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Entries Tagged as 'Misc.'

Waiting Around to Die

July 27th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

It’s a slow Friday afternoon, and in spite of my earlier apology, I’m feeling a little ghoulish. You may already know about Charles Julius Guiteau, a thirty-nine-year-old crazy person who in 1881 assassinated President James A. Garfield, believing himself to have been appointed by God for the mission when Garfield refused to give him a […]

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Of the Coarsest Scurrility

July 17th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From

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He Kept On Marchin’ Straight Ahead

July 17th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

A little while ago we made mention of our upcoming Ku Klux Klan entry. I thought of it again as I listened to the song above for about the million and twelfth time. It’s “Colfax / Step in Time” by the Nashville (via Louisiana via Iowa City) singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon, and please believe me when […]

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A Good Idea Out of Africa

July 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The idea of inoculating people for smallpox was passed on to Americans by their slaves. If you can fit it, file this under “I Had No Idea.” From Annette Gordon-Reed‘s The Hemingeses of Monticello: There is no cure for smallpox, and throughout the ages populations across the globe had had to find ways of preventing its spread. […]

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From Troubled Dreams

July 15th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

THIS is the BEETLE, with her thread and needle (above) suggests a kind of domesticated Gregor Samsa,* but it well precedes Kafka. There’s no Virginia connection here, but when I first saw this image (here) I had to know more. With a little digging, I found some info from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Oh, and […]

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Here’s an Axis to Stick It In!

July 13th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The encyclopedia joined Tumblr a few weeks ago, and since then, a number of friends, family, and colleagues have asked, “What’s Tumblr?” Short answer: “I don’t know.” Alternative answer: Go immerse yourself in Lost Splendor, a Tumblr page created by a history student in New York. The above images are from there, and I encourage […]

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Tags: Misc. · Visual History

The Greatest Speech They Had Ever Heard

July 13th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

I’m a big fan of Fergus Bordewich‘s writing, and his new book—

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We Gonna Have Us a Revolution!

July 12th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The New York Times called Andy Griffith a “lawman and a moral compass.” But he was a pretty good history teacher, too!

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“Can you see my belly?”

July 12th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As yesterday was the anniversary of Burr v. Hamilton, here is a sobering drunken account of the famous duel. “I can’t reconcile killing someone with my political beliefs, but I can’t reconcile my political beliefs … with not killing someone. Can you see my belly?”

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One Requires Glasses

July 11th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1804, Alexander Hamilton dueled the vice president, Aaron Burr … and lost. Ron Chernow gives us the scene: Fanned by a light morning breeze, Hamilton and Burr now assumed sideways poses, presenting the slim silhouettes preferred by duelists. The sun was rising fast, and when Pendleton asked if they were ready, […]

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Black Dynamite Is My Master!

July 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

While you’re waiting for the release of Quentin Tarantino‘s new slavery revenge flick Django Unchained, you can read Black Dynamite: Slave Island, a comic book in which—and here I’m quoting— Black Dynamite arrived to Slave Island and it was a resort for people to visit to see slaves like animals at the zoo or at an […]

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Being a General 101

July 5th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As far as I know, the game Risk did not exist 150 years ago, but if it did, the Scientific American was preparing its readers to win. This item, titled “Line of Battle,” appeared in the weekly magazine’s July 5 issue. This expression often occurs in referring to the order of troops on the battle field, […]

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Tags: Misc. · Reading the Paper

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

IMAGES: Olga San Juan, Noel Niell and Nancy Porter, July 4, 1945; draft of the Declaration of Independence in the hand of Thomas Jefferson (New York Public Library); Screenshot from the Twitter page of comedian and actor Chris Rock (@chrisrock) on July 4, 2012; “Uncle Sam’s Birthday. 1776—July 4th 1918. 142 Years Young and Going Strong,” ca. 1917–1919 (National […]

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Tags: Misc. · Thomas Jefferson · Visual History

Two Thoughts

July 2nd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

One, about summer. See above. It’s really hot, and there were storms, and the Encyclopedia Virginia World Headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been variously with and without power these last few days. In case we owe you something, this is what’s going on. Two, about editing. A wise man once said, “Editing is just like […]

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Vertigo

June 19th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

This is just to say that things around here have been a little slow of late because the proprietor suffers from a case of—you guessed it—vertigo. As one of my favorite bloggers once said, “Postings are going to be light and then heavy.” IMAGES: Hitchcock-inspired posters found here.

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A New Use for Encyclopedias

June 15th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

An edition of the illustrated French encyclopedia Nouveau Larousse Illustré by Pierre Larousse transformed into book-sculpture by Alexander Korzer-Robinson (Alexander Korzer-Robinson/Barcroft Media)

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Black Confederates on Hold for Mr. Draper

June 12th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

I recently discovered a blog—Prochronisms—dedicated to sniffing out anachronistic language first in the World War I–era television show Downton Abbey and now the just-concluded fifth season of Mad Men, which takes place in 1966. From what I can tell, this is not an attempt to scold television writers for their mistakes, but more to call attention […]

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Tags: Misc. · Virginia History

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Vengeance

June 7th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

We were sort of speaking of the Declaration of Independence, and we’re always going on about slavery, so here’s something: the first trailer for Quentin Tarantino‘s new film, due out this Christmas—Django Unchained. It’s a slavery revenge fantasy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGPWDn8zBDs Here’s the film’s official description. It’s kind of crazy, as you might expect. Set in the […]

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Alexander Hamilton, Stud

June 1st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The article, in Bloomberg Businessweek, begins: “Alexander Hamilton was a stud.” It goes on to note his various accomplishments as a Founding Father and his notorious death at the hands of Aaron Burr, before announcing that he has now inspired his own hip-hop album. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award-winning creator of Broadway’s In the Heights, is […]

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What You’ll Miss

May 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From Ta-Nehisi Coates (links added): There is no history of racism in this country that [can be] chalked “up only to race.” You can’t really talk about stereotypes of, say, black laziness unless you understand stereotypes of the poor stretching back to 17th century Great Britain (Edmund Morgan again.) You can’t really talk about the Southern […]

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Mere Semantics (Signed Books 3)

May 18th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

My dad is a prolific and often brilliant writer of letters. His epistolary talent was evident to me even when I was in first grade. I was learning to read then, of course, and my stern, Weeble Wobble–shaped teacher would send me home with a book. My job was to read it aloud and return to […]

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She’s Right, Of Course (Signed Books 2)

May 18th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Having just posted some author signatures found on Google Books, I can’t help but recall a couple of my own signed books. For instance: A number of years ago, when I lived in Maine, a friend of mine called me from Seattle. “Do you know Thisbe Nissen?” he asked, figuring that I might have crossed paths […]

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What We Wouldn’t Do (Baseball Edition)

May 17th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Everyone around here is a Nats fan* or maybe they like the Orioles. So when I discovered that Ron Swanson bleeds Cubbie blue, it cheered me up, if only briefly.     * Actually, this makes me want to be a Nats fan, too. ELSEWHERE: I sing the sad song of Cubs fans everywhere. IMAGE: Al […]

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In Love with a Man Named Rufus

May 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

After the whole brouhaha over Barack Obama‘s support for gay marriage and Newsweek‘s declaration that he is our first “gay” president, the historian James Loewen reminds us of James Buchanan. The dude was straight-up gay without even trying very hard to hide it! For instance, on May 13, 1844, the future president wrote a letter to […]

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Internet Piracy; or, Fooling Wikipedia

May 15th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From today’s Atlantic: A woman opens an old steamer trunk and discovers tantalizing clues that a long-dead relative may actually have been a serial killer, stalking the streets of New York in the closing years of the nineteenth century. A beer enthusiast is presented by his neighbor with the original recipe for Brown’s Ale, salvaged […]

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Tags: Misc.