Interviews with Historians: Carol Berkin

BerkinCarol Berkin is Presidential Professor Emerita at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She received her bachelor’s degree at Barnard College. In 1972, she received her PhD at Columbia University, where she also worked on the Papers of John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. Her dissertation on Jonathan Sewall won the Bancroft Award for Outstanding Dissertation and the subsequent book, Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. She then spent her entire teaching career at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her most popular works include A Brilliant Solution (2002), which has been translated into Polish and Chinese, First Generations: Women in Colonial America (1996), Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for American Independence (2005), and Civil War Wives (2009). She is a pioneer in early American women’s history and also the author and editor of numerous textbooks, readers, and teaching guides for women’s history including Women of America (1980), Women’s Voices, Women’s Lives: Documents in Early American History (1998), In the Words of Women: The Revolutionary War and the Birth of the Nation, 1765 – 1799 (2011), and Clio in the Classroom: A Guide to Teaching Women’s History (2009). She is also the editor of History Now, an online magazine published by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She has appeared in numerous television documentaries, including Founding Brothers and Founding Fathers on the History Channel and Ric Burns’ New York on PBS. Continue reading

Q&A with Edward E. Andrews, Author of Native Apostles

Ted AndrewsThe following is an interview with Ted Andrews, an assistant professor of history at Providence College in Rhode Island. Yesterday, Christopher Jones reviewed his book, Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), and now Ted is speaking with The Junto about the process of writing it. Ted teaches early American, Atlantic, and Native American history, and he was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to explore his next project on global missionary connections among early modern Protestants. Native Apostles is his first book.
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Interviews with Historians: Brett Rushforth

Brett RushforthBrett Rushforth is Associate Professor of History at the College of William and Mary, where he teaches courses on the history of early America, American Indians, and comparative race and slavery. He is the co-editor, with Paul Mapp, of Colonial North America and the Atlantic World: A History in Documents (Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2008), and he currently serves as Book Review Editor for the William and Mary Quarterly. His first monograph, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France was published by University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in 2012, and has won several awards, including the 2013 Merle Curti Award in Social History (Organization of American Historians), 2013 FEEGI Biennial Book Prize (Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction), and 2013 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize (French Colonial Historical Society). It was also recently named a finalist for the 2013 Frederick Douglass Book Prize (Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition). Dr. Rushforth is currently at work, with Christopher Hodson, on a general history of the early modern French Atlantic. Under contract with Basic Books, its working title is Discovering Empire: France and the Atlantic World from the Crusades to the Age of Revolution. Continue reading

Collecting Delaware

TCaesarRodneyhis week, Chief Curator Constance Cooper shares what’s next for the past at the Delaware Historical Society.

JUNTO: Can you describe the range and scope of the Society’s pre-1865 collections, and how researchers can access materials?

COOPER: The Delaware Historical Society has rich pre-1865 collections. Special strengths are the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Delaware founding fathers, early businesses, and early organizations. The Society’s collections are cataloged in Ask Caesar. Researchers are welcome to visit the library on Monday, 1pm-9pm, Tuesday, 9am-1pm, Thursday, 9am-1pm, Friday 9am-5pm, and the third Saturday of the month, 10am-4pm. A good deal of basic Delaware information and bibliography is available in the Delaware Online section here. Continue reading

Collecting Pennsylvania

How is digital scholarship charting new prospects for our view of early America? Cathleen Lu, Digital Conversion & Bibliographic Specialist and Dana Dorman, Digital Projects Manager, at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, kindly described how HSP produces and presents new digital content that’s open for research (along with the library) while renovations continue at 1300 Locust Street throughout early autumn 2013. Continue reading

The “Extra-Illustrated” Man: NYPL’s Emmet Archive

When more than 10,000 early American documents find new life in the digital world, we at The Junto want to know more about the challenges and opportunities of the project. Thomas Lannon, Assistant Curator of the Manuscripts and Archives Division at the New York Public Library, kindly took our questions on Thomas Addis Emmet’s extra-illustrated archive. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Teaching: An Interview with James H. Merrell

I first met Jim Merrell in the spring of my sophomore year at Vassar College, when I registered for his Revolutionary America class. Over the next two and a half years I took several more courses with Mr. Merrell (professors at Vassar go by “Mr.” or “Ms.,” rather than “Dr.” or “Professor”), where I received multi-page responses to my essays, and comments on my research papers with words like “Huzza!”

Eventually, I began work on my senior thesis, which he kindly agreed to supervise. During the course of that year he met with me weekly to check on my progress with research and writing. His feedback was thoughtful but tough—after receiving his comments on the first full draft, I recall needing to go to the gym to run, lift, and then swim before being able to read them calmly. His assurance “that the draft gets critical treatment that is closer to graduate school than to first or second year college. (Huzza, sez you!)” should indicate the substance of his remarks [1]. Continue reading

Early America, with a Brooklyn Accent

Historic reenactors at Lefferts House, Prospect Park (1938)

Last week, we asked how digital projects are transforming our study of early American life and culture. Here’s the first in a series of interviews with historians who tell us what worked, how digital tools shaped the narrative, and where they want to go next on the digital frontier. This week, we asked the Brooklyn Historical Society for a peek at the making of a special digital exhibit on the Lefferts family of New York. As Breuckelen becomes Brooklyn, readers can link to local sites where the Lefferts family lived and worked, including the Lefferts Historic Homestead in Prospect Park (shown here: Historical re-enactors gathering on the front steps in 1938). The Leffertses were influential landowners, politicians, historians, financiers—and also one of the county’s biggest slaveholding families. Their letters, farm accounts, and recipe books offer a new and very personal window on New York’s development.Our thanks to Jacob Nadal, the Director of Library and Archives, and Julie Golia, Public Historian and Curator, who kindly took our questions on bringing nearly four centuries of Brooklyn to digital life. Continue reading