Academic journal article Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

Hudson River Panorama: A Passage through Time

Academic journal article Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

Hudson River Panorama: A Passage through Time

Article excerpt

Hudson River Panorama: A Passage Through Time, by Tammis K. Groft, W Douglas McCombs, and Ruth Greene-McNally. Albany: State University of New York (Excelsior Editions), 2009. 134 pages, black-and-white and color photographs, illustrations, bibliography, index, $29.95 paper.

The Hudson River has been the focus of hundreds of writings over the four centuries since Henry Hudson's failed quest for an inland passage to Asia through the North American continent. Hudson River Panorama: A Passage Through Time adds to that body of literature a unique, beautifully illustrated, and well-presented history of the great river and its impact on the peoples of New York State.

The Albany Institute of History and Art, founded in 1791, is one of the longest continuously operating historical organizations in North America and has been a prominent institution in the Hudson River Valley for more than two hundred years. In anticipation of the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, an international celebration that stretched from New York City up the Hudson River and through Lake Champlain to the Province of Quebec, the Albany Institute devoted over three years to concentrated research on topics related to the Hudson River. The result was an exhibition, a variety of accompanying educational programs, and the present volume, which serves both as the exhibit's catalog and as a stand-alone panoramic view of the history of the Hudson through a new interpretive prism. The popularity of the Hudson River Panorama exhibit was so great that the Albany Institute extended it an additional year. This book shares with the popular exhibit a clarity of interpretation and exceptional illustrations.

To find illustrations for the themes in the Hudson's history, a research team of Tammis K. Groft, W. Douglas McCombs, and Ruth Greene-McNally mined the Albany Institute's renowned collections, examining hundreds of artifacts, artworks, and rare archival documents. So extensive are the institute's holdings from the Hudson Valley that an immediate challenge was to establish interpretive criteria that would narrow selection to the most striking illustrations of key events, people, and ideas that could be related to broader narratives of Hudson River history.

The book, which includes a foreword by the Albany Institute's director Christine M. …

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