Program Description: The Hudson Area Library and the Jacob Leisler Institute present: “Imagination Aided by the Painter’s Brush”: The Creation of the Purchase of Manhattan, 1844–1909 by Stephen McErleane.
Date/Time: Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm.
Registration: To register and receive the Zoom link email email@example.com or call 518-828-1792 x101. A question and answer period will follow the talk.
Though it is now known as a fundamental piece of the early history of the city, it was not until 217 years after the event that New Yorkers first learned of the now infamous 1626 purchase of the island of Manhattan by the Dutch from the Indians for twenty-four dollars. This talk follows the construction of that story from its first appearance in the 1840s and focuses on an important and overlooked piece: an 1853 painting of the purchase by the American artist William Ranney. Ranney has been dubbed a myth-maker for his influential depictions of the American Revolution and of life in the American West. His role in the creation of the Manhattan purchase myth, however, has gone largely ignored.
Stephen McErleane is director of the New Netherland Institute and a doctoral candidate in history at the State University of New York at Albany, where he is currently writing a dissertation on the seventeenth-century Dutch colony of New Netherland in history & memory. He also holds a master’s in information science (archives) from SUNY Albany. He is from Stony Point, NY and currently lives in Troy, NY.