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Life in Boylston at Turn of the Nineteenth Century

I wanted to note an article from a regional edition of the Boston Globe last month, about a project at the Boylston Historical Society transcribing the diary of Simon Davis from 1796 to 1810.Most of the journal entries on specific dates record whimsical observations about the weather, as well as casual remarks about the writer’s moods and work. Show More Summary

Baptist Describes a New Orleans Slave Auction

The following description of a slave auction in New Orleans comes from Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. The moment was here, the one that made trees fall, cotton bales strain against their ropes, filled the stores with goods, sailed paper across oceans and... Continue reading

At the Salisbury Mansion

This is the Salisbury Mansion in Worcester, where I’ll be speaking today at noon about “The Breakdown of Royal Rule in Massachusetts, September 1774.” This is one of many events in the city commemorating the local events of that month. Show More Summary

Two Soldiers, Two Stories

Many of you may remember that this past school year I accompanied 35 students on a civil rights trip from Atlanta to Memphis. I was asked to accompany the instructor who organized it, but this year my school is requesting that I lead a trip for what we call Exploration Week, which takes place in... Continue reading

Civil War films featured at drive-in theater

Stephens City, Va., located south of Winchester, is one of the few places left with a genuine, old-fashioned drive-in theater. On Sept. 12, 13 and 14, the Family Drive-In Theatre is offering three nights of Civil War films. The showings...Show More Summary

A Matter “of too small importance to be noticed”

Here’s another snapshot of the situation in Massachusetts in September 1774, from the records of the Worcester Convention. The Whigs were trying to stop all court proceedings under the Massachusetts Government Act to communicate their belief that law violated the constitution. Show More Summary

Edward Baptist on Slavery, the Civil War and American Capitalism

My copy of Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, arrived and I’ve managed to finish the first chapter. The book is incredibly well written and thought provoking. Baptist places the spread of slavery at the center of the expansion of capitalism from the period... Continue reading

John and Dorothy Hancock’s Chariot, on display 6 Sept.

On 21 Jan 1778, the New Jersey Gazette published this news item:The owners of the privateer, Civil Usage, of Newburyport, have made a present to the Honorable John Hancock, Esq., of an elegant coach which was lately taken in one of their...Show More Summary

From Jim Crow to Nazi Germany

A really interesting thing happened today in my senior level elective on the Holocaust. Over the summer students read Edward Larson’s book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, which tells the story of American ambassador, William Dodd, and his family during their stay in Germany between 1933... Continue reading

Visual changes coming to Manassas Battlefield

Within a month, visitors to Manassas National Battlefield Park will see a change in the landscape: Where there had been trees, there will be open space. The Civil War Trust is partnering with the National Park Service to jointly remove...Show More Summary

Fears in the Massachusetts Countryside

Yesterday I quoted a letter from Gen. Thomas Gage toward the end of September 1774, as he realized nearly all of New England was defying his authority. Here’s a look at that month from the other end, and the other side. In the summer...Show More Summary

Soldiers of the 48th: Private Francis Stidham, Company A

Private Francis M. Stidham Company A, 48th Pennsylvania (John D. Hoptak Collection) Tragedy hovered like an ever-present shadow over Mary Jane Stidham of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. Born in 1823, Mary Jane was married at age eighteen and, soon after, she and her husband Jacob Stidham began raising a family. Show More Summary

“Our World Was About To Explode Over the Issue of Slavery”

The trailer for “Field of Lost Shoes” looks pretty good. It will be interesting to see how certain individuals and groups respond given the overt ways in which this story is couched in a broader narrative of slavery. At one point in the trailer a young VMI cadet shares with his fellow student that, “We... Continue reading

Gov. Thomas Gage’s Very Bad Month

Yesterday I broke the news that I’ll be speaking about “The Near-Total Breakdown of Royal Rule in Massachusetts, September 1774” at Worcester’s celebration this Sunday of pre-Revolutionary events in that town. How bad was that breakdown? At the start of the month, Gen. Show More Summary

Celebration of 1774 in Worcester, 7 Sept.

Worcester will celebrate the county’s uprising against the royal courts in September 1774 this Sunday, the 7th. Here’s the complete schedule as of early last month.ALL DAYGames and Crafts for Children — The OaksBig Bear Trading Company...Show More Summary

Forgotten cavalryman: Dick the war horse

With much gratitude to Al Eelman of Philadelphia, who was kind enough to share both this photo and the accompanying narrative with me. For a larger version of the photo, click the image. I often tell the stories of cavalrymen. Today, I get to tell the story of a cavalryman’s horse, which is not something that I get to do very often. Show More Summary

Channell on “Revolutionary Sailors” in Quincy, 3 Sept.

On Wednesday, 3 September, the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy will host a talk by Fred Channell on the topic “Discover Historic New England: Revolutionary Sailors.” The event announcement says Channell “will present his research about...Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 09/01

Heading back into the classroom tomorrow, but I hope to make time to get through these new releases at some point. Best of luck to all of you who are preparing for a new school year as well. Edward E. Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic... Continue reading

Samuel “Rat-trap” Adams’s Revolution

According to Samuel “Rat-trap” Adams, the wire-worker and former town crier, he: was six years old when the Stamp Act protests occurred, eleven in the year of the Boston Massacre, fourteen during the Tea Party, and sixteen in the first year of the war. Show More Summary

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