The Dutch and American Memorial Day–in the Netherlands

25 May

MARGRATEN, Netherlands — They haven’t forgotten. For 70 years, the Dutch have come to a verdant U.S. cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II.

So begins a fascinating story by Ian Shapira in the Washington Post. You can read the entire story here: Americans gave their lives to defeat the Nazis. The Dutch have never forgotten. – The Washington Post.

Why can’t we read anymore?

25 May

Thanks to colleague and novelist Sam Martin, I’ve read this post by Hugh McGuire:

Why can’t we read anymore? — Medium.

Although I am not nearly as digitally adept (or involved) as he, his comments resonate with my experience. Do they with yours?

Mathias Eick’s ‘Midwest': A Musical Landscape

23 May

Originally posted on Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies:

On Mathias Eick's new album, Midwest, he composes musical impressions of the Midwestern landscape.

Norwegian musician Mathias Eick has a fascinating musical perspective on the Midwest settled by Norwegian immigrants. List to some of his “place” music here: Mathias Eick’s ‘Midwest': A Musical Landscape : NPR.

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Our Farming Ancestors

22 May

A large majority of our ancestors in the United States were farmers, as estimates count the number of farmers as 64% of the population (4.9 million) in 1850, slightly down from the figure of 72% of the population reported in 1820. While the life of my crooked politician is well documented, the lives of so many of my farming ancestors remain a bit of a mystery. They did not often make the county history book or the local newspaper, yet were an essential part of their local economies and deserve some recognition.

So notes genealogist and historian D. Joshua Taylor near the beginning of his fine review of some historical articles on farming history at JSTOR Daily. You can read his entire piece, with links, here: Our Farming Ancestors | JSTOR Daily.

From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

22 May

Jan Grenci of the Library of Congress provides a brief history of Memorial Day, with some helpful visual illustrations: From Decoration Day to Memorial Day | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos.

Those Slippery Snake Stories, 1904–Newspapers as Sources,

21 May

For anyone interested in the past, old newspapers are a delight, offering glimpses into the nuts and bolts of daily lives long past and connecting us intimately to the things that communities once saw as important and interesting. They reveal not just what people used to talk about, but also how they talked about the things that mattered to them—how they shaped stories to make sense of their world.

And for anyone who delights in old newspapers, the digital revolution and the proliferation of searchable, full-text databases like Chronicling America, a partnership of NEH and the Library of Congress, have brought a world’s worth of treasures right to our computers and tablets.

So notes historian and journalist Andie Tucher in Humanities. (The majority of my own research has been centered in 19th and early 20th century newspapers.) She provides a fascinating example of the diversity of coverage–and thus complexity of understanding–of a single story in New York City in 1904. You can find her entire article here: Those Slippery Snake Stories | Humanities.

Try Drawing an Outline of the Midwest on a Map

17 May

Originally posted on Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies:

The Midwest is real, but exactly where it is is not something all agree upon. Jenny Xie at The Atlantic provides some links to an exhibit at the Boston Society of Architects that, among other things, challenges people to draw the boundaries of the Midwest. You can find the site here: Go Ahead, Try Drawing an Outline of the Midwest on a Map – CityLab.

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