Education Programs: Landmarks of American History and Culture for K-12 Educators

Period of Performance

10/1/2013 - 12/31/2014

Funding Totals

$157,090.00 (approved)
$155,823.75 (awarded)

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

FAIN: BH-50554-13

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

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.

Media Coverage

Newspaper story (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Staff
Publication: Democrat & Chronicle
Date: 9/7/2013
Abstract: Story about the grant and the workshop.

Associated Products

Student created Prezi (Web Resource)
Title: Student created Prezi
Author: Students of the Rochester Reform Trail History 413/513
Abstract: Virtual (Prezi-based) Rochester Reform Trail. Lay-out of the workshop created in a class I created from the workshop for the College at Brockport, SUNY History Department Public History and Museum Studies Program. Course is a core requisite in the program.
Year: 2014
Primary URL:

New York State Social Studies COnference Presentation (Web Resource)
Title: New York State Social Studies COnference Presentation
Author: Brendan Harrington
Author: Thomas Siembor Brendan Harrington
Abstract: The workshop has also inspired NEH summer scholars to collaborate. Brendan Harrington and Thomas Siembor (Week 1) presented on the Rochester Reform Trail at the New York State Social Studies Conference ( PNw/edit#slide=id.g603cd4d5d_062). Siembor is also pursuing a possible film project with the PBS local station based on what he learned on the Rochester Reform Trail.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: http:// PNw/edit#slide=id.g603cd4d5d_062

History 413/513 (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: History 413/513
Author: Jose R Torre
Abstract: New course created based on the workshop. The Rochester Reform Trail is a required course for College at Brockport students in the Public History and Museum studies track. Course creates product then used in the workshop by the NEH summer scholars and available through Brockport Digital Commons as a pedagogical resource.
Year: 2014
Audience: Undergraduate