Saturday, November 30, 2013

Alumni Survey

Our Director of Institutional Research is asking that recent grads complete an Alumni Survey. Respondents' names will be entered to win one of four $50 Amazon gift cards.

Dr. Robbins to Sign Book

St. Bonaventure history professor to sign new book about one of America’s forgotten founders

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Nov. 29, 2013 — Dr. Karen Robbins, associate professor of history at St. Bonaventure University, will sign copies of her new book on one of America’s forgotten founders Tuesday, Dec. 3, before the men’s basketball game.

Robbins, of Olean, will sign copies of “Forgotten Federalist” from 5 to 7 p.m. outside the SBU Bookstore in the Reilly Center.

Released Nov. 15, “Forgotten Federalist” is the first modern biography of James McHenry, a Scots-Irish immigrant determined to make something of his life. Trained as a physician, he joined the American Revolution when war broke out. He then switched to a more military role, serving on the staffs of George Washington and Lafayette. He entered government after the war and served in the Maryland Senate and in the Continental Congress.

As Maryland’s representative at the Constitutional Convention, McHenry helped to add the ex post facto clause to the Constitution and worked to increase free trade among the states.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kansas City

I just got back from a great time in Kansas City. While there I spoke at the Kansas City Public Library as part of its Hail to the Chiefs series. The audience was great and asked some good questions. As part of the activities I was interviewed for Kansas City Star, mentioned in a previous post, and I appeared on Up to Date KCUR, a local public radio program, with Steve Kraske. I also got to tour the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. If you are in the area I highly recommend it.

This was a very cool experience. It's always fun to meet with people who share an interest.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The St. Bonaventure University History Project by Jacqueline Gertner

For Dr. Payne’s Public History course this semester, students are working together to create what we call the “St. Bonaventure University History Project.” This project will cover the history of the last ten years of St. Bonaventure University, as inspired by Edward Eckert’s book The Good Journey: 150 Years of History at St. Bonaventure University. Each student in the course is assigned one year or part of one year of St. Bonaventure University’s history to research, from 1999 to today, using the school’s newspaper, the BonaVenture, as a basis for research and analysis.
          For my part of the project, I am researching the most significant events and changes that happened at the university during the spring semester of 2003. Especially apparent during that semester was the sense of community associated with significant events that affected the University and its students.
          Students, for example, showed determination and support for the gay/straight alliance group, Spectrum, as its members attempted to receive a charter from the University. Students and faculty were abuzz in full support of Spectrum, seeing it as a way to build stronger communication and understanding that would be representative of the Franciscan values, which are essential at the University. At this time, students were also aware of the U.S. involvement in Iraq and the growing threat of a potential war in Iraq. Faculty, students, and members of the Olean community joined together and marched in New York City and Washington, demonstrating their sentiments against U.S. involvement in a war.
Then in March, when news broke out to students and faculty about authority figures allowing an ineligible basketball player to play, the University was tested in its ability to overcome disappointment and shame and work to regain the trust of the community. The University looked forward, seeking a new interim president and vice president who would promote Franciscan values, while the students supported the basketball players in their decision not to finish the season. The University showed its resilience to look positively to the future, with members of the community supporting one another and keeping the faith that St. Bonaventure University would overcome.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time Lapse of Every Nuclear Explosion

Here is an interesting video that shows every nuclear explosion.

I can't resist pairing with Duck and Cover.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Graduate School Panel

Are you interested in pursuing a graduate degree in humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences?
The School of Arts and Sciences and the CPRC proudly present:

Graduate School Panel Presentation

A panel discussion with SBU faculty members to answer your questions about graduate school including:
 Is graduate school right for you
 Where to go
 Masters vs. PhD programs
 How to apply
 Life as a graduate student

When: Tuesday, November 19th

Where: Walsh Auditorium

Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Refreshments will be served

Panelists include: Dr. Maddalena Marinari (History), Dr. Ben Gross (Sociology), Dr. Xiaoning Zhang (Biology), and Dr. Daniel Ellis (Plassmann Writing Center)

Seniors and juniors especially welcome

The History Club Goes to Buffalo! (by Nick Siciliano)

This past Saturday, the St. Bonaventure History Club travelled back in time to the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 in Buffalo, New York. There, among the once-lavish haunts of Delaware Avenue, we played the role of privileged witnesses to the inauguration of the United States 36th president, Theodore Roosevelt.
          Roosevelt, one of the nation's most popular and recognizable presidents, was inaugurated at the home of Ansley Wilcox after the tragic assassination of President McKinley at the Exposition. Our visit included a tour of the house, including the sitting room where President Roosevelt took the oath of office, and interactive displays that blended the issues of turn-of-the-century America with modern political debates.
          The trip was the first of the club's organized outings for the 2013-2014 academic year. The TR Inaugural Site allowed us to experience the problems that plagued the nation before Roosevelt took office and gain a sense of how the president approached these problems.
The TR Site was only the first stop on our trip to the Queen City. After our extensive learning of the life, presidency, and legacy of Teddy Roosevelt, we went to replenish ourselves at another historic site. The Anchor Bar, the birthplace of perhaps America’s greatest contribution to the human race--chicken wings--was where we took our freshly filled minds to fill our empty stomachs.
          The history club was proud to be able to put together a trip that allowed its members to experience a piece of American history that they otherwise may not have had the opportunity to see. With another semester--with hopefully more cooperative weather--on the horizon, the club is excited to continue to be an active presence in the St. Bonaventure extracurricular community.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Boardwalk Empire: A Return to Normalcy?

As my students know I had a cold the other day so I went home early to crash. I took the couch time as an opportunity to catch up on Boardwalk Empire. Several people mentioned the HBO series to me because of its setting in the 1920s and it overlaps my book, Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy (2009).

Tuesday morning, Brian Burnes, of the Kansas City Star, interviewed me for my upcoming talk as part of the Hail to the Chiefs series for the Kansas City Public Library. Boardwalk Empire came up, adding to the pressure to watch it. How could I claim to be a scholar of the public memory of Warren G. Harding and not be watching a major tv show with him in it.? I had to confess that I was behind the popular culture curve with Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad. I partially fixed that. My initial reaction is that I really like Boardwalk Empire. It is well written with high production value. The show highlights much of what is fascinating about the 1920s. Broadly speaking it captures the zeitgeist of the period: the racial tensions, the emerging popular culture (boardwalks!), the sexual revolution, and the disillusionment that followed the Great War. With Boardwalk Empire, you can see the characters wresting with many of the issues that confronted the United States as it undergoes rapid social and economic change, the contradictions built into prohibition and the roles of men and women during this sexual revolution.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chris Mackowski speaks with Public History Students

Chris Mackowski, Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, spoke with students in History 206: Introduction to Public History on Wednesday, November 6. He discussed working with park visitors and interpreting battlefields for the public. This includes the expectations of visitors informed by popular culture and myths such as the Cult of the Lost Cause, a topic he has written about. He has worked with the National Park Service for about a decade, authoring or coauthoring several books on the Civil War including The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson, Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front. He writes at The Emerging Civil War blog.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

History Major Shannon Conheady Visits the Tenement Museum in New York City

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to New York City with a group of twenty exchange students from Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, who were taking part in a Study of the United States Institute at St. Bonaventure. After seeing all of the usual sites such as Broadway and Times Square, we travelled to the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. The Museum was originally home to thousands of people who lived in rather horrible conditions. The building was sealed off by the landlord after he was shut down and upon the reopening of it, thousands of artifacts from its residents were found. The room that my group visited was home to a Jewish family. The father of the house sewed clothing for a living, working, as many did, from his own household. The house itself had three rooms, all aligned, with only one window. There was one bedroom where the parents slept, one room which housed the kitchen and the children’s bed, and another which had the sewing station.

We went on a moderately hot day, in an age where fans are prominent. They lived in this house with very little air circulation and the stove, which was needed to heat the iron for the clothing, was on all day. I could not imagine the immense heat in that household. The house had several artifacts, including hand sewn dresses, a doll, and an old iron, among many other objects. This visit really opened my eyes to how bad conditions were at the turn of the nineteenth century, though some conditions continue to be this bad in cities. This housing arrangement was ideal for fires, diseases, and early death from smoke inhalation. The idea that people still live in apartments like this, though they may not be called tenement houses, is appalling. Housing is a real issue in big cities where people live in bad conditions because they cannot afford to move out of them. This museum showed me that conditions were horrible for new immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe to America during this time period, but it also made me realize that people still live in bad conditions and something needs to be done to change it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Historic Preservation in History 206: Intro to Public History

Debbie Loveless, University Registrar, spoke to students in History 206: Introduction to Public History. She focused on her work in the field of historic preservation, including placing a building on the National Register of Historic Places. Loveless focused on vernacular architecture and issues facing preservationist. She worked on documenting and preserving the Loveless Café (no relation to her) and an historical black school in Kentucky. Class discussion included the balancing act of preserving and using property as the owners of Loveless Café declined nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. This was one of a variety of topics covered, including the property owner’s desires, zoning, tourism, and economic development.