Virtual Local History Talk on the Purchase of Manhattan

Purchase of Manhattan Island from the Indians by the Dutch in 1626, 1853, William Ranney (1813–1857)

Program Description: The library and the Jacob Leisler Institute present: “Imagination Aided by the Painter’s Brush”: The Creation of the Purchase of Manhattan, 1844–1909 by Stephen McErleane.

Date/Time: Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm.

Registration: To register and receive the Zoom link email brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org or call 518-828-1792 x101. A question and answer period will follow the talk.

Though it is now known as a fundamental piece of the early history of the city, it was not until 217 years after the event that New Yorkers first learned of the now infamous 1626 purchase of the island of Manhattan by the Dutch from the Indians for twenty-four dollars. This talk follows the construction of that story from its first appearance in the 1840s and focuses on an important and overlooked piece: an 1853 painting of the purchase by the American artist William Ranney. Ranney has been dubbed a myth-maker for his influential depictions of the American Revolution and of life in the American West. His role in the creation of the Manhattan purchase myth, however, has gone largely ignored.

Stephen McErleane is director of the New Netherland Institute and a doctoral candidate in history at the State University of New York at Albany, where he is currently writing a dissertation on the seventeenth-century Dutch colony of New Netherland in history & memory. He also holds a master’s in information science (archives) from SUNY Albany. He is from Stony Point, NY and currently lives in Troy, NY.

The Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History is an independent, not-for-profit study and research center devoted to collecting, preserving, and disseminating information relating to colonial New York under English rule. In the years spanning 1664 to 1773, New York province’s diverse European settlements and Native American and African populations fused into a cosmopolitan colonial territory with ties throughout the Atlantic World. The Institute is unique in focusing on this under examined 109-year period in American history.

The Institute contains a collection of original, digital, and/or paper copies of primary source manuscripts, books, maps, and illustrative materials, as well as a library of secondary resources that provide scholarly context to the primary sources. The Jacob Leisler Institute is an open resource for both scholars and the interested public.

The Hudson Area Library History Room houses a special collection that pertains to the history of the City of Hudson, Greenport and Stockport; as well as Columbia County and New York State. The History Room also hosts the Local History Speaker Series at the library, offering free monthly talks on diverse topics related to the history of Hudson, Greenport, Stockport, and Columbia County.

The History Room is closed to the public at this time but online research requests are available at https://hudsonarealibrary.org/history-room/ and the public can submit requests for information on local history that volunteers will research.

The Hudson Area Library is located at 51 North Fifth Street in Hudson, NY. The mission of the library is to enrich the quality of life by providing free and equal access to programs, services and resources, and by creating opportunities for all members of our community to connect, create, learn and grow.