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New York

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History Archive - New York Collection

New York, a North-Atlantic state of the Union, of first-class importance in a political, commercial and industrial aspect, entitling it to rank, as claimed, as The Empire State. It is the seaward gateway of the chief immigration and trade of the Old World into the New. Its area is 49,170 square miles, its length being 310 miles and its breadth 320 miles.

On the north it is bounded by Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence and Quebec; on the west by Lake Erie and Niagara River; on the south by Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York Bay and the Atlantic; and on the east by Lake Champlain, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long Island Sound. On its extreme southwestern corner the lower Hudson separates New York (state and city) from New Jersey. Embraced in the state are such islands as Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island in the south; smaller ones in New York Bay, Jamaica Bay and East River; and others in Niagara River, the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain.

The population in 1900 was 7,268,894; in 1910 it was 9,113,614. The capital is Albany, 100,253. Other chief cities are New York, 4,766,883; Buffalo 423,715; Rochester 218,149; Syracuse 137,249; Troy 76,813; Utica 74,419; Yonkers 79,803; Binghamton 48,443; Schenectady 72,826; and Auburn 34,668. Of a total of 30,476,800 acres of land contained in the state 22,648,109 acres are in farms. The state contains 61 counties. Of these the ten original counties, namely, Albany, Dutchess, Kings, New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester were created Nov. 1, 1683, and the latest, Nassau, formed from Queens county, was created Jan. 1, 1899.

The region and its chief waterways were at an early era visited by navigators and explorers, Portuguese, French and Spanish, Verrazano, it is recorded, discovering New York Bay and the mouth of the Hudson in 1524. It, however, was not until 1609 that the region came into historic note, for in that year Hudson ascended the river in the Dutch fur-trading interest; while almost simultaneously Lake Champlain was discovered by the founder of Quebec and father of New France. The Dutch astutely profited by the enmity of the Iroquois to the French, for they made friends of the Iroquois, who subserved their interests, or at least did not oppose their colonizing and trading in New Netherland.

In 1623 settlements began to be formed, first by a number of Walloons on Manhattan and Long Island, while Fort Orange (Albany) was founded on the upper Hudson. The Indians, found at first to be tractable, were induced to part with their lands, and from them not only Manhattan and Staten Islands were acquired by Peter Minuit and Michael Pauw, but Killian Van Rensselaer also secured holdings in the Albany region; while colonists, including French Huguenots and English Puritans, were encouraged to settle by the cancelling of the Dutch company's monopoly of trade.

For a time, however, there was trouble with the Algonquins, and settlements in the neighborhood of New Amsterdam were destroyed and the colony threatened with extinction. Under Governor Stuyvesant (1647-64) the times were more or less stormy, but the colony grew apace. In the last year of Stuyvesant's rule New Amsterdam was confronted by the presence of an English fleet come to enforce the title of the region given by Charles II to the Duke of York, his brother. With the surrender of the garrison, Dutch rule, save in 1673-4, came to a close, and New Amsterdam gave place to its present title of New York.

Under the English crown the colony remained until the Revolution, being under the control and sway of over thirty colonial governors. During this period there at times were menacing movements on the border settlements; there also were the harassing hostilities of the French and their dusky allies in 1757-63, the period of the French and Indian War; besides collisions during the era preceding the Revolution between the colonists who had grown restive under monarchical rule and the harsh sway of gubernatorial authority.

The battle of Saratoga (1777) was the turning-point of the American Revolution, and it, with the battles of Oriskany and Walloomsac, two more of the most important battles of the Revolution, was fought in New York. New York also was the scene of considerable fighting in its northern area during the War of 1812-14, a conflict which bore heavily upon the border settlements from the Niagara district to the eastern end of Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence borders from Ogdensburg to the region round Lake Champlain. With peace came the era of canal construction, internal development, increasing colonization and, later, the beginnings of the railway system and improved highways. The state bore its share of the responsibilities and burdens entailed by the Civil War. Since then its progress has been continuously substantial and gratifying.

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Surface and Drainage. The general contour is hilly and undulating, the loftiest regions being among the Adirondacks and the Catskills, with high plateaux here and there, notably on the Taconic Range and along the Highlands of the Hudson, alternated by valleys. These elevated peaks range from 1,500 to over 5,340 feet, the latter being the height of Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. The state has many attractive lakes, the chief of which are Lakes Seneca, Cayuga, George, Chautauqua, Oneida, Champlain and Canandaigua; while it is broken by rivers in its different sections. The principal river is the Hudson, which rising in the Adirondacks flows south into New York Bay and the Atlantic: it is navigable for 150 miles from its mouth as far as Troy. Its main tributary is the Mohawk, which drains the central part of the state and supplies good waterpower for the industries along its course. The other chief streams are Oswego, Niagara, Genesee and Black Rivers (which find their outlet in the north into the southern waters of Lake Ontario), the Susquehanna, the Oneida, Chemung, Delaware, Saranac, Au Sable, Oswegatchie, Chenango and Charlotte. The great waterway of the St. Lawrence is on its northern borders. The climate naturally varies in different areas, being colder in the northern and warmer in the southern and coastal region. There is an abundant rainfall, denser in the north, where the winters are usually protracted and severe. In the Mohawk and Genesee Valleys the soil is good for farming, though elsewhere it needs fertilizers. The original forests, save in the preserved districts of the Adirondacks, have disappeared, largely as the result of fires and indiscreet waste. This has had its effect upon the climate, while it has limited the area of game preservation.

Natural Resources. Though not notable as a farming state, New York makes a fair showing in the production of cereals, especially oats and Indian corn. In 1910 it raised over 46 million bushels of oats, over 26 million of corn and close upon 10,000,000 of wheat. The yield of hay, potatoes and buckwheat was also large. In dairy products the state also makes a good showing; in 1900 New York producing 62,096,690 eggs; the poultry yield, moreover, was large; while nearly $10,000,000 were the net proceeds from the sales of butter and over $36,000,000 from the sales of milk. A considerable sum is also derived annually from the fruit orchards, especially from the sales of grapes and apples; while the cultivation of flowers, chiefly for the New York City markets, is a profitable industry. Stock-raising also is a large industry, the number of horses in 1910 being close upon 591,000, of cattle 2,423,000, of sheep nearly 1,000,000 and of swine 666,179. The mineral resources consist chiefly of building-stone, including limestone, sandstone, granite and marble; besides slate, iron-ore, clay, bricks, tiles, mineral waters, salt, petroleum and natural gas. The value of fisheries in 1901 was under $4,000,000.

Manufactures. New York leads the Union in volume of manufactured goods, as also in the amount of capital employed. In 1909 the state had 44,935 manufacturing establishments, employing a capital of more than $2,779,000,000, with 1,003,098 wage-earners, and turning out $3,369,490,000 in value. A large volume of this enormous total trade is credited to New York City, the metropolis, where cheap foreign labor is available in such industries as men's and women's factory-made clothing, and that turned out by contract in small workshops and tenements, including men's furnishing goods (shirts, hosiery and knit-wear), women's furs, millinery and lace goods, embracing silk, cotton, woolen and worsted goods; with the output in other branches of trade — boots, shoes, furniture, carpets, rugs, jewelry, confectionery, carriages, wagons, paper, printing, lithographic and publishing output, chemical products, electrical apparatus and supplies, iron-work, foundry and machine products, patent medicines, liquor, tobacco and cigars; besides agricultural implements, timber, lumber, planing-mill products and flour and grist-mill products. Outside of New York City much of the volume of trade in special lines is turned out in other towns and districts, aided in part by the waterpower facilities of the localities. Troy, for instance, has become the manufacturing seat of shirts, collars and cuffs; Gloversville is noted for its glove trade; Cohoes for hosiery and knitted goods; Yonkers for carpets and rugs; Rochester for flour-milling and its boot and shoe trade; and Brooklyn for breweries, sugar-refineries, foundries and machine-shops.

Commerce and Transportation. With its ocean and lake ports, canal and vast railway facilities, the commerce of New York is of stupendous and steadily growing volume, both local and foreign. The imports of New York City in 1910 were close upon $951,500,000 in value, while its exports were about $795,000,000. The foreign tonnage entering and clearing for 1911 was, entered 13,428,950 tons; cleared 13,336,893 tons. Large also was the trade of the interior ports, as Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Ogdensburg, Oswego, Rochester and Plattsburg. Extensive are the banking facilities, more particularly in New York City, added to by the operations of the trust-companies, the general soundness of all of which has in repeated financial crises been put to protracted and severe tests. In 1911 the state had 458 national banks with an aggregate capital of close upon $171,500,000, eposits of $1,010,000,000 and loans exceeding $1,192,000,000. There also were 198 state banks with about $33,000,000 of capital and $428,000,000 on deposit. There were, moreover, some 85 trust companies, with about $72,000,000 of capital and about $1,185,000,000 in deposit. Besides these the state in 1910-11 had 141 savings banks, with 2,957,650 depositors and over $1,561,000,000 on deposit. An average of $527.83 for each depositor. The activities and extent of the banking of the state and its chief metropolis may be otherwise gathered by noting the volume of the transactions for 1911 in the New York Clearing-House, which totalled $92,420,000,000 or average daily clearings of $305,016,898. The state's receipts and expenditures to-day about balance at $30,000,000 annually, the chief outlay being for education, for hospital and charities' maintainance, besides the expenses incurred by the executive, legislative and judicial departments, and for canal maintenance. The debt of the state to-day, incurred chiefly since 1893 in improving the canals, is only about $11,000,000. The state's railway mileage (8,225 miles in gross) consists of the N. Y. Central and Hudson River; Erie; N. Y., Ontario, and Western; Delaware, Lackawanna and Western; Lehigh Valley; Delaware and Hudson; and Long Island railways. Besides these roads there are the great commercial arteries of the Hudson and of the canals — the Erie, Oswego and Champlain, — the total expenditure of the state on which has exceeded $100,000,000, nearly $66,000,000 being spent on the Erie Canal.

Education. For school-purposes the state organized in 1854 into 113 commissioners' districts under the Department of Education, the Board of Regents of the University of New York (q. v.) since 1904 having supervision of the secondary and the higher-educational institutions. In 1910 the elementary schools had 1,301,924 pupils enrolled, with an average daily attendance of 1,035,234, and 37,617 teachers, the most of whom were women. The secondary schools had an enrollment of 122,208 and an average attendance of about 86,504. The gross expenditure of the state for education was close upon $75,000,000, fully $42,000,000 being yearly expended on teachers' salaries. The training of teachers is amply provided for in a number of professional schools and normal school institutes, the chief being Teachers' College, Manhattan, with 75 instructors and 975 students. In the state there are some 15 or 16 theological schools, 12 schools of medicine, 8 of law, besides schools of pharmacy, music and dentistry. The chief colleges for women are Vassar College at Poughkeepsie and Barnard College, an annex of Columbia University, in New York City. Columbia is the most important university in the state, with 646 instructors, 5,057 students and close upon 20,000 graduates since organization. Other colleges in Manhattan embrace the non-sectarian College of the City of New York with 179 instructors and 3,905 students; St. John's College (R. C.), Fordham, N. Y. City, with 56 instructors and 603 students; St. Francis Xavier College (R. C.), Manhattan, with 31 instructors and 550 students; Manhattan College (R. C.), with 16 instructors and 212 students. The advanced institutions outside of New York City embrace Cornell University, at Ithaca, with 663 instructors and 5,194 students; the University of Rochester (Baptist) with 34 instructors and 438 students; Union College, Schenectady, with 30 instructors and 240 students; St. Angela College (R. C.), New Rochelle, with 19 instructors and 100 students; Syracuse University (nonsectarian) with 240 instructors and 3,248 students; Niagara University (R. C.), Niagara Falls City, with 25 instructors and 300 students; Kenka College (nonsectarian), Kenka Park, with 17 instructors and 106 students; Elmira College (Presbyterian , with 19 instructors and 255 students; Hamilton College (nonsectarian), Clinton, with 19 instructors and 185 students; Hobart College (nonsectarian), Geneva, with 16 instructors and 120 students; Colgate University (undenominational), at Hamilton, with 40 instructors and 400 students; Alfred University (nonsectarian), with 30 instructors and 385 students; Canisius College (R. C.), Buffalo, with 30 instructors and 470 students; Adelphi College (nonsectarian), Brooklyn, with 34 instructors and 477 students; besides a number of technical institutes, the chief of which is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, with 55 instructors and 650 students. (The national Military Academy of the United States is at West Point, with 83 instructors and an attendance of 475). Other colleges are Wells (nonsectarian), Aurora, with 24 instructors and 189 students; St. Stephen's (Protestant Episcopal), Annandale, with 9 instructors and 63 students; St. Lawrence University (Universalist), Canton, with 52 instructors and 646 students; Rochester Theological Seminary (Baptist), with 14 instructors and 145 students; Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics' Institute (nonsectarian), with 60 instructors and 2,790 students; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, with 153 instructors and 1,773 students; Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, with 578 students; the General Theological Seminary (Protestant Episcopal), N. Y. City, with 18 instructors and 127 students; Auburn Theological Seminary (Presbyterian), with 14 instructors and 63 students; Clarkson School of Technology, Potsdam, with 10 instructors and 70 students; and Union Theological Seminary, N. Y. City, with 21 instructors and 157 students..


See Schuyler's Colonial New York; Lossing's Empire State; Robert's New York in the Revolution; and Phisterer's New York in the War of the Rebellion.

The New Student's Reference Work (1914) pp. 1331-1334.

Available Books


Image Name
Brooklyn Bridge
Hotel Astor
Newburgh, N.Y., from Hudson River
New York Library
Gorge of the Genesee River
View near Hudson
Troy from Mount Ida
Brooklyn Ferry, Fulton Street, New York
Erie Canal and Aqueduct over the Genesee River
Metropolitan Opera House,
Sugar Loaf Mountains near West Point, N.Y.
View of the Adirondack Mountains
Approaching Hudson, N.Y.
An Autumn Day in Genesee Valley Park
Falls of the Genesee
West Point and Northern Gate to Hudson Highlands from Osborne Castle
Liberty Tower Building
Front Cover
View near Fishkill
View from Fishkill looking to West Point
The Fountain and Mall, Central Park
New York Stock Exchange
Saturday Inspection of Corps of Cadets, West Point, N.Y.
Entering the Hudson Highlands from the North
Lower Falls of the Genesee River [II]
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Singer Building
Front Cover
Wilder Building
View of Dial Mountain
A View of New York from Fulton street, Brooklyn
Aquarium and Fire Boat Dock
Rossie Lead Vein
Williamsburg Bridge
Birdseye View of Brooklyn Bridge
The Battery, New York, Esplanade and Castle Garden
Young Men's Christian Association Building
Back Cover
Title Page
Main Street Bridge
View near Fort Miller
State Street North from Exchange
Back Cover
View at Lake Colden
Riverside Drive and Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
Band Concert on the Mall
Castle Clinton, and the Battery
Driving Park Avenue Bridge and Lower Falls of the Genesee
Mining District of Rossie
Hotel Knickerbocker
Pennsylvania R. R. Station
Back Cover
Grant's Tomb
Rochester University
The Obelisk
Twin Hudson Terminal Buildings
The Palisades
Tarrytown, N.Y., from the Hudson
Main East from St. Paul Street
Court Street Bridge
Driving Park Avenue Bridge
St. Paul's Chapel and the Rutherfurd House
Sing-Sing Prison, Ossinging, N.Y., in Background
Title Page
Map of the Tertiary of Essex Co.
Kingston Point on the Hudson River
View near Sandy Hill
Municipal Building
Vertical Section Showing the Relative Thickness of the Different Rocks
Steamship Kronprincessin Cecilie
Poughkeepsie Bridge Showing Day Line Steamers
Herald Square
Front Cover
View near Jessups Landing
Back Cover
United States Custom House
View in Seneca Park
Times Square
Entering the Hudson Highlands
Hudson Highlands from Trophy Point, West Point, N.Y.
Steamship Lusitania
Brick Industry, Haverstraw, N.Y.
Statue of Liberty
The Little Church Around The Corner
Flatiron Building
View of New York from Brooklyn
Mt. Beacon, Fishkill Mountains Opposite Newburgh, N.Y.
Little Falls at Luzerne
Rapids above Hadleys Falls
Grand Central Station
Glenns Falls
Metropolitan Building and Tower


Map Name
Views of the Adirondack Mountain Region - Geology of the Genesee River (1838)
Views of the Adirondack Mountain Region - Vertical Section Showing the Relative Thickness of the Different Rocks (1838)
Views of the Adirondack Mountain Region - Section from the Mouth of the Genesee River to Instantur, Penn. (1838)
Views of the Adirondack Mountain Region - Map of the Tertiary of Essex Co. (1838)


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