Academic journal article Early American Studies

From the Editor

Academic journal article Early American Studies

From the Editor

Article excerpt

This issue of Early American Studies celebrates the four hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson's adventure on the river that bears his name. Considering the history that followed his exploration, this introduction should probably begin with a description of Hudson's Half Moon, a ship on which no sensible person would cross the Central Park Lake, much less the Atlantic Ocean. Similarly, such a preface would, no doubt, include a few words about the settlement of New Amsterdam, the seesawing domination by the Netherlands and Great Britain, and the eventual transition to English rule. Yet such a prologue would relegate the majestic waterway and its environs to a very distant and impersonal past when, in fact, it has remained a constant presence and feature of urban, suburban, and rural life. If warships once dominated the harbor, cruise ships have conquered them. If ferries were once the exclusive carriers of people from one shore to another, bridges and tunnels have usurped them. And if scholarship concentrates on the symbiotic relationship between adults and the river, such a reading overlooks the charm that the river and its shores hold for children.

Seventeenth-century children surely watched as beaver skins were piled on wind-driven boats, eighteenth-century children skated on the frozen river, and nineteenth-century children were among the many immigrants who took advantage of the new steam-propelled vessels making their way up the Hudson. Young people have fished and gone swimming for centuries. …

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