On July 26, 1788, the Convention of the State of New York, meeting in Poughkeepsie, voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States.
With its ratification of the Constitution, New York entered the new union as the eleventh of the original thirteen colonies to join together as the United States of America.
The city of Poughkeepsie, where ratification took place, is approximately eighty miles north of New York City and eighty-five miles south of Albany, the state capital. The city is located along the Hudson River, which flows more than 300 miles from its source in the Adirondacks to the New York Harbor.
The natural beauty of New York State includes an abundance of rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and coastal waters—from the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes region in central New York to Niagara Falls.
In 1879, one of the first state-level conservation efforts in America took place in New York. In a report prepared for the New York State Legislature, James T. Gardiner, director of the New York State survey, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, outline plans for restoration and preservation of Niagara Falls:
The value of Niagara to the world, and that which has obtained for it homage of so many men whom the world reveres, lies in its power of appeal to the higher emotional and imaginative faculties, and this power is drawn from qualities and conditions too subtle to be known through verbal description.
Special Report of New York State Survey on the Preservation of the Scenery of Niagara Falls…for the Year 1879. Albany: Charles Van Benthuysen & Sons,1880. General Collections.
- There are many images of New York State’s lakes, rivers, falls, and other natural wonders in the Library’s collections. Browse the Subjects in Photos, Prints, and Drawings collections to see the variety available. For example, browse the Detroit Publishing Company collection to find close to 200 views of Niagara Falls.
- Search on New York in Maps collections for a wide variety of maps of the state and its various regions.
- Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey contains thousands of photographs and drawings of New York buildings.
- The Horydczak Collection also has images of New York State and New York City.
- Explore the New York: State Resource Guide to identify the broad variety of resources about New York in the Library’s collections as well as other select websites.
- Discover important conservation documents as well as related photographs in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.
- Find out more about the process of drafting and ratifying the Constitution. Browse Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789 or see the special presentation To Form a More Perfect Union.
- For more information about New York, view Today in History features about Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, Columbia University in Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York City Police Department.