Monday, August 18, 2014

Yes, I've Published a Book!


I've written and published a book!
Of course, that was my intention when I began this blog way back in 2006 when I was still in the classroom, but the book I've published isn't exactly the book I had planned.
The planned project - a teaching memoir - will still be published along with a few other projects, but the book you see to the left is what fell in my lap along the way.
It needed to be done.
History education is my prime focus along with writing curriculum. Over the last couple of years I've written a few college courses used by teacher candidates at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and I have some other curriculum ideas up my sleeve, but local history has taken a front-burner position over the last year.
I've been researching and writing the local history of Douglas County for the past four years, and have had a weekly column the Douglas County Sentinel for a year and a half.
I've been a longtime fan of the Images of America series of books from Arcadia Publishing. Several towns across the nation are included including several in Georgia, but my town of Douglasville was missing.
When Arcadia contacted me last year, there was no other alternative than to sign the contract and get busy. The book was released on July 14th, and I'm very proud of it. 
The book contains 200 vintage images depicting the history of Douglasville, Georgia some dating back to the 1870s and covering the next one hundred years. 
As far as southern towns go, Douglasville is a bit unique as it IS the quintessential New South town having been birthed in 1875 during Reconstruction
You can Google a preview of the book HERE, and you can purchase it via Amazon HERE.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting to the Tooth of the Matter

 

Do you know what these are?

If you guessed dental tools you would be correct?
Now, who owned them?

None other than America’s silversmith and favorite son of Liberty who rode the countryside warning the folks that the British were coming. 
No…not William Dawes, but that other one.  Yes, old what’s his name?

Yes!  Paul Revere!
Following the French and Indian War the economy in the colonies had been what is described by some today as an economic downturn.

Actually, folks were really hurting financially. Not only did the colonies take a hit with the French and Indian War there was something called the Stamp Act that severely impacted Paul Revere’s business.
With creditors after his property and no orders coming in for his metal working Revere turned towards dentistry.

Seems logical. Right?
A surgeon staying with a mutual friend taught Revere some of the tricks of the trade.

Yes, five years before his midnight ride the following ad appeared in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal dated August 20, 1770 titled “Artificial Teeth” that stated:
“Paul Revere, Takes this Method ‘of returning his most sincere Thanks to the Gentlemen and Ladies who have employed him in the care of their Teeth, he would now inform them and all others, who are so unfortunate as to lose their Teeth by accident or otherways, that he still continues the Business of a Dentist, and flatters himself that from the Experience he has had these Two Years (in which Time he has fixt some Hundreds of Teeth) that he can fix them as well as any Surgeon-Dentist who ever came from London, he fixes them in such a Manner that they are not only an Ornament, but of real Use in Speaking and Eating:  He cleanses the Teeth and will wait on any Gentleman or Lady at their Lodgings, he may be spoke with at his Shop opposite Dr. Clark’s at the North End, where the Gold and Silversmith’s business is carried on in all its Branches.”

Revere made his dentures from walrus ivory.
Now, I know what you are thinking…

No, as far as I know Revere never crafted a set of dentures for George Washington.
I’ve written here about the tragic death of Dr. Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s) using Trumbull’s iconic painting with students.

Amazingly, Paul Revere was the one who was able to identify Warren's body nine months after the battle because he recognized a tooth he had replaced in Dr. Warren's dental work.

Paul Revere...forensic dentistry.

Don't you love the twists and turns of history? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Frank Carpenter: World Traveler and Photographer

Over on the Facebook page for this blog I’ve been posting a series of pictures this week I’ve simply sourced as “Library of Congress”, but the source goes much deeper than that.  The pictures are wonderful depictions of world scenes beginning in the 1890s through the 1930s. I’ve featured some here.

The collection was put together by Frank and Frances Carpenter, a father-daughter team, during their world travels. The photos were used to illustrate his writings regarding travel and his world geography textbooks.

I love to snap pictures myself. Over the last five years I’ve taken approximately ten thousand photos, myself, but over his lifetime no telling how many photographs Frank Carter produced. The Library of Congress collection contains 5,400 photos in albums, 10,400 loose photos, and 7,000 glass and film negatives.
 
 
Frank Carpenter was a journalist whose assignments took him many interesting places.  Being a writing myself, I love the fact that he took his interest in travel and photography and more or less created a job for himself.

He took a trip around the world from 1888 to 1889. During that time he wrote a letter per week that was published in twelve different periodicals which led to more letter-writing travels.
Where can I get a job like that?



Not only were Frank Carpenter’s geography books used in schools for over 45 years, his writings helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography.
Carpenter died a millionaire, but not necessarily from his writing and photography. He used his money to invest heavily in real estate in the Washington D.C. area, and at one point was then able to fund his world travels and photography “habit” on his own terms.



Frank Carpenter died in China during his third trip around the world.

Use the “like” button above in order to join the history conversation on Facebook and view more of Carpenter’s fantastic images.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Your Alumni Base Lively

Great advice for folks who control alumni groups!!



Via: iContact

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep....An Old Spin

This past February Mr. Elementaryhistoryteacher and I ran off for a quick weekend in Charleston. It was rainy and cold most of the time, so we didn't get a chance to walk around very much, but we did take a turn through the visitor's center and then headed across the street to The Charleston Museum.

The museum was founded in 1773 and is commonly referred to as America's first museum.

While I found all of the exhibits informative and well done, one of the smaller ones simply astonished me.

I love learning new things, and these types of cemetery markers were TOTALLY new to me.



Yes, that's a four poster bed headboard and for some people in the 18th century this served as their grave marker.

I came home from Charleston and began digging a little deeper. I found an article from The Milwaukee Journal dated June 17, 1927 titled, "Four Poster Bed Headboard Marks Grave 189 Years".

From the article: Still intact after serving 189 years [in Charleston, South Carolina] as a tombstone in St. Michael's Cemetery here a four poster headboard of an old wooden bed has been uncovered by a cleanup crew working in a cemetery.

The unusual marker was part of the bed used by Mary Ann Luyten during her lifetime. Some years before her death she decided that its enduring tidewater cypress wood should make a particularly satisfying tombstone. In writing her will she directed that this be done and ordered the inscription which was to be carved on the bed.

The words were plainly visible when workmen removed leaves and moss which had partially covered Mrs. Luyten's grave marker.

They read, "Mary Ann Luyten, wife of William Luyten Died September 9, 1770 in the twenty seventh year of her age"

...and here it is in the cemetery:


Apparently, this practice was repeated by others. In a more recent newspaper article from April, 1982 published in The News and Courier advised that for years the St. Michael's grave rails such as Luyten's were thought to be the only ones remaining in North America, but now there is a third "bedstead" shaped wooden grave rail that has been stashed away at St. James Santee Episcopal church for many years...It resembled the headboard of a bed and was designed to be set in the ground over the grave.

I find the markers to be very interesting....a whole new spin on "Now I lay me down to sleep." 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Artist Explorer

The Age of Exploration.

What do you immediately think of as you read those four words?

More than likely, you would throw out some of the more famous explorer's names and where their expeditions took place.

Some of you might tell me about their goals such as claiming land for the monarch who financed the expedition and how in the case of some bringing Christianity to the natives was in most cases a guise to seize lands and riches.

You most certainly wouldn't be wrong, but as many expeditions to the New World continued more people arrived who weren't just fortune hunters, soldiers and religious men wanting to save souls.

Sometimes the monarchs themselves would order certain people to go along,  and in the case of explorers Jean Ribault an Rene Laudonnere, the French monarch ordered an artist to go along and capture not riches or natives but capture images of the things he saw in the New World.

The artist was Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues who lived between 1533 and 1588.

Le Moyne went along on Ribault's expedition in 1566 to what we would consider to be north Florida near the St. John River. Ribault hoped to establish a colony near present day Jacksonville, and he ended up building Fort Caroline.

Le Moyne not only served as an artist but was very useful as a cartographer.

The expedition erected a stone marker near the mouth of the St. John River which happened to be a standard French marker used in the New World. It was a hexagonal column of white stone engraved with the royal standard. Eventually, Le Moyne writes that the Timuca, a Native American tribe in the area, began to venerate the marker as if it was an idol.

Eventually, relations with the natives soured, some members of the expedition grew weary of the leaders and led mini revolts, and rival expeditions from other nations caused problems.

In 1565, a group of Spaniards led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles attacked the men at Fort Caroline.

Le Moyne made his escape with a few others, but only one of his drawings survived. What we do have are engravings which are recreations based on Le Moyne's memory. They are important because they happen to be the earliest images from the New World. Engravings of his work exist today as only one of his New World drawings was saved.  I've posted one of the engravings at the beginning of this post. Le Moyne also penned an account of the voyage titled Brevis Narration Eorum Quae in Florida Americai Provincial Gallis Acciderunt in 1591.

Le Moyne never returned to the New World. He devoted the last years of his life creating botanical art.



You can see more engravings based on Le Moyne's drawings here.

Another great source you could explore is The New World.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Using Memoirs to Strengthen Curriculum

In my opinion the least taught war in United States classrooms has to be the Korean War.

The U.S never declared war on North Korea because we weren’t there on our own. Our involvement was a result of the United Nations aiding South Korea with the United States supplying 88% of the forces. The People’s Republic of China entered the war helping North Korea. Officially the Soviet Union provided material aid as well for the North Koreans, but talk to anyone involved, and they firmly believe the Soviet involvement included men on the ground and in the air.

I feel that events in Korea during the 1950s have a real place in the classroom, but ignorance keeps it from being fully explored in the curriculum.
We don’t take the time to fully explore all the possibilities the content of the Korean War could have in our classrooms. Take any history textbook and thumb through pages and you see that very little is given about the Korean War. Most of the time it’s treated as a “breather” of sorts between the end of World War II and the startup of the Vietnam War. It was done that way when I was in school, and in most classrooms it’s still treated that way. 

I don’t blame teachers for not diving deep into the war. Our teaching standards barely touch on it, but aren’t we cheating students regarding an important chunk of American History? 
Aren’t we throwing the service of the men who served during the Korean War away by not covering the war as best we can?

The Korean War is just another example why teachers cannot rely on the textbook as a complete tool to help them frame standards into a viable curriculum. You have to go outside of the textbook for content and a complete picture of the events in Korea.
My favorite source happens to be memoirs – first-hand accounts of the events from those who were there. In the case of Korea I had a memoir fall into my lap through my local history project regarding Douglas County and Douglasville, Georgia where I live. 

One of our former editors for our local paper has written a memoir which covers many of his life experiences, but mainly his exploits in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Sicily during the Korean Conflict. The book is called Excitement!! In War and Peace by W. Harris Dalton. It can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the title or through Yawn’s Books in Canton, Georgia. The cover of the book features a picture of the author (extreme left standing) with some of his buddies.



While there are numerous snippets of information in Mr. Dalton’s book that could be extracted and infused into a teacher’s Korean War curriculum here are five things I found extremely interesting: 

1. Mr. Dalton spent three years aboard the USS Sicily described in Collier’s magazine as “the phantom ship” due to the fact it was always on the move and the enemy didn’t know where they would be next.  Mr. Dalton states, “To her credit ‘the Queen’ was victorious in two of the bloodiest battles – Pusan and Hungnam – in American history. She was also there providing close air support for the marine’s historic landing on Inchon that turned the tide of the battle on the peninsula and forced the fight for the Yalu River."

 
I don’t know about you, but just from that snippet from Mr. Dalton’s book I want to Google a few key words for more information.

2. The Black Sheep Squadron was re-commissioned during the Korean War and flew Corsairs off the Sicily.  As Dalton states, “Navy and Marine Corsair pilots were available and they made perfect sense for the Korean conflict against North Korea which had no air force and navy.”  

I know what you are thinking, and yes....it's the same Black Sheep Squadron that gained a reputation during World War II. The picture below shows some of their planes on the deck of the Sicily. 



3. Mr. Dalton gives great insight to a Black Sheep Squadron mission on Christmas Eve, 1950 where they had been sent out to check on what was reported to be a group of guerillas heading towards American troops.  The Black Sheep Squadron planes found the suspected guerillas and completed a fly-over. They found the group contained a large concentration of women and children. As they flew over the women held their babies up in what was interpreted as a friendly gesture. The group seemed like friendly refugees.

There was no danger, right?  

Later these same friendly refugees wiped out a whole Marine group. Members of the squadron were sent out immediately on a search and destroy mission.

One of the squadron members told to Mr. Dalton, “I circled around, and when I was directly over them, I dropped a napalm bomb right in the center of the marauders. We then circled the scene until we had established there were no survivors. I knew they had killed my fellow marines, and it wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been Christmas Eve.”
4. The book discusses operations involving Chinese and Russian forces stating, “What had begun as a mission to drive North Korea out of South Korea escalated into an overt fight against North Korean and Chinese forces when we moved up the Yalu River and the surreptitious aggression by the Soviet Union, the bully in the neighborhood.”

Mr. Dalton tells of an incident that was wiped from the books regarding a supposed Russian submarine that was headed towards U.S. forces and wouldn’t identify itself. For two hours Mr. Dalton, as radar man, personally filled three pages of his log book regarding messages concerning the location and actions of the sub which culminated in sightings of an oil slick.

Later when he checked the pages of the logbook, they had been removed with the explanation that the action HAD NEVER TAKEN PLACE. The event never made the news, of course.


5. During a portion of the time Mr. Dalton was assigned to the Sicily his captain was John S. “Jimmy” Thach, made famous for his World War II flying exploits, and for his invention of the "Thach Weave", a tactic that enabled U.S. fliers to hold their own against the Japanese Zeroes. He is also given credit regarding another tactic referred to as the "big blue blanket".

In the picture above Thach is on the right.
So, before you head off to Google all the key words I’ve thrown at you regarding the Korean War, check out Mr. Dalton’s book for even more first-hand war experiences aboard the USS Sicily.