Most of us have heard of Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum, founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. During his life, P.T. Barnum was a businessman and politician but was most famously known for being an entertainer. His name became synonymous with circuses, sideshows, and showmanship. Before he introduced bearded ladies and 800-lb … Continue reading “The Greatest Natural & National Curiosity in the World”: Joice Heth, P.T. Barnum, and …George Washington?
The night sky is the astronomer’s workspace, the explorer’s final frontier, and, perhaps surprisingly, the historian’s library of epic tales, myths, and legends. This library of stars connects us to the cultures and civilizations of our past in a uniquely special way. The Ancient Greeks, Native Americans, enslaved Africans, British colonists of the 18th century, … Continue reading History in the Night Sky
Originally, this post was going to explore colonial America’s fear and fascination with lightning and the practical tools created to help prevent destructive lightning damage. During my research, however, I encountered a tale about Mary Ball Washington and a close encounter with lightning that supposedly traumatized her for the rest of her life. If true, … Continue reading The Legend of Mary Washington and the Deadly Lightning Strike
If you’ve been to Historic Kenmore, you’ve likely been awestruck at the beauty of the plaster ceilings throughout the first floor. Although the identity of “The Stucco Man” is lost to history, he left behind a lesson above the fireplace in the Dining Room. The plaster work inlay there depicts several stories from Aesop’s fables, … Continue reading I Cannot Tell a Lie But I Can Tell a Fable: Aesop’s Fables and the Cherry Tree Tale
Previously on Lives and Legacies, curator Meghan Budinger laid out a wonderful summary of the Colonial Revival movement. At no point did she weigh-in with her opinion of Colonial Revival and she should be applauded for her diplomacy. To be honest, though, many historians, material culture specialists, and decorative arts enthusiasts (among others) can get … Continue reading Getting “Judgy” With Colonial Revival Ceramics
You’ve probably heard the phrase “colonial revival” before. Most people think of it as an architectural style –what they mean when they say “a colonial style house.” In actuality, the phrase refers to a whole cultural movement in the United States that had its beginnings in the late 19th century and that still exists today. … Continue reading Just What is Colonial Revival?
It isn’t known when the myths about the small white building called the Surveyor’s Shed at George Washington’s Ferry Farm began, or why it was believed by so many that the structure existed during George Washington’s childhood. It was long-held myth was that Augustine Washington taught his son, George, how to survey in this building … Continue reading The Surveyor’s Shed at Ferry Farm
Happy Birthday, George!! Two-hundred and eighty five years ago today on February 22, 1732, George Washington was born. Americans have commemorating his birth and his life for centuries, since he rose to prominence as the commanding general of the Continental Army and the nation's very first president. For centuries, his likeness has been added to … Continue reading Photos: Washington Memorabilia
Parents, perhaps hoping to spur their offspring to similar greatness, have named their children George Washington ever since the most famous George Washington rose to prominence as commander of the Continental Army and the nation’s first president. Few other George Washingtons ultimately achieved the original’s stature, although a few perhaps came close. As we mark … Continue reading Five Notable Americans Named George Washington
I love stories. I mostly love true stories but I also love those stories that may not actually be true but are perceived by many to be true. It is in those perceived truths that one can make discoveries about how people and societies see history. Likewise, studying a collection of one’s own oral stories … Continue reading The Truth As We Know It