Inaugural lecture of the Jacob Leisler Institute Lecture Series.

The inaugural lecture of the Jacob Leisler Institute Lecture series, co-hosted by the Hudson Area Library and the Gotham History Center, took place on February 22. The Institute thanks Brenda Shufelt and Emily Chameides of the Hudson Area Library, Andrea Mosterman of the Gotham History Center, and Tina Lesem of the Leisler Institute for their help in bringing this effort to fruition, and filmmaker Dan Udell for producing this video.

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Message from Leisler Institute President Dr. Firth Fabend

January 4, 2018

Dear Friends of the Jacob Leisler Institute,

As 2018 dawns, I greet you all with best wishes for a productive and healthy New Year that lasts throughout the year.

Our third, going on fourth, year has been a busy one with progress in all directions. We bid adieu to Trustee Charles Zabriskie, Jr., in 2017, but not forever. We elected him our first Trustee Emeritus, and we continue to benefit from his experience and advice, so generously given. We welcomed two new trustees in 2017, Jeff Rigby and Gary Laube, both of whom bring valuable experience to the Board, Jeff as a professional archival preservationist and Gary as a long-time pursuer of Jacob Leisler and his times. Gary is a direct descendant of one of the justices at Jacob Leisler’s trial in 1691, which found him guilty of treason.

We made great strides in cataloging our book collection, with the help of intern Tina Lesem, and in acquiring proper archival materials such as acid-free folders and clear polypropylene sleeves to protect our precious documents. We are considering applying for a New York State “Collections Needs Assessment” grant to help with such expenses in 2018.

A number of Board members composed, with the advice of Joan Castle, a professional fundraiser located in Hudson, an outstanding letter to our donor list, and an accompanying brochure, which are proving to be quite productive. And in collaboration with the Hudson Area Library’s History Lecture Series, we have launched our first set of three lectures to begin in February and to continue into the Spring.

At our fourth Annual Meeting in August 2018, I expect we will have many more achievements and advances to report!

Thank you for all you do to make the Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History the dynamic organization it is destined to be.



Firth Haring Fabend


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Long Island entrepreneur Gary Laube joins Leisler Institute Board of Trustees.

The Jacob Leisler Institute welcomes Gary Laube of Westhampton, New York, to its Board of Trustees. Mr. Laube is a direct descendant of Col. John Young, who was one of the chief justices on Jacob Leisler’s 1691 trial. Mr. Laube is a founder and co-owner with his son of Liberty Gas, a full-service source for residential and commercial propane needs on Long Island’s East End. He has a passionate interest in colonial New York and, in particular, Jacob Leisler, and has made important contributions to colonial New York research. He brings to the Institute welcome business acumen and a wealth of historical knowledge with him.

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Leisler Institute Reception on December 2, 2017

In conjunction with the opening artist’s reception on Saturday, December 2, at 46 Green Street, and Hudson’s famed Winter Walk, the Jacob Leisler Institute, at the rear of the 46 Green Street Studios, will be open to the public from 4:00 to 6:00. Stop by Studio 9, say hello, and visit the Institute’s new adjoining archival space.

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Leisler Institute Trustee Ruth Piwonka honored with Festschrift

It is with tremendous pride we note that on November 16, the New York history community honored Leisler Institute Trustee and Treasurer Ruth Piwonka for her contributions to New York historical research with a festschrift at the “Researching New York 2017” Conference at the University at Albany, SUNY. Speakers included Roderic H. Blackburn, co-author with Ruth of numerous works, James Bradley, Martin Van Buren Papers, Charles Gehring, New Netherland Research Center, William Krattinger, New York State Division for Historic Preservation, David William Voorhees, Jacob Leisler Institute, Patricia West McKay, National Park Service Martin Van Buren Site, and Ivan Steen, Center for Applied Historical Research at the University at Albany. Congratulations Ruth.

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2017 Annual Jacob Leisler Institute Trustees’ Board Meeting

At the 2017 Annual Jacob Leisler Institute Trustees’ Board Meeting, held at the Institute office in Hudson, New York, on August 26, the Trustees elected Charles Zabriskie Jr. as the Institute’s first Trustee Emeritus. The Board is recognizing Mr. Zabriskie, who recently stepped down as a Trustee, for his outstanding contributions to the Institute. He will continue to participate in Institute activities when possible.
The Minutes of the Institute’s Third Annual Meeting are available upon request to:

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Tina Lesem joins Institute team

The Jacob Leisler Institute welcomes Tina Lesem to our team. Tina, who has a background in architectural and historic preservation, is volunteering as time permits to help organize, catalog, and aid in the conservation of the Institute’s growing collections. Her first undertaking is cataloging and organizing of the Institute’s map collection. We are so very fortunate to have Tina working with us.

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Noted Library and Archival Conservationist Jeff Rigby joins Leisler Institute Board of Trustees.

The Jacob Leisler Institute is very pleased to announce that Jeff Rigby, AIC, noted library and archival conservationist, has accepted our invitation to join the Institute’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Rigby began his career with a four-year apprenticeship at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Since leaving the Newberry, he has had a distinguished career preserving documents for numerous library and archival collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Ellis Island National Park, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park NY, Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Museum of Modern Art, New York County Clerk’s Office, and the New York Stock Exchange, to mention only a few. His expertise in devising collection maintenance strategies and grant application and procurement is a valuable addition to the Institute’s future direction. As he writes, “My treatments deal with permanence and durability, and in all my work, I strive to protect the integrity of archival objects.”

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