Workshop Readings

2015 NEH Hudson River Workshop: Assigned Readings

The following book is being sent to you at the address you provided on your NEH application:
• Stephen Stanne, Brian E. Forist, and Roger G. Panetta, The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide to the Living River, 2nd rev. ed., Rutgers University Press, 2007.

In addition, you need to purchase the following book:
• Tom Lewis, The Hudson: A History, Yale University Press, 2007.

Tom Lewis’s book is available from your local bookseller, and of course it is also available from Amazon. If you love used books, we recommend that you look at – at the time of this posting there were hardcover copies of Lewis’s book for $3.95 and up (the paperback is over $15 new) being sold by independent booksellers.

All other readings are available in .pdf format or as links to open sources from our website.

Scheduling Your Reading Time

Participants should be aware that the workshop week is filled with lectures, travel, screenings, site visits, and evening workshops. There will be very little time to read during the workshop week. For this reason we advise you to plan on completing the majority of the readings before the start of the workshop. 

We have estimated that, beginning on May 1, a participant would need to commit 2-3 hours per week to complete the entire reading list before arrival.

Keeping a Reading Journal

It’s a good idea to keep some notes on the readings as you go along. Write these down in a single notebook or journal that you can keep with you during the workshop. Jot down questions or ideas in your journal, and bring printed copies of all readings to the appropriate lectures and discussions. This will allow you to reconnect with the impressions these readings made on you when you first read them, even though that may have been weeks earlier. Please note that if you are registered for graduate credit, there are additional assignments related to the readings. Our graduate syllabus will be posted shortly and if you are interested in graduate credit, please email us.

Complete Schedule of Assigned Readings

Readings are listed here in a day-by-day format, with readings selected by a particular scholar shown on the day that that person will present. We advise you to read them in the order presented here. The exception to this is Tom Lewis’s book, which we advise you to read through at your own pace, cover to cover.

Tom Lewis, The Hudson: A History


Tuesday: Estuary and Harbor—Hudson Environmental and Human History
• Stanne, Forist and Panetta, The Hudson, chapters 1, 2, 7
• Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” in Leaves of Grass, 1860. Available through the Whitman archive “here”.


Wednesday: Commerce, Art, and Tourism on the Changing River
• Thomas Cole, “Essay on American Scenery
• Stanne, Forist and Panetta, The Hudson, chapter 8
• Thomas Wermuth, “‘The Farmer Now Sells for Money,'” in Rip Van Winkle’s Neighbors: The Transformation of Rural Society in the Hudson River Valley, 1720-1850
• Martin Bruegel, “The Culture of Public Life,” in Farm, Shop, Landing: The Rise of a Market Society in the Hudson Valley, 1780-1860
• Reeve Huston, “Origins of the Anti-Rent Movement, 1839-1844, “in Land and Freedom: Rural Society,
Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York


Thursday: The Romantic River and the Historical Imagination
• Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle” (1819)
• Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820) “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
• William C. Bryant, “Catterskill Falls” (1854), available through Poetry Atlas here
• Judith Richardson, “Irving’s Web” in Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley

Optional Additional Reading
• David Schuyler, “The River in a Garden: A.J. Downing,” in Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists and the Hudson Valley, 1820-1909


Friday: Life and Work on the Waterfront
• James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, “The Growth of the Antebellum Antislavery Movement,” in Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860
• Stephen Kantrowitz, More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889, pp. 1-6.
• Myra B. Young Armstead, “James E. Brown, Voting Rights Politics, and Antislavery Activism,” in Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America
• Anthony Chase to Jeremiah Hoffman, Chatsworth House [Baltimore], 8 August 1827, Number 1201, Otho Holland William Papers, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD (1 p). Available through Columbia History here.
• “Convention of the Colored Inhabitants of the State of New York . . . Abstract of the Proceedings,” The Colored American, 12 September 1840.

Optional Additional Reading
• David Schuyler, “the Naturalist’s River: John Burroughs” in Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists and the Hudson Valley, 1820-1909
• John Burroughs “A River View,” in The Writings of John Burroughs