New York Heritage Site Guide Post by Sanna Cheema 2/7/2018
The New York Heritage Digital Collections website provides free, online access to materials of cultural and historical significance in New York State. The site connects digital collections from around the state, contributed by libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions, and builds on existing digital repository services administered by seven of the Empire State Library Network members.
In 2017, the website was relaunched with a new look and navigation system. Whereas the old version of the website focused on historical newspapers, the new version features a variety of materials including photographs, postcards, correspondence, maps, yearbooks and more. The potential uses of these materials as primary sources for inquiry are not limited to professional historians, but may be taught to, and used by students, as well. The visual images and documents contain a wealth of information about a variety of peoples, era, and events in New York history which may be used as evidence, for illustration, for comparison and contrast, and for analytical purposes.
Additionally, there is more contextual information available regarding institutions and collections which can be useful to students, teachers, and other researchers. Other useful features of the redesigned NY Heritage website include faceted browsing (filtering by topic, type, county, etc), landing pages for all institutions and collection, simpler interface, and easier navigation, allowing researchers to search across collections from a specific institution or find a specific collection.
Also available is the “Resources for Educators” tab (available from the Home page in the upper navigational menu), which includes lesson plans and teaching activities that support the Common Core State Standards as well as links to other helpful digital resources. The lesson plans cover a range of topics in New York history and utilize interesting and engaging sources, activities, discussion questions, and assessments. Teachers can also spruce up their NYC history lessons with the thousands of historical photos and historical postcards in the various collections.
Here are some links to collections relating to various wars as well as other topics that I think would be of particular interest to 10th grade history teachers & students:
Albany Institute of History and Art Library Digital Images
“This collection contains materials related to the history of the city and county of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley from the 17th century to the present.”
19th Century Monographs on the History of Western New York
“The collection includes monographs relating to Western New York history: History of Niagara County, N.Y. and History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, volumes 1 and 2. The books include illustrations of notable buildings, as well as biographical sketches and portraits of prominent residents.”
A History of the Black Community of Syracuse
“The collection includes photographs and documents relating to African Americans in the Syracuse region. The photographs depict black soldiers and local religious leaders, as well as individuals engaged in community life, sports, and social organizations, including involvement with the Dunbar Center. Ephemera from this collection includes clippings from nineteenth century newspapers and journals, as well as a handbill offering a reward for an escaped slave. The materials date from early 19th century to mid-20th century; many are undated.”
American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter;
“The collection includes one issue of American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter, 1843-03-01, volume 2 issue 9, published by the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. The newspaper contains articles on a number of issues relating to the abolition movement.”
1964 Rochester Riot Photographs
“This collection contains black-and-white photographs relating to the Rochester Race Riots of 1964. The images depict various stages of unrest during the riots and the damage in the aftermath. There are aerial views showing the damage to many buildings. There are many images of police on duty during the riots.”
“This collection consists of images of the churches of Potsdam, New York, which includes Episcopal, Presbyterian, Christian Scientist, Universalist, Catholic, Baptist, and Methodist denominations. Interior photographs of Trinity Episcopal Church are also included, as well as images of a few other Potsdam buildings including St. Lawrence Academy and the Civic Center.”
Civil War Carte de Visite Collection
“This collection contains photographs of New Yorkers who played a role in the Civil War.”
Civil War Letters
“This collection contains letters written by Union Army Civil War soldiers.”
Joseph H. Treyz Collection of Civil War Patriotic Envelopes:
“The Joseph H. Treyz Collection contains 149 patriotic envelopes printed during the Civil War. They represent the Union cause and contain patriotic images such as the Union flag, state seals, soldiers, goddesses, depictions of Northern cities, prominent leaders and military officers, and cartoons and caricatures depicting Southern life. The majority of the envelopes include a slogan or poetry supporting the Union cause.”
Walt Whitman Collection
“The collection consists of black and white photographs of the birthplace of Walt Whitman taken by photographer Benjamin S. Conklin in the middle of the 20th Century. Additionally, there is a manuscript from Walt Whitman featuring a draft of his famous poem, Thick Sprinkled Bunting.”
“This collection contains images of diaries belonging to American men who served in various wars, including the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. These first person accounts offer a bevy of insights into the thoughts, actions and beliefs of the men who served.”
War of 1812
“Photographs, letters, maps, drawings, and documents relating to the War of 1812.”
Camp Upton Postcards
The collection consists of postcards depicting Camp Upton as well as general postcards of the Western Front as seen by the average Dough Boy.
World War I Era Postcard Collection
“This collection is a collection of World War I-era postcards that were a gift to Union College from William Nelson Potter Dailey, a member of the class of 1884. Most of the postcards are of France, but some feature Great Britain, Italy and Monaco.”
World War 2 Fallen Sons
“This collection consists of newspaper articles from 1940s about the men from Middleburgh, NY and the surrounding area who died in World War II.”
I think students learning about immigration into NYC would enjoy a collection on immigrants and Ellis Island. Personally, I would also like to see a collection on prominent women in New York history.
Lastly, here’s a “hidden gem” that might be of interest to students learning about LGBT history: https://cdm16694.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p274401coll1/id/972/rec/5