Friends and Partners Celebrate...
An April fund raising celebration of the Van Rensselaer Manor Era in New York by the Friends of the New York State Library helped match funds to preserve the Research Library’s Van Rensselaer Manor Papers.
A priceless collection of original manuscripts that document America's earliest history, the collection includes voluminous letters, contracts, business transactions, personal stories, land transactions, maps, and other materials documenting over two hundred years of daily life in New York from the earliest years of America's written history until the mid-19th century.
The event featured presentations by Director of the New Netherland Project Dr. Charles Gehring, Fred Bassett of the State Library’s Manuscripts & Special Collections Unit, and historian and Project Director of the Colonial Albany History Project Stefan Bielinski. The focus was the historic importance and relevance of the Van Rensselaer Manor and the Van Rensselaer family to the Hudson Valley. The Friends produced a DVD on the program that is available to the public. For more information on the Friends, go to http://www.nyslfriends.org/.
And thanks also to the Friends, one of the jewels of the Van Rensselaer Manor Paperscan is available for study and display. Gillis van Scheyndel's 1632 map of lands along the Hudson River from just south of Coeymans to the mouth of the Mohawk illustrates names of natural features frequently mentioned in the writings of the Patroon Killiaen van Renssleaer and his agents. The map is now framed and can be exhibited to the public.
Detail from a 1632 map by Gillis van Scheyndal — an image of the map maker himself in the lower right corner.
Public Historians Come to the Source
The Association of Public Historians of New York State held its annual conference in Albany. Conference attendees visited the Research Library, learning about the Library’s extensive print, microform, and online resources related to their work.
Partners in Higher Learning
The State Library continued to work with a collaboration of academic libraries throughout New York State on the New York State Higher Initiative (NYSHEI). The goal is the development of an "information infrastructure" that will maximize and utilize the vast resources of the states public and private academic and research libraries to benefit New York State's institutions and communities, and support higher education, research, economic and workforce development in New York State. NYSHEI’s proposed ARIA (Academic Research Information Access) legislation ties collaboration on licensing of electronic resources in Academic and Higher Ed libraries to economic development to benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine) industries. NYSHEI continues to explore the leveraging of database resources and access to them as an economic development tool.
In celebration of the Henry Hudson Quadricentennial in 2009, the New Netherland Institute originated a four-part project consisting of a traveling exhibit, a book on the Dutch-American heritage, a documentary DVD focusing on the New Netherland Project, and co-sponsorship of an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
The exhibit Light on New Netherland, focused on the early Dutch colony of New Netherland. The exhibit opened with a reception in the presence of the Consul General of the Netherlands at the New York State Museum. It is currently touring venues in the territories that were once New Netherland.
A documentary DVD about the New Netherland Project, Uncovering America's Forgotten Colony: the New Netherland Project documents the work of Dr. Charles Gehring and his colleagues. The program aired on local NBC affiliate WNYT. The DVD is available from the New Netherland Institute.
A collection of twelve essays in praise of New Netherland, Explorers, Fortunes, and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland, features an introduction by Dr. Martha D. Shattuck and an opening chapter by author Russell Shorto.
For information on the NNI and the New Netherland Project, go to http://www.nnp.org/.