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Brothers in Arms

6 Dec

Read about the Eyde brothers of Illinois and their letters to one another during World War II. The letters have only recently been re-discovered. Dan Lamothe provides a concise overview at the Washington Post here.

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THE AGE OF THE BED CHANGED THE WAY WE SLEEP

30 Nov

sleeping

A night without electric lights—not to mention glowing screens—is almost unimaginable for modern residents of wealthy nations. Looking at writings from the British Isles in the early modern era, A. Roger Ekirch reconstructs what it was like, and how the darkness affected people’s sleep patterns.

So begins Livia Gershon’s summary of historian A. Roger Ekrich’s work. You may read the rest of Gershon’s JSTOR Daily post here.

Mortar Found at “Jesus’ Tomb” Dates to the Constantine Era Read

29 Nov

edicule

In the year 325 A.D., according to historical sources, Constantine, Rome’s first Christian emperor, sent an envoy to Jerusalem in the hopes of locating the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. His representatives were reportedly told that Jesus’ burial place lay under a pagan temple to Venus, which they proceeded to tear down. Beneath the building, they discovered a tomb cut from a limestone cave. Constantine subsequently ordered a majestic church—now known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—to be built at the site.

So begins Brigit Katz’s brief report at Smithsonian.com about recent archaeological work at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. You can read the entire post, with links, here.

Behold the Newly Digitized 400-Year-Old Codex Quetzalecatz

28 Nov

The Codex Quetzalecatzin

One of the most important surviving Mesoamerican manuscripts from the 16th century has just become available to the general public.

So begins Julissa Trevino’s post at Smithsonian.com. You can read the entire post, with links, here.

How Pumpkin Pie Sparked a 19th-Century Culture War

23 Nov

 

Thanksgiving in Union camp sketched on 28 November 1861, believed to be the camp of General Louis Blenker.

Thanksgiving in Union camp sketched on 28 November 1861, believed to be the camp of General Louis Blenker. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/ LC-DIG-PPMSCA-21210

Although meant to unify people, the 19th-century campaign to make Thanksgiving a permanent holiday was seen by prominent Southerners as a culture war. They considered it a Northern holiday intended to force New England values on the rest of the country. To them, pumpkin pie, a Yankee food, was a deviously sweet symbol of anti-slavery sentiment.

So notes Ariel Knoebel in her engaging post at Atlas Obscura. You can read her entire post here.

 

 

Five myths about American Indians

22 Nov

Thanksgiving recalls for many people a meal between European colonists and indigenous Americans that we have invested with all the symbolism we can muster. But the new arrivals who sat down to share venison with some of America’s original inhabitants relied on a raft of misconceptions that began as early as the 1500s, when Europeans produced fanciful depictions of the “New World.” In the centuries that followed, captivity narratives, novels, short stories, textbooks, newspapers, art, photography, movies and television perpetuated old stereotypes or created new ones — particularly ones that cast indigenous peoples as obstacles to, rather than actors in, the creation of the modern world. I hear those concepts repeated in questions from visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian every day. Changing these ideas is the work of generations. Here are five of the most intransigent.

So begins Kevin Gover’s post. You can read the rest of it here.

For Thanksgiving feasts, celery and olives used to be featured

20 Nov

Celery and olives.

From the late 1800s until the 1960s, these two foods — which usually only come together in the murky depths of a Bloody Mary — were a must on seasonally decorated tables in homes across America.

So begins Hilary Sargent’s concise food history of celery, olives, and Thanksgiving meals. Read the rest of her account at Boston.com here.

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