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Hudson River Valley Heritage

About this collection

This collection is a sampling of materials available in the Local History Room of the Newburgh Free Library. The materials illustrate the social, cultural, economic and political history of the City and Town of Newburgh from the late 18th to the 20th century. The earliest documents can be found in the Newburgh Glebe Collection including indentures, leases, account books, bills, receipts, legislation, memos, election materials, and school data. A collection of hand drawn topographic maps and associated features of the Hudson River shoreline date from 1852 to 1858. Photographs of the Hudson Fulton celebration in 1909 are included as well as photographs and illustrations of hotels, churches, residences and public buildings that date from 1895. A Newburgh resident's diary from the mid-19th century has been transcribed and early postcards and photographs of residents, school graduates, and area attractions are featured.


Browse all Newburgh Free Library Collections


Browse the Newburgh Free Library Historic Images and Documents - This collection includes a variety of historic documents, photographs, postcards, booklets, and flyers, from the library's Local History Collection.

Browse the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, 1909 Collection - The Hudson-Fulton Celebration was held from September 25 through October 2, 1909. Towns along the Hudson River celebrated the tercentenary of the discovery of the Hudson River and the centenary of the invention of the steamboat by Robert Fulton. Homes and businesses flew flags and banners commemorating the eventful week. In Newburgh, Sunday was devoted to religious services. Monday and Tuesday were devoted to family reunions and gatherings. On Wednesday, a statue of Anthony Wayne was dedicated at Washington's Headquarters. Thursday, Firemen's Day, was celebrated with a parade down Broadway culminating in the unveiling of a state of a volunteer fireman at Concord and Broadway. Friday was Hudson-Fulton Day with a parade of floats and replicas of Hudson's Half Moon, Fulton's Clermont, and the ice breaker Norwich, up and down the Hudson River. Saturday, Aquatic Day, was devoted to sailboat and yacht racing. The week's celebration came to an end with the lighting of the Beacon Fires.

Browse the Edmund Blunt Topographic Map Collection - In July 1833, Edmund Blunt (1799-1866) accepted a position as Assistant on the Coast Survey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He remained affiliated with the Coast Survey until his death in 1866. As part of this survey, he and his team mapped the Hudson River shoreline including the area around Newburgh, NY. This collection consists of 66 maps taken from a notebook which was bequeathed to the Newburgh Free Library by George Kimball in 1895. Each map represents Blunt's field notes from that survey and are dated between 1852 to 1858. The maps are hand drawn and each is named to indicate a feature of the area surveyed. They include the triangulation points used in the survey process. Edmund Blunt's father, Edmund March Blunt, a bookseller and publisher, published the first edition of "The American Coast Pilot," one of the most popular pilot guides used by both American and foreign seamen. The Blunt family produced 21 editions of this important work. The Blunt's bookstore, the "Sign of the Quadrant" in New York City, also sold every edition of the Coast Survey charts. According to the NOAA, the Coast Survey and the Blunt family forged a strong alliance which was beneficial to the maritime interests of the country for over 70 years.

Browse the Newburgh Glebe Documents - The Newburgh Glebe was established in 1719 by immigrants from the German Palatinate of the Rhine. Each family was given 100-300 acres and a central plot for support of a Lutheran minister. The first patent of the Glebe, then known as the German patent or Palatine Parish, was surrendered in 1752 after the arrival of Dutch and English settlers. The second patent was established and was then known as the Parish of Newburgh and the clergyman was replaced by a minister of the Church of England. In 1794, it changed again when Presbyterians were elected Trustees of the Glebe. The Newburgh Free Library's Glebe Documents Collection provides an extensive record of the Glebe's activities from the 1790s through the early 1900s. These online documents represent only a selection of the Glebe materials that are held in the Newburgh Free Library's Local History Collection. Please contact the Local History Librarian at the library for more information.

Browse the Frank Estabrook Collection - Frank E. Estabrook (1860 - 1918) was a regionally renowned architect from Newburgh, NY whose specialty was designing public buildings and schools. This collection consists of pages from the 1895 "souvenir" book called "Sketches" that Estabrook created. It features photographs and illustrations of the various hotels, churches, residences and public buildings that he designed at his office at the Mitchell Building, 75 Second St., Newburgh, NY. Probably intended as a sales or marketing tool, Estabrook wrote that the book "may be of interest and values to parties who propose to build." Included were "cards" or advertisements from artisans, manufacturers and tradesmen such as plumbers, carpenters, painters and others who worked with Estabrook.

Browse the James E. Horton Collection - James E. Horton was born on January 13, 1835. On October 24, 1860 he married Sarah S. Hathaway, daughter of Odell S. and Helen M. Hathaway in the home of the bride's father. Witnesses were her father Odell Hathaway, Davis H. Barclay, and Thomas C. Ring. James was employed by Hiram Falls, an importer and dealer in china, glass and earthenware. The business was located at 76 Water Street. In the 1862 Newburgh City Directory, James is now listed as the successor to Hiram Falls in this business. Horton lived at 72 Smith Street from 1864 to 1865. He made his home at 123 Montgomery Street until c. 1876. In 1867, Horton is listed as the Newburgh City Supervisor. It appears that his home was at 172 South Street from 1877 until 1878. Mr. Horton is listed as living in Goshen, Orange County, New York in the 1880 census. His occupation is listed as a Crockery Agent. Household members at that time include his wife Sarah, along with children George 15, Ida 14, Edith 11, Hiram 10, as well as a daughter Helen, age 8. In the 1900 census, James, age 65 and his wife Sarah, age 64, now married for forty years, are listed as residing in Middletown, N.Y. along with their daughter Helen M., age 28. His wife Sarah is listed in the 1910 census as 73 years of age and living in the home of her daughter Ida Tremper in Middletown.

Edward M. Ruttenber Collection - This collection contains the handwritten drafts of History of Orange County, NY, revised genealogy of the Ruttenber family and Footprints of the Red Men: Indian Geographical Names. Also included in the collection are handwritten copies of regimental histories and individual personal histories of local soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

Edward M. Ruttenber was born in Bennington, Vermont on July 17, 1825. According to his obituary, he arrived in Newburgh by sloop in 1836 at 12 years of age apparently unaccompanied by parents. As a young man, he was apprenticed to Charles Cushman, who managed the Newburgh Telegraph. Ruttenber was transferred to the Newburgh Gazette in 1839, returned to the Telegraph in 1845 and purchased the Telegraph in 1850. Later he consolidated the Excelsior, the Gazette, and the Daily News. He began publishing what would become the Newburgh Evening News newspaper in 1885. The Evening News would be the newspaper of record for Newburgh, NY for the next 100 years. He was a charter member of the Newburgh Historical Society and is responsible for writing and / or publishing numerous works including a History of Newburgh, Historic Flags of the New York Regiments, History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River, The history of Orange County, and Foorprints of the Red Men. E.M. Ruttenber died on December 4, 1907, leaving a widow, two sons, 3 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in New Windsor, NY

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