The Week in Early American History

TWEAHIt’s Sunday morning and that means . . . links!

We begin with a few links related to Jill Lepore’s new book on Jane Franklin Mecom (Benjamin Franklin’s sister), Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Knopf, 2013). First, a review in the New York Times by Mary Beth Norton, followed by an excellent and in-depth review of the book on the S-USIH blog by Mary Ellen Lennon.

To the archives! As part of their “Preserving American Freedom” digital history project, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has posted a draft of the Articles of Confederation by John Dickinson from June of 1776 that includes many ideas unused in the final form of the Articles. It is well presented with both digital scans of the entire document and a transcription.

In non-digital archives news, a 52-year old Chicago contractor named Rufus McDonald recently discovered the papers of Harvard’s first African-American graduate, Richard T. Greener, while cleaning out an attic. McDonald sold two documents to the University of South Carolina for $52,000 and entered talks with Harvard to purchase the rest. But after having the documents appraised at $65,000, McDonald was more than a little disappointed when Harvard offered him only $7,500 for the collection. “Sick of Harvard’s BS,” he is quoted in the Chicago Sun Times threatening to “roast and burn” the documents if Harvard doesn’t make him a more acceptable offer.

In somewhat related news, the New York Times’ academic reporter/writer, Jennifer Scheussler, writes about Craig Steven Wilder’s new bookEbony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013).

Some other items of note include the potential discovery a prehistoric ceremonial site in Maryland, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s response to the Confederate flag at a protest outside the White House, latinamericavisualized‘s take on a better critique of Columbus Day, a Daily Kos piece that finds the origins of the shutdown in David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed, and the Daily Beast’s interview with James McPherson on the 25th anniversary of Battle Cry of Freedom.

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