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Standing Up For Citations

The question of how sources ought to be cited in a work of non-fiction history came up again this past week with the release of Karen Abbott’s new book, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War. The book tells the story of four women, who engaged in various acts of espionage […]

Missouri town remembers 1864 massacre

A memorial dedication is scheduled Sunday for a group of Civil War heroes who didn’t don military uniforms but died defending their homes. On Oct. 10, 1864, a group of old men and teenage boys rode or walked out of the town of Emma, in central Missouri, to meet an enemy four times as large. All 26 died when attacked by bushwhackers. Read full article >>

A Hip-Hip Hamilton Coming to the New York Stage

Early next year Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about Alexander Hamilton is scheduled to open Off Broadway in New York. Miranda, who won Tony and Grammy Awards for In the Heights, performed some of this material as “The Hamilton Mixtape” at an evening of poetry at the White House in 2009 and at Lincoln Center. Show More Summary

A Visit With Governor Andrew

Today I took advantage of a day off from work and beautiful weather to drive down the coast to the Hingham Cemetery to visit the final resting place of Governor John A. Andrew. The headstone is very simple, but a few years after his death a group of admirers commissioned a beautiful statue sculpted in […]

The Construction of “Liberty Hall”

From Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words I learned that the phrase “Liberty-Hall” appeared in print in Britain at the same time the American colonies were demanding British liberties as well. The first appearance was in a 1770 song penned by the actor and writer George Alexander Stevens (1710-1784, shown here). Show More Summary

Playing Civil War in 1862

Here is an interesting little find from Slate’s history blog. In 1862 the Philadelphia publishing company Charlton and Althrop released this board game to promote patriotism and Union throughout the North. You advance on the board by landing on spaces that support the Union cause and lose ground by landing on spaces that threaten it. […]

Key property added to Cedar Creek Battlefield

A large piece of Shenandoah Valley farmland that played a supporting role in the Battle of Cedar Creek  on Oct. 19, 1864, has been preserved with a conservation easement costing $2,272,000. The announcement was made Wednesday at a news conference by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation of Woodstock, Va. Read full article >>

Portrait of the Artist as a World Traveler

On the left side of Johann Zoffany’s group portrait of the Royal Academy in 1771-72, toward the back of the crowd, is an unusual face for eighteenth-century London: a Chinese artist named Tan Chitqua.The Oxford Dictionary of National...Show More Summary

What’s In a List? I’ll Tell You

Megan Kate Nelson’s new post at Historista is sure to keep the controversy surrounding James McPherson’s recent New York Times “best of” list alive. There are two issues discussed in her post that I think are best kept separate even though there is some overlap. First, Megan highlights the extent to which academia remains an […]

Why Can’t We Get Beyond an “Aloof” Stonewall Jackson?

Do we need another five hundered page biography of Stonewall Jackson? Sure, why not. And from what little I’ve read so far, S.C. Gwynne can certainly turn a phrase. That said, I was hoping for a more nuanced look at Jackson’s understanding of politics and specifically the politics of slavery on the eve of the... Continue reading

Making an Exception for Exceptionalism

When I first wrote about criticisms of the new Advanced Placement U.S. History guidelines last month, Boston 1775 reader and teacher Jimmy Dick sensed that a lot of the criticism grew from “a deep seated belief in American Exceptionalism.”...Show More Summary

What I Told the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History

This morning I had a pleasant conversation with the executive director of the Danville (Va.) Museum of Fine Arts & History about how to respond to public concerns regarding plans to remove a Confederate flag from the grounds. I am not sure how they came by my name, but I was happy to listen and... Continue reading

An Exceptional Thinker in Colorado

During the ongoing debate over teaching U.S. history in Colorado, one member of the state Board of Education, Pam Mazanec of Larkspur, commented on Facebook that she felt that the Advanced Placement U.S. history course would “portray...Show More Summary

North Carolina to Construct Civil War History Center

While Virginia has done more than any other state to commemorate the Civil War 150th, North Carolina is not far behind. In addition to conferences and various exhibits, you can now add a history center to the list. It looks like an ambitious project.

Re-created Civil War-era perfume for sale

A Bermuda perfume seller is marketing a fragrance based on some found in the wreck of a Confederate blockade runner, the Mary Celeste, that sank in a storm in 1864 off the coast of Bermuda. Along with the bottles of fine English-made perfume, she also took with her a much-needed load of ammunition. Show More Summary

The Crux of the U.S. History Debate in Colorado

Last month I wrote a few postings about the controversy over the new guidelines for the Advanced Placement U.S. History test and course.I found that some prominent complaints about those guidelines were simply false, and that the most...Show More Summary

Virginia Flaggers Looking For Disaffected Students and Alumni

The Virginia Flaggers have now been on the ground for the past few weeks in Lexington protesting W&L’s decision to remove replica Confederate flags from the chapel and yet we have yet to see a single photograph of a student or alumni on the grounds calling for their return. “Plenty of support” indeed, just not... Continue reading

About James McPherson’s List

This past week The New York Times featured James McPherson in its “By the Book” series. McPherson was asked a couple of questions about those books that influenced his development as a scholar and who he sees as currently shaping the field.  Well, his responses touched off an interesting discussion on the feed of one... Continue reading

Colonial Brickwork

Growing up in Boston exposes people to an above-average amount of Revolutionary history, and that can come out in many ways. For Brendan Powell Smith, a native of Norwood and graduate of Boston University, one outlet is the Revolution!:...Show More Summary

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