Wednesday, October 31, 2012


YEAR 18,  NO. 3    31 OCTOBER 2012
St. Bonaventure and the World Series

 John McGraw
         The recent success of the San Francisco Giants in the World Series reminded me that at one time St. Bonaventure had a close connection with both the Giants and the World Series. Did you know that a former Bona student once cancelled the World Series? The man who did this was John McGraw. The first World Series took place in 1903. Since that time there have been only two years when it was not held. The second cancellation came in 1994, when the players were on strike. The first cancellation occurred in 1904. John McGraw was the manager of the National League champion New York Giants. (The Giants moved to San Francisco in 1957). The National League was the older of the two leagues. The American League had started only in 1901, and McGraw hated the idea of giving the new, rival league publicity and respect by having the two leagues play in a World Series. So he refused to let his Giants play the American League champion Boston Pilgrims (later the Red Sox).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

History Newsletter 9 October 2012

YEAR 18, NO. 2 9 OCTOBER 2012

St. Bonaventure Cemetery

As everyone knows, St. Bonaventure has its own cemetery. I recommend it to students who need to escape from campus and get some fresh air and exercise. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place for contemplation about the meaning of life (and death). It’s also a place where one can find the graves of many persons who were extremely important in the history of our institution. Fr. Thomas Plassmann was the longest serving president in our history (1920-1949). Fr. Irenaeus Herscher served as library director and archivist for about a half century. It is fitting that our main classroom building and our mountain retreat are named after these two men.

New Member of the Department

Many of you have noticed that there is a new face in the Department of History this year. Mr. Christopher Dalton is a specialist in Chinese and East Asian History. He received his BA at the University of Florida and currently is completing his PhD dissertation for the University of Arizona. He has taught at several American universities and has also spent much time teaching and doing research in China. Mr. Dalton and his family live in Olean. I hope that everyone on campus makes him feel at home here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Study of the United States Institute at St. Bonaventure University (Summer 2012)

St. Bonaventure University hosted a Study of the United States Institute about American government and history for student leaders from Central and South America, a program sponsored by the United States Department of State. Assistant Professor of History Maddalena Marinari served as academic director of the program. Please follow this link for more information:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Leanna Chojnacki Helps Bring Important Stamp Collection to SBU

On August 21, 2012, the St. Bonaventure University archives received an $11,000 United Nations stamp collection. Ray Albertella, an alumnus who graduated with a degree in History in 1962, donated this collection to the university after visiting the campus for the first time since he graduated. As part of my summer job working for Admissions, I signed up to give tours during the Alumni Weekend. One of the tours I gave was for the class of 1962 to show them what had changed at St. Bonaventure University since they attended the university 50 years earlier.
             During my tour, I showed the class of 1962 the Thisness piece to give them a sense of the types of clubs and activities in which current Bona students are engaged and mentioned the Model United Nations of which I am the current Secretary General. This peaked Mr. Albertella’s interest and after my tour he had started to ask me what our organization on our campus does. He soon told me about his collection of United Nations stamps and we exchanged email addresses.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Notes from a Summer Internship by History Major Stephen Bowers

There is an old saying that states, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Well, this past summer I was blessed with the opportunity to not forget my historical background but rather to live it. I could do so through the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, NY.

At the Genesee Country Museum, as an historical interpreter, I was given several tasks on a weekly basis. One of the jobs I was given was to work on an old pioneer farmstead that was established in about 1820 in Bloomfield, NY. Here I was given chores that a typical farmer in the 19th century would’ve had to do, such as feeding the livestock, fixing the fences, or even chasing the chickens into the coop. I even learned about what plants are good to eat and which ones aren’t.

Not only was I on the farm, this summer, but I was also working in an active 19th century brewery. The original brewery was owned by Walter Grieve in Geneva, NY and pumped water directly from Seneca Lake. Though I rarely was given the opportunity to brew, I did learn an outstanding amount about the history and the importance of beer, not only in the United States but also around the world.

My last duty was in an old gunsmith shop that is from Dalton, NY. Working in this shop taught me a valuable lesson. I do not mean to sound too “right winged” but the quote goes, “The gun has played a critical role in history. An invention which has been praised and denounced, served hero and villain alike, and carries with it moral responsibility. To understand the gun, is to better understand history.” This quote certainly holds true if think about all the instrumental times in our history the gun has gotten us to where we are today (the American Revolution?).

What the Genesee Country Museum teaches so well that our history books cannot teach, but is often overlooked, is the simple idea of how people were still people 200 years ago. They lived honest lives and arguably more grueling than the ones we live today. Needless to say, I cannot fully sum this summer up in 300 words other than to say it has been the experience of a lifetime and really hope I am welcomed back as I was welcomed this year.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Notes from a Summer Internship by History Major Leah Brownstein

Western New York is gifted with tremendous historical importance exposed through the many societies, museums, and public exhibits. Although there are many educational opportunities available to examine these various historical events, the rich history of Buffalo, New York is often overlooked by the public. Society’s lack of historical knowledge became discouragingly obvious to me as I began volunteering my time at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.

I spent the first three weeks of my internship expanding my knowledge of Theodore Roosevelt as well as of the early 1900’s. I then devoted the following two weeks to understanding, memorizing, and learning how to properly convey an enormous amount of information. After doing so and becoming familiar with the structure of the site itself, I began giving guiding tours as an official docent. My first day as a docent I nervously sat behind the circulation desk along with two other very experienced volunteers. We alternated leading tour groups through the exhibits.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Notes from a Summer Internship by History Major Kevin Yehl

When I decided to take part in a summer internship this year, I considered several different local organizations where I felt I could gain experience and further my understanding of history. Initially, I planned on looking for an internship where I could learn about the local history of Olean, New York. I felt this would be interesting because, for such a small town, Olean has an incredibly diverse past. While that would have been interesting, I ended up taking an internship at the Eldred World War II Museum in Eldred, Pennsylvania instead. I had been to the museum as a child and remembered how impressed I had been even at a young age.

I was surprised to find that there was an interesting story about how the museum had come to be, which started over sixty years ago. Initially, the museum opened in recognition of the men and women who worked at or had a part in creating the National Munitions Plant #1. The man who opened the museum and continues to fund it, Tim Roudebush, had a particular interest in its creation because it was his father, George M. Roudebush, who was the lawyer that secured the land and contract for the munitions plant to be built at the onset of World War II.

Prior to America’s entry into the war, Great Britain hired George M. Roudebush to find a suitable place for a munitions plant to help further their war effort. After looking at many different places, Roudebush settled on Eldred, Pennsylvania for several reasons. Due to Eldred’s geographic position, it was far enough inland that it would be untouchable by the Germans. Also, there were already railroads in place at the time, making it easy to transfer finished munitions to the coast and on to Great Britain. Finally, Eldred was already the home of a factory in which explosives were produced for use in civilian oil fields, which made for an easy conversion into military munitions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dr. Schaeper Addresses American Revolution Roundtable

Recently Dr. Thomas J. Schaeper, Professor of History, spoke at a general meeting of the American Revolution Round Table in New York City. His topic was "Edward Bancroft: Master Spy of the American Revolution." The Round Table's members meet five times per year at a dinner banquet. Previous speakers before the group have included Pulitzer Prize winners David McCullough, Gordon Wood, and David Hackett Fischer. Schaeper's talk was an outgrowth of his book "Edward Bancroft: Scientist, Author, Spy," which was published in 2011 by Yale University Press. The book will appear in paperback later this summer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Notes from the Annual Meeting of the Latin American Studies Association (Dr. Horowitz)

Between Thursday May 24 and Saturday May 26, I attended the XXX International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in San Francisco.  This is a giant inter-disciplinary conference with thousands of attendees coming from around the world.  I spoke with participants who teach on three continents. Among the other attendees was Dr. Mary Rose Kubal from our Political Science Department, whom I did not see. She was not the most famous person to go to the conference.  The granting of a visa to attend the conference to Raúl Castro’s daughter, who is a vigorous supporter of gay rights, produced strong protests from elements in the Cuban-American community. While I did not see her either, her presence may help explain the armed guards that were scattered around the hotel where the conference was held.

The principal activity at these conferences is the many panels; the program lists 999.  The panels usually have presentations by three to five scholars on a specific subject with a commentary by another scholar.  This is usually followed by questions from the audience.  This allows attendees to hear some of the latest scholarship.  Some of the panels were excellent and several were, as they say, not ready for prime time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

History Seniors Win Awards

Our history seniors received important recognition for their hard work and excellence during their studies at St. Bonaventure!

1. Wheeler Award: Amber Cheladyn; Lauren Perkins and Diana Phalon, Co-Honorable Mention

2. Political Science Award: Paul R. Bremmer

Amber Cheladyn also won the "General Excellence Award for a Transfer Student"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New History Club Officers!

The History Club has elected new officers for the 2012-2013 academic year:
President: Max Schneller
Vice President: Mariah Wolford
Secretary: Chelsea O' Connor- Rosiek

The club also added the position of historian whose job is to take photos of events and create a Facebook group. Sarah Southwell will be the first person in this position. She will also be in charge of posters and flyers to bring awareness to the Bona community about the activities of the club.

The History Club is open to anyone with an interest in history. Contact any of the officers for more information!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

History is Everywhere!

Recently my husband and I took our son to look at Vanderbilt University, where he was considering going to graduate school. It is located in Nashville, TN, and although he has chosen instead to attend Syracuse University, his Dad and I played while he toured the school.

First we went to Andrew Jackson’s plantation, the Hermitage, just about 15-20 minutes east of downtown Nashville. It was very interesting to see, and impressive to me since they actually do incorporate slaves into the experience. Slave cabins survive and you can go inside. They are part of the museum exhibit and of the audio tour. Some of the cabins still had furniture, which was acquired quite late, sometimes after the Civil War when some of the freemen elected to stay.

In this sense it was far more impressive than George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The last time I went to Mt. Vernon they had not been so successful in including slaves into the picture. I will be going there again in the next few years, and I hope this aspect has improved. Someone else I spoke to who had just been to Mt. Vernon last year said that they had not seen much regarding the slaves at all. So the historians at the Hermitage are more sensitive in this regard. The film about Jackson involved some mild whitewashing of the man, but the speaker at the end made a point of saying that Jackson did a good job of representing the people he cared about – the “common man” of the era, whom we know was white and, of course, male. Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel actually built their big house in their middle-age, and prior to that had lived in a much more modest two floor log cabin. It survives in a one-story incarnation. It was interesting to stand on the ground, look at the cabins in which Jackson and his slaves lived, and try to imagine life as it was then, still frontier when he arrived as a young man.

Monday, April 30, 2012


YEAR 17, NO. 10   30 APRIL 2012


Pictured above are two things that graduating seniors will be seeing in less than two weeks. One is the university mace. Since the Middle Ages every university has had its own distinctive mace, a symbol of dignity and scholarship. It is carried in the procession at commencement. The other item is a copy of St. Bonaventure’s commencement program from 1869. If you enlarge it you will be able to make out the writing.

This leads me, on behalf of all my colleagues, to wish graduating seniors success and happiness in their future lives.

Congratulations are in order for senior Amber Cheladyn. At the upcoming commencement she will be presented the Fr. Roderick Wheeler Award for having the highest GPA among graduating History majors. Fr. Roderick was a longtime member of our department and a noted expert in Latin American history.

Recognition is also due for several other History majors. In a ceremony to be held later this week they will be inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the international honor society in history. These students include Colin Bearer, Emily Becker, Anthony Burke, Paul Bremmer, Gregory Carney, Amber Cheladyn, John Gattuso, and Bella Quijano.

When you need a moment’s amusement or perhaps a little refresher in history, check out this site: . You can click on any day of the year and find out what big and little things happened on that date throughout the centuries. Perhaps, like me, you will click on your birthday to see if you are important enough to be included in the list.

I wish to thank St. Bonaventure University and Dean Wolfgang Natter for awarding the Department of History a Good Ideas Grant this past semester. Funds from this grant have been used in a variety of ways: purchasing a high-quality camera that interns in the university archives will employ for web digitization; outfitting a seminar room in the library that will be used often by the department; attending seminars led by national experts on the use of digital media in the classroom; hiring several students who have worked as research assistants for professors. Finally, this grant will enable three students to have off-campus internships this coming summer. They will be working at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo, at the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, and at the World War II Museum in Eldred, Pennsylvania.

Coca Cola originally was green.
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska.
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%.
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%.
The average number of people airborne over America in any given hour: 61,000.
The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
If the statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Honey is the only food that never spoils.
Best wishes for a fun and safe summer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Phi Alpha Theta Ceremony on May 2, 2012

We will have eight new inductees for Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society: Colin P. Bearer, Emily A. Becker, Anthony J. Burke, Paul R. Bremmer, Gregory T. Carney, Amber Lynne Cheladyn, John J. Gattuso, and Bella A. Quijano. The induction ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7 PM, in the Honors Seminar Room in Plassmann. Please join us at the ceremony to support our new inductees!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Summer Job Opportunity for SUSI Institute

St. Bonaventure University, through a grant from the U.S. Department of State, will again host a five-week summer program for 20 students from Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. The program will introduce participants to American history, government, politics, and culture, providing them with the skills and experiences necessary to understand American society. The program runs from July 7 to August 11. Mentor training will take place several days prior to the start of the program.

The mentors serve as role models and educators. It is crucial for the staff to function effectively as a team to facilitate educational, cultural, personal development, and social activities for participants.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: participate fully in academic, leadership, and social activities; facilitate the participants’ transition into the program; display a high level of motivation; maintain a positive and mature attitude; function well in a structured, fast-paced environment; assist in planning social activities; respond to the needs of the participants. Some travel is required.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

SBU History Newsletter no. 9 (Year 17)


YEAR17, NO. 9 15 APRIL 2012

"Griff" –Another Bona Legend

Every day throughout the school year most Bona students pass by a portrait of Griff. But how many of today’s students have any idea who he was? His name was Francis Griffin, but everyone called him "Griff." He is perhaps the only person ever associated with our campus whose portrait is hanging on public display in not just one, but two, locations. The portrait that most people see hangs on a wall in the RC Café. The other one is near the steps leading to the lower level of the library. St. Francis would probably be pleased to know that Griff is honored in two places, for Griff was one of the "little people." He was born in Allegany in 1900 and died in the friary’s infirmary in 1978. From the 1930s to the 1970s he was a member of the campus maintenance staff. He worked on the campus farm, which was located where the McGraw-Jennings field is today. After the farm closed he used a team of horses to pick up trash around campus. He became a beloved fixture. Every spring he said he was preparing the horses for the Kentucky Derby. In his retirement years he continued to come to campus each day. At lunchtime he would sit in the RC Café, and students would compete to get a chair near him. He lived in an old farmhouse across from campus–where the Uni-Mart sits today.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ellis Island Virtual Field Trip

Peter Wong, SBU alumnus and history major, appeared in a Virtual Field Trip of Ellis Island. Peter now works for the National Park Service at Ellis Island and has been a guest speaker in History 206: Introduction to Public History. Go here to see the webcast.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Photos from the Opening of Diana Phalon's Exhibit at the Quick Arts Center

The first visitors to the exhibit!

Exhibit curator with her advisor, Dr. Philip Payne

Diana and the entire History Department faculty.

Diana and her biggest supporters!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More from Our Graduating Seniors: Amber Cheladyn (Class of 2012)

History has always held a special place in my heart. I love learning about the past, the individuals that came before me, and the important events that have shaped the world. I knew I wanted to study history in college. When I came to visit St. Bonaventure as a junior in high school, I was able to talk with a member of the history department, Dr. Horowitz. As I walked into a Plassman classroom that day, I had no thought about any other career besides a history teacher. Then, Dr. Horowitz began discussing the other possible career paths a history major might take. After hearing about the numerous options I had, I walked out of the classroom confused. Was a history teacher what I wanted to become?

I went through high school still knowing I wanted to major in history but unsure of what my future career would be. I went to Jamestown Community College and got an Associates Degree in Social Sciences. While at JCC, I took an education course and finally realized I did not want to be a middle school or high school history teacher. I began to question my course of study and what I wanted to do after college.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

SBU History Newsletter no. 8 (Year 17)


YEAR 17, NO. 8 11 MARCH 2012

St. Bonaventure University has had many legendary figures during its more than 150 years of existence. One of the best was Father Irenaeus, who devoted 50 years of his life to serving as library director and university archivist. Bona students today know of Irenaeus as a mountain retreat, and thus it is good to remind them of the gentle spirit after whom it is named. "Irenaeus" comes from the word for "peace." Father Irenaeus was the personification of that word. Those on campus who are old enough to have known him will never forget his quiet, generous spirit and his ever cheerful disposition.

The Department of History is proud to announce the opening of a new exhibit in the Quick Center for the Arts. The exhibit is entitled "World War II Through a Soldier’s Eyes." This exhibit was created by senior History major Diana Phalon. This project constitutes her Honors Program capstone. In the exhibit she tries to convey the feeling of what war was like for an ordinary soldier. To achieve this sense of immediacy she has included oral histories from some World War II veterans, plus pictures, weapons, parachutes, uniforms, ribbons, medals, and other artifacts. To celebrate the opening of this exhibit the department will sponsor a reception in the Quick Center atrium at 6:30 tomorrow evening–that is, on Monday the 12th. Everyone is invited to attend. The exhibit will be on display in the Branch Family Gallery until 12 April.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“World War II Through a Soldier’s Eye" by Diana Phalon

After interning at the Eldred World War II Museum for over a year and building one exhibit there, I thought it would be interesting to bring an exhibit to the Quick Center for the Arts here at St. Bonaventure to educate high school students and those who might have an interest in the war. After discussing it with my advisor, Dr. Payne, and Steve Appleby, the director of the Eldred WWII Museum, I decided I would pursue this idea for my Honors Capstone Project.

The goal is to make history more fun and even more interesting and personal to those studying it. The exhibit is titled “World War II Through a Soldier’s Eye.” Essentially, it is an exhibit to educate people about the European Front of World War II, but the idea is to do it on a more personal level. Instead of just offering facts, dates, and battles, the exhibit focuses more on the personal stories of veterans from the war and uses different artifacts donated by the Eldred World War II Museum.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Graduating Senior Shares Her Story: Lauren Perkins (Class of 2012)

Before coming to St. Bonaventure University, I already loved history. I can remember sitting in my Global History class in ninth grade, wishing that I could take history classes all day, every day. From that point on, I decided that I would make history a part of my everyday life and share my passion for the subject with others by becoming a history teacher. Although I didn’t think it was possible, after spending four years at St. Bonaventure, my love of history has grown exponentially, all thanks to the wonderful professors in the SBU history department.
The history professors here are kind, understanding, and patient people who really care about their students. Admittedly, I’m an overachiever and a huge history nerd, and the professors here have always been patient with my tendency to write long papers. During the fall semester of my freshman year, when I was taking a history of Mexico class with Dr. Horowitz, I remember being extremely nervous about having gone over the page limit for a paper. I asked Dr. Horowitz if I would lose credit for going over the limit. He smiled and said, “Lauren, as long as it’s good, I will read every word that you write.” Dr. Horowitz reassured me that my enthusiasm was appreciated, and that the professors here cared about me as a person. 
The history department faculty here will go the extra mile so that students can have more academic opportunities. Despite being busy writing two books and an article, Dr. Robbins made time to do an independent study with me in African American history. This enabled me to study a subject in greater depth than I would have in a normal class, helped me to become a more careful and critical reader, and allowed me a considerable amount of academic freedom.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More From Our Graduating Seniors: Stephannie Cravatta (Class of 2012)

My experience here at St. Bonaventure studying history has been very rewarding and full of new experiences. When I first got here in 2008, I was very worried. I was worried because I had heard all the “college horror stories” in which professors don’t care about you or don’t care about whether or not you show up to class. This is hardly the case with the history department here. I first started with a class taught by Dr. Huddle, Pan-Africanism. While that class was extremely interesting, it made me wonder if I was in the right major. That feeling changed when I had classes my sophomore year with Dr. Horowitz. I remember when I wrote my first paper for him. I got the paper back, and I just started crying. It was full of red marks, and it seriously put a bruise on my ego. I went into his office and explained my situation (I had never received lower than a “B” on a paper before), and he reassured me that that is what happens when you get him as a professor for the first time. Instead of dropping the class and deciding never to take a class with him again, I decided to stick with him, and I am very happy with that choice I made three years ago. His classes have taught me how to be a better writer, look at history in a new way, and always ask questions. History here at St. Bonaventure is not boring. The department offers many choices for students because this department has professors for just about every subject. I can honestly say, I did not have one dull history class, just because I was able to pick which ones I wanted to take, besides introductory-level courses like History 101, 102, 201, and 202.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Word From One of Our Graduating Seniors: Rachel Rodriguez (Class of 2012)

Before I came to Saint Bonaventure, I had put little thought into my future. I was happy being a teenager and felt no need to make any long-term plans. My father told me I would be going to college and pressed me to consider what I wanted until I finally came up with a vague decision: I would go to college to study history. History was something in which I always succeeded, and it was the only subject in high school that truly interested me. This may sound irrelevant, but I believe it is important to understand my mindset at that time in order to appreciate the impact Saint Bonaventure's history department has had on me.
As a freshman I thoroughly enjoyed my history classes. During my first semester, I took a survey class on American history as well as a course on Pan-Africanism. My second semester included more survey classes, and I continued to enjoy my studies. I did very well in these courses and learned a great deal from them.
During my sophomore year, I made an impulsive decision and changed my major to International Studies. I have always felt a yearning to help others, and I believed studying International Studies would be a great way to prepare me to do so. However, as I took these courses I realized how little they interested me, and how much I longed to study history again. Fortunately for me, my adviser for International Studies, Dr. Joel Horowitz, is also a history professor!
I changed my major once more, back to history, and felt very confident with the decision. At this point, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and began to feel as if I needed to make the decision immediately. I made many visits to Dr. Horowitz's office claiming I had finally found the answer. But then I would leave, and not ten minutes later find I was questioning my goals once again. Something I deeply appreciate to this day is that each time I burst into his office with these triumphant proclamations, Dr. Horowitz treated my ideas as if I had finally found the answer and advised me regarding the ways that I could accomplish the goals I had set out.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Museum Director Steve Appleby Speaks to History Club Students

On the evening of Tuesday November 15, 2011, Steve Appleby, Director of the Eldred World War II Museum in Eldred, PA spoke to students and others, around twenty in total, weaving his experiences as director of the Museum with his time serving in the military. Steve focused on the unique personal stories behind each artifact and vividly portrayed the human face of history. Sparked by Steve's talk, several History Club students have since then visited the Museum and commented upon the wealth of resources available there in the form of books and material culture for student historians to utilize for research projects.

SBU History Newsletter no. 7 (Year 17)

YEAR 17, NO. 7
Shrine of St. Joseph
The two pictures above show the Shrine of St. Joseph, which is located in woods behind St. Francis Hall. This shrine was erected more than a half century ago by seminarians of Christ the King Seminary (which later became St. Francis Hall). The shrine was built at the bottom of a former oil tank storage lot. The five-foot statue of St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus was donated by Rev. Joseph A. Burke, Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo. Nowadays the shrine is difficult to find in the dense shrubbery. The statue was removed and put in storage. Perhaps when spring arrives adventurous students will rediscover this forgotten part of our history.

Summer Internships
Thanks to a generous grant from the university, the Department of History will be able to provide some financial support to students who wish to have summer internships getting hands-on experience in some history-related activity. Student interns will be able to do this work somewhere in or near their hometowns. This could be in a local historical society, museum, state park, or other such place. If you are interested in such an internship, you might wish to contact organizations near your homes over midterm break. For more information, contact me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, to see a temporary exhibition on slave life at Thomas Jefferson's plantation Monticello. For this exhibition, the museum collaborated with curators of the future National Museum of African American History and Culture (the museum will open on the National Mall in 2015). The most interesting part of the exhibition was the section where the visitor could see the lives of the most important slave families on the plantation, including the Hemings. It was interesting to see objects from their daily lives, like ceramic tableware, drinkware, cooking pots and pans, and more personal items like toothbrushes, combs, and jewels. The most striking items definitely were the headstone of Priscilla Hemming, two sets of shackles used during the transatlantic slave trade, and a bill of sale for a slave girl. A section of the exhibition focused on an oral history project that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello began in the 1990s to trace descendants of Jefferson's slaves. Be sure to go see it if you happen to be in DC before October 14, 2012!