The Photographic History of the Civil War (10 vols.; 1911) offered context for thousands of striking images from the American Civil War: 1 - The Opening Battles; 2 - Two Years of Grim War; 3 - The Decisive Battles; 4 - The Cavalry; 5 - Forts and Artillery; 6 - The Navies; 7 - Prisons and Hospitals; 8 - Soldier Life / Secret Service; 9 - Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; 10 - Armies and Leaders. It was also a capstone in the intriguing career of a little-known popular historian and silent era filmmaker. [more inside]
The critically-acclaimed BBC production The Story of the Jews, written and presented by historian (and foodie) Simon Schama, can be viewed online by people with access to BBC iPlayer TV programs. It will be shown in the USA on PBS later this year. [more inside]
"Old Polymaths Never Die ...they just keep on publishing. Adrian Wooldridge explores the unstoppable legacies of Isaiah Berlin and Hugh Trevor-Roper." [more inside]
Gerda Lerner: "In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist. I asked myself how this checked against my own life experience. ‘This is garbage; this is not the world in which I have lived,’ I said."
Feminist historian Gerda Lerner has passed away at 92. An original member of the National Organization for Women, Lerner was a pioneer in the field of women's history, teaching what is thought to be the first women’s history course in the world and later establishing the first women's history graduate program in the United States. She led a fascinating life. [more inside]
The Case of the Mormon Historian: What happened when Michael Quinn challenged the history of the church he loved.
"I Loved it...I Loved it All" An eight minute film essay that Ned Judge co-produced and directed with Edward Abbey in 1985. At the time Judge was working for a network magazine show. The executive producer took him to lunch one day. He told him that he was having trouble with his son who was 18. The son thought his dad was a corporate whore. He had told his father if he had any balls at all he’d put Edward Abbey on his show. That’s why the EP was talking to him. Would Judge see if it was possible? Judge had an acquaintance who knew Ed and he passed the request along. Ed responded that he’d give it a try. He signed the contract and wrote a script. Judge and Abbey met in Moab and went out to Arches National Park to shoot some practice sessions with a home video camera. They would review them at the motel in the evening. After a day or two, Ed was feeling pretty comfortable on camera so they scheduled the shoot. They were all happy with the way it went. But then they ran head-on into network reality. Roger Mudd, the show’s host, was extremely negative about putting an “eco-terrorist” on the show. The executive producer caved (his son was right about him apparently). So this Abbey essay was put on the shelf and never aired. Abbey died 3 years later in March 1989. [more inside]
British Marxist historian and lover of jazz, Eric Hobsbawm is dead: Guardian obit. His key works: Industry and Empire (1968); and the "Age of" series, which he began with The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848, first published in 1962. Followed in 1975 by The Age of Capital: 1848-1875. And in 1987, The Age of Empire: 1875-1914. A fourth volume, The Age of Extremes: 1914-91, was published in 1994. He also found time to be castaway on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs (5 March 1995). Other than the music, his choice of book was a collection of Neruda's poems and his "luxury item" was a pair of binoculars. stream or download
In school, most grades have a favorite teacher. For Rockport-Fulton Middle School's seventh grade, it's Bobby Jackson. He teaches Texas History. (Via) [more inside]
Influential Australian art critic Robert Hughes, author of The Shock of the New and The Fatal Shore, has died aged 74.
Barry Landau, "America's Presidential Historian," collector, author, and expert on White House ephemera, and one Jason Savedoff, a Canadian golden boy who occasionally went by the name of J-Swing at my old stomping grounds, and who has assumed a number of aliases since, have been charged with "conspiring to steal historical documents from museums in Maryland and New York, and selling them for profit." Investigation has revealed further complications.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives.
Ivan Day is both chef and historian. Using old equipment and original research in primary sources for recipes and descriptions, he can "cook a meal from any time from the Battle of Agincourt to the First World War," recreating historic banquets and collations in full detail. Galleries of his food exhibitions show that he can back that claim up, and that rapid changes in culinary trends are not of recent vintage. [more inside]
Mechanical Icon is a new project by Marshall Poe (previously). It will eventually be 200 short Ken-Burns-like video meditations on famous photographs from history. The first six-minute "Introduction" in particular is very good.
American historian John Hope Franklin died today at the age of 94. Among his many achievements: authoring From Slavery to Freedom: a History of African Americans. Originally published in 1947, it remains the standard work on African American history. Franklin also did research for the appellants in the historic Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court Case. [more inside]
Alison Des Forges, American historian of Africa, MacArthur genius and top human-rights advocate, was an impassioned observer of the Rwandan genocide, lobbying the United States and United Nations to intervene in the killings, saving some Rwandans from certain death, and later writing one of the definitive histories of the events, "Leave none to tell the story". She testified at hundreds of trials and inquiries resulting from the genocide. Last night, she perished aboard Flight 3407. "Her death is a devastating blow," said the president of Human Rights Watch, where she worked as an advisor. "She epitomized the human rights activist — principled, dispassionate, committed to the truth and to using that truth to protect ordinary people."
New Books In History. Historian Marshall Poe talks with other historians about their newly published books. [more inside]
David Halberstam's last column, The History Boys - Politics and Power, is in this month's Vanity Fair magazine. In other news, the student driving him at the time of his death, Kevin Jones, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. (Previously)
Historian assaulted then arrested for jaywalking in Atlanta. A historian at the "Historians against the war" conference in Atlanta was stopped for jaywalking. Being from the UK, he thanked the officer, then realized the officer didn’t have any name tag or identification. He asked to see the police officers identification, and the police officer took offense stating "See my Uniform!". The officer kicked the mans leg out, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. The police officer had 5 other police officers step on the historian causing bruises on his neck. After being in jail for 8 hours, he arranged 1000 dollar bail. He refused to accept a please bargain that would effect his green card, so the case was dropped.
Alan Cross is a name that is known in Toronto. He's the guy from 102.1 Edge who has the best rock'n'roll show in the business, called The Ongoing History of New Music. His knowledge is so encyclopedic it's creepy. He's personable. He's interesting. He's current. He's uber-cool. And you can either podcast his shows or read them yourself. I'm no rock newbie, but I'm currently enjoying Building A Record Library: Part I. The History of Selling Out is interesting enough to provoke the question, did REM, Husker Du and Sonic Youth really do it for the bling bling? Speaking of Husker Du, are they possibly the fathers of Emo? Do yourself a favour: give him a listen and a read. note: the site's a bit rough on the browser
A sad day for lovers of good writing. In addition to Stephen Jay Gould, historian Walter Lord has died. (NYT, blah blah) Lord's 1955 book A Night to Remember arguably touched off the modern world's fascination with the Titanic, and his 1957 Day of Infamy is an exciting account of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Historian Stephen Ambrose, author of over 25 books, is accused of plagiarizing for a second time. Just last weekend, Ambrose apologized for not properly citing copied phrases in a book about WWII bomber crews over Germany. Sounds like a sloppy mistake from a respected historian, and it proves you have to be pretty careful to avoid plagiarism.
As a despised and adored lesbian historian, I... The hottest date I could imagine (with a woman) would be an overnight escapade with... Camille Paglia. Yes! McSweeney's sums up her life in introductory catchphrases from the goddess's own Salon columns. How Dada. How cut-n-paste.