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Architects in Albany
Architects in Albany Diana S. Waite, ed. Co-published by Mount Ida Press and Historic Albany Foundation. 96 pp., 98 black-and-white illus., index. ISBN 978-0-9625368-6-1. $24.95, plus $6.00 for shipping and handling. The book can be ordered online directly from Historic Albany Foundation.

Today in Albany there is a renewed vigor for saving significant historic buildings and neighborhoods--and a renewed interest in the stories of the architects and clients who built them. A new book, entitled Architects in Albany and co-published by Historic Albany Foundation and Mount Ida Press, profiles 36 designers and their firms who player major roles in creating Albany's distinctive skyline and its handsome streetscapes.

Some of the featured architects made Albany their longtime home, but others came to town to shape a single building. While they practiced in very different eras, both Philip Hooker and Marcus T. Reynolds, for example, each worked in Albany for    decades, designing not only relatively small buildings, such as residences, but also important monumental structures: Hooker was responsible for the first state capitol, and Reynolds created the splendid Delaware and Hudson Building that still stands at the foot of State Street. Early Albany commissions helped Robert Gibson (the Cathedral of All Saints) and Patrick C. Keely (the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception) launch their national careers. State officials brought in English-born Thomas Fuller, Boston-based Henry H. Richardson, and Prague native Leopold Eidlitz to design the new state capitol. More recently, Edward Durell Stone, with the SUNY Albany campus, and Wallace K. Harrison, at the Empire State Plaza, oversaw vast, controversial projects that have become icons of the city.

Five years in the making, this fully illustrated and meticulously researched book expands upon a booklet on the work of 12 architects that was published by Historic Albany Foundation in 1978, soon after its founding. Architects in Albany has an extensive index, which provides easy access to information on hundreds of buildings. Cornelia Brooke Gilder wrote 16 of the profiles, with other local and national experts contributing 20 others. Diana S. Waite, president of Mount Ida Press, edited the volume. 

Architects in Albany will be of interest to preservationists, historians and history buffs, property owners, builders and developers, architects, government officials, scholars, and students. 

"As a city that is older than the country, Albany has a rich tradition of noteworthy architecture. This book documents the work of 36 esteemed architects and their firms who raised the bar and left an indelible mark on our heritage. It makes a fascinating read for individuals of all backgrounds and interests." Edward C. Farrell, Executive Director, AIA New York State

"Architects in Albany should be required reading for those of us in the field, as well as our city leaders, the media, and those interested in Albany's history. I know I'll have the book right at my fingertips." Susan Holland, Executive Director, AIA New York State


Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland. Martha Dickinson Shattuck, ed. Co-published by the New Netherland Institute and Mount Ida Press. 184 pp., 1 color and 8 black-and-white illus., map, index. ISBN 978-0-9625368-5-4. $29.95, plus $6.00 for shipping and handling. Order through SUNY Press online at or by phone at 1-800-666-2211 or 1-607-277-2211 outside the Continental United States.

In 1609 the sailors aboard Henry Hudson's ship the Half Moon laid their eyes upon the entrance to what would come to be known as the Hudson River and the shores of a land that still remained mostly a mystery to European explorers. Within fifteen years the Dutch began to settle this newly discovered land, creating the colony of New Netherland and  bringing with them not only their belongings but also their culture and customs, their hopes and dreams.

Today, four hundred years later, the influence of the Dutch still remains in America. Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland presents the fascinating story of this diverse and enterprising colony and its enduring cultural impact. The twelve essays in the book cover a wide array of topics and historical perspectives, immersing the reader in the day-to-day life of the settlers and tracing the influence of the Dutch from the seventeenth century to the present. These topics range from Henry Hudson's navigational methods, the pursuit of fortune in the New World, child-rearing practices, and the love letters of Kiliaen van Rensselaer to the interactions between Dutch settlers and the Mohawks, Jews, and barber-surgeons in New Netherland. Other essays cover the transformation of St. Nicholas into Santa Claus, the significance of bread baking, New York factional politics, and why New Netherland matters today.

Readers will find this compilation brimming with fresh and varied perspectives on the origins of American culture and society, opening many truly new windows on the colony of New Netherland.

Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters is also featured by the Museum of the City of New York  in conjunction with their exhibition Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson. Both the exhibition and the book were featured in the New York Times.

"Without being aware of it, the inhabitants of New Netherland helped to spawn something new. We are their heirs, their future. They are our fathers and mothers. I can't think of a grander achievement for a historical venture than to kindle the awareness of such a familial connection between the present and a forgotten moment in the past." Russell Shorto, from his essay entitled "Three Conversations"


Roslyn Restored: The Legacy of Roger and Peggy Gerry. Ellen Fletcher Russell. Foreword by Huyler C. Held. 160 pp., 176 illus., map, index. ISBN 0-9625368-4-9. $30.00, plus $5.00 for shipping and handling.

When Roger and Peggy Gerry arrived in Roslyn, New York, in 1951, the modern world was washing across Long Island - the postwar building boom, the family cars, the Robert Moses parkways and beaches - relentlessly eroding its original character. Chance and topography had protected the sleepy village of Roslyn from overwhelming growth, but the Gerrys knew that in the decades to come, the pressure could only increase.

This handsomely illustrated book tells how Roger and Peggy Gerry were the heart of what became a sophisticated and successful enterprise that protected the architectural heritage of Roslyn village. For nearly fifty years the Gerrys employed the full array of their impressive skills and resources: involving themselves in local planning and government, forming organizations, buying and restoring buildings, and attracting and engaging like-minded others to join them.

Few Long Island villages have kept the distinctness of character that now sets Roslyn apart. The survival of Roslyn's architectural and cultural landscape is not a matter of luck. It was the result of Roger and Peggy Gerry's single-minded commitment to a preserved village of Roslyn.

The Gerrys' work in Roslyn demonstrates how very much two ardent people can do with their lives, and the difference those lives can make in a town. By analyzing the Gerrys' undeniable success, this book suggests that some others of us just might be able to do something important in our own chosen places.

"No one is more responsible for the sense of place Roslyn has today than the Gerrys. A community, like an individual, needs a sense of identity. Roslyn has such an identity in contrast to many Long Island villages that have lacked the vision to conserve their historic resources." Robert B. MacKay, Ph.D., Director, Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities.



The President as Architect: Franklin D. Roosevelt's Top Cottage. John G. Waite Associates, Architects. Foreword by Geoffrey C. Ward. 160 pp., 122 illus., index. ISBN 0-9625368-3-0. $29.95, plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.

This new book, richly illustrated with photographs and architectural drawings, traces the history of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's long-forgotten retreat near Hyde Park from the president's original drawings for the modest cottage to its recent preservation by the Open Space Institute, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and the National Park Service.

The one-story, two-bedroom cottage would be "a small place to go to escape the mob," the President wrote. Its planning, design, and construction reflected not only his love of Dutch Colonial architecture and the Hudson Valley but also his desire to maintain independence despite his physical disability.

Top Cottage was one of the country's first barrier-free buildings. It joins Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Poplar Forest as the only homes designed by a U. S. president while in office. The cottage was built in 1939, when FDR was pulling the U.S. through the Great Depression and planning for World War II. Later he and Eleanor Roosevelt entertained Winston Churchill and King George VI on the property.

The President as Architect: Franklin D. Roosevelt's Top Cottage was featured in the New York Times on June 14, 2001, and the Albany Times Union on July 29, 2001.


Albany Architecture: A Guide to the City. Diana S. Waite, ed. Photographs by Gary Gold and Mark McCarty. 278 pp., 180 illus., biblio., index. ISBN
0-9625368-1-4. $27.95, plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.

This beautifully photographed guidebook invites the reader to experience the architectural treasures of one of America's oldest cities — from its settlement by the Dutch in the seventeenth century up to the present. The works of nationally renowned architects including H. H. Richardson, Stanford White, and Wallace K. Harrison are featured along with buildings by such local designers as Philip Hooker and Marcus T. Reynolds.

Essays by Matthew Bender, Paul R. Huey, and Michael F. Lynch provide an overview, while eight carefully researched and mapped tours written by Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Anthony Opalka, Lorraine E. Weiss, and Duncan E. Hay beckon the reader to explore Albany's monumental public buildings, historic commercial center, and residential neighborhoods.

"Take this volume in hand; use it to explore the architectural treasures of Albany and to learn about the determination of those who built its vibrant, history-packed neighborhoods. It is a book full of delights for first-time visitors and surprises for lifelong residents."  Mario M. Cuomo, former Governor of New York.



Ornamental Ironwork: Two Centuries of Craftsmanship in Albany and Troy, New York. Diana S. Waite. Foreword by Margot Gayle. 141 pp., 153 illus., index. ISBN 0-9625368-0-6. $24.95, plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.

Albany and Troy, New York, were preeminent among the ironmaking cities of nineteenth-century America. Their foundries produced thousands of cast-iron stoves, and Troy's rolling mills turned out millions of horseshoes. This book looks at another important aspect of this heritage: some of the finest architectural ironwork in America-railings, balconies, fences, and storefronts on buildings great and small.

This fully illustrated history opens up a fascinating world of craftsmanship. It explains how to distinguish between wrought iron and cast iron and illustrates the many motifs created by master blacksmiths, such as scrolls, urns, and latticework. Property owners will find practical advice on how to preserve ironwork and how to work with a contractor. Walking tours allow the reader to explore and enjoy these ornamental marvels firsthand.

"Diana Waite has produced a marvelous book, carefully researched and wonderfully illustrated . . . it should be of considerable interest not only locally, but across the
country."  Thomas Phelan, former Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"By dint of grace, style and meticulous inquiry, Albany and Troy's wonderful architectural ironwork has at long last come into its own."  Norman S. Rice, Director Emeritus, Albany Institute of History and Art.


Refusing Ignorance: The Struggle to Educate Black Children in Albany, New York, 1816-1873. Marian I. Hughes. Foreword by H. Patrick Swygert. 103 pp., 48 illus., index. ISBN 0-9625368-2-2. $22.95, plus $4.95 shipping and handling.

Few people know that segregated schools existed in the capital city of New York State for much of the nineteenth century. Drawing upon hundreds of documents in local archives, educator Marian Hughes chronicles the courageous men and women, both black and white, who established the first schools for African-Americans in Albany.

The text is illustrated with historic photographs and engravings. Maps pinpoint the important education sites in Albany. This book will appeal to all those interested in local history, African-American history, and the history of education.

"As a former educator and administrator in the Albany schools, I was particularly interested in this revealing history of the courageous leaders of the African-American community. These pioneers enriched our city, our state, and our nation, and the recognition of their work is long overdue."  Gerald Jennings, Mayor of Albany.

"Marian Hughes has done more than provide in painstaking scholarly detail a forgotten corner of American black history: she has illuminated a telling vignette of how, long before the abolition of slavery in America, blacks fought to build the foundations of knowledge and skills for their children. We owe her a debt for preserving this remarkable chapter of black American history."  Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., former Chancellor, State University of New York System.


Ordering information
Orders from individuals must be prepaid in U.S. dollars. Residents of New York State must add sales tax. Booksellers should call for ordering information.

Mount Ida Press
111 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12210

tel 518-426-5935
fax 518-426-4116


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