Category Archives: History

Primary Source

It’s now possible to read one of the oldest books of English literature in the world  online.The Exeter Book is a 1oth century anthology of poetry in Old English and one of  only four manuscript books containing virtually all the English … Continue reading

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Freedom is a Fable

Freedom, A Fable: A Curious Interpretation of the Wit of a Negress in Troubled Times.Illustrated book with offset lithographs on paper and laser-cut pop-up paper silhouettes, 1997. I have always been emotionally moved by Kara Walker’s powerful art work, especially … Continue reading

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Restoring Rome

During the past few weeks, I have been pondering a story from the news about a project to restore parts of the ancient Roman Colosseum and open those areas to tourists. The story claimed that for the first time ever, … Continue reading

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Always Check Your Bookmarks

Researchers recently discovered an unassuming bookmark in a 19th century French novel that featured three sketches by Vincent Van Gogh. In 1883,  the artist gave a friend the book and more than a century later, researchers discovered that the novel … Continue reading

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Bad Bunnies or the World Turned Upside Down

I have long been intrigued by the variety of marginalia found in medieval European manuscripts. While it’s not uncommon to discover colorful and playful images of mythical creatures, dogs, cats, snakes, snails, or sexualized caricatures or people, I only recently … Continue reading

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Past Perfect

I recently ran across the beautiful photochrome print from around 1900 of the Durango-Silverton Railway above the Animas River gorge in southwestern Colorado. It immediately reminded me of a trip that I took on the same railway line a few … Continue reading

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The sound of liberty

The Memoirs and Poems of Phillis Wheatley celebrates the life and work of the first Black American poet to be published. Although she was an enslaved person, Phillis Wheatley Peters was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. Educated … Continue reading

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Flamboyant Gothic Meets Street Art

I love it when historical and modern art forms come together, so of course this amazing project caught my attention. To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Santa María de Burgos … Continue reading

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Go Medieval On Them

Medieval Memes  is a clever, fun project by  the Dutch National Library which takes illustrations from medieval manuscripts in its collection and lets anyone who wants make memes out of them to then share. The reason this is great is … Continue reading

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The Bradbury Chronicles

As I have mentioned more than a few times over the years, I was a voracious reader of Ray Bradbury’s novels and short stories as a kid. So, I was excited to see that the American Writers Museum in Chicago … Continue reading

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