The Week in Early American History

TWEAHHere are your links this week, broken into cleverly categorized paragraphs!

In the realm of people getting things wrong about history, has Sons of Liberty been irking you? Here’s a point-by-point criticism. Sorry folks, a spry Samuel Adams did not hop buildings Assassin’s Creed style. In addition, Need to Check counts down their nominations for the top 10 most historically inaccurate movies, from Pocahontas to The Patriot.

In this paragraph slightly related to people spending lots of money (which is funny, because academia), Keno Auctions rings up a $3,456,500 sale of 13 lots as part of “America Week” in New York, including a $1,895,500 Chippendale tea table. Valentine’s Day is over, but if you’re stilled irked by egregiously priced everything this weekend, you can head to to read three centuries of classified ads that will make you feel better about life.

In this paragraph on sources and teaching, Lin Fisher will speak on Roger Williams as part of the Congregational Library’s History Matters series. The Village Voice offers a new reading list for Black History Month. The Society for Military History released a white paper on “The Role of Military History in the Contemporary Academy” that outlines developments within the field over the last forty years and proposes that “the inclusion of military history can add depth and insight to college curricula.” Over at the African American Intellectual History Society, Chernoh Sesay, Jr. reflects on “how the teaching of black thought to students who have vested interests in the topic creates an invigorating and necessary realm of reflection, debate and discussion.” Yale curators reflect on finding “Figures of Empire,” or representations of slavery in eighteenth-century British art. On Twitter, several historians discussed the @Every3Minutes bot created by Caleb McDaniel and the ways in which it makes visible or obscures the whites who purchased slaves in antebellum America. Caleb Storified the conversation. Finally, the Book of Mormon inspires a new literary venture.

In archives and institutions news, Mt. Vernon has announced professional development opportunities for teachers. The National Endowment for the Humanities celebrates 50 years, which makes me feel better about my upcoming 30th. Sometime in the near future, you might be able to get your pajama research on; the New York Public Library has been awarded a grant to digitize 50,000 pages’ worth of early American manuscripts. Personally, I’m rooting really hard for the inclusion of the Schuyler papers. And if you’ve ever wondered how the Internet Archive happens, now you can find out.

This is a paragraph on boats, or maritime history if you’re feeling fancy. The Atlantic (ha!) explores why “an American maritime museum took its most valuable object, a 19th-century whaling ship, on a grand tour last summer.” Hester Blum has written an account of the voyage (from a while back, but still richly evocative). Sailing makes me think of alcohol, so it’s apt that Jordan Smith has written a history of rum in Essex County, Massachusetts.

In our “links with relevant connections to news stories this week,” Ben Franklin’s advice on the smallpox vaccination is particularly pertinent in light of the measles outbreaks. The New York Times traces the story of Muslims in early America, suggesting that “In a sense, Islam is as American as the rodeo.” Joshua Rothman discusses President Obama’s National Prayer Meeting speech, noting that slavery was not “outside the moral parameters of Christianity.”

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