Hudson Valley Apples is the product of two intensive sessions carried out by the Bard Digital History Lab over the winter breaks of 2017 and 2018. Five students initiated the project with a first iteration that focused on the Fraleigh family of Red Hook, New York. The four students from the 2018 Winter Session carried the project forward by extending the research to consider two additional family farms of the early twentieth century as well as an example of a tenant farm, a model that is prevalent among the numerous manor estates in the Hudson River Valley.
This website exhibits the content that the students from both sessions gathered through primary source research in three distinct types of archives (local historical society, personal collection, and academic institution); analyzed in the context of the agricultural history of the nation, state, region, and micro-region; investigated in a series of oral histories with current apple growers; and, synthesized into narratives that tell a compelling story of agricultural change.
Thanks to a wonderfully creative Bard College team led by Digital Projects Coordinator Heidi Knoblauch, Upper Red Hook’s legendary apple farmer and collector William Seward Teator (1860-1930), has come to life in a new way through a website they created in a two-week intensive session in January 2016.
The website is a model of what can happen when modern media technology is applied to local history. Delving deeply into a cache of business correspondence, personal letters, bills of lading and vintage photographs, newly donated to Historic Red Hook by the Fraleigh family, the Bard team produced a vibrant, virtual portrait of Teator at the height of his success as one of the country’s leading apple growers.