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Isaiah Thomas’s Travels and Togs

When Isaiah Thomas reached Halifax in early 1765, he didn’t have much. That’s what happens when you leave your apprenticeship early. Having worked for printer Zechariah Fowle for nine years, the sixteen-year-old knew he was taking aShow More Summary

Bones in Trondheim well confirm Norwegian saga

On November 17th, 2014, archaeologists from The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research unearthed a skeleton at the bottom of a well on the grounds of Sverresborg, the castle of King Sverre Sigurdsson of Norway (r. 1177–1202). Bones had been found there before in 1938, but they weren’t removed or studied. The well was refilled [...]

Antikythera Mechanism was an astronomy text

It’s been 115 years since sponge divers off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera recovered a bronze gear device that we now know as the first analog computer, and researchers are still working on solving the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism. The mechanism has been at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens since [...]

The Stamp and the Printer’s Devil

I’ve been pointing out how some of Isaiah Thomas’s stories of defying the Stamp Act while working as an underaged journeyman printer in Nova Scotia don’t stand up to scrutiny. On the other hand, we know that the sixteen-year-old didShow More Summary

Freeman Sign in Mechanicsville, Va., meets its demise in two-car accident

A two-car accident has destroyed a concrete and iron marker at the Battle of Haw’s Shop in Mechanicsville, Va., erasing one of a series of markers that date back to the mid-1920s to mid-1930s and are considered to be the oldest such Civil War battlefield signs in Virginia and the country. Beginning in 1925, a […]

“All the stamped paper for the Gazette was used”

Here’s another story that the respected master printer Isaiah Thomas told about his misadventures as a sixteen-year-old in Nova Scotia in 1765. Back in Boston, the anti-Stamp Act demonstration and riot of 14 August ensured that no official was willing to distribute stamped paper. Show More Summary

A romp through the Prelinger film archive

It’s been a while since I had a proper weekend romp through historic films. The Prelinger Archive, a wonderfully eclectic group of home movies, commercials, government and corporate educational and instructional films and a wide range of other assorted clips is today’s fertile field. Confused by those newfangled rotary dial phones? Have no fear, AT&T [...]

Rumble in the Jungle: the Black Power boxing...

The Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974 in Zaire was one of the defining sporting moments for anti-colonial sentiment and Black Power

Virginia battlefield park opening Saturday will honor both Confederate and Union soldiers

This weekend, the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Big Bethel near Hampton, Va., a park laced with walkways and markers opens to the public. As with many such parks in the South, there are Confederate markers dating back to the mid-20th century, but this park has an unusual feature — a monument dedicated four years ago […]

New Interpretive Plaque at Ole Miss

Earlier this year the University of Mississippi announced plans to place an interpretive plaque at the site of the Confederate soldier statue on campus. It created a bit of a buzz on campus and led to the university’s History Department issuing its own alternative interpretation. As indicated in the first link above, I also expressed […]

Can Netflix Inspire MOOCs?

The Netflix model of customized, easy to use selection could help revitalize the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) industry, according to Jonathan Keats at Wired.  Since bursting onto the education scene in 2011, MOOCs have experienced both an increase in participants and in dropouts. As low as 5% of MOOC students are actually completing the courses that they have […]

“And what I say, you may depend is Fact.”

On 21 Nov 1765, the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter ran this item from Nova Scotia in a roundup of reports on protests against the Stamp Act:At the late Exhibition of a Stamp man’s Effigies at Halifax, were the following...Show More Summary

Satellites, drones find huge new structure at Petra

Archaeologists using high-resolution satellite imagery and drone photography have discovered a massive structure in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the Rose City after the red sandstone of the rock cliffs its most famous buildings were cut into, was built by the Nabateans beginning in the 2nd [...]

Can Social Media Save the MOOC Revolution?

“Higher education is just on the edge of the crevasse,” warned Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen in 2013. Pointing to the rise of MOOCs, or Massive Online Open Courses, Christensen argued that the emerging popularity of online learning would disrupt the traditional model of classroom-based instruction. Show More Summary

A Sixteen-Year-Old Standing up to the Sheriff?

According to Isaiah Thomas, writing his History of Printing in the first decade of the 1800s, his decision to print the 5 Dec 1765 Halifax Gazette with mourning borders to show (someone’s) displeasure with the Stamp Act had a significant effect in Nova Scotia. Show More Summary

First ancient oracle found in Athens

Archaeologists have discovered the first ancient oracle of Apollo in Athens. Others have been found elsewhere in Greece, most famously the Oracle of Delphi, but this one is the only discovered in Athens. It’s in Kerameikos — the old potters’ quarter (hence the name) — northwest of the Acropolis in downtown Athens. It’s the site [...]

“Does Any One Remember Negro Confederates?”

On a number of occasions over the past few years I have announced a cash award for anyone who can locate a piece of wartime evidence that points to the presence of black men fighting as soldiers in the Confederate army. I would love to find a letter or diary entry from a Confederate soldier […]

Browse Nearly 1,000 Photo Postcards of Late-19th-Century Stage Productions of Shakespeare

A newly redesigned website from Emory University, Shakespeare & the Players, displays a collection of nearly a thousand photo postcards of actors depicting Shakespearean characters on stage, in the late -19 th and early-20 th centuries. Show More Summary

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