An Immigrant Named Trump

1 Oct

A teen-ager from Germany arrived in New York in 1885 with high aspirations. His descendant is now vying for the Presidency. Historian Ted Widmer offers a fascinating account of the first American Trump(f) at the New Yorker: An Immigrant Named Trump – The New Yorker

Pequot Museum Unveils Largest Collection of 17th Century Battlefield Artifacts on Display in New England

30 Sep

New Pequot War Exhibit Showcases more than 50 Recently-Recovered Objects from Mistick Fort Battlefield at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Re…

Source: Pequot Museum Unveils Largest Collection of 17th Century Battlefield Artifacts on Display in New England – Native News Online

Counterfactual History–the new TV season and thinking historically

29 Sep

At a time when ordinary people are struggling to cope with forces, structures, and systems beyond their control, contemplating speculative scenarios allows us to fantasize about transcending our sense of powerlessness and using individual agency to effect positive change. As historians, we should recognize the emotional resonance of counterfactuals and understand that the process of imagining how the past could have been can be part of the effort to shape the future. We should all heed the advice of Timeless’s Delta Force sergeant, Denise Christopher (played by Sakina Jaffrey) who in trying to enlist the services of the reluctant professor, Lucy Preston (played by Abigail Spencer), pointedly asks her: “I’d think that someone who loves history would want to save it.”

So concludes historian Gavriel D. Rosenfeld in a thoughtful post at the Organization of American Historians blog. Read the rest of his article here: The New Wave of “What Ifs?” – Process

Moving On: NARA’s Role in a Presidential Transition

26 Sep

 

 

After the pomp and ceremony of Inauguration Day, a new President arrives at a White House that is ready to support a new administration. This readiness is made possible by months of preparation and coordination among people from across the federal government.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is proud to play a critical role in the transition from one Presidential administration to another.

So begins a concise explanation of NARA’s role in the archiving of the Obama’s administration’s records. Read the rest of Archivist David S. Ferriero’s piece here at the Organization of American Historians’ blog: Moving On: NARA’s Role in a Presidential Transition – Process

National Museum of the American Indian’s Historic Unveiling of Gold Rush Era Treaty Held Secret by U.S. Senate Leading to Ethnic Cleansing of American Indian Nations in California

22 Sep

WASHINGTON — Unratified California Treaty K, also known as the Treaty of Temecula, will go on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on Sept. 22. This treaty is part of the exhibition “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations,” which opened on Sept. 21, 2014 and will stay open through Spring 2020. The full text of the treaty is available on the Nation to Nation project website.

The Treaty of Temecula is but one of 18 unratified treaties with California tribes that were submitted to the U.S. Senate on June 1, 1852 by President Millard Fillmore. Unbeknownst to the tribal signatories, the Senate rejected the treaties and ordered them to be held in secrecy for over fifty years.

Read the rest of the news release at Native News Online: National Museum of the American Indian’s Historic Unveiling of Gold Rush Era Treaty Held Secret by U.S. Senate Leading to Ethnic Cleansing of American Indian Nations in California – Native News Online

What Disappears When Ancient Documents Get Digitized?

21 Sep

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

The Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine is a treasure trove for the cartographically inclined. Its collection, which contains close to 450,000 items, spans the centuries, covering everything from a Ptolemaic chart of the world to a record of postal routes in the Dakota Territory. For much of the past decade, the library has been working to digitize that collection, carefully photographing many items it owns and presenting them for free online. It’s an effort that speaks to the ambivalent complexities of digitization, especially for archivists and researchers. Above all else, though, it’s an opportunity for the public to look at some astonishing—and frequently beautiful—maps. To better understand the Osher Library’s work, I spoke to Ian Fowler, the facility’s director. Fowler told me about the advanced imaging technology that the library uses, including a 60-megapixel camera used to capture especially large maps, and a new 3D camera…

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My Mom Grew Up in a Utopian Colony in Iowa

21 Sep

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

From my hometown of Toronto the drive to Amana, the dismantled utopian colony in Iowa, is 13 hours. I made it often in childhood, stuck in the backseat of my parent’s car, running batteries dead in my portable tape player, wondering if the long trip to a weird religious community was worth it.

But always, there was relief after we crossed the Mississippi river into the green rolling hills of my mother’s home state. “I feel better once I’m in Iowa,” she has said so often that I’ve come to believe it too. Most familiar of all to her is Amana, where she grew up, and where postcards of our family are still sold in the General Store: my great grandpa in front of a truck circa 1918, cousins hiking by the Iowa river, an aunt sorting cabbages.

If Amana sounds familiar it may be because it’s the name of…

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