This posting was written by Dael Norwood, a Bernard & Irene Schwartz Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.
On February 22, 1784, a small ship with big ambitions weighed anchor, and sailed down the East River. Commanded by John Green, the Empress of China left New York on George Washington’s birthday aiming to be the first American ship to reach Canton, China. The novelty of this distant destination loaded the vessel with more than just...Read More
The variability and just plain depressing weather of late here in New York is probably trying everyone’s patience. But, after all it is Earth Day, so we should give Mother Nature a break, especially since we can always rely on her to give us our May flowers. That was somewhat true in Williamsburg, VA as well from February to April of 1779 too, as shown by this single leaf of Thomas Jefferson’s weather journal in...Read More
Most people do not associate Santa Claus with war, but in fact the connection goes back to Santa's very beginnings. Our popular image of Santa was created by cartoonist Thomas Nast during the Civil War. Nast's first Santa illustrations, published in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper's Weekly, featured Santa visiting dejected Union soldiers.
Although Santa's image became ever more jolly after the end of the Civil War, his association with soldiers has proven...Read More
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