It is with deep sorrow that we report the passing on August 2, 2021, of Jacob Leisler Institute founding trustee, trustee emeritus, and former treasurer Ruth Piwonka.
In addition to the Jacob Leisler Institute, Ruth served as executive director of the Columbia County Historical Society, executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, and was on the board of many historical organizations including the Friends of Lindenwald and Historic Cherry Hill. For many years she was the town historian of Kinderhook, New York. Ruth is renowned for her excellent research into the colonial history of the Hudson River Valley. Her publications included A Visible Heritage: Columbia County, New York: A History in Art and Architecture (1977), A Remnant in the Wilderness: New York Dutch Scripture History Paintings of the Early Eighteenth Century (1980) and Remembrance of Patria: Dutch Arts and Culture in Colonial America, 1609-1776 (1988), A Portrait of Livingston Manor, 1686-1850 (1988), and Living in Style: Selections from the George Way Collection of Dutch Fine and Decorative Art (2018). She was a Fellow of the Holland Society of New York and the New York Academy of History, and the recipient of numerous awards including the 2020 Martha Washington Woman of History. Her passing is a tremendous loss to the historical community as well as to the Jacob Leisler Institute. Our hearts go out to her daughters Christine and Peg and their families and all the many scholars she has influenced over the past decades.