Odd Bits

1913: The Year in Review

November 9, 2013

What with one thing and another, I’ve been hanging out in 1913 a lot over the last six weeks. It was one of those years when the world seemed poised to change. A lot of -isms hovered in the air: progressivism, modernism, nationalism, feminism,* and, unfortunately, racism. Here are some of the highlights: The Armory […]

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On Paper

November 5, 2013

Self-confessed bibliophiliac Nicholas Basbanes is the author of several volumes on book collecting and book mania. In On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History, he moves beyond the world of books to consider the material from which they are made. On Paper is not another history of the discovery and spread of the […]

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A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps

October 29, 2013

I love Big Fat History Books, full of footnotes (no endnotes, please) and academic caution.  But I also love small, idiosyncratic books about history: books that look at the past through one person’s obsessions and interest. Chris West combined an uncle’s Edwardian stamp collection with his own interest in history to create a quirky and […]

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The Modern Art Invasion: An Interview with Elizabeth Lunday

October 11, 2013

I’ve been looking forward to Elizabeth Lunday’s  The Modern Art Invasion: Picasso, Duchamp and the 1913 Armory Show That Scandalized America for several years now. *  Elizabeth tells the story of a piece of American history that is often forgotten, and just as often misunderstood** in an engaging style.  Because I read Big Fat History […]

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The Frankfurt Book Fair

October 8, 2013

Tomorrow the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair opens its doors to publishing folk from around the world. For five days publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, film producers, rights managers, publishing technology specialists, and an occasional wild-eyed author will celebrate the High Holy Days of the international publishing world. Deals will be made. Buzz will be generated. Subsidiary […]

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Wastrels and Fallen Women

September 13, 2013

Last week I reviewed Nicola Phillips’ The Profligate Son. I immediately heard back from a regular reader of History in the Margins who likes to keep me on my toes.* He asked: “How comes it’s always a guy that is a wastrel? Are there no Regency or Victorian ‘ladies’ that are wastrels?” Not wanting to […]

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What Day Is It?

September 10, 2013

Last week a friend of mine pointed out that Rosh Hashanah comes early this year. She went on to bemoan the fact that the first day of Hanukkah falls on the day before Thanksgiving*: a result of the disjunction between a lunar and solar calendar over the long haul.** The discussion reminded me of a […]

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The Love of Maps

August 20, 2013

I will tell you with no apology (and only a slight wiggle of nerdy embarrassment) that I love maps. I suppose it is theoretically possible to love history and not love maps. I just can’t imagine how that would work.* After all, history happens in both time and space. A quick look at the right […]

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Pontiac’s War

August 6, 2013

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the French and Indian Wars in North America came to an end. The Treaty of Paris redefined British, French, and Spanish colonial territories. France ceded Canada and the French territories east of the Mississippi to Britain and the Louisiana territory west of the Mississippi to Spain. Spain relinquished Florida […]

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July 31, 2013

I have a soft spot for historical characters who push society’s boundaries and make them bend.* People who sit where they aren’t supposed to sit, speak up when the world wants them to be quiet, and study things people tell them they can’t study. ** People who find their voice or kick open doors. People […]

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