The Week in Early American History

TWEAHYou’ve worked hard all week. Your reward? Links, of course…

The Smithsonian Magazine looks back at George Washington, “whiskey businessman.” By the time of his death, Washington’s Mount Vernon distillery was the largest in the country.

Did you know that the founders left an enchanted silver horn at the White House that future presidents could blow “in case the country ever needed them.” (In case you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of this, it’s because it’s buried in a long-lost Dumas Malone footnote). The catch? It is only to be used in times of dire need. The Onion ponders whether our nation’s current predicament(s) are bad enough to justify summoning the founders from that great State House in the sky.

There is a new CFP from the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters for a conference to be held in October entitled “Failure in the Archives.”

Much attention was given this week to a fantastic new interactive digital map of the spread of slavery developed by Lincoln Mullen, a PhD Candidate at Brandeis University. He then published a piece explaining the map on his blog, which was quickly reworked into a piece for the Smithsonian Magazine.

At Inside Higher Ed, a piece by early Americanist, Johann Neem, made a subtle counterpoint to the Kristof piece from a few weeks ago. Neem argues that “academic research’s value cannot be measured by simple metrics about the number of readers” since the creation of scholarship “requires an expert, and therefore a limited, community of inquiry. Most academic work will always remain inaccessible to outsiders.”

In another IHE piece, by Scott Jaschik, explored the place of the broader culture’s bias against Americans from the Appalachian region in academia, particularly amongst faculty. The topic was initially covered at Academe.

In other faculty news, NPR covered the approval of a new social media policy by the Kansas Board of Regents, which allows for significant disciplinary action to be taken against faculty who post something on social media that the Board deems “contrary to the best interests of the university.”

Finally, this week saw the announcement of the “The Bancroft Library-U.S. History Scene Fellowship in Digital History,” which may be the first academic fellowship sponsored and/or named after a history blog.


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