Mary Collins joins the Institute

Mary Collins, who recently joined the Institute, sitting at a table in the library/office.

The Leisler Institute is pleased to announce that Mary Collins has joined the Institute as our Librarian. Ms. Collins has a Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in rare books and special collections, a nearly completed Master of Arts from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and holds the Certified Genealogist credential. She is former librarian at the Holland Society of New York. We are delighted to have her join us as a colleague.

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Lecture – Thursday, September 12, 6:00pm Slavery and Dutch – Palatine Farmers

Two Men Pointing at a Boy by Jan Luyken, c. 1711, Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

As part of our on-going lecture series, the Leisler Institute, in conjunction with the Gotham Center, and the Hudson Area Library History Room, present, Slavery and Dutch – Palatine Farmers: How did middle class farmers in Colonial New York interact with slavery? In New York State slavery existed for 200 years and recent interest and research, particularly focused on the Hudson Valley area, confronts this reprehensible fact. This lecture is an opportunity to learn how slave labor led to the prosperity of many families in the region and also may have eventually influenced the abolition movement. 

Travis Bowman examines how slavery evolved in New York under the Dutch, British, and American systems of government and how the institution was utilized at a local and personal level among middle class farmers in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. Mr. Bowman is the Senior Curator of the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, where he is responsible for the research, care, and exhibition of the collections at New York State’s historic sites and parks.

There is a question and answer period and refreshments after the talk. 

Hudson Area Library
51 North 5th St.
Hudson, NY.

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Waterman Collection of European-Indian Relations in the Hudson River Valley being Cataloged

Volunteer Jim Hoon cataloging the Kees-Jan Waterman Collection of colonial European-Indian interaction in the Hudson River Valley at the Jacob Leisler Institute today. Acquisition of the eight boxes of the Kees-Jan Waterman Collection of materials relating to colonial European-Indian relations in the Hudson River Valley was made possible by Kees-Jan Waterman’s heirs and through the support of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

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Sarah Burrows Winch named new Institute Trustee

The Jacob Leisler Institute is pleased to announce the election of Sarah Burrows Winch as a Trustee. Ms. Winch is a writer, poet, historian, and photographer. She is a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. in English and history, and has a business background in sales with multiple companies, including Boston publishing company, CFO Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of The Economist, London. She is currently Chair of Safety for the Big Moose Property Owner’s Association (Big Moose Lake, Adirondacks, New York) and holds various other volunteer positions. Her soon to be published works, based on ancestors, under the nom de plume Sarah Tracy Burrows, include the nonfiction manuscript, Affectionately Yours, Osgood: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Osgood Vose Tracy, 122nd New York State Volunteers, to his Mother, Sarah Vose Osgood Tracy, 1862-1865, which she collaborated on with Civil War historian, professor and author, Ryan Keating, and a historical novel inspired by the true story, titled Fighting for Nellie. A native of Syracuse, New York, she currently resides in Wenham, Massachusetts, with her husband, with whom she has three sons. Her website is sarahtracyburrows,com. She is also a direct descendant of Jacob Leisler’s through his daughter Hester.

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Jacob Leisler Institute to Participate in Hudson Children’s Book Festival

The Jacob Leisler Institute will be among the 43 exhibitors at the Tenth Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, May 5. “The Hudson Children’s Book Festival, established in 2009, is held each year in the historic city of Hudson, NY, and strives to create, sustain, and nurture a culture of literacy in partnership with our community and schools. This free, public event fosters a love of reading as families meet and greet world-class creators of books for children of all ages.” The festival, one of the largest children’s book fairs in New York State, is taking place at 215 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson, NY. Please stop by our table and say “hello” and help us encourage young people to explore the exciting, adventurous, and mysterious world of early New York history. For more information see,

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Second Presentation in the Jacob Leisler Institute Lecture Series: “American Indians in the Mid-Hudson Valley” by Dr. William A. Starna on April 19.

For this second presentation in the Jacob Leisler Institute lecture series, Dr. William A. Starna will speak on “American Indians in the Mid-Hudson Valley.” Dr. Starna is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. He has held lecture, visiting, and adjunct appointments at the State University on New York at Albany, Binghamton University, and Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario). He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities at Hartwick College and an adjunct curator of ethnology at the New York State Museum. He is author of numerous books and articles on American Indians. The Jacob Leisler Institute lecture series is cosponsored by the Hudson Area Library and the Gotham History Center. Dr. Starna’s presentation will take place in the Community Room at the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street, Hudson, on Thursday, April 19, at 6:00.

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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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