American History

Road Trip Through History: The Alamo

April 15, 2014

The first thing that struck me about the Alamo when I visited it with My Own True Love back in October* was how small it is.** It casts a historical shadow disproportionate to its size. The Alamo is billed as “the shrine of Texas liberty”. Consequently, I expected a monument to the famous last stand […]

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The Other American Colonies

April 8, 2014

I struggled to come up with a title for this post that was not United States-centric*–a fact which pretty much sums up the topic at hand. For most Americans** the grade school version of history that we carry in our heads jumps from Columbus in 1492 straight to the arrival of the Puritans in Massachusetts […]

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Dear Abigail

March 7, 2014

A million years ago, when I had first finished my doctoral dissertation and was tiptoeing toward writing about history for an non-academic audience, I headed off to a week-long writing class in Iowa. Along with the rest of my gear, I packed David McCullough’s then newly released John Adams, on the assumption that it would […]

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Re-Run: Road Trip Through History–The Utopian Communities of New Harmony

February 22, 2014

My Own True Love and I dearly love a road trip, especially if it includes a historical site or three, a quirky museum, a regional delicacy to try, walking paths, and plenty of roadside historical markers. (Anyone who thinks she might want to travel with us, be warned. We are the kind of people who […]

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Road Trip through History: The Colchagua Museum

February 2, 2014

We might not have gone to the Colchagua Museum in Santa Cruz, Chile, if one of our local hosts hadn’t recommended it so strongly.  The guidebooks described it as a private collection that had been turned into a museum–something I always approach with the caution.  Private collections fueled by a personal passion often create a […]

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Shin-kickers From History: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi

January 21, 2014

American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. always claimed, “From my background I gained my regulating Christian ideals. From Gandhi, I learned my operational technique.” The son and grandson of Baptist preachers in Atlanta, George, Martin Luther King went to Crozer Theological Seminary ready to fight for civil rights but full of doubts […]

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History on Display: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair

January 10, 2014

Last Sunday My Own True Love and I cocked a snook at cold and snow* and headed out to Chicago’s Field Museum to see what we thought was an exhibit on the 1893 World’s Fair, aka the Columbian Exposition. We had neglected to read the subtitle for the exhibit: “Opening the Vaults”. As is often […]

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Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas

December 17, 2013

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of History in the Margins–or anyone who browses my office bookshelves–that I am fascinated by maps.   As I’ve mentioned before, history happens in both time and space.  How can you understand an event/culture/war/empire if you don’t have a feel for its geography? As someone interested in […]

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Road Trip Through History: The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

December 14, 2013

More than a month ago I promised you a report on our visit to the LBJ Library. I fully expected to sit down and write it later that week. The fact that I wandered off into other historical by-ways is simply a reflection of how easily I’m distracted, not on the quality of the museum. […]

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Seed of the Future:Yosemite and the Evolution of the National Park Idea

December 8, 2013

Seed of the Future: Yosemite and the Evolution of the National Park Idea is a beautiful book, with gorgeous pictures and heavy paper that made me hesitate to underline and write in the margins.* It is also an excellent work of history. Written by award-winning filmmaker and writer Dayton Duncan in conjunction with the Yosemite […]

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