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: February 1, 2023
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Local History Talk: The History of Chocolate in the Hudson Valley (Saturday, February 11)

Join Culinary Historian Peter G. Rose for her talk on the History of Chocolate in the Hudson Valley. Ms. Rose will discuss the early trade by the Valley’s Dutch settlers in the 17th century and the subsequent manufacturing developments of chocolate through the 18th century into the late 19th century. There will be free samples of locally made chocolate from Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar and other local businesses at the event.

Date/Time: Saturday, February 11, 1pm

Location: In person, Hudson Area Library Community Room

The Jacob Leisler Library Lectures are made partially possible through the generous support of the Van Dyke Family Foundation and Hudson River Bank and Trust.

Culinary historian Peter G. Rose was born in the Netherlands and came to the United States in the mid-1960s. She has contributed a syndicated column on family food and cooking to the New York-based Gannett newspapers for more than twenty years and written articles for magazines such as Gourmet, Saveur and the Hudson Valley Magazine. She is the author of 10 books on the Dutch influence on the American kitchen. She received the 2002 Alice P. Kenney Award for research and writing on the food customs and diet of the Dutch settlers in New Netherland. She lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of topics related to Dutch and Dutch-American culinary history, including at the Smithsonian Institute, the National Gallery, the Peabody Essex Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Bryn Mawr College, New York University, the Culinary Institute of America, and in the Netherlands, at the University of Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery in The Hague. Ms. Rose was part of a group of more than 100 scholars, who investigated the history of chocolate in America, sponsored by the Historic Division of Mars, Inc., which culminated in a book Chocolate: History, Culture & Heritage (Wiley, 2009).

Posted: January 16, 2023
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Anti-Slavery in Columbia County (Monday, February 20)

Columbia County was an important community for reform movements and the Underground Railroad in the 19th century. Numerous freedom seekers made their way to the region, knowing that support was available from abolitionists, both black and white.

The Underground Railroad Education Center brings to the public the historically documented accounts of both freedom seekers and abolitionists, highlighting the leadership roles occupied by African Americans abolitionists, identifying who they were, what they did, where they engaged in their activities as they sought to ensure that the promises of our nation’s Declaration of Independence were available to all.

Date/Time: Monday, February 20, 6pm

Location: Virtual via Zoom

Registration: To participate in this virtual talk, email columbiacountylibraries@gmail.com

Presented by The Underground Railroad Education Center; hosted by Columbia County Libraries Association.

Posted: October 25, 2022
Adults, History Room, Programs

Ice Skating in the Gilded Age (Tuesday, January 24)

Figure skating has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. The clothes, skates, ice surfaces, and various moves have become more acrobatic than 100 years ago. Figure skating was very popular among the wealthy women of the Gilded Age. Join Maria Reynolds, curator at Staatsburg State Park and an avid skater, to learn about the history of competitive skating, early indoor ice rinks, fashion, and maneuvers.

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 24, 7 – 8pm

Location: Virtual via Zoom

Registration: To register and receive a Zoom link, email columbiacountylibraries@gmail.com.

This program is offered in collaboration with the Columbia County Libraries Association.

Photo credit: from Arthur Koweek’s collection, digitized and enhanced by Katrina Stair for the City of Hudson Youth Department

Posted: October 17, 2022
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Lindenwald’s Amazing Historically Accurate Wallpaper (Monday, December 12)

Lindenwald, Martin Van Buren’s historic home, is awash in amazing historically accurate wallpaper. Join Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Museum Specialist, Mike Wasko, to learn about how the park reproduced wallpaper using historical evidence, the reproduction of the wallpaper, and the result of the rooms being returned to their original state.

Date/Time: Monday, December 12, 6pm – 7pm

Location: Virtual via Zoom

Registration: To register and receive the Zoom link, email director@roejanlibrary.org

This Zoom program is sponsored by the Columbia County Libraries Association.

Mike Wasko is the Museum Specialist for Martin Van Buren NHS since 2009.  He has worked as a museum tech and an interpretive tour guide.  Has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, and a Master’s Degree in Public History from SUNY Albany. Originally from Northeastern PA and currently live in East Greenbush.

Posted: October 3, 2022
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Forged by Fire: The Life and Legacy of Harry Howard (Thursday, November 10)

The library, in collaboration with the FASNY Museum of Firefighting and the Greenport Historical Society, presents a lecture on FASNY’s current exhibit celebrating the 200th Birthday of Harry Howard, Chief of the New York City Volunteer Fire Department (1857-1860). Featuring artwork and documents, the exhibit recounts Harry’s life, accomplishments, philanthropy and legacy as it relates to Hudson, New York State, and beyond. This lecture will provide an overview of this exhibit, titled Forged by Fire: The Life and Legacy of Harry Howard, on display through June 2023.

Date/Time: Thursday, November 10, 6 – 7:30pm

Location: Hudson Area Library Community Room

Registration: No registration required.

Lauryn Czyzewski is the Assistant Curator at the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, NY. She recently curated two new exhibits that celebrate the 200th Birthday of Chief Harry Howard and the 150th Anniversary of the Firefighter’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). Lauryn graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeological Studies and minors in History, Anthropology, and Museum Studies. Lauryn’s other historical interests include maritime history of the 20th and 21st century.

Established in 1925 with an original donation of four fire engines, the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, New York has grown into an educational institution occupying more than 50,000 square feet and featuring 90 vintage and rare fire engines dating back to 1731.

The Greenport Historical Society was founded on April 25, 1985. The Society cultivates an awareness of the rich history that existed in the Town of Greenport and its environs, and to record and preserve that history for future generations.

Posted: September 3, 2022
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Colonial New York as a Model for our Nation (Thursday, October 27)

In our fourth 2022 Leisler Institute collaboration, Patricia Bonomi will discuss Colonial New York as a Model for our Nation. New York contributed vital elements to the formation of the United States and this talk will highlight the special significance of New York’s religious and racial diversity, its unique geography, and its tumultuous politics.

Date/Time: Thursday, October 27, 6 – 7pm

Location: In person, Hudson Area Library Community Room

Registration: This event is free and no registration is required.

Photo: “New York City — View of the Fort and Town. Circa 1708.” from The Lord Cornbury Scandal by Patricia Bonomi and in the Collection of the New-York Historical Society

Patricia U. Bonomi is Professor Emerita at New York University, where she taught American history for 27 years, specializing in the colonial and early national periods. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the Seminar on Early American History & Culture at Columbia University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1970.  Her books include A Factious People: Politics and Society in Colonial New YorkUnder the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America; and The Lord Cornbury Scandal: The Politics of Reputation in British America.

The Jacob Leisler Library Lectures are made partially possible through the generous support of the Van Dyke Family Foundation and Hudson River Bank and Trust.

Posted: August 14, 2022
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Hudson’s Urban Renewal 50 Years Later (Thursday, September 22, 6pm)

Ted Hilscher, Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia-Greene Community College, will show and discuss fifty historic photographs of buildings that were torn down during urban renewal in Hudson during this in-person local history talk. Hilscher will also facilitate a discussion of the legacy of urban renewal in our city. Anyone with recollections of the impacted areas of the city prior to urban renewal is encouraged to attend, as well as those who wish to talk about those areas following urban renewal and how Hudson and its residents were impacted.

Urban renewal transformed Front Street and the blocks between Columbia and State Street, west of Second Street. Franklin Square, Chapel Street, Fleet Street and Market Place were erased from the network of city streets. Approximately 176 buildings in all were demolished, requiring the relocation of about 850 people. Demolition and the subsequent new construction took place between 1970 and 1972.

The photographs in this talk have been made available for the first time since they were taken through a collaborative effort by the late Arthur Koweek, longtime Hudson Planning Commission Chair, and the Columbia-Greene Community College Library.

In addition to his professorship at Columbia-Greene Community College, Ted Hilscher is a graduate of Hudson High School, has a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Fordham, a Master’s in US History from SUNY Albany, a Law Degree from Albany Law School, and a law practice with his wife in Catskill. 

Posted: June 19, 2022
Adults, History Room, News, Programs, Services

Visit our History Room Website to See “What’s New at the History Room” this Summer

Visit “See What’s New at the History Room” on our History Room website to see what we are up to this summer! Learn about our special archiving project and our open hours and availability by appointment to explore our archived collections and other resources with History Room Coordinator Brenda Shufelt, Reference Library Paul Costa, or Volunteer Researchers John Craig and Jim Hoon.

Also, on this website are samples from our image collections, finding aids from our archived collections, links to recordings of our local history programs and History Room on Zoom series as well as information on local history organizations and online resources. And, finally, visit our Online Shop for cool gifts for friends and family (or yourself!)

Posted: June 9, 2022
Adults, History Room, Programs

Banana Splitter: A Celebration of Local Stories (ice cream included!)

Listen to recorded stories from Hudson-area residents while enjoying a banana split side-by-side with fellow community members. Oral histories shared will include recorded stories from Oral History Summer School’s Community Library of Voice and Sound, the library’s oral history collection, and the Black Legacy Association of Columbia County collection.

Date/Time: Sunday, July 24, 1 – 4pm

Location: In person, Hudson Hall sidewalk

Registration: All are welcome. Reservations are optional. Email programs@hudsonarealibrary.org or call 518-828-1792 x101.

This special event is presented in collaboration with Oral History Summer School and in partnership with Hudson Hall, and is made possible in part with support from the Fund for Columbia County of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries grant. To learn more about IMLS, visit www.imls.gov.

Posted: June 1, 2022
Adults, History Room, News, Programs

Library and Leisler Institute Talk on Indigenous Slavery in Colonial New York and New Jersey (Thursday, June 9)

Join us and the Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History for a talk by Linford Fisher titled The Persistence of Indigenous Enslavement in Dutch and English New York and New Jersey. Indigenous peoples played important roles in the histories of Dutch colonialism and the colonies that later became New York and New Jersey. This public talk delves into one aspect of these histories and interactions, namely, the enslavement (and, at times, transshipment) of local Indigenous populations. Drawing upon colonial records and newspaper ads, Fisher argues that enslaved Indigenous people were present in these places far longer than we might expect and in ways that suggest a more diverse enslaved and unfree labor force than we have previously imagined.

Date/Time: Thursday, June 9, 6-7:30pm

Location: Virtual via Zoom

Registration: For Zoom link, click here

The Jacob Leisler Library Lectures are made partially possible through the generous support of the Van Dyke Family Foundation and Hudson River Bank and Trust.


Linford D. Fisher is an Associate Professor of History at Brown University. He is the author of The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America (2012) and the co-author of Decoding Roger Williams: The Lost Essay of Rhode Island’s Founding Father (2014). Fisher is the Principal Investigator of a digital project titled Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas, which is a community-centered, collaborative project that seeks to broaden our understanding of Indigenous experiences of settler colonialism and its legacies through the lens of slavery and servitude. Fisher is the author of more than a dozen articles, book chapters, and essays on a diverse array of topics. He is currently finishing a book-length project, tentatively titled America Enslaved: Native Slavery in the English Caribbean and the United States, on Native American enslavement in English colonies in North America and the Caribbean and, later, in the United States, between Columbus and the American Civil War.

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