History News Archive January 2011

Philadelphia Tour Guides Sue For Right to Make-Up History 

After hearing tour guides tell visitors that Washington and Lincoln dined together in fashionable Society Hill, and that Benjamin Franklin wrote the first amendment to the Constitution five centuries ago, the Philadelphia City Council moved to require tour guides to pass a basic history test and pay a modest licensing fee. Incensed, the tour guides went to federal court, claiming infringement of their right to free speech. More 

Thanks to Alicia Wayland of Lebanon for forwarding this story. 

England's Other Hot Ticket for 2011: Hadrian's Wall 

Just in case you lose your invitation to the Royal Wedding reception this April, you might want to spend the afternoon touring the new discHadriansWalloveries along the nearly 2000 year old Hadrian's Wall, the Roman Empire's gateway to the North. With new sites,exhibitions, and a major film to be released in spring, the wall is making quite a comeback. More

Significant Lincoln Document Found Altered by Forger

It's every archive researcher's dream: to find a document that will chlincoln-pardon-signature-lange history. In 1998, Thomas Lowry took a pen and made his dream come true. (Thanks to State Archivist Mark Jones for forwarding this story.) More .

If You Thought Power Dressing Began With Gucci, Think Again.

It doesn't take an encounter with one of Henry VIII's ornately burnished and "embellished" codpieces to realize that power dressing has a long and time-honored history. More

9400 Years Ago, Man's Best Friend Was Also Lunch 

The recently found bone fragment of the oldest domesticated dog found in the Americas shows that it had passed through a human's digestive tract. Researcher Samuel Belknap II from the University of Maine in Orono found the bone fragment while examining waste matter at a cave in southwest Texas . . .   More .

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore?" Poe's Graveside Admirer Fails to Show Again 

The unknown visitor who left roses and a half-full bottle of cognac at Edgar Allan Poe's grave on the writer's birthday every year for 60 years, has failed to show for the second year in a row. More

The King James Version of the Bible Turns 400, & It Still Powerfully Shapes How We Speak..

"God forbid" that the "powers that be" should forget how phrases from this text - produced by a committee of 54 - "take root" in our language. Apart from it's religious impact, the King James version contributed 257 idioms to our language. That's 157 more than Shakespeare. More

115 Year Old Whiskey, Abandoned in the Antarctic, Returned to Scotland.

When Sir Ernest Shackleton gave up his attempt to reach the South Pole in 1907, he left behind a hut full of provisions including two bottle of whiskey that remained chilled in minus 30 degree Celsius temperatures for over a century. More

Tennessee Tea Party Demands Revised History Curriculum 

They said it, and they apparently mean it.  “Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”   More 

The Wooly Mammoth Could be "reborn in four years" 

A professor at Kyoto University is heading woolymammto Siberia next summer to retrieve the DNA which he believes will lead to the rebirth of the extinct wooly mammoth within four years. More

Putting Your Heritage on the Auction Block . . . or Worse 

It was bad enough when the library auctioned off the 13 star flag and the invitation to Abraham Lincoln's inaugural, but when trustees started taking artifacts home without signing them out, Marietta Phillips decided she'd had enough . . . 

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History Channel Decides Not to Air Kennedy Series

Director Jon Cesar believes pressure from the Kennedy family is behind the History Channel's decision not to air the eight part mini-series THE KENNEDYS, which it commissioned in partnership with a Canadian television network. The channel just calls it a "dramatic interepretation" not in keeping with History Channel fare.  More

The Gloves Are Off. Gordon Wood vs. Jill LePore Over the Tea Party Movement 

Two of America's leading historians are at odds over the relationship between history and popular memory of the past. Without mincing words, Gordon Wood has called Harvard historian Jill LePore on the carpet for her "academic contempt for the attempts of ordinary citizens to find some immediate and emotional meaning in the Revolution." More

This Just In. The Oh So Fashionable Fig Leaf is 170,000 Years Old. 

Research into the DNA of the clothing louse has led scientitsts to a unique discovery: after millenia of walking around in the buff, humans decided to cover their nakedness about 170,000 years ago. Beofre that, the whole world was a nudist colony.article-1345688-0CB3D4E5000005DC-888_468x310 More

It's the 200th Anniversary of America's Largest Slave Uprising  

       They spoke different languages,and came from different parts of the United States, Africa, and Haiti. But this week 200 years ago in January, 1811, Charles Deslondes and a make do army of 200 enslaved men took up hoes, axes, and cane knives to fight for freedom on the slave1811 NOLA Slave Uprising  coast of Louisiana. 

       This was not a sudden explosion of anger, but a revolt that had been planned for years, in secret meetings in cane fields and taverns, at slave dances, and along slave communication networks that reached to the Caribbean. And it almost succeeded. More

Memorizing Dates Is Just a Waste of Time, Right?

Since 1967 - or was it 1974? - many history educators have been of the opinion that memorizing dates - in the overall scheme of historical knowledge - simply wasn't important. Research conducted in - 2010? - points to that assumption being decidedly out of date.   More

So, Does He Hate the Murals Because They're Racist? Or Because They're Not?

One of the first acts of Georgia's new agricultural commissioner will be to remove murals depicting slaves planting and harvesting crops in 19th century Georgia from the state Agmuraloffice building in which he works.. . .  Learn More 

The American Revolution Was No Tea Party 

Sure it was a fight for liberty. But did anyone have the liberty to disagree? For those of us who like our patriots clear-eyed and virtuous, T.H. Breen provides a bit of a  reality check.amInsurg  Learn More 


Rosie the Riveter, the "We Can Do It" Girl, Dead at 86. 

Geraldine Doyle, who unknowingly was the model for the iconic World War II image of Rosie the Riveter, passed away last Sunday in Michigan. 

capt.photo_1293731014019-3-0Learn More

That Noble Nightmare

Thinking about getting a Ph.D.? Like the idea of being called Doctor "Fries-with-That?"  Learn More 

. . . And the War Came 

A New Year's Day cannon shot by National Park service officials at the Manassas (Bull Run) bat-1tlefield in Virginia, marked the beginning of a four year long commemoration of the Civil War's 150th Anniversary. Learn More . 

One thing seems clear, 146 years after the war ended, we're still very much divided over its meaning. Learn More

Publishing Phenomenon, or 3.7 Pound Doorstop? 

101122_BOOK_marktwainMark Twain called his autobiography "one of the most memorable literary inventions of the ages," ranking "with the steam engine, the printing press, & the electric telegraph." But to at least one reviewer, this surprise best-seller by Connecticut's legendary satirist takes way too long to reveal way too little. Learn More 

What? The Rell!

The former church in which state historical researchers and genealogists may some day conduct their investigations just got a vaguely familiar name.  Learn More

Approved History Textbook Filled with Errors 

When the textbook OUR VIRGINIA PAST AND PRESENT claimed that thousands of black slaves had fought alongside their Confederate masters against the Yankees, it got historians' attention. OUR-VIRGINIA_I101229202819Their fact-checking found the book is riddled with errors. Learn More 

"I'll Trade You Two Walter Raleighs for an Unsmoked Gabriel Archer" 

Four hundred years before the baseball card or the licensed official team jersey, the Virginia Company came up with a terrific idea to promote their tobacco growing settlement at Jamestown: collectible pipes, each with the name of a prominent company investor, explorer, or settler. Learn More a4s_dbtext010111_156722d

The Book is History. 

Someone finally came out and said it. The book is dead. It just doesn't know it yet. Learn More 

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