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BLOOMINGTON, IN—During its annual meeting in St. Louis, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) announced that James D. Rice, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, has been selected to receive the 2015 Germany Residency at the University of Tübingen. Thanks to a generous grant from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the OAH is pleased to continue the Germany Residency Program in American history at the University of Tübingen. The resident scholar will offer a seminar on a U.S. history topic of his or her design. The award was announced on April 18 by OAH’s 2014–15 President Patty Limerick and 2015–16 President Jon Butler. A total of 50 recipients received 2015 OAH awards.
On Sunday April 19, students from the history department and across campus made the trip to Montreal for a tour of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre. Founded in 1979 by a group of Holocaust survivors, it was officially opened in 2003 and serves as an important institution for teaching about the Nazi genocide and the dangers of anti-Semitism. Montreal is home to the third largest group of survivors in the world, and the Museum features a wide variety of original artifacts. The trip was sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences, the Student Association, and College Auxiliary Services, and was led by Professors Richard Schaefer, Jonathan Slater, and Howard Gontovnick. In addition to touring the Museum's permanent collection, students were able to have an extended discussion with a survivor.
Jim Lindgren's most recent book, "Preserving South Street Seaport" (NYU Press) was launched on April 21, 2014, at a wine-and-cheese reception sponsored by NYU Press and the South Street Seaport Museum. It was held at the museum's historic Bowne Printing Shop, which, in 1975, was restored and reopened by Mayor Abe Beame in a live broadcast on NBC's Today show. That same night, Lindgren spoke to an enthusiastic seaport audience packed into the famous Paris Cafe, located in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and FDR Drive. Sponsored by the New York Preservation Archive Project, the Historic Districts Council, and the New York City Landmarks Conservancy, the talk recounted the story of how the Seaport Museum saved an 11-block historic district from the wrecking ball, grew to become New York City's largest historical society and "America's National Maritime Museum," but now faces a life-or-death struggle against commercial developers who want its valuable property. For Lindgren's melding of historian and preservationist, see http://nypost.com/2014/04/19/why-nyc-must-save-the-south-street-seaport/.
As an intern at the Cultural Resource Management Department at Gettysburg National Military Park, I see how professionals of various backgrounds work together to achieve their mission. That mission is to protect, preserve, and interpret. The National Park Service employs people from different backgrounds who work together to ensure that visitors have a pleasant experience. Above all, I am learning how history is used in practical ways. Construction projects or events at a National Park are assessed for potential damage of the park’s resources. My job is to research and produce preservation histories for historic homes that will be undergoing maintenance. The goal is to preserve the structure’s historic integrity by helping construction companies know what materials to use when rehabilitating buildings. This is especially interesting work, since it brings together archeologists, historians, resource specialists, construction companies, historic architects, curators, and others. I have learned the necessity of teamwork when protecting public resources. Even though the National Park Service is just one career option in the field of public history, seeing how history is applied beyond the classroom has been very rewarding.
President John Ettling joined faculty, staff and students from across campus to dedicate re-dedicate the campus Holocaust memorial in honor of Doug and Evelyne Skopp. Professor Emeritus of History, Doug taught at the college for over thirty years. He was instrumental in founding the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance, and recently published a novel Shadows Walking that explores the subject of Nazi doctors. Evelyne served for many years in the Registrar's office. The dedication ceremony featured the unveiling of a new sculpture, Kristallnacht, by Jean-Jacques Duval.
SUNY Plattsburgh’s history department celebrated eight books that its faculty had published since 2008. Five Years in History – A Celebration of Books was Thursday, Nov. 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The authors, as well as the books, were at the reception in the Winkel Sculpture Court, Myers Fine Arts Building. “Often, we have an event for each professor who publishes a book, but we decided to do something to honor all of them,” said Dr. Wendy Gordon, associate professor and chair of the history department. Gordon explained the exceptional productivity of the department by saying that it’s because many faculty are at the same level in their careers and are of the same generation of scholars. Additionally, Gordon says there is a departmental culture that supports faculty being active in their research. “As a department, we put an emphasis on being teacher-scholars,” Gordon said. “There is a connection between what we teach and what we’re doing research on. We are supposed to be creating knowledge as much as conveying knowledge.” The following is the list of books that the history department has seen published in the last five years:
“America’s Ocean Wilderness: A Cultural History of 20th-Century Exploration” by Dr. Gary Kroll, printed by University Press of Kansas in 2008.
“Housework and Housewives in Modern American Advertising: Married to the Mop” by Dr. Jessamyn Neuhaus, printed by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011.
“Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson” by Dr. James D. Rice, printed by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009.
“Tales from a Revolution: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America” by Dr. James D. Rice, printed by Oxford University Press in 2012 (a History Book Club Alternate Selection).
“Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States” by Dr. Mark Paul Richard, printed by Michigan State University Press in 2008.
“The Chinese Medical Ministries of Kang Cheng and Shi Meiyu” by Dr. Connie Shemo, printed by Lehigh University Press in 2011.
“Competing Kingdoms: Women, Mission, Nation, and the American Protestant Empire, 1812-1960” by Dr. Connie Shemo, printed by Duke University Press, 2010.
In addition to these books, Dr. Douglas R. Skopp, professor emeritus and college historian, published “Shadows Walking: A Novel,” a work of historical fiction, printed in 2010. Also, Neuhaus’ first book, “Many Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America,” was released in paperback in 2012.
(Story by Amy Heggen)
For more information about the history program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Wendy Gordon, Chair
Office: Champlain Valley Hall 220
Phone: (518) 564-2213
Fax: (518) 564-2212