American History, continued

4 February 2011

These are the most important new items onsite since my last entry a year ago: Stanley Clisby Arthur’s The Story of the West Florida Rebellion (and other material relating to “West Florida”), Constance Lindsay Skinner’s Pioneers of the Old Southwest (and other Kentucky and Tennessee material), James R. Jacobs’ Tarnished Warrior: Major-General James Wilkinson, Irving Berdine Richman’s Ioway to Iowa.

In addition, a couple dozen journal articles, mostly about West Point, railroads, and the frontier from the Appalachians to the west bank of the Mississippi; about fifteen hundred more entries of Cullum’s Biographical Register of the Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, now complete thru the year 1850 and thus including many of the generals of the War between the States — I expect to complete the transcription of all 3384, thru the Class of 1890, in March 2012; orientation pages to the History of Florida, the History of Iowa, the History of Wisconsin; Sidelights on Dutch History.

The homepage of my American history site (as of writing: 32 books, 16,000 pages of print, 700 images in 2700+ webpages) is here.

The Great Iron Trail

27 January 2010

A more substantial addition this time to American railroad history: Robert West Howard’s The Great Iron Trail. The book is about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It’s atrociously written, as I point out on my orientation page (and I’m not the first to do so); but it’s a book of solid worth nevertheless, not so much for its detailing of the technical aspects of that great American enterprise, but mostly because it seats its subject firmly in the wider context of American history, paying attention not only to the nuts and bolts and the financial shenanigans of the principals, but to the economic, political and cultural currents of the time.

The homepage of my American history site (27 books, 13,000 pages of print, 600 images in 1700+ webpages) is here.

Jefferson Davis’s Camels

9 January 2010

Today’s addition: an entertaining article in Popular Science Monthly for February 1909 on Jefferson Davis’s Camel Experiment, by Walter L. Fleming, who is already represented onsite (in my American History Notes section) by papers on the Buford Expedition to Kansas, and a really bizarre little Ku Klux Klan item he dug up.

The homepage of my American history site (26 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

Herman Haupt and Mule’s Ears

27 December 2009

Two small items, one serious, the other hilarious; you will guess which is which, of course. Herman Haupt: biographical sketch from Cullum’s Register (a West Pointer largely responsible for the success of the Union Army’s military railroad system in the War between the States), and Mule Ear Currency (a tale from the West, maybe even a true one).

The homepage of my American history site (26 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

American railroad history

1 November 2009

One of the most important and characteristic aspects of American history is how we managed to expand so fast over an entire continent, and a key element in that expansion was the building of America’s railroads. One would think therefore that the story of the railroads’ rôle in that expansion would be well represented online, but it isn’t really — so I intend to do my six bits’ worth in filling up that gap. Today’s item, maybe I didn’t choose so well, since it’s already online in three or four other places; but the book was so short that it took me less than 4 days to input it and proofread it, and then I include the maps, which the other sites out there kissed off, or at least those that I looked at. More on American railroad history is on its way, including of course, now that I’ve done my research a bit better, stuff not online anywhere. For now, though: John Moody’s The Railroad Builders.

The homepage of my American history site (25 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

American Catholic history

11 September 2009

I tend to mark September 11 by adding some important item to the site. Today, it’s American Catholic History: an orientation page to what I expect will be a growing site on the Catholic contribution to our American history, and in particular to the development of the frontier, which is my main theme these days. Right now, the linchpin of the site is not John Gilmary Shea’s History or one of the (few) public-domain works by Ellis or some similar general item, but a rather odd one, a 600‑page book by Camillus Maes: the Life of Charles Nerinckx, a Belgian pioneer priest of Kentucky. Some journal articles round out the site: some of them related to Fr. Nerinckx, but among the others, Flemish Franciscan Missionaries in North America; Father Sebastian Rale, S. J. (1657‑1724) who evangelized the Abnaki Indians in Maine; The Significance of the Frontier to the Historian of the Catholic Church in the United States, a vigorous rebuttal to an exaggerated application of Frederick Jackson Turner’s theory of the frontier; and The Mission as a Frontier Institution in the Spanish-American Colonies by Herbert Bolton, solid as that author always is.

The homepage of my American history site (25 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

John Sevier’s Diary

24 May 2009

The “large and relatively significant item” is now online: Gov. Sevier’s Journal (or Diary, same difference); nominally complete — although I may have unearthed some hanky-panky: the gory details are on that orientation page. Other related material as well.

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 700+ webpages) is here.

Bedford’s Tour

20 May 2009

More Tennessee, all from the Tennessee Historical Magazine: one small item — Why the First Settlers of Tennessee were from Virginia (as opposed to North Carolina, which after all has a much longer border with what is now Tennessee, and is due east rather than kitty-corner like Virginia): a question that is weird only when you don’t think of it, so to speak, and with an interesting answer — but mostly Bedford’s Tour down the Cumberland, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the 1807 diary of a man who traveled from Nashville to New Orleans in a very small boat, and in winter: we all know that “free navigation of the Mississippi” was for decades the buzzword that justified much of early United States diplomacy, but this gives us an extraordinarily clear view of what it was actually like in practical terms.

And no, this isn’t the “large and relatively significant item” I mentioned in my last entry as in prep. I shouldn’t tease people that long; I need to finish it.

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 700+ webpages) is here.

History of Tennessee

11 May 2009

New items yesterday, all from the journal of the Tennessee Historical Society — not elsewhere online so I’ve collected them, and the ones to come (a large and relatively significant item is in prep, another original document not to be found on the Web right now) on their own index pageManagement of Negroes upon Southern Estates in which two 19c plantation owners offer advice on how to manage slaves since after all their welfare insures greater profits to their owners; The North Carolina-Tennessee Boundary Line Survey of 1799, the centerpiece of which is a complete transcription of Strother’s Diary, the personal record kept by one of surveyors in the party, introduced by several pages of background material; and Henderson and Company’s Purchase within the Limits of Tennessee, in which we see just what a harsh business environment it was on the frontier: Richard Henderson is cheated by the States of Virginia and North Carolina, but he in turn seems to have cheated others pretty badly.

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 500+ webpages) is here.

On the way to Georgia

29 March 2009

Continuing on the theme of the western frontier, a transcription of Projects for Colonization in the South, 1684‑1732, by Verner W. Crane (MVHR 12:23‑35); it deals with the colonies that immediately preceded and, to an extent, led up to, the foundation of Georgia.

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 500+ webpages) is here.

Whitaker’s Spanish-American Frontier

17 March 2009

As promised, the latest book onsite is now complete, with its maps: Arthur Preston Whitaker’s Spanish-American Frontier, 1783‑1795. Backwoodsmen, diplomatic intrigue — yes, James Wilkinson, of course (but also Pinckney and Godoy and Carondelet) — and thru it all, the mighty Mississippi. Enjoy.

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 500+ webpages) is here.

New stuff, January and February

10 March 2009

Well, I dunno what happened, but WordPress finally did index this blog, several weeks late…. So I’ll be posting items here from time to time, as originally planned.

In January and February, my new items were one of the key primary sources behind Ellis & Morris’s book on King Philip’s War: Easton’s Relation; and, spurred by an e-mail from a frequent site visitor expressing interest in the frontier theory of Frederick Jackson Turner, a brief article of his on Geographical Sectionalism in American History.

This last, in turn, has got me interested in the mechanics of the American frontier, and I’m currently transcribing a full-length book on that, which will probably be onsite within a week. The most interesting point made by the historians of the frontier is that the genius of America does not lie in our government, but in our people and our personal initiative: the genius of the government, such as it is, is in getting out of the way. In the last fifty or sixty years we’ve increasingly forgotten that, and expect everything from government; or maybe, to be run by government, or to be ruined by government!

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 500+ webpages) is here.