Conference on New York State History

2009 Conference Schedule


8:30am-5:00pm Registration 

9:00am-2:00pm Creating a Community History (advance registration required)
Sponsored by the Upstate History Alliance 

Stephanie Lehner, coordinator

The documentation of a community’s history is vital to the presentation of its story for future generations.  Each person, each story, and each business lends itself to the greater story of New York State and beyond.  Participants in this workshop will hear from community history leaders to gain the basics they need to develop their own community history projects and will explore examples of how to engage the community in recording and sharing its history. 

This workshop has been developed by the Upstate History Alliance, a non-profit service organization that works with museums and historical societies in New York State, and is supported by the Documentary Heritage Program, a statewide program of the New York State Archives, which strives to identify historical records and make them available to the public.

Participants will include:
Virginia Westbrook, The Virginia Company
Ellen McHale, New York Folklore Society
Andy Flynn, Writer, Adirondack Attic
Angiel Snye, Adirondack Museum
Rich Strum, Fort Ticonderoga

2:00-5:00pm Afternoon Workshops

Open to registrants of the Community History workshop and of the conference itself.
Certificates of participation will be available at registration.


101 The Quadricentennial Newspaper-in-Education Project

Mary Miller, New York Newspaper Publishers Association
Robert Bullock, New York State Archives Partnership Trust

102 Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Documentation

Bruce Dearstyne, Educator
Robert Arnold, College of St. Rose


201 Grants Workshop

Jane McNamara, New York Council on the Humanities

Lauren Kushnick, New York Council on the Humanities

202 Internet Sources and Methods

Blake Bell, Pelham Town Historian


301 Simple Tricks to Turn Your PowerPoint Presentation from Dreary to Dazzling

Michael Miscione, Manhattan Borough Historian

302  Research Resources in the North Country

Jim Folts, New York State Archives
Debra Kimok, SUNY Plattsburgh
Jerold Pepper, Adirondack Museum

5:00-7:30pm Dinner (on your own)

7:30pm Continental Engagement: U.S. – Canada Relationships, 1609 to Present
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Canada, SUNY Plattsburgh

Moderator: Christopher Kirkey, SUNY Plattsburgh
Panelists: Brett Wells, College of William and Mary
Brian Young, McGill University
Andrew Holman, Bridgewater State College
Jarrett Rudy, McGill University


7:00am-6:00pm Registration

8:00am-6:00pm Exhibits

8:00-8:50am  Plenary Session
Do We Need a Vision for New York State’s History?

Bruce W. Dearstyne, moderator
Christine Ward, New York State Archives
Robert Weible, New York State Historian
Garet Livermore, New York State Historical Association

9:00-10:30am  Concurrent Sessions

401 Celebrations

--Sylvie Beaudreau, SUNY Plattsburgh
   The Presence of the Past: The Evolution of a Heritage Tourism Landscape in the Champlain Valley
--Caroline Fuchs, St. John’s University
   Reasons to Celebrate: New York and the Opening of the Erie Canal
--Michael Miscione, Manhattan Borough Historian
   The New York City Golden Jubilee of 1948
--Comment: Edward Knoblauch, College of St. Rose

402 Disasters

--Trudy E. Bell, Independent Scholar
   The Great Easter “Midwestern” Flood in New York State, 1913
---John W. Fried, Columbia University
   The Astor Place Opera House Riot, 1849
--Robert W. Whalen, Queens University of Charlotte
   The Politics of Moral Outrage: Rethinking the Triangle Fire of 1911
--Comment: Tim Kneeland, Nazareth College

403 Early Influences

--Karen Hess, Independent Scholar
   Ariaantje Coeymans, Enigmatic Dutch Colonial Woman
--Eric J, Roth, Historic Huguenot Street
   Rethinking the Ethnic Identity of the “Huguenots” of New Paltz
-- Mary Robinson Sive, Independent Scholar
   Town Meetings in New York
--Comment: Nicholas Westbrook, Fort Ticonderoga (emeritus)

10:30—11:00am  Break

11:00am-12:30pm Concurrent Sessions

501 Armed Actions

--John S. Olszowka, Mercyhurst College
   The Niagara Frontier Defense League’s Patriotic War on Organized Labor, 1917-19
--William H. Siener, Independent Scholar
   “Shooting Folks at Night”: The Jacob Hanson Case and the Prohibition Repeal Movement on the Niagara Frontier
--Eric Wakin, Columbia University
   The Gun in Urban Unrest in Nineteenth-Century New York
--Comment: Thomas E. Leary, Youngstown State College

502 Outsider Women

--Benjamin P. Feldman
   The Strange Breach-of-Promise Case of George Barnard vs. Mary Power
--Jane Lancaster, Rhode Island School of Design
   “Madame Jumel Outshone by a Negro: Race, Gender, and Social Pretension in Antebellum Saratoga Springs
--Jon-Christian Suggs, CUNY (emeritus)
   Black Cleopatra: Hannah Elias and the Murder of “The Man Who Invented New York”
--Comment: Melanie Gustafson, University of Vermont

503 Religion

--Devin R. Lander, Independent Scholar
   “Start Your Own Religion”: New York State’s Radical Acid Churches
--Raymond A. Patterson, Saint Michael’s College
   Creating the Cultured Catholic at the Catholic Summer School of America, 1893-1941
--Jean Ballard Terepka, St. Michael’s Church
   The “Colored” Mission Chapels of the Episcopal Church
--Comment: Richard Schaefer, SUNY Plattsburgh

12:30-1:45pm Lunch

Program: Bernard Ouimet, “Un Canadien Errant”

2:00-3:30pm Concurrent Sessions

601 First Peoples

--Darren Bonaparte, Independent Scholar
   A Lily Among Thorns: The Mohawk Repatriation of Káteri Tekahkwí:tha
--Mary Hess, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
   They Hear His Voice: The Long Odyssey of Peter Wilson, Cayuga Physician and Orator
--Patricia Matteson, Independent Scholar
   The Oneida Lace Makers: A Lasting Influence of the American Indian Reform Movement
--Comment: Laurence Hauptman, SUNY New Paltz

602 Canals

--Jessica DuLong, Author
   The Erie’s Forgotten Little Sister
--Mariana Rhoades, St. John Fisher College
   Sources of the Original and Enlarged Erie Canals’ Building Stone
--Erica Wolfe Burke, Crandall Public Library
   Researching the Feeder Canal, Part of Glens Falls’ Invisible History
--Comment: Altina Waller, University of Connecticut

603 Historic Preservation I

--Dan Abatelli, Fort Greene Conservancy
   The Rededication of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument
--Erin K. Elto and Camilla Huey, Roger Morris Park
   Revolutionary Landscape: Roger Morris Park
--Adam Zalma, Rutgers University
   Visions of Permanence on the City’s Edge: Fort Tryon, 1901-31
--Comment: Eric Roth, Historic Huguenot Street

3:30-4:00pm Break

4:00-5:30pm Concurrent Sessions

701 Industry

--Andrew Cushing, Ove Arup and Partners and Nikolas Sokol, City Reliquary Museum
   The History of Sub-Aqueous Tunneling in New York City
--Katharine C. Gorka, Independent Scholar
   The Cornell Iron Works and the New York Iron Industry
--Comment: Robert W. Arnold, College of St. Rose

702 Legal and Political History

--Michael Allsep, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB
   The Early Legal Career of Elihu Root
--Ari Ruben, Harvard University
   Testing Suffrage: Literacy and the Right to Vote in New York, 1915-1975
--Jeffrey F. Taffet, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
   Religion and Diplomacy in the 1969 N.Y.C. Mayoral Election
--Comment: Peter Eisenstadt, Independent Scholar

703 Historic Preservation II

--Stephen Spaulding, National Park Service
   Restoring Hamilton’s Home to a Country Setting in Urban Manhattan
--Joseph Disponzio, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
   A Landscape Design Plan for the John Bowne Homestead, Flushing
--Comment: Robert M. Toole, Landscape Architect

5:45-6:30pm Reception
Burke Gallery, Fine Arts Building

6:30pm Dinner 

8:00pm Film Preview: “Dead Reckoning: Champlain in America”

A behind-the-scenes look at the production of this documentary, a one-hour television program which will be an historically accurate, fully animated documentary focusing on Champlain's years of exploration, 1603-1616, and his successful adaptation to the ways of the Amerindian people, who taught him how to explore and survive in the wilds of North America. Mountain Lake PBS will screen a preview of the documentary, followed by a discussion with Executive Producer Colin Powers, Producer/Writer Frank Christopher and Director Marc Hall.

Click here to see a one-minute preview of "Dead Reckoning" on the Mountain Lake PBS website.

8:30  The Wendell Tripp Lecture

David Hackett Fischer, Brandeis University
“A Frenchman in New York: Champlain Among the Mohawk in 1609”


8:00-11:00am Registration

8:30-10:00am Concurrent Sessions

801 Military History

--Michael P. Gabriel, Kutztown University
   New Yorkers at the Battle of Bennington
--Steve Delisle, Independent Scholar
   Unlocking the Material Culture of the Magasins du Roi
--Thomas L. Nesbitt, Independent Scholar
   Re-examining Champlain’s 1609 Mohawk Encounter
--Comment: Paul Huey,  NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation

802 African Americans

--Jesse J. Gant, University of Wisconsin
   John Brown’s Body: Remembering Abolition at North Elba
--Don Papson, North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association
    The Champlain Valley’s Underground Railroad Canadian Connections
--Alan Singer, Hofstra University
   New York State’s Radical Black Abolitionists
--Comment: Amy Godine, Independent Scholar

803 Knickerbocker’s History of New-York: The First Two Hundred Years

--Elizabeth L. Bradley, The New York Public Library, chair
Panelists to be announced.

10:00-10:30am Break

10:30am-12:00pm Concurrent Sessions

901 Broadcasting New York State History 

--Gerald Zahavi, University at Albany SUNY
A Look Back at Radio Documentaries on New York State History
--Geoffrey Storm, University at Albany SUNY
Producing “The First Fireside Chats,” a radio documentary

902  Three Approaches to Revealing the “Humanity Behind the Hardware”

--Jessica Williams, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
--Eric Boehm, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
--Sheri J. Levinsky, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
--Comment: Thomas Eldred, Cayuga County Historian (retired)

903  Sundown Towns in New York

James W. Loewen, Catholic University of America

904  The St. Lawrence Seaway at Fifty

Claire Parham, Siena College
12:00-1:15pm Lunch  

Program: William E. Wander, McSorley’s Old Ale House, “The Beefsteak Party: A New York City Original”

1:30-5:00pm Afternoon Activities

Bus Tour to Chazy

One conference organized tour will take place on Saturday afternoon.  It will depart at 1:30 from Ruger Street directly in front of the Angell Center

The tour will visit the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute (1951), an experimental farm, with particular attention to its historical exhibit, and the Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection (1924), a museum of the Colonial Revival as interpreted by the wife of the Institute’s founder. A chartered bus will take up to 43 participants. This tour cannot run without a minimum number of participants. If it is cancelled, you will receive notification by one week before the conference, and a refund will be mailed to you after its conclusion.

Alternate Options

In addition to the organized tour, Plattsburgh and the general vicinity offer on number of options for historical tours on your own.
• All day Saturday Plattsburgh museums are open with free admission to mark Museum Day. A list with directions will be in your registration packet.
• The Spirit of Ethan Allen II (a cruise boat on Lake Champlain) departs from the foot of College Street, Burlington twice each afternoon.  Visit for more details.
• Fort Ticonderoga is open until 5 PM and is offering half-price admission to anyone with a conference badge.
• Plattsburgh is only 20 miles from the Canadian border and only 64 miles from Montreal.  Consider an afternoon tour of the old city, or extend your stay in the area and make a weekend of it.

To request hard copies of conference materials, or to ask questions about the conference, email

Attending the Conference

Exhibition Hall Information

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