Friday, March 27, 2009

Links to History:

Past Times News; Reporting the Rare and Unusual Stories from America's Past

I don't remember how I stumbled across this, but I'm glad I did.

Past Times News is a newspaper written in today's vernacular about events that happened in the past. It's like a newspaper from the past being delivered today. Though for some reason they're not taking any new subscriptions. You can purchase from their archived collection.

The idea is simple. Take events of the past and write about them as if they just happened. This would be great if each issue concentrated on one particular era in history. For example a teacher could purchase the stories of 1776 and have the students report on them as if they were current events.

Each issue comes with a bibliography of their sources and a game in the form of a jumble. Click this link to see what each issue can offer:

Here's an excerpt from the article, How to Save Your Family from Imminent Disease and Death

Lethal bacteria spawning on your dish rag, vicious microbes wriggling in the water you gulp, ravenous tapeworm larvae nestling in your breakfast sausage––if only these microscopic monsters were visible to the naked eye, people would be far more careful about keeping their homes clean. Although we are living in the year 1913, years since Louis Pasteur first revealed the unseen organisms causing decay and disease, many people still don’t know the essential measures that need to be taken to protect themselves from such tiny terrors.

Based in Philadelphia, Past Times News seems like a great idea. Perhaps I'll try to contact them to see why they've stopped publishing new material. Maybe they need writers. Any takers?

Each issue is $5.95... not too much to pay for a few lessons, right?


Monday, March 23, 2009

Textbook Publishers Rush to Include Obama

As much as we dislike certain textbooks and the textbook companies, they should be given credit for this...

I can vouch for this. A few months ago I received a government textbook which had Obama in it, as well as Philadelphia's new Mayor, Michael Nutter.


Friday, March 13, 2009

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

The New York times has a cool feature where they've archived all of their old articles online. In this case, they've referenced the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, which began on this day, March 13, 1868. It's pretty cool reading the newspaper articles in the vernacular of the time.

Today also marks the day that Standard Time was adopted in the United States in 1884.


Monday, March 02, 2009

The Founders on the Founders; Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Era

portrait of Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the United StatesToo often we read about the great men who founded this country from a scholarly perspective. A view which highlights their accomplishments and their public persona, which sometimes does not give insight into their true character. The Founders on the Founders: Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Era changes that.

Through a collection of quotes from journals, John P. Kaminski profiles 30 of the revolution's best known men and women and gives them a personality. The quotes he's chosen bring out the character of each individual, but with a twist. The twist is that most of the quotes are candid "conversations" (letters written between two people), where they talk openly and honestly about someone else. This, is what reveals the WORD PORTRAIT of that individual. The result is fascinating.

Take for example, Thomas Jefferson. We mostly know Jefferson as the quiet, eloquent, peace maker, who would greet people in the White House wearing his slippers. Kaminski's book reveals much more.

Written chronologically, each chapter profiles the men and women of the Revolution as we rarely see them. The book reveals a Jefferson who is vulnerable, heartbroken, depressed and inconsolable. A series of letters between James Madison and Edmund Randolph (Member of the Continental Congress, and would eventually become Va. Governor and Secretary of State) help to tell this story. I've inluded one example below.

James Madison to Edmund Randolph - September 30, 1782 (on Jefferson)

"Mrs. Jefferson has at last shaken off her tormenting pains by yielding to them, (she died Sep. 6) and has left our friend inconsolable... I scarcely supposed, that his grief would be so violent, as to justify the circulating report, of his swooning away whenever he sees his children."
A side of Jefferson we rarely think about, a new portrait of the man we associate with pride and eloquence. A word portrait, as painted by the men who new him best.

The book, The Founders on the Founders is a great reference to reveal the true spirit of our founding fathers.

You can read more about the book here: The Founders on the Founders: Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Erabook revolutionary era founding fathers quotes