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A Reconstruction Reading List

Ask for a book recommendation on Reconstruction and you are likely to get Eric Foner’s masterful synthesis, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. It’s still a great place to start, but there has been a good deal published about the period over the past few years and much of it takes […]

“Joanna Hebbard, hath for some time past Eloped from me”

As the new Adverts 250 blog featured last month, on 17 Jan 1766 the New-London Gazette published this advertisement:Amenia, in Dutches County, in the Province of New-York, December 4th, 1765.WHEREAS my Wife Joanna Hebbard, hath for some...Show More Summary

Atlanta History Center Lends an Interpretive Hand

I am sure there are other examples, but the Atlanta History Center is the first organization that I am aware of that is addressing the ongoing discussion about Confederate iconography. It is doing so by providing communities with the tools to better understand the history of their Civil War monuments. […]

“Creativity in Bondage” Discussion in Hingham, 7 Feb.

On Sunday, February 7, the Abigail Adams Birthplace and the Hingham Public Library will present a program on “Creativity in Bondage: Slave Artist Prince Demah and Writer Briton Hammon.”The event description says:Prince Demah’s portraits...Show More Summary

Mad about the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Collections

The Massachusetts Historical Society is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year with, among other things, this online exhibit of 225 notable objects from its collection. Those objects don’t appear to include the broadside titled “Wolfe’s summit of human glory” which I wrote about here and is one of my personal favorites. Show More Summary

A gold-ish dollar

On this day, the first of February, in 1934, the New York Times carried Franklin Roosevelt’s proclamation of a new gold value for the US dollar. Previously it had been worth 25 8/10 ounces of gold 9/10 fine; now it would be worth 15 5/21 ounces of gold 9/10 fine—or, as it is more commonly […]

Courtroom where Lincoln assassin suspects tried for murder open to public on Saturday

On Saturday, Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the rarely seen restored courtroom on the third floor of historic Grant Hall at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. where the seven men and one woman stood trial as co-conspirators in the death of President Abraham Lincoln, will be open to the public. It is one […]

Crater Book Now Available From Audible

I am pleased to announce that Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder is now available from audible. Jack de Golia did a solid job reading the book, which runs just under six hours in length. The audio version is half the price of the hardcover and even […]

Ledgers, Laches, and the Law

The New York Law Journal ran an interesting report earlier this month on a legal decision involving a ledger from the Pennsylvania Gazette print shop. That ledger was kept by printer David Hall from 1759 to 1766. Hall published the newspaper as the younger partner of Benjamin Franklin, who spent nearly all those years in London. Show More Summary

How You Can Become a Civil War Historian

In this short video the Civil War Trust’s Garry Adelman shares his thoughts about ‘becoming a Civil War historian.’ Garry hinted to me last year that he was thinking about working on just such a video. Unfortunately, Garry gets too bogged down in drawing a distinction between the public and […]

Does James Longstreet Deserve a Monument?

This past Wednesday Charles Lane authored an opinion piece for The Washington Post that called for a monument to be erected in New Orleans to Confederate General James Longstreet. The essay has now been re-printed in newspapers across the country. Lane believes that Longstreet’s postwar alignment with the Republican Party […]

Breakfast with John Adams

A lot of books and articles describe John Adams as drinking hard cider each morning. Not many, however, cite a source for that factoid.Cider researcher Mark Turdo looked into that statement and expressed skepticism on his Pommel Cyder...Show More Summary

Extraordinary collection of personal items from the Gettysburg battle donated to foundation

The Gettysburg Foundation is the recipient of a priceless collection of personal items that belonged to officers and soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, according to an announcement by the foundation. Craig Bashein, a Cleveland lawyer and member of the foundation board, made the donation late last month. The items include the dress […]

The Juntocast Tackles the Bill of Rights

For folks interested in the recent postings on the genesis of the U.S. Bill of Rights, I recommend the latest podcast discussion from the Junto, released last weekend.Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, and Roy Rogers discuss the development of...Show More Summary

Study Reconstruction in Washington, D.C. This Summer

For those of you who are history teachers looking for professional development opportunities this summer, I encourage you to check out what Ford’s Theatre is offering on the Reconstruction Era. This is still one of the most misunderstood periods in American history and yet an argument could be made that […]

Fowler on the Crises after Yorktown in Lexington, Jan. 29

On Friday, 29 January, the Lexington Historical Society will host a free talk by William Fowler, Jr., on the topic of his book American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783.The publisher’s description:Most...Show More Summary

Discovering the Story of a Slave Catcher

Editor’s Note:  There has been an avalanche of important new scholarship on the Underground Railroad over the last twenty years, and yet there remains a critical gap in the literature.  Scholars know comparatively little about the slave catchers (or kidnappers) who chased after the fugitives (or freedom seekers).  This is a challenge that Maryland historian […]

Confederate Monuments and the Limits of Public History

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend heading over to the Civil Discourse blog and reading Ashley Whitehead Luskey’s excellent essay on the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate iconography. It is the most thorough essay that I have read to date and has helped me to continue to clarify […]

“The right of representation and taxation always went together”

Having spent a week on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, I’m going to jump back to 250 years ago and Parliament’s debate over what to do about the Stamp Act. That law was clearly unenforceable in North America. The Marquess of...Show More Summary

Hillary Clinton on Lincoln, the Civil War and Reconstruction

Last night at the Democratic Town Hall Meeting in Iowa Hillary Clinton offered up a reminder of why a solid grasp of Reconstruction is essential to our understanding of American history. While the 150th anniversary of the Civil War received a great deal of attention from historic sites, museums and […]

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