HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP
HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP
A History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon
Source: NYT, 11-27-13
Until 1989, turkeys sent to the White House for Thanksgiving usually suffered a different fate.
Source: NYT, 11-27-13
Until 1989, turkeys sent to the White House for Thanksgiving usually suffered a different fate.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 27, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 26, 2013
Source: ABC News, 11-19-13
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
– Abraham Lincoln
Nov. 19, 1863
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 19, 2013
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 1, 2013
Source: WH, 7-27-13
10:44 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Please be seated. Good morning. Annyong haseyo.
Secretaries Hagel, Jewell and Shinseki; Admiral Winnefeld; General Jung; all our friends from the Republic of Korea, including the legendary General Paik Sun Yup; distinguished guests; and most of all, veterans of the Korean War and your families. (Applause.) To our veterans — many in your 80s, a few in your old uniforms — which still fit — (laughter) — let me just say you look outstanding. And I would ask that all United States, Republic of Korea, and other veterans who fought — I would ask those who can stand to please stand so that we can properly honor you here today. (Applause.)
July 27th, 1953 — 60 years ago today. In the village of Panmunjom, in a barren room, the generals picked up their pens and signed their names to the agreement spread before them. That night, as the armistice took hold, the guns of war thundered no more. Along the jagged front, men emerged from their muddy trenches. A Marine raised his bugle and played taps. And a soldier spoke for millions when he said, “Thank God it is over.”
In the days that followed, both sides pulled back, leaving a demilitarized zone between them. Soldiers emptied their sandbags and tore down their bunkers. Our POWs emerged from the camps. Our troops boarded ships and steamed back across the ocean. And describing the moment he passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, one of those soldiers wrote, “We suddenly knew we had survived the war, and we were home.”
Yet ask these veterans here today and many will tell you, compared to other wars, theirs was a different kind of homecoming. Unlike the Second World War, Korea did not galvanize our country. These veterans did not return to parades. Unlike Vietnam, Korea did not tear at our country. These veterans did not return to protests. Among many Americans, tired of war, there was, it seemed, a desire to forget, to move on. As one of these veterans recalls, “We just came home and took off our uniforms and went to work. That was about it.”
You, our veterans of Korea, deserved better. And down the decades, our nation has worked to right that wrong, including here, with this eternal memorial, where the measure of your sacrifice is enshrined for all time. Because here in America, no war should ever be forgotten, and no veteran should ever be overlooked. And after the armistice, a reporter wrote, “When men talk in some distant time with faint remembrance of the Korean War, the shining deeds will live.” The shining deeds will live.
On this 60th anniversary, perhaps the highest tribute we can offer our veterans of Korea is to do what should have been done the day you come home. In our hurried lives, let us pause. Let us listen. Let these veterans carry us back to the days of their youth, and let us be awed by their shining deeds.
Listen closely and hear the story of a generation — veterans of World War II recalled to duty. Husbands kissing their wives goodbye yet again. Young men — some just boys, 18, 19, 20 years old — leaving behind everyone they loved “to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.” Let’s never forget all the daughters who left home, especially our heroic nurses who saved so many. Our women in Korea also served with honor. They also gave their lives. (Applause.)
Listen, and hear how these Americans faced down their fears and did their duty. Clutching their rifles; hearing the bugles in the distance; knowing that waves of enemy fighters would soon be upon them. In ships offshore, climbing down the ropes into the landing craft, knowing some of them would not leave that beach. On the tarmacs and flight decks, taking off in their Corsairs and Sabres, knowing that they might not return to this earth.
Listen, and hear of their gallantry — often outnumbered and outgunned — in some of the most brutal combat in modern history. How they held the line at the Pusan Perimeter. How they landed at Inchon and turned the tide of the war. How, surrounded and freezing, they battled their way out of Chosin Reservoir. And how they fought — foxhole by foxhole, mountain after mountain, day and night — at the Punchbowl and Heartbreak Ridge, Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill.
Listen, and hear how perhaps the only thing worse than the enemy was the weather. The searing heat, the choking dust of summer. The deep snow and bitter cold of winter — so cold their weapons could jam; so cold their food would turn to ice. And surely no one endured more than our POWs in those hellish camps, where the torment was unimaginable. Our POWs from Korea are some of the strongest men our nation has ever produced, and today we honor them all — those who never came home and those who are here today. (Applause.)
Listen to these veterans and you’ll also hear of the resilience of the human spirit. There was compassion — starving prisoners who shared their food. There was love — men who charged machine guns, and reached for grenades, so their brothers might live. There was the dark humor of war — as when someone misunderstood the code name for mortar rounds — “Tootsie Rolls” — and then shipped our troops thousands of Tootsie Rolls – candies.
And there was hope — as told in a letter home written by a soldier in the 7th Cavalry. Marching through the snow and ice, something caught his eye — a young lieutenant up ahead, and from the muzzle of his rifle hung a pair of tiny baby booties, “swinging silently in the wind…like tiny bells.” They were sent by the lieutenant’s wife, pregnant with their first child, and she promised to send ribbons — blue if a boy, pink if a girl. But as the war ground on, those soldiers were scattered. Until one day, on a Korean road, he spotted the lieutenant again. “Swinging gaily in the first rays of the morning sun,” the soldier wrote, were those booties, “and fluttering below them was the brightest, bluest piece of ribbon I have ever seen.”
Six decades on, these moments may seem like faint remembrances of a distant time. But for you — our Korea veterans and your families — I know it must feel sometimes just like just yesterday. And on days such as this, you’re back there once more. For Korea was the fire that helped to forge you.
As we listen to the story of your service, I say let us also learn, because your lives hold lessons for us today. Korea taught us the perils when we fail to prepare. After the Second World War, a rapid drawdown left our troops underequipped, so that in the early days of Korea, their rockets literally bounced off enemy tanks. Today, as we end a decade of war and reorient our forces for the future, as we make hard choices at home, our allies and adversaries must know the United States of America will maintain the strongest military the world has ever known, bar none, always. That is what we do. (Applause.)
Korea taught us that, as a people, we are stronger when we stand as one. On President Truman’s orders, our troops served together in integrated units. And the heroism of African Americans in Korea — and Latinos and Asian Americans and Native Americans — advanced the idea: If these Americans could live and work together over there, surely we could do the same thing here at home. (Applause.)
Change came slowly. And we continue our long journey toward a more perfect union. But for the great strides we have made toward the ideals of equality and opportunity, we must give thanks to our Korean War veterans who helped point the way.
Korea reminds us that when we send our troops into battle, they deserve the support and gratitude of the American people — especially when they come home. Today, let us remember that — right now — our sons and daughters continue to risk their lives, give their lives, in Afghanistan. And as this war ends and we welcome them home, we will make it our mission to give them the respect and the care and the opportunities that they have earned. (Applause.)
And Korea reminds us that our obligations to our fallen and their families endure long after the battle ends. To this day, 7,910 Americans are still missing from the Korean War. And we will not stop working until we give these families a full accounting of their loved ones. (Applause.) Like Sergeant First Class William Robinson — 26 years old — missing for 63 years. This week, in Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, the Robinsons will welcome their uncle home and finally lay him to rest — with full military honors. (Applause.)
Freedom is not free. And in Korea, no one paid a heavier price than those who gave all — 36,574 American patriots, and, among our allies, more than one million of our South Korean friends — soldiers and civilians. That July day, when the fighting finally ended, not far from where it began, some suggested this sacrifice had been for naught, and they summed it up with a phrase — “die for a tie.”
It took many decades for this memorial to gain its rightful place on this great Mall where we tell our American story. It has, perhaps, taken even longer to see clearly, and understand fully, the true legacy of your service. But here, today, we can say with confidence that war was no tie. Korea was a victory. When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom — a vibrant democracy, one of the world’s most dynamic economies, in stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North — that’s a victory; that’s your legacy. (Applause.)
When our soldiers stand firm along the DMZ; when our South Korean friends can go about their lives, knowing that the commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver — that is a victory, and that is your legacy.
When our allies across the Asia Pacific know — as we have proven in Korea for 60 straight years — that the United States will remain a force for peace and security and prosperity –that’s a victory; that’s your legacy.
And for generations to come, when history recalls how free nations banded together in a long Cold War, and how we won that war, let it be said that Korea was the first battle — where freedom held its ground and free peoples refused to yield, that, too, is your victory, your legacy.
Most of all, your legacy burns brightest right here, in a grateful nation that reveres you; in the loving families that cherish you — like that young soldier with those baby booties swinging from his rifle. Ever since the war, the story of that soldier has been passed among our Korean War vets. Some of you may have heard it before. And many may have wondered what became of that soldier. Today, six decades later, we now know — because we found him. His was Richard Shank, from St. Louis, Missouri. For his valor in Korea he earned the Silver Star. Yes, Dick survived the war. He returned home. He held his baby boy in his arms. He was able to be a father to his son.
But this story doesn’t end there — because like so many of you, Dick continued to serve in uniform. His son grew into a man, got married, had children of his own. Those children are now adults themselves, scattered across the country. And like so many American families, they still speak with pride of their grandfather’s service in Korea.
Today, Dick Shank lives in Gainesville, Florida, and I believe he’s watching us this morning. He’s 84 years old, recovering from a recent fall while roller skating. (Laughter.) “Life is short,” he says, “and I just keep on living it.” And one of the ways he keeps living it is by meeting up every year with his buddies from Korea, and recalling the time they shared together in that fight which ended 60 years ago today.
Veterans of the Korean War — in the spring of your youth you learned how short and precious life can be. And because of you, millions of people can keep on living it, in freedom and in peace. Your lives are an inspiration. Your service will never be forgotten. You have the thanks of a grateful nation. And your shining deeds will live — now and forever.
May God bless those who gave all in Korea. May God bless you and your families. May God bless the alliances that helped secure our prosperity and our security. And may God continue to bless these United States of America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 27, 2013
Source: Boston Globe, 7-9-13
2002 AP FILE
Edmund Morgan, shown at his home in Connecticut, won a Pulitzer Prize for his large body of work.
Edmund S. Morgan, one of the foremost historians of early America, died of pneumonia Monday in Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 97. He had taught since 1955 at Yale University, where he was Sterling professor emeritus of history….READ MORE
Source: NYT, 7-9-13
Edmund S. Morgan, an award-winning historian who illuminated the intellectual world of the Puritans, explored the paradox of freedom and slavery in colonial Virginia and, in his 80s, wrote a best-selling biography of Benjamin Franklin, died on Monday in New Haven. He was 97….READ MORE
Source: New Haven Register, 7-9-13
Edmund S. Morgan, a revered Yale University historian who shared a birthday with Benjamin Franklin and whose insights into early New England enlightened generations of Americans, has died at the age of 97….READ MORE
Edmund Morgan is the Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale University. Morgan has authored dozens of books on Puritan and early colonial history, which are acclaimed for both their scholarly focus and their appeal to a general audience. Michael Kammen in the Washington Post Book World described Morgan as “one of the most distinguished historians of the United States.” His books have challenged traditional assumptions about the forces that shaped early American history, including the lives and beliefs of the Puritans and the impetus for the Revolutionary War. Morgan has earned a reputation as an historian of people as well as of ideas, and as a writer of wide appeal. Bruce Kuklick, writing in Books and Culture, maintained that “Edmund Morgan is arguably the finest living American historian.”
Morgan’s most influencial books include The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution (1953), Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America (1988), which won Columbia University’s Bancroft Prize in American History in 1989, and American Slavery, American Freedom (1975), which won the Society of American Historians’ Francis Parkman Prize, the Southern Historical Association’s Charles S. Sydnor Prize and the American Historical Association’s Albert J. Beveridge Award. Two of his early books, Birth of the Republic (1956) and The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop (1958) which is a standard text on the topic used in University courses.
Morgan has received many awards throughout his prolific career for his work as a writer and a professor, including a lifetime achievement Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for “a creative and deeply influential body of work as an American historian that spans the last half-century.” In 1971 he was awarded the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa’s William Clyde DeVane Medal for outstanding teaching and scholarship, considered one of the most prestigious teaching prizes for Yale faculty. In 1972 he became the first recipient of the Douglas Adair Memorial Award for scholarship in early American history, and in 1986 he received the Distinguished Scholar Award of the American Historical Association. In 1965 Morgan became a Sterling Professor, one of Yale’s highest distinctions, and was awarded the 2000 National Humanities Medal by the US President Bill Clinton at a ceremony for “extraordinary contributions to American cultural life and thought.”
Morgan’s own interest in history grew while he was an undergraduate at Harvard, where he went on to earn his Ph.D in 1942. At Harvard Morgan studied under Perry Miller. Since he became a historian, he has witnessed a major change in his field. In 2002, he achieved his first New York Times best-seller with Benjamin Franklin Morgan attributes this to “the geezer factor. There just aren’t that many 86-year-olds writing books, so when they do, it’s quite an event.”
It was the 29th of August, 1938. After a postgraduate year at the London School of Economics I had been touring Europe with a friend, and we were then spending a week in Freiburg im Breisgau, not far from the French border. In a fit of cultural enthusiasm we had decided to travel to Colmar to view the famous altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald, a day trip by train via Breissach on the German border.
Before describing what happened there and how it affected me, I need to say that I had spent four years at Harvard under the tutorship of Perry Miller, whose respect for ideas and need to share them had given direction to my college years. He, like myself, was a confirmed atheist but at the same time an admirer and profound student of Puritan theology and its elegant scheme of thought. His studies of that scheme would bring him recognition as the foremost intellectual historian of his day. As a student and admirer of Miller, I had devoted much of my college studies to growing familiar with the doctrines of predestination, original sin, divine perfection, human depravity, and theodicy (the defense of God’s goodness despite the existence of evil). Puritan theology commanded respect as a rigorous intellectual system. But I had never quite accepted its dire view of the human condition, its insistence on the innate depravity of human beings. At twenty-two most people did not look all that bad to me.
At Breissach I gained a new perspective on humanity. It was exactly one month before the Munich Pact for which Neville Chamberlain became infamous. The morning paper had announced that Hitler had sent an ultimatum to Czechoslovakia demanding the return of the Sudetenland. When we reached Breissach, we were told that there was a two-hour wait before we would be allowed to cross over to the French side of the Rhine to reach Colmar. And as we strolled through the town, we noticed that young men in SS uniform were everywhere, standing conspicuously in every doorway. Without exception they were blond, six feet tall or more, good-looking. They could easily have been taken for American college boys. So we asked one of them what was going on. “Nur Ubung” was the answer: “just an excercise.” We came to a road leading to a cathedral overlooking the Rhine. As we walked into a beer garden we were confronted by a man in plainclothes who came over to tell us in a civil manner that we could go no further. Why? Because they were “cleaning the cathedral.” We laughed out loud, and so did he. They don’t clean cathedrals in Germany, or anywhere else for that matter. Anyhow, we must not proceed. He was obviously Gestapo.
So we sat down in the beer garden, next to a low hedge beside the street. Moments later, a big open-topped Mercedes touring car fishtailed to a stop near us. Top brass in Wehrmacht uniforms stepped down and had the SS arrange everyone on the street (full of people as curious as we were) in a row opposite to where we sat. Blackshirted men stood at six-foot intervals beside our hedge watching the citizenry, hands on pistols. Why we, and a few others, were permitted to stay put is a puzzle. Everyone was aware that some big shot was coming, but we did not expect the man himself. Then Hitler came through, fanning his signature sloppy salute to the crowd, as his touring car drove up past the cathedral that was not being cleaned. There was no mistaking his beefsteak-red face and negligent demeanor. In preparation for the coming war he was inspecting the Rhine fortifications.
We sat quietly, not ten feet from him as he passed slowly by. I could not help thinking that if I had been armed I could have shot him. (Like many American boys of my generation, I had been given a rifle at an early age and shown how to use it on small unoffending animals.) No one had searched me or any other patron of the beer garden, though I assume that more than one SS man had us in his sights.
The point of this story, for me, however, is that I knew I was looking evil in the face. And it looked like my next-door neighbor or a friend of the family, perhaps a bit old-fashioned but solid. What Hitler was already doing to the Jews of Germany and Austria was no secret-although highly-placed officials of the United States government were content to look away and to complain about slanders directed against the German nation.(The American consul at Stuttgart, with whom I had subsequent dealings, was a blatant antisemite.) The part those fresh-faced, and, well, biddable, young men in black were playing was no secret, either. But they all looked so human and so everyday. Even the Gestapo agent could have been a stodgy chance-met tourist rather than a hard man or heavily-armed stooge.
Puritan theology began to make sense, in a way that shook me. I could not believe in the salvation of a few held out by John Calvin or Jonathan Edwards, but human depravity suddenly acquired a face, the cheerful mask that we all learn to wear as the price of belonging to a settled social order. I was still an atheist, as I am now, but that day in Breissach I became a Calvinist atheist. Human beings are capable of great good, but I know that the capacity for fathomless evil is equally human, and it wears a smiling face.
By Edmund S. Morgan
About Edmund S. Morgan
Teaching Positions: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, instructor in social sciences, 1945-46;
Brown University, Providence, RI, assistant professor, 1946-49, associate professor, 1949-51, professor of history, 1951-55;
Yale University, New Haven, CT, professor of history, 1955-65, Sterling Professor of History, 1965-86, professor emeritus, 1986–.
Johnson Research Professor, University of Wisconsin, 1968-69.
Member of council, Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1953-56, 1958-60, and 1970-72;
Trustee of Smith College, 1984- 89.
Area of Research: Puritan and American colonial history
Education: Harvard University, A.B., 1937, Ph.D., 1942;
London School of Economics, University of London, graduate study, 1937- 38.
Editor, Contributor, Joint Author:
Contributor to The Mirror of the Indian, Associates of the John Carter Brown Library, 1958. Author of introduction to Paul Revere’s Three Accounts of His Famous Ride, (Massachusetts Historical Society, 1961, 2nd edition, 1968). Also contributor of articles and reviews to historical journals. Member of editorial board, New England Quarterly.
National Humanities Medal, 2000;
National Book Critics Circle Award nomination, 2003, for Benjamin Franklin;
Organization of American Historians Distinguished Services Award, 1998;
Bruce Catton Award, 1992;
Columbia University’s 1989 Bancroft Prize in American History for Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America (1988);
In 1971 he was awarded the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa’s William Clyde DeVane Medal for outstanding teaching and scholarship, considered one of the most prestigious teaching prizes for Yale faculty. One year later, he became the first recipient of the Douglas Adair Memorial Award for scholarship in early American history, and in 1986 he received the Distinguished Scholar Award of the American Historical Association.
Douglass Adair Memorial Award, 1972;
William Clyde DeWane Medal, 1971;
Research fellow, Huntington Library, 1952-53.
Morgan has received numerous fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council.
Morgan has received Honorary degrees from Rutgers University, Brown University, Colgate University, Washington College, William and Mary, University of New Haven, Williams College, Lawrence University, and Smith College.
At Yale, Morgan has been a member of the Administrative Board of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin for more than 30 years and has been its chairman for the last 11. This documentary enterprise, sponsored by the American Philosophical Society and Yale and now edited by Ellen R. Cohn, is in its final few years. It now has 36 volumes and will eventually have about 46. In addition, the documents in all 46 volumes will be available on a CD-ROM.The documents are of three kinds: letters and other pieces written by Franklin, letters to Franklin, and other documents closely involving Franklin.
Morgan is a member of the Society of American Historians, American Antiquarian Society, Organization of American Historians (president, 1971-72), American Philosophical Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Historical Society, Colonial Society of Massachusetts, British Academy, Royal Historical Society.
During World War II Morgan worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, as a tool-and-die make in the Radiation Laboratory, (1942-45).
Morgan has been a professional woodturner for the past decade or so, working on large lathes and other equipment in the basement of his home. His walnut bowls and other creations have been exhibited at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven and at the League of New Hampshire Craftsman in New Hampshire, where Morgan maintains a vacation home. He and his wife, Marie Morgan, have also crafted tables and other furniture for their home in New Haven.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 8, 2013
Source: Philly.com, 7-4-13
John Trumbull’s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)
1. Is Independence Day really July 2?
2. July 4 is when the Declaration was adopted
3. Six people signed the Declaration and also the Constitution
4. But they didn’t sign the Declaration on July 4th!
5. So what if I stumble upon a lost version of the Dunlap Broadside at a flea market?
6. OK – when was the Declaration actually signed?
7. The Declaration’s association with Independence Day came from a lapse of memory
8. The Declaration suffered from a lack of early respect
9. The Declaration and Constitution were hidden away during World War II
10. There really is a message written on the back of the Declaration of Independence….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 4, 2013
Source: CBS News, 7-1-13
The Civil War was the first conflict to be documented on film and early photographers captured thousands of images of the tragedies of war….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 1, 2013
Source: Cornell Sun, 4-15-13
Prof. Fredrik Logevall, history, was “stunned” when he learned Monday that he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.
“It was a shock to get the news,” said Logevall, who is also the director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. ..
Embers of War is a history of the early years in the Vietnam struggle, beginning at the end of World War I and examining the next 40 years in the country’s history, Logevall said. The book is a prequel to Choosing War, Logevall’s Ph.D. dissertation — which was published as a book in 2001 — about heavy U.S. involvement in Vietnam….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on April 15, 2013
Source: Chicago Tribune, 4-5-13
Robert Remini, an award-winning biographer and political historian, was named historian of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005 and asked to pen a narrative history of the body. His book, “The House: The History of the House of Representatives,” was published the next year…READ MORE
Robert V. Remini is professor emeritus of history and the humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently at work on a narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives, and has been named House Historian. Remini has written a three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson, the third volume of the series, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845 won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1984. He is also the author of biographies of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, as well as a dozen other books on Jacksonian America, and is considered the most preeminent scholar on Andrew Jackson and his times.
To a very large extent my career as an historian, such as it is, was determined by events over which I had little control. For example, when I graduated from college I fully intended to become a lawyer. Not because I was intrigued by the law but because it seemed like a worthy profession then for a child of the Great Depression. Fortunately World War II came along and I found myself aboard a ship plying the Atlantic and reading histories of the United States. I even read all nine volumes of Henry Adams’s History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and I loved every page. After three years in the service I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life reading and writing and teaching history. I got so worked up that I even had the audacity of writing an article and submitting it for publication to the American Historical Association. It wasn’t a very good article and was based solely on secondary sources. Graciously, the AHA rejected it, but it was not many years later when they did publish an article I wrote.
So as soon as I was discharged I enrolled in the graduate school of Columbia University and began my newly discovered career. I was particularly anxious to study 20th century, urban, New York, political history. I’m not sure why, except that I was born and raised a New Yorker, as were both my parents. I signed up for an MA seminar conducted by Richard Hofstadter. He had arrived at Columbia about the same time I did. The class was packed with about 40 students, most of them returning veterans. Can you imagine a seminar of 40? I don’t think I ever said a word in the seminar. I just enjoyed every word Hofstadter spoke, for he spoke like he wrote, in complete sentences and paragraphs, every one a delight to hear. I wrote my master’s essay on John Purroy Mitchel, the reform mayor of New York City just prior to World War I and fully intended to continue with this topic for my doctorate.
Then one day Hofstadter approached me and suggested that I consider doing my PhD dissertation on Martin Van Buren since the Mitchel papers were locked up for 50 years which would prevent any further work on that topic. It seems that Columbia had received a grant that would permit the University to purchase microfilm copies of presidential papers held in the Library of Congress and the library people at Columbia were anxious to begin with copies of the Van Buren papers. Apparently the grant also stipulated that a graduate student begin working on them after their arrival. Now Van Buren was a New Yorker, said Hofstadter, and an important political figure. Granted he was not urban or twentieth century, but if I accepted his suggestion it would mean that I could do my basic research at Columbia and not have to travel to Washington or any other remote repository. Now if you think a graduate student cannot be influenced by such a proposal you are very mistaken.
I was gratified that Hofstadter had suggested me for this work and I agreed to switch to the nineteenth century. I did my doctoral dissertation on the early political career of Martin Van Buren under the direction of Dumas Malone, since Hofstadter did not give a PhD seminar at that time. That dissertation when published as a book argued that Van Buren was central to the formation of the Democratic party and the revival of the two party system. I fully expected to continue that work and write a full biography of Van Buren but Andrew Jackson intervened and changed all my plans. But that’s another and longer story.
By Robert V. Remini
About Robert V. Remini
Teaching Positions: University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Chicago, professor of history, 1965-91, research professor of humanities, 1985-91, professor of history emeritus and research professor of humanities emeritus, 1991–; chairman of department, 1965-66 and 1967-71, director of Institute for the Humanities, 1981-87.
Wofford College, 1998.
University of Notre Dame, 1995-96.
Douglas Southall Freeman Professor of History, University of Richmond, 1992.
Jilin University of Technology, China, 1986.
Fordham University, New York City, instructor, 1947-51, assistant professor, 1951-59, associate professor of American history, 1959-65.
Visiting lecturer, Columbia University, 1959-60.
Area of Research: 19th century U.S. History; Presidential History; American statesmen; including John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Martin Van Buren and Henry Clay. He is especially well known for his works about Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian America.
Education: Fordham University, B.S., 1943; Columbia University, M.A., 1947, Ph.D., 1951.
Editor, Contributor, Joint Author:
Additional Info: In May 2005 named House historian.
In September 2002 named Distinguished Visiting Scholar of American History in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress; Remini will research and write a narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives. (The project was authorized by Congress in 1999 under the House Awareness and Preservation Act (P.L. 106-99))
Remini is a much sought after speaker and is hailed for his ability to make history “come alive.”
Honorary historian of Thirteen-Fifty Foundation.
Remini was named to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
Remini has served as a review board member for the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1974.
He was selected by President George Bush in 1991 to speak at the White House as part of the Presidential Lecture Series on the Presidency and has been invited by President George W. Bush as well.
Special editor, Crowell-Collier Educational Corp.
Military service: U.S. Navy, 1943-46; became lieutenant.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on April 4, 2013
Source: ABC News, 1-31-13
Discover the rich heritage of “the People’s House” and its central role in U.S. history since 1789. Explore its unique story and the men and women who have shaped it. Browse its collections. Access historical data and other research resources.
One of the most innovative and daring politicians of the 20th century was also a triskaidekaphobe. Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel when the 13th fell on a Friday. Along with Napoleon, J. Paul Getty and Herbert Hoover, he was one of history’s great triskaidekaphobes. (FPG/Getty Images)
Looks like the House of Representatives has officially caught up with the times.
Imagine it is Dec. 8, 1941. President Franklin D. Roosevelt has just addressed Congress in order to request declaration of war after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Which congressman fought in favor of war and who was vehemently against it?
You don’t need to head to a museum to find out. A new website allows history buffs to hear the arguments and first-hand accounts of these events in the comfort of their own living rooms.
The Office of the House Historian and Clerk of the House’s Office of Art and Archives together launched the website, which provides a roundup on the nearly 11,000 members who’ve served in the House, on Dec. 28. The website contains nearly 1,000 items in its database that consists of everything House-related — from wonky photos to vintage furniture to congressional baseball cards….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 1, 2013
Source: WaPo. 1-27-13
Jacquelyn Martin/AP – Author and journalist Stanley Karnow, seen here in his Potomac, Md., home, died Jan. 27. He was 87.
The New York-born Karnow launched his career as a foreign correspondent after setting sail for Europe on a coal freighter a week after graduating in 1947 from Harvard University. He subsequently became known for his distinguished coverage of the Vietnam War, first for Time magazine and later for news outlets that included the Saturday Evening Post, The Washington Post and NBC News.Filing dispatches from the Far East for nearly 15 years — from the earliest days of American casualties in Vietnam — he became one of an elite handful of influential journalists who challenged the official stance in Washington that the United States was easily controlling the “struggle.”
His Emmy-winning 13-part PBS series “Vietnam: A Television History” was one of the most widely viewed public-television documentaries ever when it first aired in 1983; his companion book, “Vietnam: A History,” sold millions of copies and was praised for its insight and comprehensiveness.
“In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines,” the book for which he received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in history, earned praise as the best popular history of America’s relationship with the Philippines. Mr. Karnow synthesized three centuries of Filipino foreign relations into what critics described as a compelling read, with vivid portraits of the Spanish, American and Filipino leaders who shaped the country that would be the United States’ only colony….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on January 27, 2013
Source: USA Today, 1-18-13
Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city and played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. A statue at Kelly Ingram Park honors demonstrators from the marches.(Photo: Courtesy of Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Birmingham made history in 1963, and in 2013 the Alabama city will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the events that led to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the beginning of the end of racial segregation in the South.
In Birmingham that summer of ’63, black residents held sit-ins at whites-only lunch counters to challenge Jim Crow laws. Black youth from area schools participating in what was known as the Children’s Crusade were arrested. Some were attacked with fire hoses and police dogs after taking to the streets to protest of racial discrimination. And on Sept. 15, 1963, a bomb planted by a Ku Klux Klansman in the 16th Street Baptist Church exploded, killing four young black girls….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on January 18, 2013
Source: ABC News Radio, 8-12-12
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Mitt Romney’s announcement that Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan will be joining him on the Republican presidential ticket is being described as a “bold” move, with strategists arguing over whether the author of some controversial budget plans will help or hurt Romney in the long run.
But the choice of Ryan is also bold in other, perhaps subtler ways. Ryan’s addition to the ticket brings about a series of interesting firsts….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 12, 2012
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.
- Ellis Island Hospital Complex, New York Harbor, NY and NJ
- Historic Post Office Buildings, Nationwide
- Joe Frazier’s Gym, Philadelphia, PA
- Bridges of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, CA
- Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, NJ
- Malcolm X – Ella Little-Collins House, Boston, MA
- Terminal Island, Port of Los Angeles, CA
- Sweet Auburn Historic District, Atlanta, GA
- Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, Billings County, ND
- Texas Courthouses, State of Texas
- The Village of Zoar, Zoar, OH
Post offices, Ellis Island join endangered list: The National Trust for Historic Preservation announces its 2012 list of the 11 most endangered historic places. This year’s list includes historic U.S. Post Office buildings nationwide, the historic Atlanta district where Martin Luther King Jr. was born, the boyhood home of Malcolm X in Boston, the hospital complex at Ellis Island in New York Harbor, and the courthouses of Texas, among others….
Hundreds of historic U.S. post offices nationwide face uncertain futures as the U.S. Postal Service downsizes, so preservationists on Wednesday added these American institutions to the list of the country’s most endangered historic places.
Post offices will join the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places as a group for the first time…. – AP, 6-6-12
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 6, 2012