Friday, April 9, 2021

New York's Erie Canal American Innovation Coin - U.S. Mint 2021

New York’s Erie Canal
American Innovation Coin
United States Mint 2021

New York State
Erie Canal
U.S. Mint 2021
American Innovation Coin 

Available beginning summer 2021 from the United States Mint!

Read about the American Innovation coin Series here

For more information about the Erie Canal on New York State coins, including alternative designs for this coin,  click here.

Designer: Ronald D. Sanders
Sculptor-Engraver: Phebe Hemphill
Description: The New York $1 coin pays homage to the Erie Canal. This design depicts a packet boat being pulled from a city in the East toward the country areas to the West. Inscriptions are United States of America and New York.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Land Acknowledgement – 200th Anniversary of the Erie Canal

I prepared the following land acknowledgement for a presentation on the Erie Canal. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions. 

While I celebrate the Erie Canal, honor its builders, and appreciate its positive impacts, I acknowledge that the Erie Canal is located on the homelands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy—the participatory democracy that predates and served as a model for the United States of America—the lands of the indigenous people of the Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations. I acknowledge the Erie Canal's role in the devastation of their ways of living and their restriction to limited or other lands; negative effects that linger to this day. Further, I acknowledge the negative impacts of the Erie Canal as it fostered the westward travel of European settlers into the lands of the indigenous peoples who made their homes in what are now the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. As we move forward, I advocate the application the Haudenosaunee “Seventh Generation” value: in every decision we make, we consider the impact on the next seven generations. Only by listening to Haudenosaunee and other indigenous peoples will we heal the past and create a more viable future based on respect for all living beings.

~ Sandy Schuman

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Erie Canal Scenes: Hollywood Realistic

In an attempt to provide a realistic—and brief—illustration of life on the Erie Canal, I have excerpted canal and boat scenes from the movie, The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935) (Wikipedia) (IMDB), and arranged them in four one-minute clips.

The story takes place on the Erie Canal, but it was actually filmed on the Lehigh Canal. I believe the canal scenes in the movie present a realistic reflection of life on the Erie Canal.

There are four clips. Each is about one minute long. If you spot anything that strikes you as atypical of the Erie Canal of the 1850s (the period setting of the film), please share your observations in the comment section below or send me an email.

1. Canal & Boats

These clips show the canal and its boats. A brief segment shows a packet boat.

2. Neighbors

This collection of clips is intended to illustrate the neighborly intimacy of life on the canal.

3. Canal Towns

I purposefully removed the soundtrack from these scenes so it doesn't divert attention from the views of the town. Focus your attention on the background scenery (rather than the foreground/ actors). 

  • In the scene at 0.19-0.26, notice the smoke rising from the boats' kitchen stoves and the laundry hanging on the clothesline. 
  • As the characters walk, notice the stores along the canal (one of which they enter at the end of the scene); the Erie Canal is "main street."

4. Life Aboard

Illustrations of the interior of a freight boat are rare. (There is one in Richard Garrity's book, Canal Boatman: My Life on Upstate Waterways.) If these film scenes are anywhere near realistic, I think they would help to convey a sense of life aboard a boat. The furnishings are surely Hollywoodified and, consistent with the story line, the owner of the boat has been furnishing it in anticipation of buying a farm, so they are perhaps oversize for a canal boat. In this case too, I have deleted the soundtrack.

I would appreciate your feedback.