Kathleen Eagen Johnson has been awarded a New York City Book Award for her book The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival of 1909 and the Making of a Metropolis. The New York Society Library founded these awards in 1996, and bestows them on books that truly capture the essence of New York. The New York Society Library was founded in 1754, and is the city’s oldest library.
The Hudson-Fulton Celebration was the winner in the History category for 2009-2010. The book is an in-depth look at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, a huge party held in the fall of 1909 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the famed waterway, as well as the centennial of Robert Fulton’s first successful steam voyage on the same river. The Celebration wasn’t simply another party, however–it was a way for New York to show the world it was a booming metropolis. Leaders demonstrated their might with plenty of splashy displays and quirky innovations. Johnson’s book puts the festival in context, as it examines the personalities, events, and ways of thinking that ushered it into existence.