Perspectives on Empire State History

November 14 & 15, 2013
University at Albany, SUNY

Sponsored by:

The UAlbany
Department of History &
History Graduate
Student Organization

The New York State Archives Partnership Trust

With additional support from:

M.E. Grenander Special Collections &Archives,
University Libraries

UAlbany Judaic Studies Program

The College of Arts & Sciences

The Office for Research

The New York State Historical Association & The Farmer's Museum

















(518) 442-5431



























































































































Researching New York 2013 banner

University at Albany, Science Library, Barnes and Noble Reading Room

SESSION I: 12:15 -1:45 PM

Woman Suffrage in New York State, 1869-1917

The Radical Years of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association
Susan Goodier, Hamilton College

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Mothers Harriot Stanton Blatch into the Woman Suffrage Movement
Suzanne Schnittman, Independent Scholar

‘A Long Way in Coming’: The Suffrage Campaign in Upstate New York 1898-1917
Karen Pastorello, Tompkins Cortland Community College

Comment: Carol Faulkner, Syracuse University

Rochester 1964
“Let Those Negroes Have Their Whiskey”: White Response in a Decade of Racial Unrest
Laura Hill, Bloomfield College

Black Theology and the Religious Morality of the Black Power Movement
Michael Beeson, Independent Scholar

Lesson Planning for the Black Freedom Struggle using Local History
Larry W. Rogers & Candace Rubin , Rochester City School District

Comment:  Michael West, Binghamton University

“Love Thy Neighbor: “Three Case Studies in Religious Conflict”

The Refuge of Religion: Protestantism’s Deep Roots in Schools
Josie Madison, University at Albany

Silently Conveying Beliefs: Methodist Architecture and the Settlers of the Village of Round Lake, New York
Christopher Daly, University at Albany

The Glorification of the Royal Martyrs on the ROCOR: A Summary of the Material Culture and Controversy Leading up to the Canonization of the New Martyrs in 1981
Bryan Herman, University at Albany

Comment: Jeffrey Marlett, College of St. Rose

SESSION II:  2-3:15 pm

Contested Ground

Sand Wars: Nature and Community Formation in a Long Island Port, 1906-1940
Michael J. Conrad, Stony Brook University

City and Nature at Gateway National Recreation Area: Changing Conceptions of National Parks
Eric Fauss, University of Connecticut

Comment:  Robert Chiles, University of Maryland, College Park


Integration, Resegregation & Public Policy 

“Not a Bad place to live”: Resegregation in the City of Good Neighbors, 1983-1996
Faherty L. Nielsen, Binghamton University

Becoming New York’s Finest: Race, Gender and Integration in the New York City Police Department
Andrew T. Darien, Salem State University   

Comment:   Paul Murray, Siena College


Women in the Public Sphere

“Commencing [Women] of Business”: The Properties of Upper-Class Female Market Participation in Early National New York City
Alisa Wade Harrison, City University of New York Graduate Center 

Suffrage Strategies and Arguments in New York State: School Suffrage Campaigns and the National Woman Suffrage Association
Gaylynn Welch, Potsdam University

Comment:  Lauren Kozakiewicz, University at Albany, SUNY

SESSION III – 4:15-5:45 PM

Joseph Smith and Early Mormonism in New York  

“Git them Translated:” Joseph Smith’s Attempt to Find Scholars to Translate the Characters from the Gold Plates
Michael MacKay, Brigham Young University

“The Work Is Soon to Be Put to Press in This Village:” Joseph Smith’s Negotiations with New York Printers to Publish the Book of Mormon Manuscript
Gerrit Dirkmaat, Joseph Smith Papers Project

Mormonism in Western New York in 1833
Brent Rogers, Joseph Smith Papers Project

Comment:  Daniel P. Dwyer, Siena College     

 Religious Institutions and Notions of Citizenship   

“That Jewish Crowd”: Prejudice and Protest at The City College of New York, 1945-1950
Barry Goldberg, City University of New York Graduate Center

Big Brother’s Keepers: New York Religious Organization and the New Deal
Flannery Amdahl, City University of New York Graduate Center

“Good Mortar and Better Men”: African American Freemasonry in New York, 1812-1900
Sean Griffin, City University of New York Graduate Center   

Comments: Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion


Unity/Disunity: 19th Century Women’s Voices on Religion and Spirituality

A Vision of Human Unity
Allison Stokes, Women’s Interfaith Institute

Radicals, Revivals, Spiritualism, and Suffrage
Melinda Grube, Cayuga Community College

The Danger of the Hour
Mary E. Corey, State University of New York at Brockport

Comment:  Lois Daly, Siena College


5:30 PM Off-Site Events:  Transportation will be provided from the University at Albany to the Downtown Campus and back. If you would like a seat and did not reserve with your registration, please stop at the registration desk to add your name to the list. The first bus will leave immediately after the last session. Meet at the registration desk.  A second shuttle will leave at 6:00 PM.  The shuttle bus will leave from, and return to, the University at Albany Science Library bus turn-around. If you prefer to drive, parking is available on the street or in the Thurlow Terrace lot on Western Avenue, across the Street from Page Hall.  Enter Page Hall and turn to the left to get to Milne 200. Check at registration desk for more details.

6:30 PM ~ RECEPTION~Historic Milne 200

Milne 200 was built as the library for the Milne School, continuing to function as the school library until the Milne School was closed in 1977.  The murals and friezes above them were gifts of the Milne School student body. Painted by Albany artist David Cunningham Lithgow, and installed from 1932-1944, the murals  depict signature events in the region’s history. The friezes are copies of the Bertel Thorvaldsen's friezes of Alexander the Great's triumphal entry into Babylon in the Quirinal Palace in Rome commissioned by Napoleon 1st to celebrate Napoleon's conquest of Rome.   Much more detail on the history of Milne and murals is available at http://www.albany.ed and in the University Archives, including a report on the conservation treatment process, and restoration process,

The Milne building was opened in 1929 as the home of the Milne School, the practice teaching school of the NYS Normal School, in existence since the summer of 1845. Through the 19th century the school housed grades 1-8, as did the Common Schools that State Normal School students were being trained to teach in. In 1890 the Model School, formerly the Experimental School, like the renamed NYS Normal College, began enrolling high school students. In 1909 the lower grades were dropped; the Normal High School including only junior and senior high school students.  The Junior High was dropped about 1920 because of space limitations and not reintroduced until Milne, Page (the site or our talk this evening), and Richardson Halls were opened in 1929, all of which today are part of the University at Albany downtown campus. Additional information on art on he downtown campus, including the WPA artworks in Hawley Library can be found at,, and

7:30 PM ~ Page Hall – University at Albany Downtown campus.   

The Gods of Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York, 1800 to 1950
Robert Orsi, Northwestern University

New York City is generally thought of as the very epitome of American modernity and so it was—but it was also a rich landscape of religious practice, innovation, and conflict. Virtually every major development in American religious history had, if not its origins in New York, then its most public and extravagant expression.  Religion did not just happen in New York City; it happened through the city, in the media of its streets, shadows, and stoops, and in exchanges among people of all the world's religions. New York has never been a secular city—or perhaps the religious history of New York demands a rethinking of what "secular" means. This lecture invites a rethinking of American urbanism as a profoundly religious reality.

Robert Orsi, “the reigning scholar of American Catholicism” (Publishers Weekly), will deliver the keynote lecture of the Researching New York 2013 conference. The title of Orsi’s talk is “The Gods of Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York, 1800 to 1950.” The Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies at Northwestern University, Orsi is the author of the landmark study, The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950 (1985, 25th Anniversary edition 2010).

The shuttle bus will return to the University at Albany Science Library immediately following the talk and book signing.


FRIDAY, November 15, 2013
University at Albany, Science Library, Barnes and Noble Reading Room
Coffee and Continental Breakfast

SESSION V: 9-10:15 AM

Sacred Space/ Sacred Place

“Igniting Community: The Religious Architecture of the ‘Burned-Over District’”
Sharon Williams Leahy, HistoryPreserve

Gothic Revival Church Architecture, Richard Upjohn and the Creed of Anglo-Catholicism
David W. Palmquist, University at Albany, SUNY         

Comment: Cynthia Falk, Cooperstown Graduate Program

Sound and Fury

The Sound of Silence: Investigation an Acoustic Shadow at the Battle of Bennington, 1777
Michael P. Gabriel, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

“’Forsaken Graves’”: Battlefield Tourism and Historic Commemoration in the Early Republic”
Thomas A. Chambers, Niagara University

Comment:   Gerald Zahavi, University at Albany, SUNY

Searching for Religious Meaning in the 1960s   

The Fifth Dimension: A Universal Search for Meaning & Purpose at the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair-The Billy Graham Pavilion
Mary Ann Borden, Empire State College

Start Your Own Religion: New York State’s Acid Churches
Devin R. Lander, Independent Researcher

Comment:  Karen Ward Mahar, Siena College


SESSION VI – 10:30 -Noon

Faith Hope & Charity    
Catherina Van Rennselaer Bonney A Portrait of Evangelical Womanhood
Alexandra Prince, University at Albany

‘A Society of Young Ladies, in Rank the First in the City’: The New York Orphan Asylum Society and Early National Female Benevolence in Transnational Perspective
Christopher Morell, CUNY Graduate Center

“An Experiment for Enlightening the Populous Poor:” The New York Sunday School Union Society, 1816-1866
Dolores E. Black, Independent Scholar

Comment:  Jennifer Hull, Colgate University


The Infamous ‘blood accusation’ Trial of Mendel Beilis

Orthodox Attitudes to Blood Accusation Before and After the Beilis Case:”The Glorification of Martyr Gabriel of Bielostok”
Nadieszda Kizenko, University at Albany, SUNY

The Beilis Trial and the Jewish Encyclopedic Imagination
Barry Trachtenberg, University at Albany, SUNY

Jewish Mysticism, Blood Libel, and the Trial of Mendel Beilis
Robert Weinberg, Swarthmore College

Comment: Richard F. Hamm, University at Albany, SUNY

Great Awakenings  

“I hear gods work agoing on at long island”: Revivalism, Mobility, and the Great Awakening in Colonial New York
Katharine Conwell, Binghamton University

Opponents of Fire: Antirevivalists in the Burned-Over District
Peter Van Cleave, Arizona State University

The Second Great Awakenin, Shaker Style: The Era of Manifestations.
Ann Sayers, The Shaker Heritage Society          

Comment:  John Howard Smith, Texas A&M University-Commerce


12 noon  - Lunch Keynote
Campus Center Ballroom

Northern African-American Religious Communities and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 20th Century
Clarence Taylor, Baruch College

While much has been written about the southern civil rights movement, lesser known is the pivotal role that religious figures played in civil rights campaigns in New York City and elsewhere in the North.   Although left out of popular narratives of civil rights and Black Power, these ministerial figures and lay people were crucial in the fight to end racial repression and for equality.

Professor Taylor’s research interests include modern African-American history, the civil rights and black power movements,  and African-American religions.   Recent work includes “Racial Discrimination and the Radical Politics of New York Clergyman, Milton A. Galamison," in “From Every Mountainside: Black Churches and the Broad Terrain of Civil Rights”  (SUNY Press 2013). His works  include  "The Black Churches of Brooklyn from the 19th Century to the Civil Rights Era" and  "Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century" (Routledge, 2002). He is also co-editor of Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader in the Black Struggle (New York University Press, 200) which won the Gustavus Myers Prize in 2001 and editor of Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era (Fordham University Press, 2011). Taylor’s book, Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights and the New York City Teachers Union is also published by Columbia University Press (2011).


SESSION VII:  2:00-3:30 PM

For the Good of Women
“A Womanhood Protected:” The YWCA of Albany and Working Women
Tina Peabody, University at Albany

Margaret H. Sanger, RN-A Vilified, Idolized, and Courageous Advocate of Birth Control
Gertrude B. Hutchinson, Archivist/Historian, Bellevue Alumnae Center for Nursing History at the Foundation of NYS Nurses  

Protecting Mothers and Babies During Wartime: Emergency Health Measures in New York City during World War II  
Hilary Aquino, Albright College

Comment:   Robyn Rosen , Marist College  

Ark of Salvation, Den of Iniquity:  The Religious Image of New York 

 “Their Habits Are Loose and Irreligious”: Pious New England and Pagan New York, 1795-1820
Jacalyn Eddy, SUNY Geneseo

Russian Immigrants and Religion: Russian Jews in New York City, 1880s and 1980s
Phyllis Conn, Saint John’s University 

Russian Orthodox Music and Diplomacy: New York’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral Choir (1912-1918)
Alla Generalow, The University of Arizona

Comment: Nadieszda Kizenko, University at Albany, SUNY

New Yorkish vs. Eastern European: New and Old Rites in New York Jewish Life

Urban Planning, Public Health and the Rise of the Jewish Undertaker, New York City, 1850-1920
Allan Amanik, New York University

‘A Weapon for Survival’-The Creation of Secular Jewish Ritual in the Postwar U.S.
Jennifer Young, New York University

Seeing America with Fresh Eyes: Jacob Lestschinsky’s Analysis
Gennady Estraikh, New York University

Comment: Henryk Baran, University at Albany, SUNY

To Serve the Faith     

Jacob Nagel, Redemptorist Chaplain
Patrick Hayes, Redemptorist Archives of the Baltimore Province, Brooklyn, New York  -

Rev. John Stanford: NY’s 1st Prison Chaplain Wasn’t Passive
Thomas McCarthy,

Oral History in the Diocese of Immigrants
Joseph W. Coen, R. C. Diocese of Brooklyn Archives

Comment:  Jeffrey Marlett, College of St. Rose


Recital Hall/Performing Arts Center

A Momentous Encounter: Reform Judaism Challenges Orthodoxy in Nineteenth-Century New York
Howard B. Rock

The Enlightenment, the notion that science and reason could lead humankind to a more perfect level of civilization, was always a challenge to traditional Judaism. This included the small communities of British and Jeffersonian New York. The major encounter, however, came in the late 1840s when the foremost Orthodox (traditional) and Reform (Jewish Enlightenment) thinkers resided at or near New York. There Reformers began a passionate dialogue that advocated radical changes to Jewish prayer and practice and attacked the Orthodoxy as leading to the eventual demise of Judaism. Their leading spokesmen were Isaac Mayer Wise, a new immigrant from Germany who, though he held a pulpit in Albany, was literary editor of the Jewish weekly, the Asmonean and spent as many days as possible speaking and lobbying in New York, and Max Lilienthal, of Bavaria, who had spent six years in Imperial Russia attempting to establish a modern Jewish shool system prior to coming to America. The Orthodox, with over twenty pulpits, to Reform’s one and led by Reverend Morris Raphall of B’nai Jeshurun, the first rabbi to give a congressional benediction and Samuel Isaacs of Shaaray Tefilah, editor of the Orthodox Jewish Messenger, .responded in kind as the two parties argued over theology, the Talmud, ritual observance, and the place of women. For five years New York was the epicenter in the American confrontation between the two denominations of Judaism. This continued through the Civil War in which contrasting outlooks led to contrasting views on slavery and politics.

Howard B. Rock is Professor of History, Emeritus at Florida International University where he taught for thirty-five years. His early writing and research covered early American history, particularly the Revolutionary and Jeffersonian eras in New York City.  His most recent work is Haven of Liberty, New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865,  the  first volume of the trilogy, City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York City. (2012, New York University Press)  He is the author/editor of six books, most recently, coauthored with Deborah Dash Moore, Cityscapes: A History of New York  in Images. Prior to Cityscapes, he developed an ongoing interest in visual history which is reflected in the many illustrations in his earlier books.

RECEPTION & BOOK SIGNING immediately following the closing plenary.

This page last updated November 11, 2013