Albany's Historians

Historians of Albany, New York

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.   more to come

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


the people of colonial Albany 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