gansevoort Market neighborhood landmarked in 2003. Florent was unfortunatelyforced to close down in 2008 due to rent increases and development in the area that would not allow for the business to sustain itself. Following the screening, Florent, will discuss his time owning his successful namesake business in an area that has drastically changed over the past twenty-five years as well as how he has remained an activist and leader within his community and beyond. Directed by David Sigal, 2009, 1 hour 29 minutes. This film is not rated.

CONEY ISLAND
Wednesday, November 14, 6PM
“Coney Island” is an award-winning documentary that delves into the extensive history of this seaside community, from its discovery in the 17th century to its ongoing and sometimes heartbreaking evolution. The film illustrates the affinity that the public had for Coney Island as a summer getaway, as evidenced by the 250,000 people that once populated its shores
on any given summer weekend. Also covered in the film is the development of the three major amusement parks (Steeplechase Park, Luna Park and Dreamland) that once inhabited Coney Island, along with the sometimes bizarre and fascinating stories that go with them. There will be a discussion following the film. Directed by Ric Burns, 1991, 1 hour.

This series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Council members Margaret Chin, Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Vincent Gentile,
Stephen Levin and Rosie Mendez.

CFP: Sugar and Beyond Conference Planned

The John Carter Brown Library seeks proposals for a conference entitled “Sugar and Beyond,” to be held on October 25-26, 2013, and in conjunction with the Library’s Fall 2013 exhibition on sugar in the early modern period, especially its bibliographical and visual legacies. The centrality of sugar to the development of the Atlantic world is now well known.

Sugar was the ‘green gold’ that planters across the Americas staked their fortunes on, and it was the commodity that became linked in bittersweet fashion to the rise of the Atlantic slave trade. Producing unprecedented quantities of sugar through their enforced labor, Africans on plantations helped transform life not only in the colonies but also in Europe, where consumers incorporated the luxury commodity into their everyday rituals and routines.

“Sugar and Beyond” seeks to evaluate the current state of scholarship on sugar, as well as to move beyond it by considering related or alternative consumer cultures and economies. Given its importance, sugar as a topic still pervades scholarship on the Americas and has been treated in many recent works about the Caribbean, Brazil, and other regions. This conference thus aims to serve as an occasion where new directions in the study of sugar can be assessed.

At the same time, the connection of sugar to such broader topics as the plantation system, slavery and abolition, consumption and production, food, commodity exchange, natural history, and ecology has pointed the way to related but distinct areas of inquiry. Although sugar was one of the most profitable crops of the tropical Americas, it was not the only plant being cultivated.

Furthermore, although the plantation system dominated the lives of African and other enslaved peoples, they focused much of their efforts at resistance around the search for ways to mitigate or escape the regime of sugar planting. The organizers thus welcome scholars from all disciplines and national traditions interested in exploring both the power and limits of sugar in the early Atlantic world.

Topics that papers might consider include but are not limited to the following:

&#8211The development of sugar in comparative context
&#8211The rise of sugar and new conceptions of aesthetics, taste, and cultural refinement
&#8211Atlantic cultures of consumption
&#8211Coffee, cacao, and other non-sugar crops and commodities
&#8211Natural history and related genres of colonial description and promotion
&#8211Imperial botany and scientific programs of agricultural expansion and experimentation
&#8211Alternative ecologies to the sugar plantation
&#8211Plant transfer and cultivation by indigenous and African agents
&#8211Provision grounds and informal marketing
&#8211Economies of subsistence, survival, and resistance
&#8211Reimagining the Caribbean archive beyond sugar: new texts and methodological approaches

In order to be considered for the program, send a paper proposal of 500 words and CV to [email protected] The deadline for submitting proposals is December 15, 2012.

The conference organizers include Christopher P. Iannini (Rutgers), Julie Chun Kim (Fordham), K. Dian Kriz (Brown).

Photo: Havemeyers & Elder’s, later Domino, sugar refinery in New York City in the 1880s. Photo courtesy wgpa.org.

Line-Up Set For 2012 Lost Speedways Program

The Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Lost Speedways program which is scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24, 2012), has grown into a must see event for those interested in the history of auto racing in New York State and long-shuttered area speedways.

The program will also include Hall of Fame driver Brian Ross’ recollections of his short but eye opening Winston Cup career and his time as an instructor at Andy Hillenburg’s Charlotte driving school along with a look back at the highlights of the century old Fonda Speedway by longtime racing writer and DIRT legal advisor Andy Fusco. Memorabilia will be on display from 11:30 am, with everyone encouraged to bring items to display. The formal presentations will begin at 1 pm.

&#8220Our current featured exhibit, &#8216-Moonshine to Millionaires &#8211 NASCAR’s History, Heroes and Technology,’ has been a huge success and since it will close right after Lost Speedways, I want to focus on NASCAR history this year,&#8221 explained exhibit curator and event organizer Ron Hedger. &#8220Plus, we have the opportunity to again enjoy the racing tales of Jim Reed, a multi-year NASCAR champion who was a big hit last year and has agreed to return. He’s going to tell us about winning the 1959 Southern 500 at Darlington, among other highlights of his career, which fits perfectly with the theme.&#8221

&#8220I will also do a pair of presentations myself,&#8221 added Hedger. &#8220We have Bill Wimble’s Carnegie Medal on display and I’ll relate that story, along with a discussion of NASCAR’s Speedway division for Indianapolis-type cars, something most people have never heard of.&#8221

&#8220With the cars of Dale Earnhardt and Curtis Turner and the amazing ’59 Thunderbird &#8216-zippertop’ scheduled to return to Charlotte October 1st, I’ll be replacing them with a Richie Evan’s Pinto and a gorgeous Speedway Division car wheeled by Wally Campbell, so the timing will be perfect. And we may have another surprise or two before November rolls around,&#8221 Hedgar said.

There will also be a drawing of one winner in the auto museum’s NASCAR VIP Raffle, sponsored by M and M/Mars, which will see two winners each receive four tickets to the 2013 Sprint Cup race of their choice, $250 travel money, garage passes and a personal meet and greet session with Kyle Busch. The second drawing will be held in the spring of 2013. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the museum or online.

The Lost Speedways event is free to museum members, with others admitted for the standard museum admission charge. More information is available online at www.saratogaautomuseum.org. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the Avenue of the Pines in the Saratoga Spa State Park, just off Exit 13N of the Adirondack Northway.

Photo: An abandoned South Glens Falls Drag Strip.