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Mystery of the North Carolina Civil War shipwreck solved

The large Civil War-era, iron-hulled steamer found off the North Carolina shores in February had no name at the time, but since then, research appears to confirm that it is the Agnes E. Fry, a Confederate blockade runner that sank in 1865. Billie Ray Morris, director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Office of […]

Gov. Bernard’s Book of Poetry

In 1760 George III ascended to the throne of Great Britain, and the following year he married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.Also in 1760, Francis Bernard (shown here) became governor of Massachusetts, coming from the same...Show More Summary

The Powderhouse: Public Resource or Private Property?

One of the places that plays a significant role in “The End of Tory Row,” as I’ve entitled my free public lecture on Thursday evening, is the gunpowder storehouse that still stands on a hill in Somerville.Originally that spot was inShow More Summary

An Opportunity for the Nau Center for Civil War History

This is certainly one of those moments when I still wish I still lived in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tonight community leaders in Charlottesville will meet to urge the city council to rename Lee Park and remove the statue which was donated by Paul MacIntire in 1924. The vice mayor has come […]

“The very Time of the Convulsion” in Shrewsbury

On Thursday I’ll speak at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site about “The End of Tory Row,” the events that led to drastic changes in that neighborhood in September 1774. (Here’s more information.)Here’s part of a description of that day, which the Rev. Show More Summary

“Small woodin and paper houses & Towers”

Last month I wrote about a wooden model of ancient Jerusalem that toured the colonies in 1764 and 1765. The first posting quoted the diary of a young Philadelphia woman who saw the model in Germantown in 1762 and described it as “done...Show More Summary

More Talk About Confederate Monuments

All indications are that yesterday’s panel discussion at the annual meeting of the National Council on Public History on Confederate monuments and iconography attracted a large and engaged audience. The twitter feed from the session, however, also suggests that many left feeling frustrated. What I gathered from the conversation both […]

Cdr. S.W. LeCompte, Sir Walter Scott, and a sailor’s book

As I’ve demonstrated several times before in other posts… finding a rare book is great, but finding the story of the original owner of the rare book is even better. Some time ago, I had the opportunity to land a first edition (American) copy of Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake. Published by T.B. […]

Earl Ijames and his “Colored Confederates” are Back

It’s been a couple of years since we last heard from Earl Ijames. Back in 2011-2012 I devoted a good deal of attention to statements Mr. Ijames made in public about what he calls “Colored Confederates.” You can read what I have written here if interested. Today I learn that […]

Forums on Parlors and Slavery, 2 Apr.

Here are a couple of disparate history events coming up on 2 April.Historic Deerfield is hosting a forum on the theme “Company's Coming!: Artifacts and Rituals of Early New England Parlors.”The New England parlor, designed for the reception and entertainment of visitors, communicated the social position and aspirations of the family. Show More Summary

The Stamp Act Meets the Bottom Line

On 18 March 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act for its American colonies. That was one week short of the law’s first anniversary.Of course, the Stamp Act had already failed. How badly? Alvin Rabushka’s Taxation in Colonial America has a couple of tables that sum up the situation.The British government shipped £102,050.8s.11d. Show More Summary

Changes at Colonial Williamsburg

On this Evacuation Day, I’m evacuating Boston for a weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the American Revolution Conference. Earlier this month the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported at length on that history site’s adjustment to a new...Show More Summary

“The Fictional Portrait” in Display in New York, 18 Mar.

Earlier this month the New York Times reported on an exhibit of two portraits in New York. The Jewish Museum received those paintings in the 1950s from an owner who understood them to be paired portraits of Judah and Jochabed Mears painted around 1740 by Jeremiah Theus of Charleston, South Carolina. Show More Summary

Actress Aunjaune Ellis Reflects on Mississippi’s State Flag

I am rarely impressed with Hollywood activists, but I have to say that Aunjaune Ellis’s call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag on Mississippi’s state flag is worth considering. Her understanding of the flag combines a clear understanding of some of the relevant history as well as her […]

“All I Know Is What’s On the Internet”

I think I just found a title for chapter 7 of my book on the Myth of the Black Confederate Soldier..@StephenAtHome can’t believe what @realDonaldTrump just said out loud: https://t.co/7rvGCtfZjF pic.twitter.com/uNeT9wVV2r — Matt Wilstein (@TheMattWilstein) March 15, 2016

Gentlemen at the Shirley-Eustis House, 24 Mar.

Here’s one more history event for the busy night of Thursday, 24 March. The Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury will play host to “The League of Most Interesting Gentlemen,” or at least to professional men portraying them.These gentlemen...Show More Summary

Lanterns, Laws, and Legend

As I quoted back here, on 1 Nov 1769 Boston town clerk William Cooper wrote out instructions on behalf of the selectmen to Thomas Bradford, temporarily promoted to Constable of the South Watch. Among other things, the letter told Bradford:You...Show More Summary

History Camp 2016 Coming Up, 26 Mar.

History Camp Boston 2016 will take place on 26 March at the Harriet Tubman House, the same place we met last year. This event has been sold out for a while, so I haven’t promoted it since that would probably lead to disappointment. But there is a waitlist, and the program of presentations looks really good. Show More Summary

Sen. Kaine visits Fredericksburg battlefield to see land to be preserved through a federal grant

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was instrumental in getting a bipartisan bill through Congress in 2014 to reauthorize and expand the American Battlefield Protection Program, on Friday visited one of the battlefields that has benefited from his efforts. Kaine met with officials from the National Park Service and Civil War Trust at the Fredericksburg battlefield […]

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