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SUNY Research Foundation, College at Brockport (Brockport, NY 14420-2997)
Jose R. Torre (Project Director: March 2013 to May 2015)

Landmarks of American History and Culture
Education Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$157,090 (approved)
$155,824 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2013 – 12/31/2014

The Rochester Reform Trail: Women's Rights, Religion, and Abolition on the Genesee River and the Erie Canal

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers to examine Rochester's central role in nineteenth-century American reform history.

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers to examine Rochester's central role in nineteenth-century American reform history. This workshop examines Rochester's central role in American reform history and its legacy in American life and thought. As the home base for several of the nation's most important nineteenth-century reform leaders--abolitionist Frederick Douglass, women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony, and religious revivalist Charles Grandison Finne--Rochester offers an unusually rich collection of reform sites. Teachers study the work of these celebrated figures while visiting their private homes, offices, and churches, as well as such scholarly collections as the Frederick Douglass Papers at the University of Rochester library. The workshop concentrates on significant themes in reform history: the economic and technological reshaping of Rochester's nineteenth-century physical geography, most notably by the Erie Canal; Frederick Douglass's activism in Rochester, where he published abolitionist newspapers and a second autobiography and operated a station on the Underground Railroad; the women's rights activism of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, including the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848; and the rise of religious revivalism, as led by Finney, whose meetings solidified his reputation as one of the nation's most significant evangelical reformers. Participants read primary texts by Douglass, Anthony, and Finney, as well as relevant secondary materials, including William McFeely's biography of Douglass; Paul Johnson's A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837; Jean Baker's Sisters: The Lives of America's Suffragists; and Carol Sheriff's The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862. The workshop is led by Jose Torre (State University of New York at Brockport. Visiting faculty--Richard Newman (Rochester Institute of Technology), Erik Seeman (State University of New York at Buffalo), Alison Parker (State University of New York at Brockport), and Carol Faulkner (Syracuse University)--are scholars of American reform. Meeting at the Strong National Museum of Play in downtown Rochester, participants have easy access to housing, libraries, and the historic venues.