The Victorian women who never cut their hair

25 Aug

Some might say this is hair-esy, but I say it is neither hair nor there … Take a look: The Victorian women who never cut their hair.

Nature May Have A Profound Effect On Our Religiosity

21 Aug

Originally posted on Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies:

In U.S. counties with warm winters, temperate summers and beautiful natural resources — like beaches, lakes, hills or mountains — people’s rates of affiliation with religious organizations are lower than in other places, according to a new study.

At NPR, anthropologist Barbara J. King has a fascinating post on a recent study linking varying religious affiliation in the U.S. to varying natural landscapes. This conclusions remind me of worries of early 20th-century Protestant clergy about the allure of California’s natural landscape that I found in my research some 30 years ago.

You can find King’s post here: Nature May Have A Profound Effect On Our Religiosity : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

(In relation to religion and environment, I’d recommend Mark R. Stoll’s new book, Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and Rise of American Environmentalism [New York: Oxford University Press, 2015]. He argues for a major Congregationalist and Presbyterian impulse…

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The Top Two Religious Groups That Dominate American Cities

20 Aug

The Public Religion Research Institute has some interesting statistics on dominant religious groups in major U.S. cities. You can find the data here: The Top Two Religious Groups That Dominate American Cities.

Terrapin Stew? U.S. foods of a century ago.

20 Aug

Food tastes change over time. At NPR, Linton Weeks summarizes a discussion he had with food historian Sandra L. L. Oliver about Terrapin Stew and other foods that are no longer popular. Here’s the post: 4 Foods Americans Don’t Eat Much Anymore : NPR History Dept. : NPR.

Erasing History at the USPS

19 Aug

Every regime change requires the toppling of monuments, and the sale of New Deal post offices is just that.

So concludes R.H. Lossin in a post at JSTOR Daily on preserving the New Deal artwork at U.S. Post Offices. You can read her entire post, with marvelous photos of some artwork, here: Erasing History at the USPS | JSTOR Daily.

California’s Saint, and a Church’s Sins

18 Aug

On his trip to the United States next month, Pope Francis is going to canonize the Rev. Junipero Serra, the great Spanish missionary of 18th-century California. As fourth graders from Chico to Chula Vista have been taught for generations, Father Serra founded the first of the 21 Catholic missions that stretch along the coast like rosary beads. He laid the foundation of California as we know it: the tile-and-adobe wonderland of vineyards, citrus, olives, wheat and cattle.

That story has a dark side, as even the most sympathetic Serra biographers admit. Father Serra had soldiers with him. The civil and religious conquest of Alta California was accompanied by brutality, coercion and vast death. As the missions grew, California’s native population of Indians began a catastrophic decline.

I do not know who Lawrence Downes is, but his op-ed in the New York Times (which begins above) highlights the tension I feel as a historian of California and a Christian as the canonization of Fr. Juniero Serra draws near. (The best historical analysis I’ve read about the Franciscan mission effort in California is James Sandos’ Converting California.) For the entire Downes op-ed, see here: California’s Saint, and a Church’s Sins – The New York Times.

Women’s Groups and the Rise of the Book Club

13 Aug

Pamela Burger has a fine, concise article on women and book clubs at JSTOR Daily. You can find it here: Women’s Groups and the Rise of the Book Club | JSTOR Daily.

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