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The Encyclopedia of New York State

Peter Eisenstadt, Editor in Chief
Laura-Eve Moss, Managing Editor

Cloth $45.00    |    0-8156-0808-X    |   2005

The Encyclopedia of New York State website with sample entries

"This remarkable resource provides comprehensive coverage of New York State and includes information on local history, politics, culture, religion and geography. . . . With entries as electric as curling, mining, egg creams, Rod Serling, spiedie sauce, interstate highways, jazz, Indian reservations, beer and department stores; the editors have succeeded in including every aspect of this diverse state. . . . This encyclopedia is highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries that support the study of New York in their collections."
Reference Review

"The contributors and editors have done an excellent job. . . . There is a specificity and depth to the writing that is not often found in a subject encyclopedia. The index is an excellent finding aid for subjects that do not have an entry. . . . This ambitious project is a definite success. . . . Recommended for academic and large public libraries in contiguous states and any library that has former or prospective New Yorkers."

"Achieving a rare standard of excellence, this encyclopedia contains a wealth of knowledge about the history, culture, politics, sports, flora, fauna, geography, industry, agriculture, and people of this large and diverse state. The entries, written by over 1,200 specialists, are of sufficient length and depth to provide a full sense of the topic's history and importance. The editors have succeeded admirably in maintaining clear guidelines so that entries pertain to the state of New York and do not encompass too broad of a scopedashno easy task, given the often national and international impact of many New Yorkers and their enterprises. Most impressive is the depth of history, whether the subject is a county, business, town, place, craft, ethnic group, sport, religion, or school. Because New York City is the subject of its own encyclopedia, its entry and related topics are treated in somewhat less depth (though, appropriately, given its profound impact, September 11th is the subject of a long entry). The volume is illustrated with black and white illustrations, tables, and occasional inset boxes, and it offers a rich read, full of unexpected facts and information."
Book News Inc.

"[A] powerhouse of a book....The Encyclopedia of New York State, Peter Eisenstadt, Editor in Chief, Syracuse University Press, 1,925 pages, hardcover, $95.00, 0-8156-0808-X. A superlative service to scholars and citizens, and to New York State, and a model for all states still needing to meet the twenty-first century's information thirst. A stunning achievement."
ForeWord Magazine

"Although New York was the largest and most important of American states for more than 150 years, its history and its current circumstances are not appreciated even by its own residents, let alone by those of the rest of the United States. But Syracuse University and Peter Eisenstadt have now combined to produce a book that is as grand and as comprehensive as any book that has ever appeared on the Empire State."
Kenneth T. Jackson, Columbia University, Editor-in-Chief, The Encyclopedia of New York City

"We’ve found . . . that both adults and children have trouble sometimes judging the quality of the information they find on the Internet. That's what makes this book so worthwhile."
Chris Hunter, Schenectady Museum archivist

City Receives Copy of Tome Detailing Data on Empire State

City Receives Copy of Tome Detailing Data on Empire State
The Buffalo News, July 6, 2005. "It is a safe bet that most residents know where to find New York State in the road atlas and that Albany is the state capital. Many may even recall that Buffalo gave the nation two presidents, Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland, and that a thirddashdownstater Theodore Rooseveltdashwas inaugurated here under trying circumstances. But how many would guess, without looking it up in the brand-new Encyclopedia of New York State, that:

  • New York is the only state on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes and the only one bordering both Quebec and Ontario?
  • It has more varied geology and topography than any state but California?
  • Half the state's population lives on three islands that make up less than 5 percent of its total area?
  • Hamilton County in the Adirondacks, with 5,000 people scattered over 2,100 square miles, is one of the least densly populated counties east of the Mississippi?
These and countless more facts are contained in the 10-pound tome, published in May, that plunked down Tuesday in Mayor Anthony M. Masiello's outer office. Anybody can drop in to thumb through its 1,922 pages.

The seven-year, $2.6 million effort compiled 4,600 entries on every imaginable subject from 1,200 authors, including Daniel D. Reiff of Kenmore. The retired Fredonia State College art history professor wrote an essay on the historic architecture of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Complementing the encyclopedia text are 500 photographs and illustrations, 120 maps and 140 tables.

The first comprehensive reference book about the Empire State since the 1860 edition of "The Gazetteer of New York State," it represents an attempt to catch up with the likes of Texas and Tennessee, which, possessing "a greater sense of state pride" than New York, already have produced encyclopedias, said Peter Eisenstadt, editor in chief of New York's hefty fact book. He had proposed the undertaking to Syracuse University Press in 1998 after serving as managing editor of the Encyclopedia of New York City, which came out in 1995.

Eisenstadt, who presented one of the first copies of the state encyclopedia to Masiellodasha charter member of the project's advisory boarddashsaid he and his staff tried to be "as inclusive as possible" in tackling the state's 400-year story. An important objective was "to go beyond the upstate-downstate divide," to seamlessly link Long Island with Grand Island and New York City with Niagara Falls and every city, town and village in between, he said. The book also attempts to emphasize "our sense of optimism and possibility," Eisenstadt said.

A first run of 30,000 copies, carrying a list price of $95, is already in bookstores. Each of the state's 1,085 public library systems will receive a free copy. Eisenstadt, who said an on-line version will be available "sometime in the next several years," added that he believes New York has pulled even in the state encyclopedia sweepstakes. "I'd like to think that our book is just about the best of the recent crop," he said."
dash The Buffalo News, July 6, 2005

The Encyclopedia of New York State is one of the most complete works on the Empire State to be published in a half-century. In nearly 2,000 pages and 4,000 signed entries, this single volume captures the impressive complexity of New York State as a historic crossroads of people and ideas, as a cradle of abolitionism and feminism, and as an apex of modern urban, suburban, and rural life. The Encyclopedia is packed with fascinating details from fields ranging from sociology and geography to history. Did you know that Manhattan's Lower East Side was once the most populated neighborhood in the world, but Hamilton County in the Adirondacks is the least densely populated county east of the Mississippi; New York is the only state to border both the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean; the Erie Canal opened New York City to rich farmland upstate . . . and to the west. Entries by experts chronicle New York's varied areas, politics, and persuasions with a cornucopia of subjects from environmentalism to higher education to railroads, weaving the state's diverse regions and peoples into one idea of New York State.

Lavishly illustrated with 500 photographs and figures, 120 maps, and 140 tables, the Encyclopedia is key to understanding the state's past, present, and future. It is a crucial reference for students, teachers, historians, and business people, for New Yorkers of all persuasions, and for anyone interested in finding out more about New York State.

Peter Eisenstadt served as managing editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City and is the author of several works on New York State history.

Laura-Eve Moss specializes in the political and constitutional history of New York State, and she is currently an editor of The Papers of Andrew Jackson.

9 x 12, 2,000 pages, 500 photographs, 120 maps, 140 tables, index

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