Month: April 2013

Mrs. Russell Sage

One of the Troy Female Seminary’s most important former students was Margaret Olivia Slocum. She is best known as Mrs. Russell Sage, for as the second wife of the Wall Street titan and railroad executive, she ensured that significant chunks of his wealth funded philanthrophic efforts all over the northeast. In chronicling the history of …

The Seminary grows

The original Troy Female Seminary was leased from the City of Troy for 50 years, during which time it had grown from the original three-story “coffee house” building to “a substantial brick pile, four stories high, and some two hundred feet long.” But the lease was to run out in 1872, when “many new and …

Not a fan

Despite all the superlatives garnered by Emma Willard in her lifelong dedication to the education of women and the training of teachers, it must be said, there were those who were not fans of hers. The unnamed author of a “Review of New Books” in The Gentleman’s Magazine was definitely not a fan. Invoking a …

The Willard Farm

In 1854, John Hart Willard was selling off the family farm on the Wynantskill in Troy. In 1838, John (with wife Sarah Lucretia Hudson) had taken over the Troy Female Seminary founded by his mother, Emma Willard in 1821. I’m not sure of the precise location, but it can’t have been far from the where …

If it quacks like a duck

Again from an 1872 edition of the Troy Daily Whig, we have an advertisement for the “Old Established Hospital” at 5 Beaver Street, quite near Broadway, in Albany. “Hospital” didn’t necessarily mean then what it means today, and in fact this was the practice of a single physician, or maybe not even that. “Young men …

Get yer iron here!

By 1872, when this advertisement ran in the Troy Daily Whig, Henry Burden had long been famous for his advances in iron work. He began in the nail business and later invented an automated horseshoe-making machine. He powered his factory with a gigantic water wheel on the Wynantskill. He built his iron works into one …

Collar City Oysters

Once was a time (and that time was 1873) when you couldn’t throw a celluloid collar in Troy without hitting an oyster merchant. J.H. Goodsell, Lewis Thayer, H. Wait, Bailey & Hair and probably several more all offered large, sweet, fat solid meat oysters. The laws of Troy governed where boats carrying fish, oysters, clams …