August 14, 2005

Encyclopedia of New York

While I understand I probably have a little more interest in New York State history than most people think reasonable (must have been that year in Yorkers), I found a book recently that I think anyone with an interest in the area will want to explore, if not necessarily buy.

The Encyclopedia of New York State is just plain astounding. Its 1921 pages have entries for everything from cuisine (spiedies and Rochester's "garbage plate") to the towns and villages of New York State, politicians, groups (anyone remember the Locofocos or the hunkers?), companies, colleges, speech patterns agriculture, and issues.

The Encyclopedia seems to balance coverage of upstate and downstate well, and spends a fair amount of time connecting the two in its articles. The editors also have a good time connecting subjects (science fiction, for instance) to the state. There have been a few times where I didn't find precisely what I was looking for (Glen Curtiss) but did find related information (on the Curtiss companies). It includes maps, tables, voting histories, pictures, references for additional reading, and more.

There are only two problems with the book: size (huge and heavy) and price ($95, $59.85 on Amazon). Still, it's worth finding a copy and spending an afternoon or many exploring. Borders at Pyramid Mall has a copy on display, and I suspect this book will be available in local libraries as well.

(The entry for Tompkins County cites George Goodrich's Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, 1797-1897, as a "stand out.")

Posted by simon at August 14, 2005 9:35 PM in
Note on photos