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Capt. John Trull: “Stand trim, men.”

In 1888 Edward W. Pride’s Tewksbury: A Short History recounted the town’s response to the Lexington Alarm and added:One of the Tewksbury men was Eliphalet Manning. One of Captain [John] Trull’s grandsons, Mr. Herbert Trull, often related that when a boy, on his way to Salem, he used to pass Manning’s door. Show More Summary

Empty Pedestals Hold Plenty of Meaning

Historian Caroline Janney published a thoughtful piece this week in The Washington Post in which she warns of the pitfalls of removing Confederate monuments. She focuses specifically on the Heyward […]

The Campaign to Repair and Repaint Spell Hall

The Gen. Nathanael Green Homestead in Coventry, Rhode Island, is using Facebook to raise money to fix up the building’s exterior.The president of the non-profit corporation that maintains the house, Dave Procaccini, says: “we are raising...Show More Summary

“Concord Secrets” at the Concord Museum, 31 July

On the evening of Monday, 31 July, I’ll speak at the Concord Museum on the topic of “Concord Secrets of 1775.”Here’s the event description:In the early spring of 1775, Concord was full of secrets. One prominent farmer was collectingShow More Summary

"Dear Ma. . ." The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Curtis C. Pollock To Be Published. . .

Lieutenant Curtis C. Pollock Company G, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry {Hoptak Collection} As I have noted many, many times before in posts about the discovery of letters or documents or photographs or what-have-you pertaining to the 48Show More Summary

Entering Oz – Bringing Color to History

On a camping trip for the first time, a student in my mother’s fifth grade class exclaimed that he was surprised the great outdoors “wasn’t all black and white”. The student, raised on video games and smart phones, thought of nature as old-timey, flat. If the vibrant colors and sounds of nature seemed “black and […]

James Townsend, Lord Mayor with a Secret?

James Townsend (1737-1787) was a London alderman from 1769 to his death, sheriff of London in 1769-70 and Lord Mayor in 1772-73. He was also a Member of Parliament for two stints, in 1767-74 and 1782-87. Unlike his father, who allied with George Grenville, Townsend became part of Lord Shelburne’s wing of the Whigs. Show More Summary

Making Something to Write Home About

Imagine holding the tear-stained letter from a loving wife to her husband, a Union soldier. Then, follow the soldier through news clippings to the bloody Battle of Antietam. Hold the wife’s letter in one hand and the soldier’s death notice in the other. When students leaf through facsimile documents, they connect with these emotional stories. […]

Social Networks in the House Divided Era

If you mention MySpace, you just dated yourself. Believe it or not, fads in social networking gave away their times just as easily 150 years ago. “Carte de visites” (CDV) were a mid-nineteenth century phenomenon like Facebook or Instagram. These portrait cards captured the nation in “cardomania”. Photography itself dates in the United States from […]

“With great zeal I went to Genl Washington”

Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) was a Continental Congress delegate from New Jersey, eventually president of that body, and later a U.S. Congressman and director of the U.S. Mint. He was brother-in-law of Richard Stockton twice over (i.e.,...Show More Summary

Stereo Cards and the Science of Preserving History

A Piece of History   In February of 1862, the middle of the Civil War, a black janitor posed with his cleaning tools, waiting to have his photo taken. In a time when many African Americans were fighting to acquire their basic right to freedom, this janitor sat calmly in front of the camera.  In comparison […]

Thomas Fleming: Four Pages a Day

The author Thomas Fleming died this week at the age of ninety. As I described back here, in 1960 Tom was a journalist putting out his first book. Now We Are Enemies was the first full-length narrative of the Battle of Bunker Hill published since the nineteenth century. Show More Summary

Hannah Snell’s Wound

Last month I quoted a news item from 1771 about Hannah Snell, celebrated in the British Empire for having served as a marine in the late 1740s. During Britain’s early campaigns in India, Snell was wounded in the legs and groin. Nevertheless, her superiors didn’t discover that she was a woman. Show More Summary

Talking About Revolutionary Massachusetts This Week

From midnight to 1:00 A.M. on Wednesday, 26 July, I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Bradley Jay on his radio show, Jay Talking. That will be on WBZ, 1030 AM.(Assuming, that is, that the U.S. Constitution is still operative and we haven’t stumbled into any wars that will preempt regular programming. Show More Summary

“Last Argument” Symposium at Fort Ti, 5-6 Aug.

Fort Ticonderoga will host a symposium on 5-6 August titled “New Perspectives on the Last Argument of Kings: A Ticonderoga Seminar on 18th-Century Artillery.” This event complements the exhibit “The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-Century Artillery,” which runs at the site through October 29. Show More Summary

Colonial Newspaper Subscription Prices

Last month I posted twice about the cost of advertising in colonial American newspapers.One source of those articles, the 1884 U.S. Census Office report “The Newspaper and Periodical Press” by S. N. D. North, also discussed what pre-Revolutionary...Show More Summary

An Aged Veteran and “The Young Provincial”

I’ve been discussing the Rev. W. B. O. Peabody’s sketch “The Young Provincial,” published in 1829, and Jacob Frost’s 1832 claim for a pension as a Revolutionary War veteran. Together they raise interesting questions.First, looking just...Show More Summary

HBO’s Game of Thrones to Become a Confederate Victory

First, let me get this out of the way. I have never seen an episode of “Game of Thrones” and I can’t tell you much about what it is even […]

The True Author of “The Young Provincial”

The idea that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote “The Young Provincial,” the sketch I quoted yesterday from The Token, for 1830, wasn’t a bad guess. In 1830 Hawthorne wrote to the editor of that volume, Samuel G. Goodrich, proposing a collection titled Provincial Tales. Show More Summary

Turning Confederate Monuments Into Ruins

The current issue of Civil War Times magazine includes some brief thoughts from a group of scholars, plus the current commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, about what they […]

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