Stefan Bielinski Retirement

On June 30, 2013, I retired from my position (officially as Senior Historian) in the history office at the New York State Museum, an agency of the New York State Education Department.

Over almost forty-three years of service, I was privileged (and extremely fortunate) to have been afforded unparalleled opportunities to learn about New York State and its history and about the diverse peoples who lived here from the beginning to today. My time on the job coincided with the arrival of the "New Social History," the "Roots" initiative, the Community History Movement, and with the advent of the now prevalent notion that the life of every man, woman, and child is important (I would say critically so) historically. Simply put, those liturgies have shaped my career and make me the student of the human condition I am today.

For the last fifteen years, health concerns have conspired against my former customs of physically being near the center of all historical happenings and of meeting, spending time with, and seeking to understand the ethos of the diverse members (I have always found their varied visions, motivations, and approaches fascinating - and instructive) of the state's historical community. I had learned much from these historians and their events and institutions. However, a temporarily crippling accident in 2003 dictated that it was time to stay home and to focus on my own work on the social dimension of early American community life.

Previously, I had thought that I would work forever on the people of colonial Albany and their world - in traditional ways, but increasingly and now totally through the "final solution" outlet [The People of Colonial Albany Live Here Website] which launched in 1999.

By the beginning of 2013, I realized that I was so committed to bringing everything that the Colonial Albany Social History Project had learned to the Internet that I had lost patience with all other parts of my so-called job. At the same time, the recent retirements of almost all of my contemporary colleagues, made even me realize that all of our office's traditional responsibilities and concerns still begged for attention.

So, in March of that year with some prodding, I decided to retire - hopefully freeing at least my position and general resources to be filled by eager and hopefully more compliant and flexible newcomers.

I am now happily retired. I am in good health and have a fresh perspective on my future as a historian. At this point, I will continue to develop The People of Colonial Albany Live Here Website as in the past. The overarching goal remains to integrate every person, place, and thing into/onto the web-based exposition on the formative phase of an early American community. More on this as time passes but I am very pleased about where I am at this particular time (May 2015)!

The evolution of that ambition is chronicled under the New Features webpage.

This news item in the Times Union by a longtime friend and supporter noted my passing!

Stefan Bielilnski
Community Historian and Senior Historian Emeritus

Please continue to use this e-mail address for ALL project-based communications: Colonial Albany e-mail


My first day on the job in the old Office of State History was September 24, 1970. We were switched to the State Museum in 1976 or '77. Then we were called the Division of Historical and Anthropological Services, then referred to as "The History Survey," and most recently the "State History Office." Along the way, I worked under a number of individuals who liked to be called the "State Historian" - although I never cared much for that title. However, each of them (Paul Scudiere, John Still, Ken Ames, Phil Lord, and most recently Bob Weible) lent crucial support to the initiative that has enabled the Colonial Albany Social History Project. For that (and all their tolerance and decency as well) I am truly appreciative!

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first posted: 8/4/13