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“I hope he will pass muster”

As John Quincy Adams planned his return to Massachusetts from Europe in 1785, with the hope of attending Harvard College, his father John wrote to one of the professors there, Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846). Waterhouse had lived with the Adams family while studying medicine in Holland in the early 1780s. Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 01/18

Daina R. Berry, The Price For Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017). Bradley R. […]

“The Child whom you used to lead out into the common”

In April 1785, seventeen-year-old John Quincy Adams had finished his first job, as secretary and translator for American minister Francis Dana in the court of Catherine the Great. Young J. Q. Adams returned to France, where his family was living during another diplomatic mission. Show More Summary

Virginia Flaggers Led By Stonewall Jackson in Lexington

I think it is perfectly fitting that the Virginia Flaggers were led down the streets of Lexington, Virginia this past weekend by an individual portraying Stonewall Jackson, who (as of […]

Picking Up Pottery Pieces in Peabody

At the Early American Ceramics site, Justin W. Thomas just wrote about what he found at a site in Peabody, which in the eighteenth century was part of Danvers.That site, Thomas knew, was once owned by a family of potters called Osborn. Show More Summary

Reconstruction Era National Monument a Reality

By now most of you know that just a few days ago President Obama designated Beaufort, South Carolina as the Reconstruction Era National Monument. A community of historians and politicians […]

Sylvanus Johnson in the Woods

As described yesterday, in 1754, at the age of six or seven Sylvanus Johnson was taken prisoner by Native Americans, probably Wabanaki, from Fort No. 4 in New Hampshire. (The image here, a detail from the photograph by Ann M. LittleShow More Summary

Virginia Flaggers Outflanked and Annihilated

From all of the reports, photographs, and videos that I have seen it looks like the Virginia Flaggers and Sons of Confederate Veterans were upstaged by CARE this weekend in […]

Is Trump a president with precedents? Would you rather Brexit, or Mr. Brexit?

Those of you fortunate enough to be able to pick up BBC Radio 4 on your wireless sets may wish to tune in after your lunches this week of the Trump inauguration, at 13:45 for fifteen minutes each weekday,1 to hear Trump: The Presidential Precedents, a programme hosted by UCL historian and 2015 Broadcaster of […]

Sylvanus Johnson “returned from captivity”

A few years ago, Ann M. Little shared this analysis of a passage, and an event, from A Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. [Susanna] Johnson, Containing an Account of her Four Years of Suffering with the Indians and French:First published...Show More Summary

Princeton in the Snow

I did some public history work last weekend: read in some books, participated in a meeting about this year’s Boston Massacre, drafted some Boston 1775 postings while sitting out the snow.But I sure didn’t do what a bunch of dedicated reenactors and living historians did in central New Jersey. Show More Summary

Virginia Flaggers Bring Heritage of Hate to Lexington

The annual parade in Lexington, Virginia celebrating Lee-Jackson Day is going to look very different today. That’s because the local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp and the Virginia Flaggers were […]

Second season of ‘Mercy Street’ inspires new tours, events in Alexandria

Alexandria, Va., has long been a tourist destination because of its large historic district and lively restaurant and bar scene. Now, it also features a new assortment of Civil War tours, events and museum exhibits based on the second season of “Mercy Street” beginning Jan. 22. Although the PBS original series wasn’t filmed in Alexandria, […]

A Distant View of Roxbury During the Siege

Here’s an image from the siege of Boston preserved in the collections of the Library of Congress.It’s a drawing labeled “View of Roxbury from the advanced guard house at the lines.” Probably created by a British army officer, it shows what the regulars looking down Boston Neck saw. Show More Summary

How John Howland Fetched Water “with two pails and a hoop”

In April 1770, at age thirteen, John Howland sailed from Newport to Providence to become an apprentice to barber Benjamin Gladding.Apprentices, especially those who had barely begun their training, were required to do household chores. Show More Summary

Blame the Federal Government For Reconstruction

This past week The Washington Post added its name to a growing list of individuals and institutions who would like to see President Obama designate a federal monument to Reconstruction. […]

The J.A.R. Starting the Year Off Big

Over at the Journal of the American Revolution, there have been several articles of interest this year already. And not just because they arose out of conversations involving me.First, the organization has given its 2016 Book of the Year Award to Brothers at Arms, American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It, by Larrie D. Show More Summary

Kamensky on Copley in Medford, 18 Jan.

Here’s a passage from Jane Kamensky’s biography of John Singleton Copley, A Revolution in Color, that I quite enjoyed. This describes a period in 1774, when Copley was embarking on his long-dreamed-of Grand Tour of Europe to study art. Show More Summary

Chandler on Martin Howard in Newport, 12 Jan.

On Thursday, 12 January, the Newport Historical Society will host Abby Chandler speaking on “The Life and Times of Martin Howard.” Howard was the rare Loyalist who before the Revolutionary War managed to tick off his Whig neighbors in two separate colonies. Show More Summary

Looking back at Loudoun Heights

Once again, there’s been a dry spell on this blog. Between work, my PhD work, and frequent travels to visit a daughter at VMI, I found little time to post anything after my last post in October. Still, that didn’t mean ideas stopped floating about in my head about various topics. I just didn’t have […]

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