Category Archives: 19th century

Within These Walls… if our houses could talk

  If you’re visiting Washington this summer, here is a must-see exhibition: Within These Walls at the National Museum of American History. It features the largest artifact in the museum’s collection, a house that stood at 16 Elm Street in … Continue reading

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Underneath a sheen of privilege

Homewood Museum, a large “country” home in Baltimore, was not on my radar. I’ve been to Baltimore many times and like visiting historic homes. One reason may be because it sits on the campus of John Hopkins University in the … Continue reading

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Their final resting places

In nonfiction set in the past, a character can best come to life through words he left behind or words his contemporaries spoke about him. When working with limited historical source materials, one of the writer’s challenges is to craft … Continue reading

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An American gun story

I’d never seen a national park in development so I seized the opportunity at a recent conference I attended in Hartford, Connecticut. If all goes as planned, Coltsville National Historical Park will one day preserve a major manufacturing story of America. … Continue reading

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Tracking a Killer

A day shy of the 154th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, I stood looking at the bucolic southern Maryland countryside, trees tinged with the bright green of early Spring. Staring at the simple white frame house surrounded … Continue reading

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The Authors Next Door

I grew up playing the card game Authors. In my childhood I hadn’t read most of the books featured in the game, but the more I played, the more familiar I became with each author’s works. Mark Twain, of course, … Continue reading

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Artist’s Inspiration – the Thomas Cole House

I was driving north headed for Maine. Seeking to avoid the congestion around New York City, I drove up Interstate 87. I wanted a break point in my trip and noticed the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. It’s a few … Continue reading

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James Madison’s Montpelier

More and more historic sites are beginning to tell the whole story. What I mean is after many decades of avoiding difficult topics, such as slavery, they are pushing past self-imposed boundaries, seeking the complex truth, and striving to find … Continue reading

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Unexpected history in a South Carolina town

In November 1861, only seven months into the Civil War, Union gunboats captured the sea islands around Port Royal Sound in South Carolina, including the city of Beaufort. The area remained in Union control through the war and the city … Continue reading

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A historic inn on the Eastern Shore

I was standing on the roof in bright sun gazing at water on three sides. The view of the Chesapeake Bay was stunning and I could begin to imagine British warships approaching the property. Just over two hundred years ago, … Continue reading

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