Three years ago, in celebration of the publication of The Union Preserved: A Guide to the Civil War Records in the New York State Archives, the New York State Archives Partnership Trust, a program of the New York State Education Department, held a two-day symposium featuring research by leading scholars on New York's role in the Civil War. The symposium brought together a broad spectrum of attendees from the Lincoln Forum, Civil War re-enactors, Civil War Roundtable members, students, local historians, educators, and history enthusiasts.
As the most populous state at the time of the Civil War, New York was central to winning the war. The state not only provided the most men and materiel, but was also the North's economic center as well as an important center of political and social activism. Inhabited by increasing numbers of immigrant groups, abolitionists, and an emerging free black community, New York's social and political environment was a microcosm of the larger social and political conflict being played out in the war. The symposium addressed these tensions by examining the role of women, blacks, Native Americans, and European immigrant groups in New York, particularly the various perspectives held by members of each group regarding the war effort.
The symposium examined the difficulties Abraham Lincoln faced in keeping New York favorable to his policies. It revealed the tremendous sacrifice New York made in the military campaign, as well as the treatment of Confederate soldiers at New York's Elmira Prison Camp. The State of the Union is a compilation of the papers presented at the symposium.
The essays included in the volume:
Housekeeping on Its Own Terms: Abraham Lincoln in New York, by Harold Holzer The Volcano Under the City: The Significance of Draft Rioting in New York City and State, July 1863, by Iver Bernstein What's Gender Got to Do With It? New York in the Age of the Civil War, by Lillian Serece Williams In the Shadow of American Indian Removal: The Iroquois in the Civil War, by Laurance M. Hauptman Above the Law: Abitrary Arrest, Habeas Corpus, and the Freedom of the Press in New York, by Joseph M. Bellacosa and Frank J. Williams New York's "Andersonville:" The Elmira Military Prison, by Lonnie R. Speer The Continuing Conflict: New York and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, by Hans Trefousse
In the early morning hours of March 29, 1911, a fire broke out in the New York State Capitol at Albany. By sunset, the entire western portion of the building had sustained extensive structural damage. Within lay the entire collection of the New York State Library, almost completely reduced to ashes. Founded in 1818, this had been one of the finest research libraries in the country and home to innumerable manuscript and printed rarities. In a particularly bitter irony, the fire struck as the overcrowded library was four months away from moving into new, spacious quarters under construction across the street. Miraculously there was only one fatality, an elderly watchman, Samuel Abbott, whose body was not recovered until several days later. Images of America: The New York State Capitol and the Great Fire of 1911 includes recently discovered photographs documenting the construction of the building, beginning in 1867, as well as eyewitness accounts of its destruction.
In January 1995, the New York Legislature approved the fourth phase of New York's "experiment" with cameras in the courtroom. This experiment, which began on December 1, 1987, gives trial judges discretion to allow televised and still camera coverage of civil and criminal trial court proceedings. As before, the Legislature created a mechanism for evaluating the latest phase of the experiment, which is scheduled to last until June 30, 1997. The Legislature called for the appointment of 12-member committee "to review audio-visual coverage of court proceedings." The Legislature directed this Committee to evaluate the efficacy of the experimental program and to assess its effects. In the meantime, highly publicized cases - in particular, the O.J. Simpson case - have focused national attention on the issue of audio-visual coverage of trials. It was against this backdrop that the Committee conducted its surveys of public and professional opinion in New York State, reviewed the laws and experiences of other states, and examined the actual experience and effects of audio-visual coverage of trials in New York State. This book reviews the Committee's work and presents the majority recommendation, as well as a minority report. Extensive charts, questionnaires, and other exhibits help to document the work and findings of the Committee.
Tales of New York State history from the pages of the award-winning New York Archives. For readers interested in uncovering the history of the Empire State, The Best of New York Archives highlights some of the most popular articles of the unique, award-winning publication—as told through the records of the men and women who made it.
Home to some of the United States’ most important historical treasures, the New York State Archives serves as steward for more than two hundred million records of New York’s colonial and state governments from 1630 to the present. Contributions from Pulitzer Prize winners to best-selling authors mine this wealth of information to tell lively and engaging stories of New York State’s rich history. From the pages of The Best of New York Archives, nearly four hundred years of history comes alive.
“By evoking the Flushing Remonstrance, Evacuation Day, the women’s suffrage movement, and other pivotal episodes in the state’s history, The Best of New York Archives reminds readers that, as Columbia’s Ken Jackson likes to say, ‘America begins in New York. ’” — Sam Roberts, New York Times
“The New York State Archives is full of rich documents that serve as gems—they reflect and reveal transformations in national and world history. You’ll find many of those gems presented here, and New York’s vibrant history comes to life through the eyes of those who lived through it.” — Kimberly Gilmore, Senior Historian, History Channel/A+E Networks
“The Best of New York Archives is a treasure trove of compelling essays that inform and expand understanding. The selected narratives reflect the essential role the New York State Archives plays in the preservation of the fascinating and wide-ranging particulars of New York State’s history. As a bonus, the sampler is a storehouse of golden nuggets useful to deflate any annoying know-it-all whose behavior cries out for it.” — Harry Rosenfeld, author of From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman
“An original, authoritative, and entertaining walk through Empire State history—provided by a who’s who of leading historians and all inspired by the unparalleled treasures in the New York State Archives.” — Harold Holzer, Jonathan F. Fanton Director, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
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