Categotry Archives: Historical Memory

Portrait of a Mother: Eliza Clerc Makes Her Deafness Visible, 1822

Their wedding in 1819 was perhaps the first of its kind in the United States: the union of deaf man and a deaf woman. When Laurent Clerc agreed to travel to America in 1817 to help Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet learn sign language and establish a school for the deaf, he made it clear he would be returning to France in 1820. That changed when he met 23-year old Eliza Boardman, one of his first students at the Connecticut Asylum for […]

Was Lady Liberty Originally A Muslim?

“The Statue of Liberty was originally conceived as a Muslim peasant woman and was to have stood at the approach to the Suez Canal,” writes Michael Daly in The Daily Beast, “a lantern in her upraised hand serving as both lighthouse and a symbol of progress.” The idea that our symbol of Liberty started as a Muslim is a powerful rhetorical tool in the fight to allow desperate Syrian refugees come to the United States and the decades-old debate over […]

Waiting To Become A Widow: Mary Brown and the Execution of John Brown

On the morning of December 2, 1859, Mary Day Brown and her companions Hector Tyndale and James and Sarah McKim left the Wager House Hotel in Harpers Ferry, Virginia for a walk at the start of what promised to be another long and trying day. They had barely started out when a gunshot cut the air; Tyndale felt a bullet brush by his head. Whether this was a serious attack or a prank by some over-excited local was not something […]

Could the Lincoln Bedroom Become the Ultimate Airbnb Rental?

Call it the ultimate Airbnb crash pad. In a recent interview on Bloomberg TV, Brian Chesky, CEO of the online room-letting empire, says he asked President Obama if he could get the Lincoln Bedroom listed for rent. President Obama told him “I need to check with Michelle,” but said it was probably a long shot. Chesky allowed that the President was probably just “humoring me.” That said, it’s a lot more guest-ready than many of Airbnb’s offerings. A big comfy […]

48 Names and Mount McKinley Is Just One of Them

Let’s get the easy one out of the way first: No, Denali is not “Kenyan” for “black power.” The dialog surrounding the Obama administration’s directive to the Department of the Interior to rename Alaska’s highest peak has been surprisingly vigorous. It hits that sweet spot between modern political rhetoric and historical memory – or lack of historical memory, as the case may be. Understanding how Denali came to be called Mount McKinley is something that can only be explained by stepping […]