The Week in Early American History

TWEAH

Last week’s edition of our weekly roundup opened with our collective condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Christopher Schmidt-Nowara (Tufts University), who passed away on June 27th. Unfortunately, the early American historical profession has lost an additional two stalwarts this week: Lois Green Carr, the noted historian of colonial Chesapeake society, died on June 28, 2015. She was 93.  And yesterday morning was met with the unfortunate announcement of Dallett Hemphill’s passing. In addition to her fine scholarship and responsibilities as editor of Early American Studies, Dr. Hemphill was a mentor, supporter, and friend to several junior scholars. Just two weeks ago, she authored a guest post here at The Junto on publishing journal articles. We’ve pinned that post at the top of our front page, and invite any who have not yet read it to do so. We extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of both Dr. Carr and Dr. Hemphill.  Continue reading

Guest Post, Vaughn Scribner: “Fabricating History PART TWO: The Curious Case Continues”

A few weeks ago, we hosted a guest post from Vaughn Scribner on mermaids. Since sequels are all the rage in Hollywood, we are having him back for seconds.

Mermaid 1

Figure 1: Image from Gottfried’s Histora Antipodum oder Newe Welt (1631). Image after de Bry. Accessed via ULB Sachsen-Anhalt.

Well, here we go again. Just when I thought I had figured out the riddle of Captain John Smith’s alleged seventeenth-century mermaid sighting, research threw me a curve ball. A quick recap: in a recent Junto post, I argued that Alexandre Dumas added a brief (supposedly legitimate) story of Smith meeting a mermaid into his fictional 1849 adventure tale. Dumas’ fabricated account, I demonstrated, steadily gained a life of its own as subsequent historians cited it as fact. I had solved the “Curious Case of John Smith, a Green-Haired Mermaid, and Alexandre Dumas.” Or so I thought. Continue reading