Albany

“Get out and be something.”

The wide-ranging autobiography of William Henry Johnson is filled with reminders of how much and how little has changed since its publication in 1900. In the “Finale,” John T. Chapman, manager of the Leonard Publishing Company’s publications, relates the story of two young men of color who stepped into Johnson’s well-respected Maiden Lane barber shop …

President’s Day

If someone from another culture were to come here today, on this President’s Day holiday, and try to guess what it is we’re celebrating, there’s no doubt he or she would probably guess that we’re honoring our two greatest mattress and auto salesmen of all time. Or perhaps furniture. But there is no chance, from …

God save the Union!

Again from the Albany Institute of History and Art collection, evidence of our city’s redemption from its history of slavery. On January 5, 1863, a mass convention was held in celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. Frederick Douglass, a frequent visitor to Albany, would be present. Could this be the Hamilton Street church that held the …

Slavery at Albany

As northerners, sometimes we’re a little bit smug about our home region having seen the light on slavery well before the rest of the country. But, still, it had to see the light. Slaves were part of Hudson and Mohawk valley households from the earliest European settlements. As noted last week, several perished in the …

Albany Beef

Atlantic sturgeon was once so plentiful in the Hudson River that it was well known as “Albany beef.” This 1881article from the New York Times reprints an item from the Hudson Register on the supply of Albany beef in the river that summer. “When it is well prepared and has not become stale it is …

Voluntary power

More from the Albany Public Schools Syllabus of Physical Training, 1914: “For those children who have not the voluntary power for assuming correct posture, the teacher must give individual correction. It is necessary that this class of children be placed in the correct position by someone else until they have acquired the voluntary power to …