Category: History

Happy 4th of July!

Have a happy, and safe Independence Day!

Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.


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Ruth Piwonka Scholarship Award Recipient Olivia Dumont

Photo By Michael Molinski

The Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History is pleased to announce it has selected Olivia Dumont, a graduating senior from Ichabod Crane High School, Kinderhook, as the 2022 recipient of the Ruth Piwonka Scholarship. Olivia demonstrated both passion and dedication to the study of history through her submitted essay which was supported by a strong letter of recommendation and an outstanding high school transcript. Given the strength of her application, the board decided that Olivia was the candidate of choice for receiving the award. The scholarship, in memory of Columbia County historian Ruth Piwonka, will help to further Olivia’s education at Middlebury College.

This scholarship is given annually in memory of Columbia County historian Ruth Piwonka, Trustee Emeritus of Jacob Leisler Institute, who passed away in August 2021. Former executive director of the Columbia County Historical Society, 1976–1983, and author of numerous works on Columbia County, Ruth was Kinderhook Village Historian at the time of her death. Her affiliations in Columbia County were broad, covering school districts throughout the county. The scholarship is open to students in the school districts that Ruth affected.

Donations to the Ruth Piownka Scholarship fund may be made to the Jacob Leisler Institute, PO Box 86, Hudson NY 12534. For further information contact the Jacob Leisler Institute:

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Columbia County Historical Society Lecture: “Gotham Goes Global: New York City from 1825-1925”

This Saturday, the Columbia County Historical Society presents the next lecture of the 2022 Winter-Spring Lecture Series –  Gotham Goes Global: New York City from 1825-1925, a zoom discussion by Dr. Gary Darden.

Dr. Gary Darden will speak about the changes and influences that caused the city of New Amsterdam to become an international center during this 100 year period.

Gary H. Darden, PhD
20-year Manhattan resident, Gary Darden is a 6th generation Texas native educated in Virginia and Texas. His Ph.D. in American history is from Rutgers University. He has served as history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Morris County, NJ since 2005, and chair of the Department of Social Sciences & History since 2013.  

​The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer conversation.

DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 23, 2022  / 4:30pm

$10 for CCHS members
$15 for non-members



LOCATION: Online via Zoom
ZOOM LINK will be emailed after Payment, on DAY of Lecture


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Shaker Museum Spring Bird Walk, Apr 23

Join Shaker Museum and long-time partners at the Alan Devoe Bird Club for a spring bird walk  at the Historic Mount Lebanon Site in New Lebanon on Saturday, April 23rd. Participants will observe and identify the various species of migratory birds that are returning to the site’s restored meadow and woodland habitat.

The group will convene in the Vault at the end of the Great Stone Barn. Participants should dress properly for the weather, including appropriate footwear.


DATE/TIMESaturday, April 23, 2022 / 8 – 10am

Register here

LOCATIONShaker Museum/Mount Lebanon
202 Shaker Road
New Lebanon, NY 12125



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Hudson Area Library and Leisler Institute Present a Talk on Slavery in New Netherlands, Apr 28

List of Purchasers of “a lot of male and female Negroes,” From a Slave
Auction in Manhattan, 29 May 1664. Source: Volume X, part III, pg. 228 New York Dutch
Colonial Manuscripts. 29 May 1664.

The Hudson Area Library History Room in collaboration with the Jacob Leisler Institute for the
Study of Early New York History presents Reconsidering Slavery in 17th century New
Netherland – What do We Know? What Can We Learn?, a talk by Dennis J. Maika on
Thursday, April 28th.

There has been a glaring gap in today’s important and critical discussion of American slavery
and its legacy: an accurate understanding of the lives of the enslaved and their enslavers in the
Northern colonies and how their experiences contributed to the institution of American slavery.
Many Americans are surprised to learn of the existence of Northern slavery and New Yorkers
may be stunned to learn that slavery was deeply entwined in their colonial and state history.
Historians have long recognized these connections but have been marginally successful in
bringing these stories to a wider audience. In recent years, a new cohort of New Netherland
historians has focused their attention on the experiences of the enslaved, slavery’s institutional
origins and development, the slave trade, and how slavery impacted New Netherland society.
Thus, the purpose of this talk is to provide a broader historical context in which to consider some
of these new revelations and the questions they raise. Hopefully, a better appreciation of slavery
in New Netherland will stimulate a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of
American slavery.

Dennis J. Maika is Senior Historian at the New Netherland Institute. A historian of colonial New
York with a Ph.D. in History from New York University, he has written numerous articles and
papers and served as a consultant for a variety of local history and education projects. His recent
article, “To ‘experiment with a parcel of negros’: Incentive, Collaboration, and Competition in
New Amsterdam’s Slave Trade,” was a winner of NNI’s 2021 Clague and Carol Van Slyke
Article Prize. He is currently working on a book about Manhattan merchants and their city
government in the Dutch and English periods of seventeenth-century New York history. As a
professional educator, he taught History and Psychology at the high school and college levels for
several decades.

The Jacob Leisler Library Lectures are made partially possible through the generous support of
the Van Dyke Family Foundation.

DATE/TIME: Thursday, April 28, 2022 / 6 – 7:30pm

LOCATION: The Hudson Area Library via Zoom

REGISTRATION: Visit for the Zoom registration link


For more information contact Brenda Shufelt, History Room Coordinator, at 518-828-1792 x106 or

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