The Month in Early American History

TMEAH LogoRise and shine, it’s time to relaunch our regular(ish) roundup of breaking news from early America. To the links!

First up, enjoy a walk through life after the American Revolution with this podcast series charting the life and times of William Hamilton of The Woodlands, who “made the estate an architectural and botanical showpiece of early America.” Or put presidential parades in historical context, via Lindsay Chervinsky’s essay on George Washington’s reticence for public pomp and grandeur: “Why, then, did Washington, a man intensely proud of his military service and revered for it, reject the trappings of military honor?” In conference news, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture unveiled the program for next month’s meeting. Elsewhere in the blogosphere, check out John Fea’s reflections on a decade(!) of posting, and what it means to teach “Public History for a Democracy.” Or flip through the newly digitized papers of polymath Benjamin Franklin.

Extra, extra! The Mapping Early American Elections digital resource has introduced a whole new round of data. This release “adds county-level maps of election returns for the Sixth through Tenth Congresses, taking our coverage of Congressional elections up through the 1806–1807 elections. As before, these maps are accompanied by tables that succinctly summarize the results for each district or state-wide at-large election, and which link out to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.” See it here. While you’re exploring online, head over to the Native Land website, and take a closer look at the theory and practice of mapping indigenous territories. From across the pond, read about the perils of altering archival practice: “Archives are pertinent to the story that an institution or government wants to tell of itself. In some cases, that story can become too uncomfortable and archives are crucial tools to make those institutions accountable.”

Over at We’re History, Jessica Parr sketches the symbolism and struggle of President Abraham Lincoln’s Compensation Acts of 1862. And at Black Perspectives, Manisha Sinha and Sasha Turner talk about researching slave resistance and abolition, weaving in a few more thoughts about the topic of racial justice today. Take a break from reading, and fill out this quick survey for the Society of Civil War Historians. Then head over to Sarah E. Bond’s new piece on how art museums are editing signage to recognize deep connections to slavery. At the Worcester Art Museum and elsewhere, Bond writes, “both historians and museum professionals have begun to realize the need for revising the way we frame and label the past, and to support this movement within museums.” Finally, if you’re mulling a career in public history, read this profile of Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum. Coleman weighs in on Confederate statues, cultural memory of the Civil War, and the significance of reading material culture to engage with the past: “We can’t get right with each other,” she said, “until we are willing to listen.”


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