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Conversations at the Washington Library

Conversations at the Washington Library

By Mount Vernon
Conversations at the Washington Library is the premier podcast about George Washington and his Early American world. Join host Jim Ambuske as he talks with scholars, digital humanists, librarians, and other guests about Washington's era and the way we tell stories about the past.
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199. Unravelling the Strange Genius of Mr. O. with Dr. Carolyn Eastman
In the early years of the nineteenth century, former Virginia schoolteacher James Ogilvie embarked on a lecture tour that took the United States by storm. Born Scotland, Ogilvie became a renowned orator, packing rooms in urban Philadelphia and rural Kentucky alike. As he crisscrossed the nation, lecturing on topics that spoke to American anxieties about the fate of their young republic, Ogilvie became a major celebrity. Many Americans admired him, some even hated him, as he asked them to look into the mirror to see themselves. On today’s show, Dr. Carolyn Eastman joins Jim Ambuske to discuss her new book, The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2021. Dr. Eastman is a Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University. Please visit the University of North Carolina Press's website to learn how you can get 40% Dr. Eastman's book.  About Our Guest: Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., is associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of the prizewinning A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution. About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D., leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
52:17
April 15, 2021
198. Contesting Monuments and Memory in South Carolina with Dr. Lydia Brandt
The South Carolina State House Grounds is a landscape of monuments and memory. Since the capital moved from Charleston to Columbia in the 1780s, South Carolinians have been erecting, moving, and contesting monuments on the capitol’s grounds, using them to debate the past as they really argue about their present. Monuments and statues are the subject of great debate right now, not only in the United States, but around the world, and South Carolina’s commemorations can help us to understand why. In 1858, South Carolinians purchased a George Washington statute for their capitol grounds, as did other legislatures in the nineteenth century, but the reasons they did so may surprise you. On today’s show, former Washington Library Research Fellow Dr. Lydia Brandt joins Jim Ambuske to discuss her new book, The South Carolina State House Grounds: A Guidebook, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2021. Brandt, who is a professor of art history at the university, is an expert on how American buildings and landscapes shape ideas about the past. Her book takes the public on a tour of the Carolina capitol to show how metal, earth, and stone tell stories about the past and attempt to re-write it. Brandt is also the host of Historically Complex, a podcast that guides listeners on a walking tour of the South Carolina State House Grounds. Stay tuned after today’s conversation for an exclusive sneak peek at one of Brandt’s Historically Complex episodes. About Our Guest: Lydia Mattice Brandt, Ph.D., is an architectural historian, historic preservationist, and associate professor of art history at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of First in the Homes of His Countrymen: George Washington's Mount Vernon in the American Imagination and many articles published in Winterthur Portfolio, Antiques & Fine Art, and the Public Historian. About of Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D., leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
54:04
April 2, 2021
197. Stumbling Upon the Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger with Craig Koslofsky and Roberto Zaugg
Two weeks ago, we brought you the story of Johann Peter Oettinger, a seventeenth-century German-speaking barber-surgeon who in 1693 journeyed to Africa and the West Indies on behalf of the Brandenburg African Company. His journal from that period captures the height of German participation in the transatlantic slave trade. Today, we bring you the story of the journal itself and how two historians, Craig Koslofsky and Robert Zaugg, found the manuscript independently of one another in the Berlin archives. The journal’s history is as important as its contents. How we interpret the history within it means we need to know something of its origin. And for more than a century, what historians thought was Oettinger’s authentic journal, wasn’t the real journal at all. On today’s show, Koslofsky and Zaugg weave together a tale made of paper scraps, lost manuscripts, family revisions, and plain dumb luck to reveal the journal’s true origin, and how what could have resulted in the academic equivalent of fisticuffs turned into a wonderful collaboration. Koslofsky and Zaugg are the co-editors and translators of A German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Seventeenth-Century Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger (University of Virginia Press, 2021). Our friends at UVA Press are offering a 40% discount on this published edition of Oettinger’s journal. If you’d like your own copy, use discount code 10BARBER on the press's website.  About Our Guests: Craig Koslofsky, Ph.D, is Professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Roberto Zaugg, Ph.D., is is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D., leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
56:05
March 18, 2021
196. Reconstructing the Life of a German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade with Craig Koslofsky and Roberto Zaugg
In 1693, the young German barber-surgeon Johann Peter Oettinger joined a slave trading venture for the second time. In the employ of the Brandenburg African Company, Oettinger sailed with his shipmates from Europe to the African coast where they procured their captive human cargo, took the middle passage to the West Indies, and exchanged their enslaved people in the colonies for a variety of goods. Along the way, Oettinger encountered a mix of European, African, and colonial peoples who traded or were traded, across borders, often regardless of nationality. We know about Oettinger’s involvement because he kept a journal. His two stints aboard slave trading vessels were part of a 14-year period as a journeyman in Europe and the Atlantic world, a life he recorded on scraps of paper that he eventual fashioned into a proper diary. Oettinger’s voyage marked the high-point of German-speaking peoples' participation in the transatlantic slave trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through his words we can see how that trade shaped lives far beyond the ocean’s borders. It is a portrait of an early modern world becoming modern. On today’s show, Jim Ambuske talks with Dr. Craig Koslofsky and Dr. Roberto Zaugg, the two historians who discovered Oettinger’s long forgotten journal buried in the Berlin archives Koslofsky and Zaugg are the co-editors and translators of A German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Seventeenth-Century Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger (University of Virginia Press, 2021). This is part one of a two-part series about Oettinger’s life and journal. On today’s episode, we explore Oettinger’s European and Atlantic worlds, and his 1693 slave-trading voyage. In two weeks, we’ll talk about the journal as an artifact, one that has a remarkable history in its own right, and how Koslosfsky and Zaugg stumbled across it. Our friends at UVA Press are offering a 40% discount on this published edition of Oettinger’s journal. If you’d like your own copy, use discount code 10BARBER on the press's website.  About Our Guests: Craig Koslofsky, Ph.D, is Professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Roberto Zaugg, Ph.D., is is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D., leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
59:52
March 4, 2021
195b. [En Español] Ofreciendo a George Washington un regalo real con el profesor José Emilio Yanes
Bienvenido a Conversaciones en la Biblioteca de Washington.  Hoy, Jim Ambuske habla con el profesor José Emilio Yanes de la Universidad de Salamanca en España. Yanes es el autor del libro El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift. El libro cuenta la historia de cómo un burro jugó un papel importante en la relación diplomática entre España y los nuevos Estados Unidos.  Muchas gracias a Allan Winn, Jr. por traducir durante nuestra conversación. Gracias por escuchar. Obtenga más información sobre George Washington y Mount Vernon visitando www.mountvernon.org. Muchas gracias a Kelly Molds por su ayuda editorial. About Our Guests: José Emilio Yanes Garcia is Superior Polytechnic School of Zamora and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca (Spain). He is the author of El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift (2019). Allan R. Winn, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who now resides in Zomora, Spain. He is the proprietor of Allan School of English. Winn assisted Yanes with translation work in El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington and provided translation for this episode. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
30:27
February 18, 2021
195a. Offering George Washington a Royal Gift with Professor José Emilio Yanes
In 1784, King Charles III of Spain sent George Washington a token of his esteem. Knowing that Washington had long sought a Spanish donkey for his Mount Vernon estate, the king permitted a jack to be exported to the new United States. Washington named the donkey Royal Gift in recognition of its royal origin, and the donkey became somewhat of a minor celebrity when he disembarked from his ship in 1785. As it turns out, Spanish jacks like Royal Gift were highly prized animals in the Atlantic world. And in this case the Spanish, who had supported the United States during the American Revolution, saw an opportunity to use a donkey as a way to shore up diplomatic relations with the new republic and protect their interests in North America. On today’s show, Professor José Emilio Yanes joins Jim Ambuske to discuss his new book, El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift. Yanes is a veterinarian and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca in Spain. As the title of his work suggests, it is a Spanish language book, one that makes use of manuscripts in Spanish archives to flesh out Royal Gift’s story. We spoke last fall with the help of his friend and collaborator, Allan Winn, Jr., who it so happens is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who has lived in Spain for many years now and runs Allan School of English in Zamora. If Spanish happens to be your mother tongue, or if you are like me and you are desperately trying to get better at it, please check out the Spanish-language version of this episode, which will appear in your podcast feed. Before we get started, we ask that you do us a quick favor. If you like the show, please drop us a review through your favorite podcast app. We’d really appreciate. And be sure to check out our new website for the show, which we think will make it easier for you to find your favorite episodes. You can find us at www.georgewashingtonpodcast.com. About Our Guests: José Emilio Yanes Garcia is Superior Polytechnic School of Zamora and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca (Spain). He is the author of El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift (2019). Allan R. Winn, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who now resides in Zomora, Spain. He is the proprietor of Allan School of English. Winn assisted Yanes with translation work in El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington and provided translation for this episode. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D., leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
43:24
February 18, 2021
194. Building Digital History Projects at the Washington Library with the ITPS Interns
One of the most important things we’re able to do at the Center for Digital History is offer internships to college students. Working with students allows us to move our projects forward while giving them real world opportunities to do the kind of work that historians do, and development skills that will hopefully serve them well later in life. Now, we’ve talked about our internship program on the show before – you might recall our chat with Jamie Morris of Washington College – and today you’ll get to hear from three excellent students who joined our team last fall, thanks to a partnership with the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College. Felicia, Moriah, and Christian, all students at Iona, joined us virtually over the course of the fall term to help us with the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington and the reconstruction of the Database of Enslaved People at Mount Vernon. Jim Ambuske and Jeanette Patrick and served as the site coordinators at the Washington Library for these internships, while Dr. Michael Crowder, the ITPS’s public historian, was the students’ instructor. He’s one of the architects of the institute's internships as well. So on today’s show, Michael, Jeanette, and Jim chat with our interns about their interest in history and their experiences working with us over the past few months, and then at the end the three of us reflect on the semester, what worked, and the opportunities that lie ahead. About Our Guests: Felicia Ferrando is a Junior majoring in History at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.  Moriah Simmons is a Junior majoring in History at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.  Christian Zimmardi is a Senior majoring in Political Science at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.  Michael Crowder is the Public Historian at The Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College. He earned a Ph.D. in the History Department at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His project, “Human Capital: The Moral and Political Economy of Northeastern Abolitionism, 1763-1833,” examines the relationships between the rapid growth of abolitionism and capitalism in the Era of the American Revolution. He has also written essays about the African colonization movement and American participation in the slave trade, as well as articles about American football for rollingstone.com. In addition to serving as an archival fellow, he teaches American History at Queens College, CUNY. About Our Hosts: Jeanette Patrick is the Digital Writer and Researcher in the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. Among her many responsibilities, she serves as Associate Editor of the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington.  She holds an MA in Public History from James Madison University. She is a former Program Manager at the National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C. Jim Ambuske, Ph.D., leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
42:02
February 4, 2021
193. Rifling through Washington's Receipts with Dr. Julie Miller
Take a receipt out of your pocket. What does it say about you? Receipts can tell us a lot about people and the world in which they lived. And George Washington kept receipts. On today’s show, Dr. Julie Miller joins Jim Ambuske to discuss the hidden lives we can find in Washington’s receipts and similar documents. Dr. Miller is a historian and the Curator of Early American Manuscripts at the Library of Congress, where she oversees a vast array of archival material, including Washington Papers. She’s also one of the forces behind the Library of Congress’s Crowdsourcing Campaign, By the People, which encourages citizens to transcribe manuscripts in the library’s collections. Last year, the Library asked folks to transcribe two groups of unpublished Washington Papers dating to the Revolutionary War, a collection of receipts and a bundle of British deserter interrogations, with the goal of learning more about people like Mary Smith, Washington’s housekeeper. Dr. Miller helps us see the stories we can tease out from these sources. They also touch on the Library of Congress’s collaboration with the Georgian Papers Programme and their future exhibit, The Two Georges, which will explore the commonalities shared by George Washington and George III. She also has recently published a new book, Cry of Murder on Broadway: A Woman’s Ruin and Revenge in Old New York, which is out now from Cornell University Press. If you like true crime, this book’s for you. About Our Guest:  Julie Miller, Ph.D., is the author of Abandoned: Foundlings in Nineteenth-Century New York City. She is the Curator of Early American Manuscripts at the Library of Congress. She taught in the history department at Hunter College, City University of New York, before moving to Washington, DC. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
52:59
January 21, 2021
Throwing a Change-Up at the Washington Library with Jim Ambuske
We wanted to let you know of some exciting changes we’ll be making to the podcast that will allow you to hear more from groundbreaking historians and scholars in new ways. Beginning today, Conversations at the Washington Library is moving to an every other week schedule. That means no new episode this week, but we’ll be back on January 21, 2021 with my chat with Julie Miller of the Library of Congress about the hidden lives in George Washington’s papers. Now, why are we making this change? As you may know, since the beginning the COVID_19 pandemic, our team at the Washington Library has been producing and hosting live digital book talks with authors around the country and the world. Even when we go back to in-person programming, and hopefully that will be soon, we’ll continue to offer you at least one digital talk a month through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. In short, we’re launching a permanent digital talk series. To accommodate this exciting development, we’re transitioning Conversations at the Washington Library to the new schedule. But never fear; you’ll still get the same great in-depth conversations about the past and the people who explore it, just with a week’s breather in-between. We’re also shaking things up because we’re developing scripted podcast series that will allow us to tell stories about Washington’s early American world in narrative form. We’ve got some great stuff in the works, and while we can’t talk about our plans just yet, our team is hard at work in the writer’s room finding ways to bring forgotten voices to light. So, look for a new episode of Conversations at the Washington Library next week, stay tuned for future announcements about our scripted series, and check out our digital talks at www.mountvernon.org/gwdigitaltalks.
01:45
January 14, 2021
192. Drinking Washington's Whiskey with Drew Hannush
For many people,  one of life’s great joys is a lovely dram of whiskey. Whether you’re a fan of Kentucky Bourbon, Single-malt Scotches, Japanese or Tennessee whiskey, every glass tells a story or contains memories that connect drinkers to different places, and different times. For Jim Ambuske, a dram of Cragganmore 12 instantly takes him back to Edinburgh, where he's spent many months hunting American Revolutionaries in the archives. But like most folks, he knows less about the stories behind the whiskies than I would like. That’s where Drew Hannush comes in. On today’s show, you’ll meet Drew, the host of the podcast Whiskey Lore, a show dedicated to exploring whiskey’s history, and debunking whiskey myths, one glass at a time. Drew stopped by the Washington Library just before the holidays to do some research for his newest season of Whiskey Lore, which will feature a series of episodes about George Washington and Whiskey. Now as you might know, Mount Vernon reconstructed Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery several years ago and the team there has been distilling whiskey ever since, something we’ve covered before in previous episodes. And just a reminder that if you’re a Virginia resident, we can now ship our whiskey and brandy directly to your door.  Jim Ambuske and Jeanette Patrick met with Drew during his visit to talk about his own whiskey journey, the stories he’s uncovered, and his fascination with Washington’s distilling efforts. Be on the lookout for Drew’s Washington-centered Whiskey Lore episodes to drop soon.  About Our Guest:  Drew Hannush is a writer of the best selling book "Whiskey Lore's Travel Guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon." He also hosts a travel lifestyle podcast called Travel Fuels Life and a whiskey stories podcast built on the brand - Whiskey Lore. Drew has traveled extensively throughout Scotland, Ireland, and the United States touring distilleries, picking up stories, and helping inspire travelers and whiskey lovers through his social media posts, book, and whisk(e)y tasting experiences. He uses his knowledge and authoritative voice to empower others.  About Our Hosts:   Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.  Jeanette Patrick is the Center for Digital History's Digital Researcher and Writer. Among her many responsibilities, she serves as Associate Editor of the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington.  She holds an MA in Public History from James Madison University. She is a former Program Manager at the National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C.
44:35
January 7, 2021
191. (Recast) The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 2
This is Part Two of Jim Ambuske's July 2019 chat with Washington Library Research Historian Mary V. Thompson. We’re recasting it in celebration of her 40th anniversary at Mount Vernon. If you missed Part One, please do give it a listen. Happy New Year to you all. About Our Guest: Mary V. Thompson is a long-time (38 year) member of the staff at Mount Vernon, where she is now the Research Historian. She is the author of In the Hands of a Good Providence: Religion in the Life of George Washington, A Short Biography of Martha Washington, and "The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret": George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
40:22
December 31, 2020
190. (Recast) The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 1
Forty years ago, Mary V. Thompson began her career at Mount Vernon as a museum attendant and history interpreter. She was quickly promoted to Curatorial Assistant, and within a few short years was named Curatorial Registrar, where she began researching numerous Washington and Mount Vernon related topics such as 18th-century foodways, animals, religion, Native Americans, genealogy, domestic life, & slavery. Today, she is the Washington Library’s indispensable Research Historian, and as many of our listeners no doubt know, she is the go to person for all things Mount Vernon and Washington. In celebration of Mary’s 40th anniversary at Mount Vernon, we’re pleased to bring you Jim Ambuske's July 2019 chat with her about her prize-winning book, “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret: George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon,” which recently won the James Bradford Best Biography Prize from the Society of Historians for the Early Republic. Thompson and Ambuske talked over the course of two episodes about her experiences at Mount Vernon, her interest in the enslaved community at Mount Vernon, and of course, her book. So after you’ve finished with Part One here, be sure to check out Part Two as well. And if you’d like to purchase a copy of Mary’s book, head over to shops.mountvernon.org to grab yours. Congratulations Mary on 40 amazing years at Mount Vernon. Here’s to many more. About Our Guest: Mary V. Thompson is a long-time (38 year) member of the staff at Mount Vernon, where she is now the Research Historian. She is the author of In the Hands of a Good Providence: Religion in the Life of George Washington, A Short Biography of Martha Washington, and "The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret": George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon. About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
31:46
December 31, 2020
189. Confronting an Absolutist Monarch with Dr. Karie Schultz
In this season of religious renewal, we bring you a story of religious dissent. In 1638, many of King Charles I’s Presbyterian subjects gathered at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh to sign the National Covenant. By renewing their own covenant with the Almighty, they also pledged to resist encroachments on church government by the king, and the innovations in doctrine he sought to make for the Church of Scotland. As we’ve discovered in previous episodes, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a time of religious upheaval and political discord. Reformation and Civil War remade European society, especially in the British Isles, and profoundly shaped colonial American history. Civil War and religious strife eroded the idea of the divine right of kings, leaving Charles I headless in the end.  These revolutions helped to create the eighteenth-century British world that George Washington rebelled against, as well as the kind of monarch George III would become. Today’s episode builds on recent conversations with Dr. Michelle D. Brock, Dr. Márcia Balisciano, and more as we explore the Covenanters movement in seventeenth-century Scotland with Dr. Karie Schultz.  For many of the thousands of Scots Presbyterians who settled in the American colonies in the decades before the American Revolution, including a man like the Reverend John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence, the National Covenant was a seminal moment in their religious history. Dr. Schultz takes us back to the seventeenth century to help us understand the origins of this crucial contest between king and kirk. Jim Ambuske caught up with Schultz over Zoom earlier this summer as she was finishing up her graduate studies at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. She is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the British School in Rome and the host of the podcast, Research in Scottish History, where Schultz and her guests break down exciting new work on a range of topics, from Scots in the Caribbean to the material culture of the hit series Outlander. Do check it out. About Our Guest: Dr. Karie Schultz completed a PhD on 'Political Thought and Protestant Intellectual Culture in the Scottish Revolution, 1637-51' at Queen's University Belfast. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the British School at Rome where she is studying the intellectual networks between Italian Jesuits and the Scottish and English priests training at their respective colleges in Rome, 1600-1745. She hosts the podcast, Research in Scottish History. About Our Host:   Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
49:06
December 24, 2020
188. Exploring the Benjamin Franklin House of London with Dr. Márcia Balisciano
In 1757, Benjamin Franklin returned to London after an over thirty-year absence. He first ventured to the imperial capital in 1724 to continue his education as a printer; he went back in the late 1750s as a politician, after being named the London agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly. Franklin took up residence at 36 Craven Street in London, today just down the way from Charing Cross Station, and right near Trafalgar Square. For nearly two decades, with a short return to Philadelphia in between, Franklin lived on Craven Street as he tried to advance colonial interests in the mother country.  On today’s episode, Dr. Márcia Balisciano joins Jim Ambuske from London to explore the Craven Street House that Franklin made a home. Dr. Balisciano is the Founding Director of the Benjamin Franklin House in London, the world’s only remaining Franklin home.  And as you’ll hear, the historic site not only connects us to Franklin and his life, but to the era of the English Civil War in the 1640s, and to eighteenth-century secrets buried in the basement.  Be sure to stay tuned after the chat to hear our first listener voice message. We’ll feature your comments and questions on the show from time to time. Find out how you can submit one later in the program.  About Our Guest: Dr. Márcia Balisciano is Founding Director of the Benjamin Franklin House in London. She holds a Ph.D. in Economic History from The London School of Economics and Political Science. In addition to her duties at Franklin House, she is also Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at RELX, a multi-national information, analytics, and events company, and serves as Chair of the United Nations Global Compact Network in the UK.   About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
52:58
December 17, 2020
187. Winning a Consolation Prize with Dr. Abby Mullen
Consuls are essential to American foreign relations. Although they may not be as flashy or as powerful as an Ambassador like Thomas Jefferson or John Quincy Adams, they’re often the goto people when an American gets in trouble abroad or when a trade deal needs to get done. Consuls operate in cities and towns throughout the world, helping to advance American interests and maintain good relations with their host countries, all while helping you replace your lost passport. Much has changed about the consular service since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when a consul could earn fees for his services, such as getting you out of a scrape with the local authorities But as today’s guests demonstrates, consuls were and are the backbone of American diplomacy. Dr. Abby Mullen joins Jim Ambuske to discuss her work on American consuls in the early Republic and her podcast, Consolation Prize, a show dedicated to telling the stories of these consuls, and the wider world in which they lived. Mullen is Term Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University where she is also one of the key members of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. About Our Guest: Abby Mullen holds a PhD in history from Northeastern University (2017). Her dissertation, "Good Neighbourhood with All: Conflict and Cooperation in the First Barbary War, 1801-1805," investigates how the U.S. Navy forged international connections in the Mediterranean during the First Barbary War.Mullen is the PI on Tropy, a Mellon Foundation-funded software development project. She is also technical lead on All the Appalachian Trails, a project to create an interactive map of the history of the Appalachian Trail over the last 100 years. Mullen teaches digital history courses at George Mason University About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
50:08
December 10, 2020
186. Exploring New Frontiers in Early American History with Alexi Garrett, Michael Blaakman, Derek O’Leary, and Krysten Blackstone
In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin and other early Americans likened themselves to a rising people who were creating something new under the sun. It’s fair to say that historians have a similar mindset: we’re constantly striving to uncover new evidence, make new arguments, and offer new interpretations that help us better explain the past. So on today’s show, we’re going to introduce you to just a few among a rising generation of historians who are doing cutting edge work in early American history. Recently, the Washington Library partnered with the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello for a live stream featuring four young historians working on projects ranging from land speculation, capitalism, gender, and law in the late eighteenth century to morale in the Continental Army and soldiering in the American Revolution, to the creation of the archives that shaped how American citizens interrogated the Revolutionary Era. We bring you the audio version of the livestream today, featuring historians Alexi Garrett, Michael Blaakman, Derek O’Leary, and Krysten Blackstone in conversation with Jim Ambuske, Kevin Butterfield, and Andrew O'Shaughnessy. About Our Guests:  Alexi Garrett, Ph.D., examines how elite, unmarried white women (legally classified as feme soles) commercially related to the people they enslaved, and how they managed slave-manned enterprises in Virginia. Dr. Garrett completed her dissertation in 2020 under Dr. Alan Taylor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. She was a 2020 Research Fellow at the ICJS and a 2019-2020 Research Fellow at the Washington Library. She is currently the Institute of Thomas Paine Studies and University of Virginia Press Post-Doctoral Fellow at Iona College. She is from Iowa City and received her B.A. from St. Olaf College. Michael A. Blaakman, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of history at Princeton University, where he teaches courses on the American Revolution as well as the history of early American frontiers and borderlands. Educated at the College of William & Mary and Yale University, Blaakman was the Amanda and Greg Gregory Fellow at Mount Vernon in 2015 and is currently the Fritz and Claudine Kundrun Open-Rank Fellow at Monticello. Dr. Blaakman’s project, Speculation Nation, unearths the motives and methods of founding-era elites who sought to profit off the future expansion of their young republic and reveals how and why the revolutionary ideal of an “empire of liberty” became rooted in speculative capitalism. Derek O'Leary, Ph.D., finished his degree in the summer of 2020 at the University of California Berkeley, where he wrote an Atlantic history of the emergence of U.S. historical societies and archives in the nineteenth century. He was a 2019-2020 Research Fellow at the Washington Library. He was drawn to George Washington and Mount Vernon by Jared Sparks (1789-1866), the indefatigable collector and editor of Washington's archive in the antebellum U.S. His work examines Sparks' contribution to the broader culture of commemorating Washington in this period. Krysten Blackstone, a native of Northern Maine, is a final-year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She was a 2017-2018 Research Fellow at the Washington Library. Her work examines the morale of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Her research utilizes soldiers' narratives of the conflict and is primarily concerned with enlisted soldiers. About Our Hosts: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. (Washington Library) Andrew O'Shaughnessy, Ph.D. (ICJS - Monticello) Kevin Butterfield, Ph.D. (Washington Library)
01:34:40
December 3, 2020
185. Seeking a City of Refuge in the Great Dismal Swamp with Marcus P. Nevius
The Great Dismal Swamp is a remarkable feature of the southern coastal plain. Spanning from Norfolk, Virginia to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, the Swamp is now a National Wildlife Refuge home to Bald cypress, black bears, otters, and over 200 species of birds, among many other critters. But in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was the home to the ambitions of planters and businessmen who sought to transform the swamp into a plantation enterprise of rice, timber, and other commodities. It was also home to the enslaved individuals who labored to make those dreams a reality. Yet the natural landscape, combined with the circumstances of the white-owned companies who controlled the Swamp, created opportunities for the enslaved to resist their bondage, and even self-emancipate into the Swamp’s rugged interior. And like the Jamaican Maroons who sought security in the island’s central mountains, some enslaved Virginians found a city of refugee in the Great Dismal Swamp. These acts of resistance were, as today’s guest explains, a form of petit marronage in a region that experienced more continently than change from the colonial era to the eve of the American Civil War. On today’s show, Dr. Marcus P. Nevius joins Jim Ambuske to discuss his new book, City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1765-1856, published by the University of George Press in 2020. Nevius is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island and a 2020 Washington Library Research Fellow. Ambuske caught up with him over Zoom as he was completing some research on the Great Dismal Swamp in the revolutionary era. About Our Guest:  Marcus P. Nevius is an assistant professor of history at the University of Rhode Island. His scholarship has received the support of a Mellon Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture and the support of a research fellowship awarded by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. He has also published several book reviews in the Journal of African American History. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
52:49
November 19, 2020
184. Becoming Citizens of Convenience on the U.S.-Canadian Border with Lawrence B. A. Hatter
In 1783, the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, which confirmed American independence. As part of the treaty negotiations, American and British diplomats had to determine the new nation’s borders. They used maps like John Mitchell’s 1755 work A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America to figure out what separated the United States from what remained of British America in Canada. You can see a digital copy of the Mitchell Map here. In our own time, the U.S. border with Mexico gets all the attention, but in the eighteenth century it was the northern border with Canada that mattered the most. But even though diplomats drew a line dividing a republican nation from a monarchical one, lines on paper mattered little to people on the ground in places like Detroit and Montreal where Americans, Canadians, and native peoples had an incentive to move goods and people freely across the new border.  They were, as today’s guest calls them, Citizens of Convenience, people who frequently shifted their identity from American citizen to British subject and back depending on local circumstances and their own self-interest.  Dr. Lawrence B. A. Hatter joins Jim Ambuske to discuss the politics of the northern border, taking us on a journey from the diplomatic halls of Paris and London to the trading grounds of Detroit, Ontario, and Quebec in the aftermath of the American Revolution.  Hatter is the author of Citizens of Convenience: The Imperial Origins of American Nationhood on the U.S.-Canadian Border, published by the University of Virginia Press in 2017. He is an Associate Professor of History at Washington State University and a former Research Fellow at the Washington Library.  About Our Guest:   Lawrence B. A. Hatter, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of History at Washington State University. He is the author of Citizens of Convenience: The Imperial Origins of American Nationhood on the U.S.-Canadian Border. Dr. Hatter is currently beginning research on two new book projects about the global context of American Empire: Selling Independence: American Overseas Merchant Communities in the Age of Revolution and Entangling Alliances: America and the World from George Washington’s Farewell Address to the War on Terror.  About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
47:53
November 12, 2020
183. Trading Spaces in the Colonial Marketplace with Emma Hart
With another American presidential election behind us, talk will inevitably turn to the economy and how the president will handle it. That begs a series of questions as we turn our thoughts back to the eighteenth century: How did early Americans think about the marketplace and the economy? How did they believe that were supposed to function? How were the butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker, and their aristocratic overlords supposed to relate to one another in the marketplace? And how did early settlers map older European ideas about the economy and the public good onto the North American landscape. On today’s episode, Dr. Emma Hart joins Jim Ambuske to chat about how we might ask and answer these questions. Hart is the author of the new book, Trading Spaces: The Colonial Marketplace and the Foundations of American Capitalism, which was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2019. She is currently Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, but she will soon begin her tenure as Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Hart helps us to understand how early Americans participated in the marketplace and the origins of our own capitalistic society. And we’ll get to hear a preview of what she has in mind for the McNeil Center. About Our Guest:  Emma Hart, Ph.D. is a historian of early America and the Atlantic world from 1500-1800.  She is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St. Andrews and is the incoming Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in cities, economic life, and the everyday experiences of the people who lived in Britain's North American colonies and their independent successors. She is the author of two books, Building Charleston: Town and Society in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic World (2009) and Trading Spaces: The Colonial Marketplace and the Foundations of American Capitalism (2019).  About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
40:06
November 5, 2020
182. Recording an Oral History of the Obama Presidency with Evan D. McCormick
What is a legacy? As the artist Lin-Manual Miranda tells us, it’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. American presidents, regardless of party, spend a great deal of time during their presidencies and after they leave office thinking about their own legacies, and how people will study and remember their administrations. Whether the 2020 presidential election results in a second term for President Trump or an inaugural one for a President Biden, both men and the people in their administrations are or will be thinking about what to plant in those gardens. Today’s show builds on this week’s virtual George Washington Symposium at the Washington Library, which is dedicated to consequential elections in American presidential history. On the podcast, we explore one aspect of how modern presidents and their administrations preserve records and memories of the past through oral history. Dr. Evan D. McCormick joins Jim Ambuske today to talk about the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at Columbia University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics or (INCITE). McCormick is an Associate Research Scholar with the project, and Columbia was chosen by the Obama Foundation in 2019 to oversee the oral history initiative. McCormick is also a historian of the United States and the World, and he is completing a book on Ronald Reagan’s policies toward Latin America. Ambuske and McCormick dive into the significance of conducting oral histories for preserving and interpreting the legacy of modern presidents, the shape of the Obama Project, and the contrasts between the kinds of sources that historians of early and modern America use to reconstruct the past. About Our Guest:  Evan D McCormick an associate research scholar at Columbia University's Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) where he works on the Obama Presidency Oral History project. Evan is an historian of the United States and the world, and is completing a book on Ronald Reagan's policies toward Latin America. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia (2015) and an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University (2007). He has held postdoctoral fellowships from the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University and the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin. From 2007-2009, he was a policy fellow at the Department of Homeland Security, spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
01:05:38
October 29, 2020
181. Electioneering Rage with Kelly Fleming
In 1784, British men went to the polls. It was a pivotal contest in the aftermath of the American Revolution, following a slew of prime ministers who had tried and failed to form governments that satisfied the British electorate, and King George III. British women played a critical role in this election, even though they could not vote. They canvased for votes according to very specific social customs, and accessorized their clothing and bodies to signal support for their respective candidates. They wore muffs, passed out cockades and ribbons, and plied the electorate with beer. And when women slipped outside the bounds of those gendered customs, as the Duchess of Devonshire was alleged to have done, women were accused of electioneering rage. On today’s episode, Dr. Kelly Fleming joins Jim Ambuske to discuss how electioneering rage shaped eighteenth-century British literature. Fleming is a literary scholar and historian who is the Monticello College Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago. She is currently completing a book entitled, Ornaments of Influence: Fashion Accessories and the Work of Politics in Eighteenth-Century British Literature. It’s a study that explores the tension and anxiety in British literature about women’s participation in British politics during the long eighteenth century. Fleming looks at a wide array of fashion accessories like muffs, cockades, and even ostrich feathers, which were procured through the trans-Saharan slave trade and served as a symbol of royal authority. Ambuske and Fleming begin their conversation by learning how literary scholars unpack novels and read them for evidence. They also look at what it means to do a close reading of a novel like Henry Fielding’s 1749 book, Tom Jones, before diving into Anglo-Irish author Maria Edgeworth’s 1801 novel, Belinda, a work inspired in part by Edgeworth’s disdain for women who failed to follow social norms. About Our Guest:  Kelly Fleming is a scholar of eighteenth-century British literature and culture. She recently earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia. Her research explores relationships between gender, material culture, politics, law, and empire in British literature from the long eighteenth century. Her work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Fiction and The Burney Journal. She is working on her book project tentatively titled, Ornaments of Influence: Fashion Accessories and the Work of Politics in Eighteenth-Century British Literature. About our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
45:16
October 22, 2020
2020 George Washington Symposium Announcement
Elections that Shaped the American Presidency To learn more and to register, please visit: www.mountvernon.org/gwsymposium As our nation approaches its next presidential election, the 2020 George Washington Symposium focuses on several pivotal contests throughout American history that shaped and defined the election process and the American Presidency. Each day at noon during the week of October 26-30, we will feature a LIVE conversation with an eminent scholar to explore elections during Washington’s lifetime and key elections that followed, including those from the Civil War era, the depths of the Great Depression, and the volatile mid-twentieth century. Monday: Running for Office before the Revolution: George Washington’s First Elections with David O. Stewart Tuesday: America’s First Presidential Elections, from Washington to Jefferson with Jeffrey L. Pasley Wednesday: Lincoln’s Two Elections and the American Civil War with Elizabeth R. Varon Thursday: The Election of 1932: Washington’s Bicentennial and FDR’s Triumph with Donald Ritchie Friday: The Election of 1960 and the Birth of the Modern Campaign with Alan Price
01:15
October 19, 2020
180. Reading Letters by Early American Women with Kathryn Gehred
If you pull any decent history book off your shelf right now, odds are that it’s filled with quotes from letters, diaries, or account books that help the author tell her story and provide the evidence for her interpretation of the past. It’s almost always the case that the quotation you read in a book is just one snippet of a much longer document. Perhaps, for example, Catharine Greene’s letters to her husband Nathanael offer the reader insight into some aspect of the family business she was running while Nathanael served in the southern theater of the War of Independence. But what about the rest of the document? What about the quiet moments when someone like Martha Washington asks after a family member, describes the state of their own health, or apologizes for a hurried scrawl, the result of the writer trying to catch the next post? And as valuable as collections like George Washington’s papers are, how can we write more nuanced and complete histories of the American past by reading letters by early American women? On today’s show, we welcome Kathryn Gehred, who is tackling that question by exploring the lives of early American women, one letter at a time. Gehred is a Research Editor at The Washington Papers Project based at the University of Virginia, where she is also on the team at the Center for Digital Editing, which is publishing documentary editions of historical manuscript collections online. Gehred is also the host of the new podcast, Your Most Obedient & Humble Servant. On each episode, Gehred and her guests break down a letter written by early American women and put it in context to show what is often obscured by the so-called juicier quotes you might find in your favorite book. Gehred joins Jim Ambuske today to talk about her podcast, how her training as an early American women’s historian, Monticello tour guide, and documentary editor informs her approach to it, and some of the exciting letters she’s discussed so far. And as a special treat, stick around after the credits role for a preview of Your Most Obedient & Humble Servant featuring Gehred’s conversation with our colleague Samantha Snyder about a letter from Elizabeth Willing Powel to George Washington. About our Guest: Kathryn Gehred is a Research Editor at The Washington Papers Project at the University of Virginia. She is also on the staff of the Center for Digital Editing. A historian of early American women, Gehred is the host of the podcast Your Most Obedient & Humble Servant, a women’s history podcast which showcases the kinds of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century women’s letters that don’t always make it into the history books. About our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
01:04:42
October 15, 2020
179. Revitalizing Myaamia Language and Culture with George Ironstrack
In the eighteenth century, the Myaamia people inhabited what are now parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. More commonly known in English as the Miami, the Myaamia figure prominently in the early history of the United States, especially in the 1790s, when war chief Mihšihkinaahkwa (or Little Turtle) co-led an alliance of Miami and Shawnee warriors that defeated successive American armies in the Ohio valley before meeting defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. In the battle’s wake, through treaty and subterfuge, Americans dispossessed the Myaamia of their lands, removing them first to Kansas in the mid-nineteenth century before final resettlement in Oklahoma not long after. Not only did the Myaamia lose their homelands, their language and culture suffered as well, lapsing into silence as the community fractured and native speakers passed away.  But as George Ironstrack tells us on today’s episode, not all is lost, and through the power of education and a lot of hard work, what was once silenced is now heard again in Myaamia communities from the banks of the Wabash River in Indiana to northeastern Oklahoma.  Ironstrack is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Assistant Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. The Center is a major educational and research institution dedicated to revitalizing Myaamia language and culture, and a leader in using digital technology to explore the indigenous past. Ironstrack spoke to Jim Ambuske about the history of the Myaamia people, and the work that he and his colleagues are doing at the Myaamia Center to awaken a sleeping language.  Be sure to check out the Myaamia Center's many digital resources, including the Miami-Illinois Digital Archive. About Our Guest:  George Ironstrack is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Assistant Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University. He has participated in Myaamia language renewal projects as both a student and a teacher since the mid-1990s. Examples of his work can be found on the Myaamia Community Blog: aacimotaatiiyankwi.org.  About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
01:11:17
October 8, 2020
178. Digitally Interning at the Washington Library with Jamie Morris
The Washington Library's Center for Digital History often collaborates with students to advance its research and public history projects. That can take many forms. We work regularly with faculty to integrate our digital projects into their course assignments, on other occasions we deliver lectures to students about digital history or some aspect of eighteenth-century history, and we’re also fortunate to work with student interns throughout the year who assist with our projects while they gain practical, real world experience in the historical profession.  On today’s episode, we’re excited to bring you a chat with Jamie Morris. Jamie was our summer intern, and she worked closely Jim Ambuske and Jeanette Patrick on number of the Center’s initiatives, including this very podcast. Jamie is a senior majoring in history and business at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. She came to us via Wash College’s C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which partners with cultural institutions like the Washington Library to offer students experiential learning opportunities.  In normal circumstances, Jamie would have been on site at the Library for her internship, but as that wasn’t possible due to COVID_19, our digital intern became a virtual one. As you’ll hear, Jamie wants to use her skills to land her dream job at the Disney Archives, so if any of you listeners have an in with a certain mouse, please do let us know. Jeanette joins Jim on the show to today to talk with Jamie about what she learned and how she hopes to one day work at the Happiest Place on Earth.  About Our Guest:  Jamie Morris is a senior at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. She is the recipient of a number of internships through the C. V. Starr Center for the American Experience, including most recently at the Washington Library. She is a double major in history and business at Washington College.   About Our Guest Co-Host:  Jeanette Patrick is the Digital Writer and Researcher in the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. Among her many responsibilities, she serves as Associate Editor of the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington.  He holds an MA in Public History from James Madison University. She is a former Program Manager at the National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C.  About Our Host:   Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
34:51
October 1, 2020
177. Harnessing Harmony in the Early Republic with Billy Coleman
On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key began composing "The Star-Spangled Banner after witnessing the British attack on Fort McHenry. Of all the things he could have done after seeing that flag, why did Key write a song?  And how did his new composition fit into a much longer history of music as a form of political persuasion in the Early Republic? On today’s episode, Dr. Billy Coleman joins us explore the power of music in the early United States, and how Federalists in particular used it as a kind of weapon to advance their vision of a harmonious nation led by elites. He also helps us understand why music as a form of historical evidence is a remarkable way to get inside the heads, and the hearts, of people from ages past. Coleman is the Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow in Political History at the University of Missouri. He is the author of Harnessing Harmony: Music, Power, and Politics in the United States, 1788-1865, (UNC Press, 2020). Coleman and his collaborator, the music producer Running Notch, have also created a soundtrack for the book, featuring modern interpretations of some of the most important political songs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.nFind the soundtrack here or search for “Harnessing Harmony” on Spotify. You’ll hear clips from a couple of these tunes over the course of today’s program, but make sure you stick around after the credits roll for an exclusive opportunity to hear the complete versions of "Hail, Columbia" and "Jefferson and Liberty," which appear “ courtesy of Running Notch from the “Book Soundtrack” to Billy Coleman’s Harnessing Harmony: Music, Power, and Politics in the United States, 1788–1865 (UNC Press). About Our Guest:  Billy Coleman, Ph.D. is the Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow in Political History at the University of Missouri. His research articles also appear in the Journal of Southern History and the Journal of the Early Republic. His new project, “Making Music National in a Settler State,” is exploring the transnational origins of national music in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Dr. Coleman is currently the North American-based Book Reviews Editor for the peer-reviewed journal, American Nineteenth Century History.  About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
01:06:53
September 24, 2020
176. Hunting Satan in Scotland and the Atlantic World with Michelle D. Brock
The Prince of Darkness wrought havoc on the souls of seventeenth-century Christians living throughout the Atlantic world. Whether they called him Satan, the Devil, Beelzebub, or by any other name, Lucifer tempted men and women to break their covenant with God in Heaven and do his dark bidding on Earth. At a time of great religious upheaval, when the Protestant Reformation swept through Europe and across the ocean to England’s American colonies, fears of Satan’s malevolent influence and the search for signs of his deeds were particularly intense in Scotland. A Reformation driven largely by the Scottish clergy and gentry inspired Scots to see the Devil’s works in their everyday lives, question their salvation, and steel themselves against the possibility of eternal damnation. And just like in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1690s, Scots saw witches among them. Between the mid-1560s and early 1730s, Scots accused nearly 4,000 people of being in league with Satan. They executed many of the alleged conspirators. On today’s show, Dr. Michelle D. Brock helps us understand why Satan held such powerful sway over Reformed Scotland, how Scottish witch hunting compared to the colonial New England experience, and perhaps the ultimate question: In dealing with the supernatural, how do we know what we know. About Our Guest: Michelle D. Brock, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of history at Washington & Lee University. She is the author of Satan and the Scots: The Devil in Post-Reformation Scotland, c.1560-1700, (Routledge, 2016). She is co-director, along with Chris R. Langley of Newman University of Mapping the Scottish Reformation, a digital prosopography of the Scottish clergy between 1560 and 1689. About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
55:54
September 17, 2020
175. Finding Redemption from Tyranny with Bruce Stewart
Conversations at the Washington Library kicks off Season 5 by exploring the life of a radical populist who never met a revolution he didn’t like. Almost unbelievably, Herman Husband participated in some of the most significant events in eighteenth-century America: The Great Awakening; the North Carolina Regulation Movement; The American Revolution; and the Whiskey Rebellion. Husband’s story illuminates the major religious, political, and economic upheavals that reshaped North America in this period, and we might just see some parallels between his time and our own. On today’s show, Dr. Bruce Stewart, a professor of history at Appalachian State University, joins Jim Ambuske to unpack Husband’s life. He is the author of the new book, Redemption from Tyranny: Herman Husband’s American Revolution, published in 2020 by the University of Virginia Press. It’s a compelling story of early America told through the eyes of a man for whom revolutions never went far enough. About Our Guest:  Bruce Stewart, Ph.D. is Professor of History at Appalachian State University. He earned his M.A. in History from Western Carolina University and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Georgia. His areas of study are United States History and Appalachian History. He is the author of four books, including his latest, Redemption from Tyranny: Herman Husband's American Revolution (UVA Press, 2020).  About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
54:24
September 10, 2020
174. (Recast) Tracing the Rise and Fall of Light-Horse Harry Lee with Ryan Cole
This episode originally aired in September 2019. You may know him as Robert E. Lee’s father, but Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee was so much more. Born into a Virginia dynasty, the man who would become one of George Washington’s protégés came of age with the American Revolution itself. Lee was a graduate of Princeton University, a cavalry commander in the war’s brutal southern theater, and he later served two terms as Virginia’s governor. He was a dashing figure who romanticized the ancient world and aspired to be one of the new nation’s great slave-holding planters. But death and despair undercut the life that Lee imagined for himself. On today’s program, Ryan Cole joins us to discuss Lee’s tragic story. Cole is a journalist and former member of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He is the author of the new book, Light-Horse Harry Lee: The Rise and Fall of a Revolutionary Hero. About our Guest: Ryan Cole, a former assistant to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and speechwriter at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, holds degrees in history and journalism from Indiana University. He has written extensively about American history and literature for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the New Criterion, Civil War Times, the American Interest, and the Indianapolis Star. Additionally, he has written for Indiana University and the Lumina Foundation, and he served on the staff of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
53:56
September 3, 2020
173. Tracing the History of the Syphax Family with Steve Hammond and Brenda Parker
The Syphax Family has deep historic ties to Mount Vernon and other sites of enslavement in Virginia. In 1821, Charles Syphax, an enslaved man at Arlington House in Northern Virginia, married Maria Carter, the daughter of a woman enslaved at Mount Vernon. Charles was the inherited property of George Washington Parke Custis, Martha Washington’s grandson. And there is very strong evidence that the woman that Charles married, Maria, was Custis’s daughter. On today’s episode, you’ll learn more about the fascinating history of the Syphax Family and its connections to Mount Vernon from Steve Hammond. Hammond is a Genealogist, Family Historian, and Syphax descendent who has spent decades reconstructing the Syphax family’s history. He recently joined Brenda Parker, Mount Vernon’s African American Interpretation and Special Projects Coordinator, on a live stream to discuss his family’s story.  We’re happy to bring her conversation with Hammond to the podcast. Be sure to check out the documents Hammond and Parker discuss during the program. About Our Guest: Steve Hammond is a descendent of the Syphax Family. He retired from the United States Department of Interior after many years of service. A genealogist and family historian, Hammond has spent decades researching, writing, and lecturing about the Syphax Family and their place in Virginia history.  About Our Guest Host: Brenda Parker is Mount Vernon's African American Interpretation and Special Projects Coordinator. Trained in performative arts, Parker interprets some of the women enslaved at Mount Vernon during George Washington's era, including Caroline Branham.
01:05:59
August 27, 2020
172. Exploring White Women as Slave Owners in the American South with Stephanie Jones-Rogers
It’s easy to think of slave holding as a male profession. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and countless other men are often the names that come to mind when we think about early Americans who held other people in bondage. But white women, especially in the American South, were equally invested in slavery as owners in human property. A new generation of historians is helping us to understand why and how. One such scholar is Dr. Stephanie Jones-Rogers of the University California-Berkeley. She is the author of the new book, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, which recently won the LA Times Book Prize in History and the Best Book Award from the Society for Historians of the Early Republic. On today’s episode, we bring you the audio version of Library Executive Director Dr. Kevin Butterfield’s recent live stream interview with Dr. Jones-Rogers. It’s an illuminating look at an underexplored topic that were only just beginning to better understand. About Our Guest: Stephanie Jones-Rogers is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley where she specializes in African-American history, the history of American slavery, and women’s and gender history. She is the author of the book They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South (Yale University Press, 2019), which won the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic’s 2020 Best Book Prize and the Organization of American Historians’ 2020 Merle Curti Prize for the best book in American social history. She is also the first African-American and the third woman to win the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History since the award’s inception in 1980. A former faculty member at the University of Iowa, Jones-Rogers received her Ph.D. in African-American History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 2012. About Our Guest Host: Kevin C. Butterfield is the  Executive Director of the Washington Library. He comes to Mount Vernon from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the Director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and Constitutional Studies Program, holding an appointment as the Wick Cary Professor and Associate Professor of Classics and Letters. He is the author of The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States (Chicago, 2015).
01:02:44
August 20, 2020
171. Reinterpreting Mary Ball Washington with Karin Wulf, Martha Saxton, Craig Shirley, and Charlene Boyer Lewis
On today's show, we bring you the audio from our annual Martha Washington Lecture. This year's topic was Mary Ball Washington, George's mother, and the recent work by historians to rethink what we know about her life. Dr. Karin Wulf, executive director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, served as our guest moderator for this event. She was joined on the virtual stage by Martha Saxon, a  2020 George Washington Book Prize Finalist for her work, The Widow Washington: The Life of Mary Washington (2019); Craig Shirley, author of Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington’s Mother (2019); and Charlene Boyer Lewis, author of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic (2014). About Our Guests: Martha Saxton is Professor of History and Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, and Elizabeth W. Bruss Reader, Emerita at Amherst College. In addition to The Widow Washington, Saxton is the author of Being Good: Women's Moral Values in Early America (2003), among numerous other publications.  Craig Shirley is a veteran political advisor with a long career in service to the Republican Party. He is also the author of a number of works on American history, including December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World (2011), and Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative (2017). Charlene M. Boyer Lewis is a professor of history and the director of the American studies program at Kalamazoo College. She specializes in women's history, southern history, and American cultural and social history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the author of Ladies and Gentlemen on Display: Planter Society at the Virginia Springs, 1790–1860 (2001) and is at work on a biography of Peggy Shippen Arnold.  About Our Guest Moderator: Karin Wulf is the director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, which has been publishing the William and Mary Quarterly, the leading journal in early American scholarship, and books with the University of North Carolina Press, since 1943. She is also Professor of History at the College of William & Mary, and co-chair the College’s Neurodiversity Working Group. Her scholarship focuses on women, gender and family in the early modern British Atlantic.
01:10:59
August 13, 2020
170. Forging a Founding Partnership with Edward J. Larson
Season 5 of the podcast drops in a few weeks. In the meantime, we're pleased to offer you Library Executive Director Kevin Butterfield’s recent live stream conversation with Edward J. Larson. Larson is the author of many books, including the subject of today's show, Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership. We need your help to make Season 5 of Conversations the best one yet. Please take a moment to complete our listener survey that will help shape the future of the show. You’ll find a link to the survey on the podcast’s homepage at www.mountvernon.org/podcast. By filling it out, you’ll not only help us help you, you’ll also be entered to win a free book. Thanks so much in advance, and be sure to like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. About Our Guest: Ed Larson holds the Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law and is University Professor of History at Pepperdine University. Originally from Ohio with a PhD in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and law degree from Harvard, Larson has lectured on all seven continents and taught at Stanford Law School, University of Melbourne, Leiden University, and the University of Georgia, where he chaired the History Department. Prior to become a professor, Larson practiced law in Seattle and served as counsel for the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC. He is the author of numerous books, including Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership (2020). About Our Guest Host: Kevin C. Butterfield is the  Executive Director of the Washington Library. He comes to Mount Vernon from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the Director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and Constitutional Studies Program, holding an appointment as the Wick Cary Professor and Associate Professor of Classics and Letters. He is the author of The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States (Chicago, 2015).
01:09:43
August 6, 2020
169. Re-investigating an Early American Murder with Jessica Lowe
Season 5 of Conversations at the Washington Library is just around the corner. Until then, we're happy to bring you Jim Ambuske's recent live stream chat with Dr. Jessica Lowe of the University of Virginia School of Law.  Long-time fans of the podcast will recognize Dr. Lowe’s name from an episode Ambuske recorded with her in 2019. Their live stream conversation  gave them a chance to go much deeper into the horrid crime at the heart of Lowe's book, Murder in the Shenandoah: Making Law Sovereign in Revolution Virginia, and what it means for our own modern struggle for justice and equality. And despite events of the past few months and recent weeks, Dr. Lowe gives us a reason to be hopeful in the end. About Our Guest: Jessica Lowe, Ph.D. specializes in 18th- and 19th-century American legal history. She received her J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School, and clerked in the District of Connecticut and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Lowe also practiced litigation and appellate law at Jones Day in Washington, D.C., where she worked on a number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia. She received her Ph.D. in American history from Princeton University. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
01:04:10
July 30, 2020
168. Mining King George III's Papers with Zara Anishanslin and Arthur Burns
While work continues on the podcast's upcoming Season 5, we’re pleased to offer you another summer interlude. For today’s show, we bring you the audio version of Jim Ambuske's recent live stream chat with Professors Zara Anishanslin and Arthur Burns about the Georgian Papers Programme. Now, most of you probably know that some Americans had a little -  shall we say – disagreement with King George III two centuries ago. Something about taxation, tea, and tyranny. But did you know that researchers, librarians, and digital humanists on both sides of the pond are busy digitizing and interpreting the papers of the Georgian Monarchs, their families, and the members of the royal household from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? What can we learn about early America, and especially the American revolution, from these documents? Stay tuned to find out. As always, if you’d like to see the images associated with this live stream, consider watching the video version by going to www.mountvernon.org/gwdigitaltalks. About Our Guests: Zara Anishanslin is Associate Professor of History and Art History at the University of Delaware.  She is the author of Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World. She was the 2018 Mount Vernon Georgian Papers Programme Fellow, working at the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, the Washington Library, and King’s College London on her new project on the American Revolution, London Patriots. Arthur Burns is Professor of Modern British History at King’s College London. He is currently academic director of the Georgian Papers Programme. Primarily a historian of later Hanoverian and Victorian Britain, Burns engages with the history of the Church of England over a much longer period, notably through his pioneering involvement in digital humanities. He co-founded the Boydell and Brewer monograph series Studies in Modern British Religious History, which has now published more than 35 volumes on this theme. About Our Host: Jim Ambuske leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a focus on Scotland and America in an Age of War and Revolution. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is the co-author with Randall Flaherty of "Reading Law in the Early Republic: Legal Education in the Age of Jefferson," in The Founding of Thomas Jefferson's University ed. by John A. Rogasta, Peter S. Onuf, and Andrew O'Shaughnessy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019). Ambuske is currently at work on a book entitled Emigration and Empire: America and Scotland in the Revolutionary Era, as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
01:13:22
July 23, 2020
167. Reconstructing the Indian World of George Washington with Colin Calloway
Week 3 of our summer hiatus is another opportunity to bring you a fascinating look at early America courtesy of some of our recent live stream programming. On today’s show, we bring you Library Executive Director Kevin Butterfield’s conversation with 2019 George Washington Book Prize winner, Dr. Colin Calloway. Calloway is 1943 Professor of History and Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth University. He won last year’s Book prize for his latest work, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Peoples, and the Birth of the Nation. It’s the definitive work on the relationship between Washington and indigenous peoples in the eighteenth century, and it illuminates the complicated, culturally diverse, and often contentious world in which they all lived. About Our Guest: Colin Calloway is John Kimball, Jr. 1943 Professor of History and Professor of Native American Studies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds in England in 1978. After moving to the United States, he taught high school in Springfield, Vermont, served for two years as associate director and editor of the D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and taught for seven years at the University of Wyoming. He has been associated with Dartmouth since 1990 when he first came as a visiting professor. He became a permanent member of the faculty in 1995. About Our Guest Host: Kevin C. Butterfield is the  Executive Director of the Washington Library. He comes to Mount Vernon from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the Director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and Constitutional Studies Program, holding an appointment as the Wick Cary Professor and Associate Professor of Classics and Letters. He is the author of The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States (Chicago, 2015).
01:10:07
July 16, 2020
166. Mobilizing the Will of the People with T. H. Breen
We're excited to bring you Season 5 of Conversations at the Washington Library in a few short weeks. But in the meantime we’ll keep you entertained as promised. Today, we bring you the audio version of Executive Director Kevin Butterfield’s recent live stream with Dr. T.H. Breen. Breen is the William Smith Mason Professor of History emeritus at Northwestern University. He has been a leading scholar of colonial America and the Revolution for the past several decades, and long has been interested in the ordinary, everyday folk who inhabited this world. Breen’s latest book, The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America, is the subject of today’s talk. We were fortunate to have Breen as the third and final participant in our Michelle Smith Lecture series. Just a reminder that if you’d like to see the images that Breen and Butterfield discuss over the course of their conversation, head on over to mountvernon.org/gwdigitaltalks to watch the full video. About Our Host: T.H. Breen, William Smith Mason Professor of American History, is an Early American historian interested in the history of political thought, material culture, and cultural anthropology. He is the author of numerous books, including Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (Oxford, 2004); American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People (Hill & Wang, 2010); George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation (Simon and Schuster: January, 2016). About Our Guest Host: Kevin C. Butterfield is the  Executive Director of the Washington Library. He comes to Mount Vernon from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the Director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and Constitutional Studies Program, holding an appointment as the Wick Cary Professor and Associate Professor of Classics and Letters. He is the author of The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States (Chicago, 2015).
01:04:45
July 9, 2020
165. Facing the Long Year of Revolution with Mary Beth Norton
Summer has arrived and with it the end of Season 4 of Conversations at the Washington Library.  But don't despair! While we're busy recording new episodes for Season 5, we'll keep the conversation going by bringing you the audio version of recent and upcoming Washington Library Live Stream Digital Book Talks.  In fact, for today’s episode, we bring you Dr. Kevin Butterfield’s recent chat with Dr. Mary Beth Norton about her new book, 1774: The Long Year of Revolution. Norton is Mary Donlon Alger Professor Emerita at Cornell University. For over 40 years, she has been one of the leading scholars of the Revolutionary era, with books on American Loyalists, women and gender, and witchcraft. As with all live streams, you might hear an audio glitch here and there. If you’d rather watch the video version, complete with the images Norton and Butterfield discuss, check it out at www.mountvernon.org/gwdigitaltalks Season 5 of Conversations will begin rolling out in mid-August. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this program. About Our Guest: Mary Beth Norton is an historian, specializing in America before 1800. She is a recipient of the Ambassador Book Award in American Studies for In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities, US & Canada and was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for History (1997). She has received four honorary degrees and has held fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Mellon, and Starr Foundations, as well as from Princeton University and the Huntington Library. She has been elected a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions in the University of Cambridge in 2005-06. She is Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History emerita at the Department of History at Cornell University. Norton is a former president of the American Historical Association. About Our Guest Host: Kevin C. Butterfield is the  Executive Director of the Washington Library. He comes to Mount Vernon from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the Director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and Constitutional Studies Program, holding an appointment as the Wick Cary Professor and Associate Professor of Classics and Letters. He is the author of The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States (Chicago, 2015).
01:00:56
July 2, 2020
164. Battling Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay with Jamie L. H. Goodall
During the American Revolution, the Chesapeake Bay was a pirate’s nest. The men who plied the Bay’s waters had shifting loyalties, competing interests, and a keen sense of how to use the law to legitimize their actions. In fact, they are part of a much richer history of piracy in the Bay. From the seventeenth through the nineteenth century, pirates were a constant feature of Chesapeake society. They connected the Bay and its communities with the wider Atlantic world, and even to the Indian Ocean. And in later years, they battled local authorities for control of the Chesapeake’s lucrative oyster trade. On today's episode, we're pleased to bring you the audio version of Jim Ambuske's live stream conversation with Dr. Jamie L. H. Goodall, Staff Historian for the US Army’s Center of Military History.  Goodall is the author of the new book, Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars. About Our Guest: Jamie L. H. Goodall, Ph.D. is Staff Historian at the Center of Military History, US Army, in Washington, D.C. She received her B.A. in Archaeology and M.A. in Public History-Museum Studies from Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina) in 2008 and 2010 respectively.  She was awarded  her PhD from The Ohio State in May 2016. She is a former Assistant Professor of History at Stevenson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Goodall is the author of Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars (The History Press, 2020). About Our Host: Jim Ambuske leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a focus on Scotland and America in an Age of War and Revolution. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is the co-author with Randall Flaherty of "Reading Law in the Early Republic: Legal Education in the Age of Jefferson," in The Founding of Thomas Jefferson's University ed. by John A. Rogasta, Peter S. Onuf, and Andrew O'Shaughnessy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019). Ambuske is currently at work on a book entitled Emigration and Empire: America and Scotland in the Revolutionary Era, as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
58:33
June 25, 2020
163. Returning to Lives Bound Together on Juneteenth with Jessie MacLeod
This Friday marks the anniversary of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the moment on June 19, 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned they were freed by Emancipation Proclamation and the Confederacy’s defeat in the Civil War. It is also known as Freedom Day or Liberation Day. To celebrate,  Brenda Parker, Mount Vernon Character Interpreter & African American Interpretation & Special Projects Coordinator, will perform Freedom Skies, a special Live Stream event on Juneteenth focused on the experiences of four individuals at Mount Vernon on Manumission Day—January 1, 1801—when Martha Washington freed the late George Washington’s enslaved people. You can find more information by going to mountvernon.org/livestream On today's show, Associate Curator Jessie MacLeod returns to Conversations to update us on recent research on slavery at Mount Vernon. MacLeod is the lead curator of Lives Bound Together, an exhibit that debuted in 2016. It tells the story of the enslaved community on the estate during George Washington’s life. As Juneteenth approaches, we wanted to learn more about the research that inspired this exhibit, h