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History > U.S. History > Local and Regional > New England

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Brooklyn By Name Cover

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Brooklyn By Name

How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges, and More Got Their Names

Leonard Benardo, Jennifer Weiss

Visit the blog for the book at www.brooklynbyname.com

From Bedford-Stuyvesant to Williamsburg, Brooklyn's historic names are emblems of American culture and history. Uncovering the remarkable stories behind the landmarks, Brooklyn By Name takes readers on a stroll through the streets and places of this thriving metropolis to reveal the borough’s textured past.

Listing more than 500 of Brooklyn’s most prominent place names, organized alphabetically by region, and richly illustrated with photographs and current maps the book captures the diverse threads of American history. We learn about the Canarsie Indians, the region's first settlers, whose language survives in daily traffic reports about the Gowanus Expressway. The arrival of the Dutch West India Company in 1620 brought the first wave of European names, from Boswijck (“town in the woods,” later Bushwick) to Bedford-Stuyvesant, after the controversial administrator of the Dutch colony, to numerous places named after prominent Dutch families like the Bergens.

The English takeover of the area in 1664 led to the Anglicization of Dutch names, (vlackebos, meaning “wooded plain,” became Flatbush) and the introduction of distinctively English names (Kensington, Brighton Beach). A century later the American Revolution swept away most Tory monikers, replacing them with signers of the Declaration of Independence and international figures who supported the revolution such as Lafayette (France), De Kalb (Germany), and Kosciuszko (Poland). We learn too of the dark corners of Brooklyn“s past, encountering over 70 streets named for prominent slaveholders like Lefferts and Lott but none for its most famous abolitionist, Walt Whitman.

From the earliest settlements to recent commemorations such as Malcolm X Boulevard, Brooklyn By Name tells the tales of the poets, philosophers, baseball heroes, diplomats, warriors, and saints who have left their imprint on this polyethnic borough that was once almost disastrously renamed “New York East.”

Ideal for all Brooklynites, newcomers, and visitors, this book includes:

*Over 500 entries explaining the colorful history of Brooklyn's most prominent place names

*Over 100 vivid photographs of Brooklyn past and present

*9 easy to follow and up-to-date maps of the neighborhoods

*Informative sidebars covering topics like Ebbets Field, Lindsay Triangle, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

*Covers all neighborhoods, easily find the street you're on

Buying the Farm Cover

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Buying the Farm

Peace and War on a Sixties Commune

Tom Fels, foreword by Daniel Aaron foreword by Daniel Aaron

This book tells the story of Montague Farm, an early back-to-the land communal experiment in western Massachusetts, from its beginning in 1968 through the following thirty-five years of its surprisingly long life. Drawing on his own experience as a resident of the farm from 1969 to 1973 and decades of contact with the farm’s extended family, Tom Fels provides an insightful account of the history of this iconic alternative community. He follows its trajectory from its heady early days as a pioneering outpost of the counterculture through many years of change, including a period of renewed political activism and, later, increasing episodes of conflict between opposing factions to determine what the farm represented and who would control its destiny. With deft individual portraits, Fels reveals the social dynamics of the group and explores the ongoing difficulties faced by a commune that was founded in idealism and sought to operate on the model of a leaderless democracy. He draws on a large body of farm-family and 1960s-related writing and the notes of community members to present a variety of points of view. The result is an absorbing narrative that chronicles the positive aspects of Montague Farm while documenting the many challenges and disruptions that marked its history.

City of Promises Cover

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City of Promises

A History of the Jews of New York, 3-volume box set

Deborah Dash Moore

Vol. I, Haven of Liberty, 2012 Runner-Up for the Dixon Ryan Manuscript Award presented by the New York Historical Association
 
New York Jews, so visible and integral to the culture, economy and politics of America's greatest city, has eluded the grasp of historians for decades. Surprisingly, no comprehensive history of New York Jews has ever been written. City of Promises: The History of the Jews in New York, a three volume set of original research, pioneers a path-breaking interpretation of a Jewish urban community at once the largest in Jewish history and most important in the modern world.
 <br />Volume I, Haven of Liberty, by historian Howard Rock, chronicles the arrival of the first Jews to New York (then New Amsterdam) in 1654and highlights their political and economic challenges. Overcoming significant barriers, colonial and republican Jews in New York laid the foundations for the development of a thriving community.<br /> <br />Volume II, Emerging Metropolis, written by Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, describes New York's transformation into a Jewish city. Focusing on the urban Jewish built environment—its tenements and banks, synagogues and shops, department stores and settlement houses—it conveys the extraordinary complexity of Jewish immigrant society.<br /> <br />Volume III, Jews in Gotham, by historian Jeffrey S.Gurock, highlights neighborhood life as the city's distinctive feature. New York retained its preeminence as the capital of American Jews because of deep roots in local worlds that supported vigorous political, religious, and economic diversity.<br /> <br />Each volume includes a “visual essay” by art historian Diana Linden interpreting aspects of life for New York's Jews from their arrival until today. These illustrated sections, many in color, illuminate Jewish material culture and feature reproductions of early colonial portraits, art, architecture, as well as everyday culture and community.<br /> <br />Overseen by noted scholar Deborah Dash Moore, City of Promises offers the largest Jewish city in the world, in the United States, and in Jewish history its first comprehensive account.

Civil War Boston Cover

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Civil War Boston

Home Front and Battlefield

Thomas H. O'Connor

In this engaging volume, Thomas H. O’Connor examines the unique role that Boston and its inhabitants played in the Civil War and discusses the impact of the turbulent war years on the city’s civilian population. His captivating narrative follows the experiences of four distinctive and significant groups of people who formed antebellum Boston—businessmen, Irish Catholic immigrants, African Americans, and women. Interweaving vivid portraits of the Boston community with major political and military events of the Civil War, O’Connor relates how the war forever changed lives, disrupted homes, altered work habits, reshaped political allegiances, and transformed ideas.

Rich with colorful anecdotes about local figures, both renowned and long-forgotten, this is a fascinating account that will appeal to Civil War buffs, historians, and general readers alike.

Clearing the Coastline Cover

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Clearing the Coastline

The Nineteenth-Century Ecological & Cultural Transformations of Cape Cod

Matthew McKenzie

In just over a century Cape Cod was transformed from barren agricultural wasteland to bountiful fishery to pastoral postcard wilderness suitable for the tourist trade. This complex social, ecological, and scientific transformation fundamentally altered how Cape Codders used and managed their local marine resources, and determined how they eventually lost them. The Cape Cod story takes the usual land-use progression--from pristine wilderness to exploitation of resources to barren wasteland--and turns it on its head. Clearing the Coastline shows how fishermen abandoned colonial traditions of small-scale fisheries management, and how ecological, cultural, and scientific changes, as well as commercial pressures, eroded established, local conservation regimes. Without these protections, small fish and small fishermen alike were cleared from Cape Cod's coastal margins to make room for new people, whose reinvention of the Cape as a pastoral "wilderness" allowed them to overlook the social and ecological dislocation that came before.

Community by Design Cover

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Community by Design

The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts

Keith N. Morgan, Elizabeth Hope Cushing, and Roger G. Reed

In 1883, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. moved from New York City to Brookline, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb that annointed itself the “richest town in the world.” For the next half century, until his son Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. relocated to California in 1936, the Olmsted firm received over 150 local commissions, serving as the dominant force in the planned development of this community. From Fairsted, the Olmsteds’ Brookline home and office, the firm collaborated with an impressive galaxy of suburban neighbors who were among the regional and national leaders in the fields of architecture and horticulture, among them Henry Hobson Richardson and Charles Sprague Sargent. Through plans for boulevards and parkways, residential subdivisions, institutional commissions, and private gardens, the Olmsted firm carefully guided the development of the town, as they designed cities and suburbs across America. While Olmsted Sr. used landscape architecture as his vehicle for development, his son and namesake saw Brookline as grounds for experiment in the new profession of city and regional planning, a field that he was helping to define and lead. Little has been published on the importance of Brookline as a laboratory and model for the Olmsted firm’s work. This beautifully illustrated book provides important new perspective on the history of planning in the United States and illuminates an aspect of the Olmsted office that has not been well understood.

Court-Martial of Paul Revere Cover

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Court-Martial of Paul Revere

A Son of Liberty and America's Forgotten Military Disaster

Michael M. Greenburg

At the height of the American Revolution in 1779, Massachusetts launched the Penobscot Expedition, a massive military and naval undertaking designed to force the British from the strategically important coast of Maine. What should have been an easy victory for the larger American force quickly descended into a quagmire of arguing, disobedience, and failed strategy. In the end, not only did the British retain their stronghold, but the entire flotilla of American vessels was lost in what became the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor.

In the inevitable finger-pointing that followed the debacle, the already-famous Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere, commissioned as the expedition’s artillery commander, was shockingly charged by fellow officers with neglect of duty, disobeying orders, and cowardice. Though he was not formally condemned by the court of inquiry, rumors still swirled around Boston concerning his role in the disaster, and so the fiery Revere spent the next several years of his life actively pursuing a court-martial, in an effort to resuscitate the one thing he valued above all—his reputation.

The single event defining Revere to this day is his ride from Charlestown to Lexington on the night of April 18, 1775, made famous by Longfellow’s poem of 1860. Greenburg’s is the first book to give a full account of Revere’s conduct before, during, and after the disastrous Penobscot Expedition, and of his questionable reputation at the time, which only Longfellow’s poem eighty years later could rehabilitate. Thanks to extensive research and a riveting narrative that brings the battles and courtroom drama to life, The Court-Martial of Paul Revere strips away the myths that surround the Sons of Liberty and reveals the humanity beneath. It is a must-read for anyone who yearns to understand the early days of our country.

Cross-Cultural Collaboration Cover

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Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Native Peoples and Archaeology in the Northeastern United States

Jordan E. Kerber

Cross-Cultural Collaboration is an anthology of essays on Native American involvement in archaeology in the northeastern United States and on the changing relationship between archaeologists and tribes in the region. The contributors examine the process and the details of collaborative case studies, ranging from consultation in compliance with federal, state, and local legislation and regulations (including the National Historic Preservation Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) to voluntary cooperation involving education, research, and museum-related projects. They also discuss the ethical, theoretical, and practical importance of collaboration; the benefits and the pitfalls of such efforts; ways the process might be improved; and steps to achieve effective collaboration.

Cross-Cultural Collaboration is distinctive in its extensive regional coverage of the topic and its strong representation of Native American voices from the Northeast. It also provides a comparative framework for addressing and evaluating an increasing number of collaborative case studies elsewhere.

Cultivating a Past Cover

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Cultivating a Past

Essays on the History of Hadley, Massachusetts

edited by Marla R. Miller

In 1659, a group of Puritan dissenters made their way north from Hartford and Wethersfield, Connecticut, to a crook in the Connecticut River that cut through some of the most fertile land in New England. Three hundred and fifty years later, a group of distinguished scholars mark the founding of that town— Hadley, Massachusetts—with a book that explores a history as rich as that soil. Edited with an introduction by Marla R. Miller, Cultivating a Past brings together fifteen essays, some previously published and others new, that tell the story of Hadley from a variety of disciplinary vantage points. Archaeologists Elizabeth Chilton, Siobhan Hart, Christopher Donta, Edward Hood, and Rita Reinke investigate relations between Native and European communities, while historians Gregory Nobles, Alice Nash, and Pulitzer Prize winner Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explore the social, cultural, and political past of this New England town. Musicologist Andrea Olmstead surveys the career of composer Roger Sessions, costume specialist Lynne Bassett interprets the wardrobes of the town’s seventeenth-century residents, Douglas Wilson investigates the connection between Hadley and the regicides William Goffe and Edward Whalley, and Martin Antonetti charts the course of a 1599 Bible alleged to have belonged Goffe. Taken together, the essays capture how men and women in this small community responded to the same challenges that have faced other New Englanders from the seventeenth century to the present. They also reveal how the town’s historical sense of itself evolved along the way, as stories of the alleged “Angel of Hadley,” of favorite sons Joseph Hooker and Clarence Hawkes, and of daughters Mary Webster and Elizabeth Porter Phelps contributed to a civic identity that celebrates strength of character.

Culture Club Cover

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Culture Club

The Curious History of the Boston Athenaeum

Katherine Wolff

Founded in 1807, the successor to a literary club called the Anthology Society, the Boston Athenaeum occupies an important place in the early history of American intellectual life. At first a repository for books, to which works of art were later added, the Athenaeum attracted over time a following that included such literary luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry James. Yet from the outset, Katherine Wolff shows, the Boston Athenaeum was more than a library; it was also a breeding ground for evolving notions of cultural authority and American identity. Though governed by the Boston elite, who promoted it as a way of strengthening their own clout in the city, the early Athenaeum reflected conflicting and at times contradictory aims and motives on the part of its membership. On the one hand, by drawing on European aesthetic models to reinforce an exalted sense of mission, Athenaeum leaders sought to establish themselves as guardians of a nascent American culture. On the other, they struggled to balance their goals with their concerns about an increasingly democratic urban populace. As the Boston Athenaeum opened its doors to women as well as men outside its inner circle, it eventually began to define itself against a more accessible literary institution, the Boston Public Library. Told through a series of provocative episodes and generously illustrated, Culture Club offers a more complete picture than previously available of the cultural politics behind the making of a quintessentially American institution.

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