Tag Archives: Cultural History

The Origins of Racial Segregation in the United States


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ben_franklins_worldEver wonder how the United States’ problem with race developed and why early American reformers didn’t find a way to fix it during the earliest days of the republic?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Nicholas Guyatt, author of Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation (Basic Books, 2016), leads us on an exploration of how and why the idea of separate but equal developed in the early United States. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/096

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Friendships Between Men and Women in the Early Republic


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ben_franklins_worldIn the early American republic, men and women formed and maintained friendships for many of the same reasons we make friends today: companionship, shared interests, and, in some cases, because they helped expand thinking and social circles.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore friendship in the early American republic. Specifically, we investigate what it was like for men and women to form and maintain friendships with each other. Our guide for this exploration is Cassandra Good, author of Founding Friendships: Friendships Between Men & Women in the Early American Republic (Oxford University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/094

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Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldDid you know that George Washington’s favorite drink was whiskey?

Actually, it wasn’t.

Washington preferred Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine from the island of Madeira.

Why the false start to our weekly exploration of history?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Gregory Dowd, a Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan, leads us on an exploration of rumors, legends, and hoaxes that circulated throughout early America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/091

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New Albany Exhibit Features Works On Paper


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View of the South Part of Lexington. Plate IVThe Albany Institute of History & Art continues celebrating its 225th anniversary with the new exhibition, Masterworks: Paper, on view through October 16.

This exhibition showcases more than 150 rarely seen items from the Albany Institute’s library and museum collections that span more than three centuries. Sharing in common the medium of paper and close ties to Albany and the Capital Region, the objects in Masterworks: Paper illustrate diverse and eclectic themes, and tell stories that represent the personal and intimate as well as the historical and panoramic. Continue reading

Dave Ruch Explores History of ‘The Erie Canal Song’


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low bridgeMusic researcher and performer Dave Ruch has put together a comprehensive new webpage exploring the iconic song “Low Bridge, Everybody Down,” more commonly known simply as “The Erie Canal Song.”

Originally composed in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen, “Low Bridge” has traveled the globe, becoming among the best known and most beloved Erie Canal songs. Yet, few know of its origins as a commercial composition by a Tin Pan Alley songwriter. Continue reading

PR Museum Launches ‘Public Relations Through the Ages’


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museum of public relationsThe Museum of Public Relations, the only PR museum in the world, recently launched a historical timeline documenting the history of public relations.

The timeline, “Public Relations Through the Ages,” illustrates the evolution of the PR profession and its relationship to the development of human communication. Presented jointly by the museum and Hofstra University, this timeline highlights the significant people, events and inventions which have connected messages and messengers through the ages. The timeline divides history into five ages, beginning with the earliest forms of communication and ending with the most recent developments of digital media. Each section contains images and condenses years of history into concise descriptions, providing links to additional resources for in-depth research. This tool can be accessed digitally on the museum’s website. Continue reading

The Enlightenment of Cadwallader Colden


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the enlightenment of cadawaller coldenWas there a conservative Enlightenment? Could a self-proclaimed man of learning and progressive science also have been an agent of monarchy and reaction?

Cadwallader Colden (1688–1776), an educated Scottish emigrant and powerful colonial politician, was at the forefront of American intellectual culture in the mid-eighteenth century.

While living in rural New York, he recruited family, friends, servants, and slaves into multiple scientific ventures and built a transatlantic network of contacts and correspondents that included Benjamin Franklin and Carl Linnaeus. Over several decades, Colden pioneered colonial botany, produced new theories of animal and human physiology, authored an influential history of the Iroquois, and developed bold new principles of physics and an engaging explanation of the cause of gravity. Continue reading

Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War


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Can history help us solve the present-day political and cultural crisis in the United States?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate whether the past might help us with the present with Rachel Shelden, author of Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War (UNCPress, 2013).  You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/078

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