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Conversations at the Washington Library

Conversations at the Washington Library

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Conversations at the Washington Library is the premier podcast about George Washington and his Early American world. Join host Jim Ambuske each week as he talks with scholars, digital humanists, librarians, and other guests about Washington's era and the way we tell stories about the past. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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). --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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). --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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). --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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). --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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). --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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, how MacLeod and her team put it together, and as importantly, the discoveries that have been made since its installation and what new questions we are pursuing that can help us better understand how the African American community at Mount Vernon navigated slavery and freedom in the nineteenth century. About Our Guest: Jessie MacLeod is an Associate Curator at Mount Vernon, where she has worked since 2012. She was the lead curator for the landmark exhibition Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and a contributor to the accompanying publication. She is also responsible for developing special exhibits across the estate, managing Mount Vernon’s collection of historic prints, and researching the Mansion’s 18th-century furnishings. 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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
In March 1797, newly-inaugurated president John Adams thought he detected a glint of joy in George Washington’s eyes as the aging Virginian stepped off the world stage. Adams told his wife Abigail it was as if Washington was thinking, “I am fairly out and you fairly in! see which of Us will be happiest.” The first president had grown tired of the partisan rancor that plagued his second term and longed to sit under his own vine and fig tree at Mount Vernon in peace. But Washington’s vision of a tranquil retirement was not to be. In the last few years of his life, European turmoil threatened American domestic security, his own finances were in shambles, and the fate of the enslaved community at Mount Vernon, and indeed enslaved Americans general, began to weigh heavily on Washington’s mind. Many biographers treat Washington’s post-presidency years as a kind of coda to his life, as space that needs to be filled in order to get to the dramatic story of his death. But for Jonathon Horn, those final years are fertile ground for understanding the United States in its infancy, what it meant for a republic to have an ex-president, and Washington’s own struggle to be one. On today’s show, Horn joins Jim Ambuske via Zoom to discuss his new book, Washington’s End: The Final Years and the Forgotten Struggle.  About Our Guest:  Jonathan Horn is an author and former White House presidential speechwriter whose Robert E. Lee biography, The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, was a Washington Post bestseller. In February 2020, Scribner published Jonathan's new book, Washington's End, the forgotten story of the final years of America's Founding Father.  He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and PBS NewsHour. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times Disunion series, The Daily Beast, CNN.com, Politico Magazine, The Weekly Standard, and other outlets. During his time at the White House, Jonathan served as a speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush. A graduate of Yale University, Jonathan now lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, daughters, and dog. 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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
Note: This episode originally aired on January 30, 2020. In May 1796, Ona Judge, Martha Washington’s enslaved maidservant, freed herself by walking out of the Washington’s Philadelphia home. She had learned that Martha intended to give her away as a wedding present to Elizabeth Parke Custis, her eldest granddaughter. Judge quietly slipped out of the house one evening, boarded a ship, and fled to New Hampshire. She lived there for the rest of her life. Despite their best efforts, the Washingtons were never able to recapture her. On today’s episode, Ona Judge tells her own story. Library Research Fellow Sheila Arnold joins Jim Ambuske in character as Ona Judge to give voice to her life. Arnold is a historic character interpreter who performs as many historical figures, including Ona Judge and Madame CJ Walker, an African American entrepreneur and businesswoman who was one of the wealthiest self-made women in early 20th century America. During the first half of today’s show, Ambuske interviews Arnold as Ona Judge, as she might have been in the last years of her life. He then talks to Arnold herself about historic character interpretation and the powerful ways that performing as a formerly enslaved person can build bridges between communities. About Our Guest: Sheila Arnold currently resides in Hampton, VA. She is a Professional Storyteller, Character Interpreter and Teaching Artist. Through her company, History’s Alive!, Sheila has provided storytelling programs, historic character presentations, Christian monologues, dramatic/creative writing workshops, professional development for educators and inspirational/motivational speeches at schools, churches, libraries, professional organizations and museums, in 41 states since 2003. 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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
Virginia is a landscape shaped by slavery and the enslaved communities who labored in bondage on plantations like Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the smaller farms that surrounded these large estates. But in the eighteenth century, Virginia, New York, South Carolina, and other mainland colonies with sizable enslaved populations paled in comparison to the importance, profitably, and human complexity of the Island of Jamaica. Jamaica was the crown jewel of the British Empire in this period. It was arguably the most important colony in British America, so much so that during the American Revolution, British authorities worried far more about the potential loss of Britain’s Caribbean islands, than they did the rebelling thirteen on the mainland. And as much as the British ruling class feared French or Spanish threats to Jamaica, they also feared revolts from the enslaved population, who to them was an internal enemy. Indeed, in April 1760, enslaved men and women in St. Mary’s Parish rose up against their oppressors, the beginning of an event we often referred to as “Tacky’s War” or “Tacky’s Revolt,” taking its name from one of the men who led it. On today's episode, we're pleased to bring you the audio version of Jim Ambuske's recent live stream conversation with Harvard historian Vincent Brown. Brown is the author of the new book, Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War. Historians have been writing about Tacky's Revolt almost since the moment it occurred, but Brown’s work compels us to see the rebellion as a war within a series of wars in the Atlantic world. It will help you rethink the map of eighteenth-century slavery. About our Guest: Vincent Brown is Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies.  He directs the History Design Studio and teaches courses in Atlantic history, African diaspora studies, and the history of slavery in the Americas. Brown is the author of The Reaper's Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2008), producer of Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness, an audiovisual documentary broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens, and is most recently the author of Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (Belknap 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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
In 1812, Pennsylvania state legislators contemplated something that most Americans would now find completely unimaginable: demolishing Independence Hall in Philadelphia, converting the site to a series of building lots, and using the proceeds to fund construction of a new statehouse in Harrisburg. Fortunately, Philly’s city leaders pushed back against state officials and preserved this historic landmark for future generations, allowing visitors to commune with the ghosts of the Founding Generation who had taken a “leap in the dark” toward independence and later designed the new Constitution. But saving Independence Hall, and indeed any historic structure, wasn’t just about defending the past; it was also about defining the future. On today’s episode, Whitney Martinko joins Jim Ambuske to discuss why Americans in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries battled over the preservation of historic sites and how capitalism shaped the choices and opportunities available to them. Martinko is an Associate Professor of history at Villanova University, and the author of the new book, Historic Real Estate: Market Morality and the Politics of Preservation in the Early United States. What gets saved and what gets destroyed is a lot more complicated than you might think. About Our Guest: Whitney Martinko is an associate professor of History at Villanova University. She is a historian of the early United States with expertise in urban and environmental history, material and visual culture, and histories of capitalism. Her research examines how people have defined the value of historic places and objects—in the past and today. Martinko was raised in Chillicothe, Ohio, and earned degrees in History from Harvard College (BA) and the University of Virginia (MA, PhD). She currently lives in West Philadelphia. 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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
In November 1800, President John Adams composed a letter to his wife, Abigail, just after he moved into the new White House. He concluded his letter to his “dearest friend” this way: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.” As the quote suggests, God was an ever present force in the life of John Adams and his family, and while they hoped that providence would smile on the United States, they lived in a republic committed to religious freedom and increasingly the separation of church and state. How did religion help the Adams Family to make sense of their American world? And how did that American world change their religious beliefs? On today's episode, we're pleased to bring you the audio version of Jim Ambuske's recent live stream conversation with Dr. Sara Georgini, Series Editor of the Papers of John Adams at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and author of the new book Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family. About Our Guest: Sara Georgini, Ph.D., is the Series Editor for The Papers of John Adams, part of The Adams Papers project at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and author of Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her research focuses on early American thought, culture, and religion. She is co-founder and contributor to The Junto and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History blogs. Georgini writes about American history, thought, and culture for Smithsonian and CNN. 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. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support
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