|The Bravest Son of Liberty?|
February 07, 2015, Yankee Doodle Spies by S.W. O'Connell
Jamaica, Long Island that is. Brigadier General Marinus Willett may in fact be one of the greatest and accomplished New Yorkers - ever. He was a descendant of Thomas Willett, who arrived in New York on the ship The Lion in 1632. The elder Willett served as the first English Mayor of New York City after New Amsterdam fell to the British in 1664. Marinus' father was Edward Willett, a farmer who lived in Jamaica, Long Island (now Queens). Hard to believe that the mean streets that folks see on the way to JFK Airport once was some of the lushest farm land in America. But Edward was a man of letters and business - he made his living as a school teacher and a tavern keeper.
|World premiere of Vivaldi's earliest known work|
February 06, 2015, BBC (UK) by Benedetto Cataldi
The newly-discovered earliest known work by Italian baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi is being premiered at a concert on Monday in Florence, at the city's renowned Uffizi art museum.
The new Vivaldi discovery is an instrumental work that has been dated to between 1700 and 1703. It will be performed by the baroque ensemble Modo Antiquo, under the baton of Federico Maria Sardelli, the conductor and musicologist who unearthed this composition.
|Remarkable Discovery Describes Hemmings Cabin Interior|
February 05, 2015, Monticello.org by Susan Stein
While study of Mulberry Row has been underway for nearly 60 years, Monticello curators just discovered new important information about the furnishings of John and Priscilla Hemmings’s cabin. We could hardly believe our luck to find a very rare, first-person account about the interior of a slave dwelling. It was written by the last great-grandchild born at Monticello, Martha Jefferson Trist Burke (1826–1915). Amazingly, Martha Burke vividly remembered the interior of the Hemmngs’s dwelling because of the strong impression it made upon her at 2 ½ years of age. Written in her own hand in a lined notebook in 1889, she notes,
|Thomas Jefferson Conducted Early Smallpox Vaccine Trials|
February 04, 2015, Smithsonian Magazine by Marissa Fessenden
In May of 1980, the World Health Assembly declared the world free from smallpox. The disease that had killed millions of people every century for much of recorded history was gone (at least, outside of laboratories)—a triumph that began with English doctor Edward Jenner, who discovered in 1796 that a little bit of a similar virus from cows could protect humans. Cows are vacca in Latin, hence vaccination.
Jenner’s work reached the U.S. in part due to the efforts of a Harvard professor, Benjamin Waterhouse, who vaccinated his own family and exposed them to smallpox patients. But Waterhouse wanted to spread the word, so he wrote to an amateur scientist in Virginia, writes Steven Johnson for How We Get to Next. That scientist was Thomas Jefferson.
|6 Famous Wild Children from History|
February 03, 2015, History.com by Evan Andrews
According to legend, the city of Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, two twin boys who were born to a princess and abandoned in the wilderness as infants. The pair would have died if not for the kindness of a she-wolf and a woodpecker, which suckled and fed the boys until a shepherd adopted them. The story of Romulus and Remus’s youth is most likely a myth, but history abounds with tales of kids who spent their early years in confinement or alone in the forest, often emerging with little knowledge of language or social cues. From a wild boy kept as a pet in King George’s court to an Indian who was supposedly raised by wolves, learn the puzzling and often tragic stories of six famous feral children.
|Taj Mahal Gardens Found to Align with the Solstice Sun|
February 02, 2015, LiveScience by Owen Jarus
If you arrived at the Taj Mahal in India before the sun rises on the day of the summer solstice (which usually occurs June 21), and walked up to the north-central portion of the garden where two pathways intersect with the waterway, and if you could step into that waterway and turn your gaze toward a pavilion to the northeast — you would see the sun rise directly over it.
If you could stay in that spot, in the waterway, for the entire day, the sun would appear to move behind you and then set in alignment with another pavilion, to the northwest. The mausoleum and minarets of the Taj Mahal are located between those two pavilions, and the rising and setting sun would appear to frame them.
|Corpse of 200-Year-Old Monk Found in Lotus Position|
January 29, 2015, Discovery News by Rossella Lorenzi
The amazingly intact remains of a meditating monk have been discovered in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia, according to a report in Mongolia’s Morning News.
The mummified body, which was covered in animal skin, has been sitting in the lotus position for about 200 years.
According to the report, no information is so far available as to where the body was found.
|Vice-Admiralty Courts And Writs Of Assistance|
January 28, 2015, Journal of the American Revolution by Bob Ruppert
Vice-Admiralty jurisdiction was established in the American colonies
in 1697; Vice-Admiralty courts were created in Maryland (1694), New York (which included Connecticut and New Jersey) and South Carolina (1697), Pennsylvania (which included Delaware) and Virginia (1698), Massachusetts (1699), New Hampshire (1704), Rhode Island (1716), North Carolina (1729), and Georgia (1754). They were not effective in enforcing trade laws due to bribery of officials, smuggling, salutary neglect on the part of England, and poor appointments. As a result, after the French and Indian War, when tax revenue was needed to cover the debt incurred by the war, England shut down the ten courts and created a single court in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Crown appointed and sent Dr. William Spry from England to serve as “Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court of all America.”
|A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows|
January 28, 2015, NPR by Jasmine Garsd
The name Junípero Serra is well known in California: Schools and streets are named in his honor, and statues of the 18th century Spanish missionary still stand. But Native American activists are far less enamored with the friar, saying Serra was actually an accomplice in the brutal colonization of natives. They object to Pope Francis' recent announcement that he will canonize Serra when he travels to the U.S. this fall.
|A Historic Manuscript on Aztec Life Is “Virtually Repatriated”|
January 27, 2015, Hyperallergic by Allison Meier
One of the major textual resources on pre-Columbian Mexico is now online in a digital platform launched this month. The 1542 Codex Mendoza, dating to just 20 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, is a thorough report on Aztec society, from daily life to culture and rituals.
However, since it arrived at the University of Oxford in the 17th century, and currently in the collection of the Bodleian Library, it’s only been accessible to Mexico researchers in copy form, the major reproductions being in English. The online version of the Codex Mendoza, also available as a free iOS app, was created by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute for Anthropology and History) in collaboration with the Bodleian Library and Oxford’s King’s College London. It provides interactive translations to modern Spanish and English that smoothly hover over the sharply digitized pages, maps, and timelines complementing the text on territories and expansion, and expandable research activated by clicking on individual images and information.
|Experts examine bones as Spain hunts for Cervantes' remains|
January 24, 2015, The Associated Press by Jorge Sainz and Harold Heckle
Forensic experts began excavating graves and examining bones Saturday in a tiny chapel in Madrid, hoping to solve the centuries-old mystery of exactly where the great Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes was laid to rest.
The author of "Don Quixote" was buried in 1616 at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid's historic Barrio de las Letras, or Literary Quarter, but the exact whereabouts of his grave within the convent chapel are unknown.
|6 Unsung Heroes of the American Revolution|
January 23, 2015, History.com by Christopher Klein
For every familiar name such as Washington, Hancock and Revere, there were countless other lesser-known patriots who enabled the United States to win its independence. The following six men are among the unsung heroes of the American Revolution.
|Researchers hopeful that NC site is that of Lost Colony|
January 19, 2015, The Associated Press by Martha Waggoner
A clue discovered just a few years ago on a centuries-old map has led researchers back to a North Carolina site in hopes of discovering whether the men, women and children of North Carolina's "Lost Colony" settled there.
"If we were finding this evidence at Roanoke Island, which is the well-established site of Sir Walter Raleigh's colony, we would have no hesitation to say this is evidence of Sir Walter Raleigh's colonies," said Phil Evans, president of the First Colony Foundation. "But because this is a new site and not associated with Sir Walter Raleigh, we have to hesitate and ask questions and learn more. It's not Roanoke Island. It's a new thing, and a new thing has to stand some tests."
|Broken Promises On Display At Native American Treaties Exhibit|
January 18, 2015, NPR by Hansi Lo Wang
For centuries, treaties have defined the relationship between many Native American nations and the U.S. More than 370 ratified treaties have helped the U.S. expand its territory and led to many broken promises made to American Indians.
A rare exhibit of such treaties at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., looks back at this history. It currently features one of the first compacts between the U.S. and Native American nations – the Treaty of Canandaigua.
|How the Choctaws Saved the Irish|
January 17, 2015, Indian Country Today by Staff
We're overstating the case there—the Choctaws didn't save the Irish, but they sure tried to help. The year was 1847, and the the Great Irish Famine (sometimes called the Irish Potato Famine by non-Irish) was in its second year. Individuals in the Choctaw Nation—with the hardships of The trail of Tears, 16 years earlier, perhaps still in mind—learned of the catastrophe in Ireland and sent copy70 of their own money to help.
|Spite Thy Neighbor|
January 17, 2015, Now I Know by Dan Lewis
Pictured above is two or three houses, depending on how one defines the term “house.” The middle one — the tiny, blue one, which if you didn’t know better, looks like it’d be a good fit for a Smurf — isn’t really much of a house at all. It’s only seven feet wide and 25 feet deep, encapsulating less than 400 square feet. There’s a second story but there are no side windows. And while someone lives there (sometimes), the original owner never intended for that to happen.
He just wanted people to leave him alone.
|The Doctor Who Championed Hand-Washing And Briefly Saved Lives|
January 12, 2015, NPR by Rebecca Davis
This is the story of a man whose ideas could have saved a lot of lives and spared countless numbers of women and newborns' feverish and agonizing deaths.
You'll notice I said "could have."
The year was 1846, and our would-be hero was a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis.
|Battle of Waterloo: Search for UK soldiers' descendants|
January 11, 2015, BBC (UK) by Staff
A search is being launched for Britons whose ancestors fought at Waterloo, on the 200th anniversary of Britain and its allies' victory over Napoleon.
Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are estimated to have relatives who fought in June 1815.
|Beethoven May Have Composed Masterpieces To His Own Irregular Heartbeat|
January 11, 2015, The Huffington Post by Carolyn Gregoire
Many who listen to Beethoven's masterpieces would describe them as deeply heartfelt -- and according to new research, this description may be surprisingly apt.
The unusual rhythms found in some of Beethoven's most iconic works may be linked to the heart condition cardiac arrhythmia, which he is suspected to have had, research from the University of Michigan and University of Washington suggests.
|6 Myths About the Battle of New Orleans|
January 08, 2015, History.com by Christopher Klein
Outside New Orleans on January 8, 1815, a badly outnumbered, motley collection of regular soldiers, backcountry riflemen and lawless pirates led by Major General Andrew Jackson scored a lopsided victory against the mighty British army. The surprising triumph not only boosted American pride and transformed Jackson into a national hero, it also quickly became shrouded in mythology. On the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans, learn the truth behind six common misconceptions about one of the most famous showdowns of the War of 1812.
|The Beautiful Geometry of 18th-Century Forts, Built by Britain in the American Colonies|
January 07, 2015, Slate by Rebecca Onion
The Twitter feed @bldgblog recently shared some of these images of plans for 18th-century British forts in the Americas, from the online exhibition “The Geometry of War.” The exhibition, curated by Brian L. Dunnigan, associate director and curator of maps at the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library, contains maps from the library’s collection.
|1795 Time Capsule Included Coins, Newspapers|
January 06, 2015, The Associated Press by Steve LeBlanc
Early residents of Boston valued a robust press as much as their history and currency if the contents of a time capsule dating back to the years just after the Revolutionary War are any guide.
When conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston gingerly removed items from the box Tuesday, they found five tightly folded newspapers, a medal depicting George Washington, a silver plaque, two dozen coins, including one dating to 1655, and the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
|Re-enactment focuses on little-known militia|
January 01, 2015, The Associated Press by Bruce Shipkowski
Two New Jersey college students are shining a bright light on a little-known militia that helped turn the tide of America’s Revolutionary War.
Rutgers-Camden University graduate students Matt White and Dave Niescior have led the effort to organize a re-enactment of the Philadelphia Associators’ overnight march from Trenton to Princeton, which took place from Jan. 2 to 3, 1777.
|A Shaker Village Finds Enterprise Is Not So Simple|
December 30, 2014, The New York Times by Brian Schaefer
Hancock Shaker Village, a cluster of historic houses, barns and shops set here amid gardens and cow pastures, has long sought to preserve the culture and traditions of the Shakers, the small but influential religious sect that became as well known for its minimalist furniture as for its social tenets of egalitarianism and pacifism.
Since the 1960s visitors have come to this living history museum to see life as the Shakers experienced it, in structured and disciplined communities that embraced a practice of celibacy that ultimately hindered their growth.
|When the Founding Fathers Were Lads|
December 30, 2014, The Associated Press by Paige Sutherland
Don’t let the powdered wigs and oil paintings fool you: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and the other eventual Americans who changed the course of history were a ragtag band of secretive and sometimes mischievous young radicals.
Just ask Paul Revere, aka actor Michael Raymond-James, who’s part of the cast of “Sons of Liberty,” a new miniseries premiering in January on the History Channel.