Stefan Bielinski is the founder and director of the Colonial Albany Social History Project, a model community history program at the New York State Museum. For more than forty years, he has been a student, teacher, and advocate of the "history of the people, by the people, and for the people" approach of the community historian.
Bielinski is the author of Abraham Yates, Jr. and the New Political Order in Revolutionary New York (1975); Government by the People: The Story of the Dongan Charter and the Birth of Participatory Democracy in the City of Albany (1986); of numerous articles and essays on the people of colonial Albany; and of monographic and edited works on aspects of New York State history. He is the principal writer for "The People of Colonial Albany Live Here Website.
He was a founder of the annual Conference on New York State History and its coordinator from 1979 to 2001. He is an Executive Board member of the New York Academy of History and a 2014 recipient of its Herbert H. Lehman medal for distinguished service.
Beginning in 1981, he was joined by a diverse group of students, descendants, community people, and professional historians in a cooperative research program dedicated to understanding early American community life by studying the contributions of each of the almost 16,000 men, women, and children who lived in the city of Albany before 1800. More than 250 historians have completed the project's program of basic training in social history research. In addition to publications, the Colonial Albany Social History Project presents the story of early Albany people and their world to diverse audiences through public programs incorporating the popular appeal of creative exhibitions, video imagery, and music.
Currently, Steve Bielinski has focused Colonial Albany Project resources on developing "The People of Colonial Albany Live Here" website. His personal agenda is to articulate every aspect (persons, places, things, activities, and events) of project learning online. In recent years, he has added as many as 400 new web items annually. The project website now contains more than 3,000 interconnected and illustrated items. That initiative will be the project priority for the foreseeable future.
Evolving alongside all of the above is a major research and programming initiative entitled "The Other Revolutionaries." It intends to answer project's prime research question. A number of chapters and chapter parts are now online. It is being integrated into the overall Internet exposition.
Finally, in all of this, Bielinski's long journey has been an exciting, captivating, rewarding, frustrating, and, above all, humbling experience. It still knocks me out in every way. I hope for more of the same in the years to come!
last revised 3/23/11