Welcome to another edition of The Week in Early American History!
Let’s jump start things with Samuel Moyn’s provocative review of three recent books on the current state of the historical discipline in The Nation. According to Moyn, “historians [today] worry that they have lost their audience, and their distress has made the search for the next trend seem especially pressing.” Those of you with similar concerns can take heart in the sure-fire relevance of the findings detailed in this report from The Onion, summarizing the conclusions reached by a team of AHA-backed historians “that the sum total of past time grows progressively larger each day, making it unlikely anything can be done to halt, or even slow down, the relentless trend.”
Meanwhile, black Confederates are back in the news, thanks to this article by John Stauffer at The Root. Megan Kate Nelson summarizes Stauffer’s claims, and the several responses it triggered, over at Historista.
There’s a lot of public history news this week, beginning with the Virginia Gazette‘s look at Colonial Williamsburg’s new (and significantly expanded) guidebook, the first revision since 1985 (tl;dr: Now with more Revolution!). Meanwhile, if you’ve ever wondered what George Washington would make of 21st century Washington, D.C., the good folks at Mount Vernon are on it; they debuted a five-part web series on their website this week. And for days when George isn’t out on the town, the new Papers of George Washington blog has you covered.
Over at NPR’s Code Switch, Hansi Lo Wang profiles the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s current exhibit on treaties between the U.S. government and various American Indian nations; The Salem News reports that a new city park will be named for nineteenth century abolitionist siblings Sarah Parker Remond and Charles Lenox Remond; and Readex announced that it will add three new online collections in Atlantic world history in March.
A few final links to wrap things up: In the latest episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Liz Covart interviews Rachel Hope Cleaves about her latest book, Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America. Read between the lines of Harriot Stuart’s life with NYHS, and J.L. Bell follows up earlier blog posts on a little-known African American artist in eighteenth century New England with additional details culled from Paula Bagger’s article on the artist, Prince Demah, in the most recent issue of The Magazine Antiques.
The worst part is, we as a society continue to ignore the problem of this ever expanding past. We know that it’s happening but do nothing.