Chris Pryslopski: Working On The Weekends, For History

DSC_6283One of my favorite things about working at The Hudson River Valley Institute is the wide variety of random (though usually regional) questions that we receive by phone and email. (The answer to the most frequently asked question is still “Bannerman’s Island.”

Recently, the random question came from within Marist College: “Can you get us a boat for graduation?” This had first occurred serendipitously in 2009 when The Half Moon was sailing past during the ceremony as part of the Quadricentennial events. Last year, the college worked with the Beacon Sloop Club to bring the Woody Guthrie for the day.

This year, I reached out to Engineer Jessica DuLong and our friends aboard the historic fireboat John J. Harvey– the stars aligned, even though the rain clouds never cleared, and the Class of 2013 was treated to a full salute of the ship’s water cannons as they were dismissed. Read more

Hudson Valley Greenway, Conservancy Joint Meeting

The Boards of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council and Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley will meet on October 17, 2012 at the historic Cornell Boathouse at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY.

The meeting will feature a presentation by Mara Farrell, a Founder of the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot, the major staging area for Revolutionary War soldiers in the North, who also serves on the board of directors of Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance. Ms. Farrell will speak on a preservation project in the Village of Fishkill.

The meeting will also feature Hudson River Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area business, as well as Greenway Conservancy, Greenway Compact and Greenway Communities grant awards. A meeting of the National Heritage Area Management Committee immediately to follow.

The meeting will begin with networking at 9:30 am (meeting starts at 10). Questions or concerns can be directed to the Greenway office at 518-473-3835 or [email protected].

Photos: Above, The Cornell Boathouse was once part of a Regatta Row- Below, the Boathouse today (courtesy Marist Collge)

Poughkeepsies Soldiers and Sailors Monument

One of our contentions at the Hudson River Valley Institute has always been that you can go anywhere by starting exactly where you are. The closest I ever came to losing this argument was at a Teaching American History conference with a gentleman from New Mexico. &#8220It’s easy for you &#8211 the Hudson Valley has nearly 400 years of colonial history and documented prehistory before that,&#8221 he said &#8220all we have are aliens (Roswell) and those German POW scientists from WWII.&#8221 (He had just finished a presentation about the latter). But he went on to explain that even in that state’s most isolated towns, there was at least one war memorial with the names of local soldiers who served their country, and when they shipped out, they charted a course around the nation and the world leaving a path for students today to trace through history.

?In Poughkeepsie, the most elaborate memorial may be the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Little Market St. Across from that monument is Adriance Memorial Library, where two original cannon from the USS Monitor are on display. Most of us learned about the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack in grade school. Some of us have learned since that the USS Merrimack was converted by the Confederate navy into the ironclad CSS Virginia. Larger than the Monitor and with more guns, it decimated the wooden fleet at Hampton Roads on the first day of the battle, March 8, 1862. But the Monitor arrived overnight and was able to use its shallow draft, low freeboard, and revolving turret to devastating effect the when the battle was rejoined the next day. It was a decisive victory for the Union and a turning point in naval technology.?

But how did we get from Poughkeepsie Library to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and why is Archeologist and conservator David Krop, of the USS Monitor Center, coming from the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia to Marist College to lecture about that battle on Thursday April 19 at 7:00 in our Nelly Goletti Theatre? [pdf]

?One of the four champions and financiers of the Union’s first ironclad was John Flack Winslow. At the time, he was co-owner of the Albany Iron Works, living near Troy, NY. Once he successfully obtained the approval of the President himself and a contract with the Navy, he and his partners oversaw an accelerated construction project and the launch of their unique ship on January 30, 1862. Years later, Winslow would retire to a sylvan estate on the banks of the Hudson, on the north end of present-day Marist College Campus. Once here, he got involved in local railroads and presided over the bridge company that would eventually construct the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge: today’s Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park.?

So here, amongst our region’s embarrassment of historic riches, is the nearly-lost tale of a local entrepreneur and patriot who was once heralded as a “benefactor of the nation.” All of it took to place Poughkeepsie at the heart of one of the most important naval battles in history was to read the plaque accompanying a cannon outside the local library.

Chris Pryslopski: The Hudson River Valley Review

As Associate Editor of The Hudson River Valley Review, published by The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI), I get to explore the region that I call home and to share these finds with our readers. While our website allows us to be as expansive as our associates and interns are interested in being, it is the journal that I find most rewarding with its approximately 150 pages per issue that forces us to focus our interests and energies into a concise product every six months. The Hudson River Valley Review is published each spring and autumn, alternating between thematic and open issues.

Founded in 1984 at Bard College as The Hudson Valley Regional Review, it almost went out of print in 2001. HRVI negotiated to assume publication in 2002. We changed the name and added a number of features, but it continues in the spirit that it was founded. In addition to a wide variety of topics covered in the open issues, we have produced journals covering the American Revolution, the Civil War, Landscape Architecture, the recent Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration, and innovation and commerce. We have also worked with guest-editors to produce issues dedicated to the writings of Edith Wharton and John Burroughs as well as to the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt.

While the thematic issues stand well as overviews of certain aspects of the region, it is often more fun to assemble the open issues, comprised of those submitted articles that pass peer review on any variety of topics in a range of disciplines. Our Spring 2006 issue included articles that discussed the seventeenth-century Leislerian Rebellion, the nineteenth-century voyage of a Dutch visitor from Brooklyn to the Catskill Mountain House (including a portion of his translated journal), and the Twentieth-Century creation of Black Rock Forest as an educational preserve.

Whenever a new issue is released, we place a PDF of the introduction, History Forums, New and Noteworthy books, and full reviews on our website. We do not post the main articles until the issue goes out of print.

You can find a list of the last ten years of back issues online at:

We have an online index of articles going back to 1984 which we update with every new issue that comes out as well:

We also received copies of most of The Hudson Valley Regional Review when we took over publication, and have many of those as well as our own back-issues still available. There is a list of out-of-print issues on our subscription page:

Chris Pryslopski is Program Director of Marist College’s Hudson River Valley Institute and Associate Editor of the Hudson River Valley Review.

New Contributor From Hudson River Valley Institute

Please join us in welcoming our newest contributor, Christopher Pryslopski, Program Director of the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College (HRVI) and Associate Editor of the Institute’s The Hudson River Valley Review, a peer-reviewed journal of regional studies.

Chris coordinates projects and programs associated with the core mission of the Institute, the “educational arm of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area,” and also coordinates the development of the HRVI’s Digital Library and Portal Site.

He is a specialist in regional studies and is the author of &#8220Cultivating the Greenhouse Complex at Mills Mansion,&#8221 The Hudson Valley Regional Review, March 1999, &#8220A Thoroughly Modern Conundrum: Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Governor Center&#8221 The Hudson River Valley Review Autumn 2004, and “Getting to “The Point-” Design No. 26: The L. M. Hoyt House at Staatsburg,” Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 2009. He is co-editor of America’s First River: The History and Culture of the Hudson River Valley.

In addition to contributions from Chris, we’ll begin featuring highlights of new issues of the The Hudson River Valley Review here at New York History as they are released.

Hudson River Valley Institute News

The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist College has posted it’s March/April newsletter online. The newsletter includes an interview with a former HRVI intern who found that her research through HRVI has helped her with her Ph.D dissertation, a survey of prominent women history who resided in the Hudson Valley, and a review of a recent exhibit at the Howland Cultural Center.

The Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College is the academic arm of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. Its mission is to study and to promote the Hudson River Valley and to provide educational resources for heritage tourists, scholars, elementary school educators, environmental organizations, the business community, and the general public. Its many projects include the publication of the Hudson River Valley Review and the management of a dynamic digital library and leading regional portal site.

The Digital Library contains a collection of heritage sites, documents, organizations, lesson plans, and related links to guide you through the Hudson River Valley. Its content and portals are designed to draw people&#8211electronically and physically&#8211from around the world to the Hudson River Valley to experience its scenic, cultural, economic, and historical resources.

You can read those and other stories here.

Glenn Curtiss Day at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist College and the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum come to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area to pay tribute to Glenn Curtiss on Saturday, October 9. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Air Shows President, Hugh Schoelzel expressed appreciation for the choice of the Aerodrome as a fitting venue and explained the special air show: “Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s replica of the 1911 Curtiss “D” Pusher…very similar to Glenn Cutiss’ Albany Flyer… will be on display to greet guests entering the Aerodrome courtyard.

At 2 PM, the Pioneer and Barnstorming Air Show will feature the Curtiss “D” Pusher in a taxi demonstration of its unique flight controls, flying exhibitions of an original Curtiss JN-4 H Hisso Jenny built for the Great War in 1918 and a Curtiss Wright Junior CW-1 built by Curtiss as an economical flying machine for recreational pilots in 1931.” The museum and grounds open at 10 AM with four hangars full of antique airplanes and related artifacts to browse through- biplane rides will also be available.

Following the air show, the Hudson River Valley Institute is sponsoring a lecture by Trafford Doherty, Executive Director of The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Hammondsport, New York. There will also be a special static display and photo opportunities of the Curtiss airplanes.

Old Rhinebeck Air Shows, The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, and the Hudson River Valley Institute have missions related to education and, with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, all four are 501c3 non-profit organizations.

Photo: A &#8220Headed&#8221 Curtiss Model D (Curtiss photo 1196) Pusher later &#8220Headless&#8221 models incorporated elevators around the rudder in the tail (like most aircraft since). Courtesy Wikipedia.

Hudson Valley Edith Wharton Lecture Tonight

Alan Price, Professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University will offer a lecture entitled &#8220The Hudson Valley Through Edith Wharton’s French Lens&#8221 tonight (Tuesday, November 3rd) at Poughkeepsie’s Marist College. The event will begin at 7 pm in the Hudson River Valley Institute&#8216-s Henry Hudson Room. A reception with light refreshments will follow.

Dr. Price is the author of The End of the Age of Innocence: Edith Wharton and the First World War (St. Martins, 1996) and co-editor of Wretched Exotic: Essays on Edith Wharton in Europe. He has published numerous essays situating Wharton in literary Naturalism and exploring the cultural-historical context of her fiction, e.g., “International Responses to Edith Wharton,” “Edith Wharton’s War Story,” “Dreiser’s Cowperwood and Wharton’s Undine,” “Lily Bart and Carrie Meeber: Cultural Sisters,” “The Composition of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence,” “Edith Wharton at War with the American Red Cross.”

The event is sponsored by the Marist College Honors Program, the School of Liberal Arts, and the Hudson River Valley Institute.

America’s First River: The Hudson A Conference

America’s First River: The Hudson A Conference Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s Voyage in 1609 will be held on September 25-26, 2009 at the FDR Presidential Library and Marist College. The Conference is sponsored by The Hudson River Valley Institute, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the National Park Service, and the New York State Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission.

For information, a schedule of speakers and events, and reservations email [email protected] or call 845-575-3052 or visit