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Russell Shorto is the author, most recently, of Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob, and of six earlier books, including Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City and the national bestseller The Island at the Center of the World, about the Dutch founding of New York. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. In 2009 he was awarded a knighthood from the Dutch government for his work in increasing historical understanding between the Netherlands and the U.S. He lives in Cumberland, Maryland.


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New York’s Dutch Beginnings: A New Appreciation of New Netherland and New Amsterdam

The Dutch colony of New Netherland had a profound influence on what became New York, yet its significance has been obscured by centuries of myth, misinterpretation, and marginalization. Recently, historical research on New Netherland has exploded, thanks in large part to the translation of thousands of New Netherland documents by Dr. Charles Gehring and Dr. Janny Venema of the New Netherland Research Center at the New York State Library. This renaissance in scholarship has yielded new insights and discoveries, making this one of the fastest growing fields in American studies. The purpose of this seminar is to share the new view of New York’s beginnings with a wider audience, and to explore its influence on later American history. The moderators will be joined in each session by other New Netherland historians who will discuss their respective areas of specialization in a lively, engaging format.