Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The Southern author spent eighteen months in the city, writing for local newspapers while working on fiction pieces on the side. Many of the artifacts of his life are on display in the room, including a restored mantelpiece of his mansion on Delaware Avenue and a steamer trunk that held forgotten Twain documents.
The centerpiece of the museum are leaves from the original handwritten manuscript of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of Mark Twain’s most well-known works. Filed around this unique piece of history are English and foreign language editions of the novel. Norman Rockwell prints for the 1940 edition of Huckleberry Finn hang on the wall adjacent to bookshelves containing illustrations and other works relevant to Twain.
While small, the Mark Twain room captures a great deal of Buffalo history. Admission is free, and more information about the museum and library can be found at http://www.buffalolib.org/content/grosvenor/mark-twain-room. The room is truly a mark of the resurgence of Buffalo, connecting the vibrant downtown area and central library with a remarkable segment of local history. It is definitely worth a visit.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Learning History Where it Happened: History Major Harrison Leone and the Defenestration(s) of Prague
Obviously, thirteen year old me was frightfully mistaken. Defenestration is a real word; Prague is not in Russia; and the Defenestration of Prague of 1618 played a pivotal role in modern European history. Throwing opponents out of windows is a peculiarly Czech solution to intractable political debates and, though the most significant from a historical standpoint, the Defenestration of 1618 was only one of three such events in Bohemian history.
Before understanding the defenestrations, readers should know that the Czechs have a long tradition of questioning authority and combating oppression, specifically when that oppression came via religious persecution. Prague itself was one of the first places to question the growing decadence of the medieval Catholic Church.
The fiery and passionate preacher Jan Hus decried the opulence of the church during his time. Hus would eventually be tied to a stake and set ablaze for the troubles he created. His teachings and grisly demise ignited the Hussite Wars, a proto-Protestant movement that lasted for several decades and left Bohemia a devastated, backwards province, removed from power, and without any capacity for self-government. The Hussite Wars were set off with the First Defenestration of Prague in 1419, when town council members were thrown to their death from the New Town Hall.
The story of the Czech people’s struggle is often tragic. Surrounded by powerful neighbors, placed in the middle of the most historically mercurial continent on earth, the Czechs have sought for centuries to assert their national character on their own lands. The Czechs seem to have been the victims of every historical villain of the past 500 years, whether this villainy came in the form of corrupt priests, power-hungry Austrians, Lebensraum-seeking Nazis, or the Warsaw Pact. Troubled past aside, my experiences with the Czechs have been absolutely peaceful and pleasant, although I have made it a point to avoid standing near windows.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Well, I must say that there is always something to do in London even if you have lived here your whole life. Unlike Dublin, which is compact and small, London is spread out. There are six zones in the Greater London area and three other zones in the North West of London. Luckily, there are many modes of transportations such as buses, bikes, cars, trains, and the London Underground, also known as the Tube. On a rainy day in London, which sometimes happens, the Tube is your best mode of transport.
So far the adventure has been amazing and there are still plenty of things to see in London!
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Last Monday we saw a hint of spring, so the class took the opportunity to go the cemetery to work on our map. We also met with a local genealogist who has been volunteering in online commemorating for years. After an excellent presentation students set out to find the remaining graves they are researching and secure their coordinates.
Friday, March 28, 2014
My decision to choose Saint Bonaventure was also in large part because of young exposure. My grandfather and uncle both went to Bonas and so throughout my childhood and high school career I heard stories of Bonaventure. I truly knew that Bonaventure was where I was going to spend my college career, however, when I first visited the school and saw the history section of Friedsam Library. As a high school senior, I had never seen so many books devoted to history in one place. Even now, in my senior year at Bonaventure, I enjoy going down to the History section and simply skimming through the books.
Perhaps my favorite part of being a history major at Saint Bonaventure has been the way that I have expanded my knowledge of the histories of many regions and countries that previously I had no exposure to. These regions include the Middle East, Latin America, and East Asia. Before coming to Saint Bonaventure, I took many classes on European and American history, both of which I have learned a lot about at Bonaventure. However, once at Bonaventure, I immediately decided to take classes on Asian and Latin American history to broaden my historical knowledge. By my sophomore year, I was also taking Middle Eastern history classes. These classes offered a new challenge and were particularly interesting because of the way that all of the information was new. For truly expanding my knowledge in history and changing the way I look at the world I have to thank Dr. Horowitz, Dr. Zabad from the Political Science Department, Dr. Robbins and many other professors throughout this wonderful school.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
|Photo courtesy of Chelsea O'Connor-Rosiek|
During my junior year, as I seriously considered a career in Speech and Language Pathology, I began to tell people that I would not be using my history degree. I know plenty of people who majored in history as an undergraduate and are not presently working in the historical field: my dad works in hospitality, his college roommate is a podiatrist, some guy I sat next to on a plane once helps develop companies. I used to think none of these people were really using their degrees in history. I was sorely mistaken. While these careers may not directly reflect characteristics of history, they do incorporate the skills of a historian.
There is a very slight connection between a speech therapist and a historian; however, I am determined to incorporate the skills I have learned as a history student at St. Bonaventure University into my future career endeavors no matter what they may be. After taking many classes with Dr. Horowitz, I have learned to read large amounts of material while still being able to understand and discuss what I have read. Dr. Payne has taught me to be flexible and to have an open mind when dealing with new material. He has also taught me that there may actually be a zombie apocalypse and to be prepared for it. All of my history professors have taught me to be innovative in ways that are outside of the box.
The skills that I have learned from studying history are irrefutable. Even if my career may not involve history in a direct way, I will be able to use the insights I have gained through being a history major in many aspects of my life. History will always be my first love, and I do not regret choosing to major in it. Who knows, maybe someday I will find the National Treasure, and I will be sure to thank all of my history professors in my recognition speech.