Monthly Archives: January 2015

“The Men Who Died In Captivity:” British POWs March For Fallen Comrades, 1928

A “heavy and persistent” winter rain was falling over London on the morning of Saturday, 28 January 1928, but it did not deter hundreds of people from making their way to the Embankment to take part in a unique event: the first ceremony to honor the thousands of British soldiers who had died as prisoners of the Great War. As the crowds milled around the staging area near Cleopatra’s Needle, surviving ex-prisoners looked at the shields the organizers had created […]

716 Jones: The Long Journey of a Zulu War Veteran

On the morning of September 6, 1898, gardener Robert Jones went to his employer to request a shotgun and two cartridges to rid the grounds of a pest. He was found in the gardens some time later, dead of a shot to the head. 716 Pte Robert Jones Robert Jones was 41 when he died, loving father to five young children, an amateur poet, a war hero. Born in Wales in 1857, he enlisted in the British Army’s 24th Regiment […]

Things Written: New Biography Looks At Forgotten Female Chronicler Of The Civil War

In the desperate summer of 1862, Secretary of State William Seward sat in his Washington residence and wrote one of his frequent letters to his 17-year-old daughter at their home in Auburn, New York. “Blessed, my dear child, is the cheerfulness of the young,” he said. “Your letters are pleasing to me, because they bring no alarm, no remonstrances, no complaints, and no reproaches.” Under the strain of the ongoing Civil War, “my table groans, and my heart sinks, under […]

Why We Don’t Ask Historians To Pick Powerball Numbers: New York Magazine’s ‘Obama History Project’ Shows Limits of Historical Prognostication

  With the Obama presidency entering the home stretch, the battle over ‘legacy’ has begun. How will he rank among presidents? How will history judge him? What will future historians say about his foreign policy? His military policy? His economic policy? What will they think is his single most significant accomplishment? What speech or phrase will be remembered? New York Magazine actually asked more than 50 historians to muse on these and other questions in a cover story in their […]

Mother of Animation: The Silhouetted World of Lotte Reiniger

A copy of a 1938 rejection letter from the Walt Disney Company to a would-be female artist has been making one of its periodic rounds on social media over the last few weeks. If nothing else, the letter a reminder of how much of the history of women seems to include the words “that task is performed entirely by young men.” Change the wording a bit, and you could insert just about any career – with the exception, of course, […]