The death of City Historian Virginia
Bowers at the end of 2007 has prompted me to submit this page
to begin to acknowledge, organize, and pay tribute to those who have
come before us to lay the groundwork for present and future historians
and the historical study of our historic city.
Every one of the individuals listed below was a special and unique
character who made long-term and sometimes selfless contributions
to the history of our city. Their individual careers may be the subjects
of future biographical treatments. Ultimately, this list will encompass
all of the major and significant contributors to early Albany's history.
Admittedly, this is a subjective list and the biographies presented
are intended to introduce these Hall of Famers to everyone who encounters
this page. I confess that this is a "Tribute Page." It begins to acknowledge
the individuals who have meant so
much to me and to the Colonial Albany Social
History Project for more than thirty years.
Included below are those who have made significant contributions to the history and historical study of Albany over an extended period of time. Not appearing here are historians whose primary contributions are in the form of publications. They are acknowledged elsewhere on this website.
Some of these individuals were the officially appointed "city historian"
- public servants whose tenures tell us much about the state of historical
work during their lifetimes. All of them were antiquarians - lovers
of the past and compilers of its legacies. For many years until 1986,
the city and county historian was the director of the Albany
Institute of History and Art.
Here's a preliminary roster of past and passed historians of Albany:
James Eights (1798-1882)
Joel Munsell (1808-1880)
Jonathan Pearson (1813-1887)
Cuyler Reynolds (1866-1934)
Virginia Bowers city historian -1986-2007
Tony Opalka (2008) - current city historian
Sources: This introductory access
page is derived chiefly from modern and community-based
historical resources. In time, it will become a comprehensive
exposition on the historians of early Albany.
Because I have been at this
too long, on many occasions I have wondered at the paths these individuals
have taken to learn what they learned and what they saw as the goals
of so much historical detective work. The process of finding, learning,
understandings, and then interpreting past truths is what the best
of us never forget!
Follow this link to more information on Albany's historians on this website.
Records of the historian's office are archived
at the Albany County Hall of Records
first posted 1/1/08; last updated 2/22/16