History Room Programs

Only the most recent five History Room Program announcements are shown here. Go to History Room Programs Archive for complete listings.

Posted: April 9, 2021
Adults, History Room, News, Programs, Young Adults

Library and Leisler Institute Collaboration: Colonial Hygiene

Lady Undressing for a Bath, c. 1730/1740, Attributed to Gerardus Duyckinck, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Program Description: The library and the Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History present Coping with Life’s Necessaries by Ian Mumpton. The Schuyler family enjoyed many luxuries as part of their refined lifestyle, but what did their hygiene practices look like? Learn more about the changing practices of this aristocratic, 18th century colonial Dutch family with this Schuyler Mansion program come to Hudson. A question-and-answer period will follow the talk.

Date/Time: Thursday, April 29, 6-7:30pm.

Registration: For Zoom registration link click here or contact Brenda Shufelt at 518-828-1792 x106 or brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org.

The lecture is the second of four collaborations this year between the two organizations, each featuring an expert in early colonial history.

The presenter, Ian Mumpton, is the Historic Site Assistant at Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site. His work focuses on highlighting underrepresented narratives as essential parts of the site’s history, including the stories of Loyalists, Native Americans, women, tenant farmers, and enslaved people of African descent. He is also currently researching the martial arts and martial identity of colonial New Netherland.

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.

Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, located at 32 Catherine Street in Albany’s historic South End, was the eighteenth-century home of Revolutionary War Major-General Philip Schuyler (1733- 1804) and his family. Beginning mid-May 2021, the mansion will be open for limited visitation (reservations required) and will require visitor adherence to current Covid-19 health and safety protocols. For further information about this or other site programs, please call (518) 434-0834 during regular business hours, visit www.nysparks.com, or find us on Twitter and Instagram.

Posted: April 2, 2021
Adults, History Room, News, Programs, Young Adults

Teach Us: a Virtual Listening Party and Community Conversation about Education, Community, Care, and Covid

Program Description: Join Oral History Summer School and the library for a virtual interactive listening party with conversation celebrating educators as they respond to their extraordinary experiences of teaching in the age of Covid-19.

Date/Time: Thursday, April 8, 7-8:30pm

Registration: For Zoom registration link contact us at 518-828-1792 x106 or info@hudsonarealibrary.org.

This event was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services Accelerating Promising Practice for Small Libraries grant.

The evening begins with audio excerpts from the Education Narratives Project, an oral history project initiated by Oral History Summer School in June 2020. Over the last nine months, educators have been interviewed by ENP interviewers every two-three months, covering subjects including but not limited to: remote learning, illness, progressive education, trauma, disability rights, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, and the future of education.

The evening honors these educators and brings to the forefront crucial issues in education today. How does this unique educational history shine a light on larger questions about the roles and rights of children and educators in our society, the difference between education and childcare and ameliorative uses of technology? What has been destroyed and what do we wish to create in its place?

Posted: April 1, 2021
Adults, History Room, Programs, Videos

History Room On Zoom: The History of Shantytown

On Thursday, March 25, 2021 Gary Sheffer, library board of trustees member and History Room Committee chair, interviewed Leo Bower, local resident and historian, on all things Shantytown for this special LIVE History Room on Zoom. Learn about the history of Shantytown/The Furgary from the 1600s to the present day.

The talk is viewable in full on the library’s YouTube channell, or here on our library website.

Posted: March 15, 2021
Adults, History Room, News, Programs, Young Adults

LIVE History Room on Zoom on Shantytown (The Furgary)

Program Description: The library History Room on Zoom is presenting a special LIVE session on The History of Shantytown (aka The Furgary) in Hudson. Gary Sheffer, member of the library Board of Trustees and chair of the History Room Committee, interviews Leo Bower, lifelong local and a resident historian with a special expertise in Hudson’s Shantytown. A question and answer period follows the program.

Date/Time:  Thursday, March 25, 6-7:30pm.

Registration/Audience: For Zoom registration link click here.

Visit hudsonarealibrary.org, for Zoom registration link or contact Brenda Shufelt at 518-828-1792 x106 or brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org.

Most locals are familiar with the fishing shacks at the end of Dock Street in the North Bay area of Hudson just past the Kite’s Nest River City Garden but many do not know the history of these shacks and how far back they go. They are part of a 14.4 acre parcel that was purchased originally in the 1600s by a German immigrant from Indigenous people. There have been businesses on the land including gristmills, slaughterhouses and tanneries. The first Shantytown shacks were constructed in the 1880s and through the middle of the next century they functioned as sites for shad, sturgeon, and herring fishing. Active use of Shantytown continued into the 21st century until the city decreed that the shacks could no longer be used. A project to demolish most of the shacks and restore a few is part of the city’s 2017 NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.

Shantytown was known, specifically for shad fishing enterprises, which were important in sustaining local families through the Great Depression and World War II. Furthermore, Shantytown now represents one of the few shad fishing sites, an important cultural and economic phenomenon along the Hudson River, still existing. Consequently Shantytown has been deemed a site eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Daria Merwin, co-director of the Cultural Resource Survey Program at the New York State Museum in Albany, and Linda Mackey, a historic preservation specialist, have written that Shantytown has “the tangible remains of a traditional way of life that is rapidly disappearing”, which, “represent[s] a time when sturgeon and shad were abundant in the Hudson River and people made their livelihoods fishing the river and selling their catch on the shore.”

This library’s program will concentrate on the height of the Shantytown’s shad fishing culture in the mid 20th century and the families and lifestyle during this time. Progress and obstacles to the preservation of Shantytown will also be discussed.

Gary Sheffer, host of the video podcast History Room on Zoom, is a member of the Hudson Area Library Board of Trustees and chairman of the library’s History Room Committee. Gary hails from a well-known Hudson family (his father and grandfather were both mayors of Hudson) and has a keen interest in the history of Hudson.
Leo Bower is also a lifelong resident of Hudson and recalls his childhood on Front Street prior to urban renewal fondly despite its hardships. He first became enamored of the culture and characters of Shantytown when he reconnected with his father who had a shack and a fishing business there. He is a Hudson-phile and a resident historian with a special expertise in the history of Shantytown. He and his wife Michele currently reside in Greenport.

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 the Hudson area and Columbia County.

The History Room is by appointment only at this time but online research requests for information on local history are available at https://hudsonarealibrary.org/history-room/. This is a free service to the public. To inquire about an appointment email brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org or call 518-828-1792 x106.


Posted: February 15, 2021
Adults, History Room, News, Programs, Young Adults

Virtual Talk on the History of the Underground Railroad in the Capital Region

from The Underground Railroad by William Still, Porter and Coates, 1872

Program Description: Paul and Mary Liz Stewart of the Underground Railroad Education Center share their seminal research on the Underground Railroad movement in upstate New York in this virtual talk titled People of Courage, People of Hope, Seekers of Justice – The Underground Railroad Revisited.

Date/Time: Thursday, February 25, 6-7:30pm

Registration: For Zoom registration link click here.

A question and answer period follows the talk.

The Underground Railroad, often characterized in our historical memory by tunnels, dark of night escapes, coded language and secret hiding places, was far more extensive and complex than these ideas have led us to believe. In the midst of significant pro-slavery sentiment, New York State was home to many abolitionists working to end the institution of enslavement in our state and nation and it was visited by many who had escaped enslavement and sought a life of freedom. Join with the Stewarts as they share a new interpretation of a very old story and explain the various initiatives in which Underground Railroad Education Center is engaged as it works to connect the public with this local history and its relevance for us today.

Paul and Mary Liz Stewart are co-founders of the Underground Railroad Education Center as well as independent researchers and Scholars in Residence at Russell Sage College. The Underground Railroad Education Center researches and preserves the local and national history of the Underground Railroad movement, its international connections, and its legacy for today’s social justice issues, thereby empowering people of all ages to be agents of change toward an equitable and just society.

Only the most recent five Adult Programs are shown here. Go to Adult Programs Archive for complete listings