“The unadulterated Irish language”: Irish Speakers in Nineteenth Century New York
“The unadulterated Irish language”: Irish Speakers in Nineteenth Century New York
March 17, 2015

The June 13, 1857, issue of Harper’s Weekly ran this short anecdote under “Things and Otherwise”: A woman a short time since appeared at the lower police court in New York city, and, going up to the judge, addressed him, as nearly as our reporter could understand, as follows:“R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!” The judge at once called the interpreter of the court. “Here, F—,…

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A Wintry Dionysiaca
A Wintry Dionysiaca
December 10, 2013

This post was written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian. Pick any contentious global issue. Drinking red wine with fish, perhaps. Or wearing white after Labor Day. Do you hang a paper towel roll over or under? You’re either on one side or the other (always the right side, of course). No shilly-shallying. How do you feel…

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“Jeff: Davis, aint this a Go?”: Hiram Rhoades Revels takes his seat in the Senate
“Jeff: Davis, aint this a Go?”: Hiram Rhoades Revels takes his seat in the Senate
February 21, 2013

On February 25, 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a preacher from Mississippi was sworn into the United States Senate. That occasion marked the first time a man of African descent served in either house of congress. While his service is a landmark in American history, Revels would not seek a second term but did go on…

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“Are and henceforward shall be free”: Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
“Are and henceforward shall be free”: Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
January 2, 2013

If you’ve been preoccupied with the “fiscal cliff” saga over the last several days, you may have missed a rather significant milestone. 150 years ago yesterday, on January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in all rebellious states, enacting what has been described as, behind the Declaration of the United States, perhaps “the single…

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John Ruggles Strong: another “Strong” diarist
John Ruggles Strong: another “Strong” diarist
November 28, 2012

If not quite a household name, George Templeton Strong enjoys a certain notoriety among historians as a pungent observer of 19th century New York. His 2250-page diary, held by the New-York Historical Society, has been described as “the greatest of American diaries, and one of the world’s great diaries,” and has been cited or quoted…

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Daniel E. Sickles:  The Rotten Apple from the Big Apple
Daniel E. Sickles: The Rotten Apple from the Big Apple
January 31, 2012

Far be it from us to dwell on the negatives of history, but there’s no denying that New York has produced its share of heels. High on anyone’s list should be Daniel Sickles. On a Sunday morning in February of 1859, the New York born and bred Sickles shot the un-armed Philip Barton Key (the son of…

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