Tuesday, June 24, 2014

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site

photos by Nicholas Matranga

Historical Description:

Near Katonah, NY is the gracious home and farm of John Jay, patriot, Founding Father and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Jay retired to his Bedford property in 1801 after a lifetime of public service to his nation and state. John Jay also served as Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and as a member of the Committee for Detecting Conspiracies. He was President of the Continental Congress, Minister to Spain during the Revolutionary War, and one of the principal negotiators of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolution. He also served in the New York Provincial Congress, was instrumental in writing New York's first Constitution, and served as the state's second governor.

The Site:
John Jay's home and farm is a state historic site. Tour Jay's stately Georgian home with restored Federal period interiors. Enjoy a walk on 64 acres of farmland, punctuated with fields, forests, and a magnificent allee of century old Beech trees. Explore numerous historic outbuildings, including a barn and a one-room schoolhouse. Picnic on rolling lawns in the shade of stately old trees.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located on Route 22 between Katonah and Bedford Village. Take Exit 6 off I-684 and travel one half mile east on Route 35 to Route 22 south, then 2

Historic Site of the Week: Philipse Manor Hall

photo from Friends of Philipse Manor Hall website

Historical Description: Philipse Manor Hall was built in the 1680s by Frederick Philipse as a dwelling on the Lower Mills portion of his 52,500-acre estate. Philipse Manor Hall was an important symbol of what happened to Loyalists during the Revolution. Frederick Philipse III was LORD of Philipse Manor Hall during the Revolutionary period. His strong Loyalist views prompted him to sign the Declaration of Dependence in 1776, which caused George Washington to order his arrest. He lost the manor hall and the land it was on when the New York State Legislature confiscated it and eventually fled to England where he died broken in spirit and heart.

The Site: The Philipse Manor Hall is a stone manor designed with eighteenth-century, high style Georgian architecture and a 1750s paper mache Rococo ceiling. Today the Hall exhibits selections from Alexander Smith Cochran Collection of American Portraiture. It is a museum of history, art, and architecture including a 1750s paper mache Rococo ceiling.

Directions: From North, follow Route 9 to merge with Warburton Ave., right on Warburton, continue on Warburton for 4 miles, Manor Hall appears on right side, make right into driveway. From south, Route 9 to prospect street, left one block, right on Riverdale Ave., left into driveway after third traffic light.

New York State Revolutionary War Map

View Revolutionary War Trail Map in a larger map

Historic Site of the Week: Philipsburg Manor (see Map for all sites in New York State)

Historical Description: Fredrick Philipse established the Philipsburg Manor on 52,500 acres in 1693. Tenant farmers and African slaves worked the lands of the manor over its early history. A committed Loyalist during the Revolution, Fredrick Philipse III lost his manor after signing the Declaration of Dependence in 1776 and being arrested by General Washington. He eventually fled to England where he died a poor, broken man, showing how political views cost him and his fellow Loyalists their possessions and positions in society as well.

The Site: The Philipsburg Manor is a late seventeenth, early eighteenth century milling, farming, and trading complex owned by an Anglo-Dutch family of merchants. The site includes a stone manor house filled with period furnishings and a working water-powered gristmill and millpond. The grounds are also home to historic breeds of cattle, sheep, and chicken as well as an eighteenth century barn and slave garden. The site also includes a visitor center, a gallery with changing exhibits, a cafe, and a museum shop.

Directions: Philipsburg Manor is located on Route 9 in North Tarrytown, New York. Take the New York State Thruway (I-187) South; cross the Tappan Zee Bridge and exit immediately after the toll at Exit 9 North Route 9 Tarrytown. At the light at the bottom of the exit, turn right onto Route 9. Continue approximately 2 miles to Philipsburg Manor on left.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Overflowing of Friendship

Love between Men and the Creation of the American Republic
Richard Godbeer

When eighteenth-century American men described "with a swelling of the heart" their friendships with other men, addressing them as "lovely boy" and "dearly beloved," celebrating the "ardent affection" that knit their hearts in "indissoluble bonds of fraternal love," their families, neighbors, and acquaintances would have been neither surprised nor disturbed.

Richard Godbeer's groundbreaking new book examines loving and sentimental friendships among men in the colonial and revolutionary periods. Inspired in part by the eighteenth-century culture of sensibility and in part by religious models, these relationships were not only important to the personal happiness of those involved but also had broader social, religious, and political significance.

Godbeer shows that in the aftermath of Independence, patriots drafted a central place for male friendship in their social and political blueprint for the new republic. American revolutionaries stressed the importance of the family in the era of self-government, reimagining it in ways appropriate to a new and democratized era. They thus shifted attention away from patriarchal authority to a more egalitarian model of brotherly collaboration. In striving to explore the inner emotional lives of early Americans, Godbeer succeeds in presenting an entirely fresh perspective on the personal relationships and political structures of the period.

Scholars have long recognized the importance of same-sex friendships among women, but this is the first book to examine the broad significance ascribed to loving friendships among men during this formative period of American history. Using an array of personal and public writings, The Overflowing of Friendship will transform our understanding of early American manhood as well as challenge us to reconsider the ways we think about gender in this period.

"In his latest work, Richard Godbeer uncovers a world of feeling hitherto ignored and misunderstood -- that of passionate male friendships in the eighteenth century. Deeply and meticulously researched, powerfully and vividly written, The Overflowing of Friendship reveals a compelling picture of human connection in the past and opens a new world of love and possibility for the future." -- Catherine Allgor, University of California, Riverside

"Just when it seems that new insight about the founding generation would be impossible, Richard Godbeer gives us a wholly new way of understanding that familiar group. In this brilliant and engaging blend of cultural, political, and gender history, Godbeer reveals deep forces at work behind politics in the early republic and at the same time writes a moving elegy to a lost form of male relationship." -- E. Anthony Rotundo, author of American Manhood

Richard Godbeer is a professor of history at the University of Miami. His books include Sexual Revolution in Early America, also published by Johns Hopkins, Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692, and The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Drillmaster of Valley Forge

After anticipating this new biography of Baron von Steuben, by Paul Douglas Lockhart, overall I am disappointed in his integration and ultimate whitewashing of the Baron's homosexual relationships under the guise that there isn't much proof in letters and documents within the many Steuben collection here in America. I am not sure if this author has traveled to Germany to do any research, but I am sure he could have found some letters pointing to Steuben's romantic realtionships with his aides-de-camp. One historian, William Benemann, has mined many letters for extraordinarily provocative evidence that the Baron had homosexual attachments. Unfortunately there is about a half-page in Lockhart's book, which the author unconvincingly tries to assert Steuben's heterosexuality with only one example of what he describes as "circumstantial evidence to the contrary[:] While traveling through New York near the end of his life, Steuben once dropped a miniature portrait of a beautiful young woman . His personal assistant asked him about her identity, and the baron was chocked up. 'She was a matchless woman,' he finally managed to say, but would speak no further about her." I believe the young girl may have been a picture of his daughter or his mother (painted when she was a young girl) he had left behind in Germany.