The Best Of Our Knowledge #1291

Jun 18, 2015

Arabella Chapman of Albany, NY
Credit William L. Clements Library / University of Michigan

A history class at the University of Michigan recently had the chance to study two unique aspects of American life just before and after the end of the 19th century: African American life in the Albany area after the end of slavery…and the photograph. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to Dr. Martha Jones, the history professor whose class studied the photo albums of Arabella Chapman…and preserved them on line for all to see.

Arabella Chapman and her family at Pleasure Island, an early 20th century amusement park in Albany, NY
Credit William L. Clements Library / University of Michigan

We’ll also spend an academic minute thinking about studying history by going back in time and having a peek. Apparently, that’s getting closer to theoretic reality…if that’s a thing.

You can view all the photographs in the Arabella Chapman Project HERE.

If you think you or someone you know may be related to Arabella Chapman, please contact Dr. Martha Jones at: msjonz@umich.edu

Read students blog posts about their experience with the project HERE.