Wednesday Link Roundup #72: Historical Memory, Writing Tips, and Visualizing the Supreme Court

Monroe RoundupWednesday Link Roundup: Links to the most interesting history, news, and writing posts that passed through my RSS and Twitter feeds over the last week.



Don N. Hagist shared “10 Remarkable Runaway Ads” for slaves.

Escape Coffins?! Mental Floss offered “7 Weird Graveyard Inventions.”

Massachusetts Historical Society Library Assistant Olivia Mandica-Hart shared details about the formation of the Boston “Business Women’s Mutual Benefit Association” in 1874.

The National Council on Public History blog, “Public History Commons” offered an interesting 3-part series on “Revealing Slavery’s Legacy at a Public University in the South.” (Part 1), (Part 2), & (Part 3).

Speaking of slavery’s legacy, NPR News presented an interesting segment about remembering the Confederate past in “Six Words: ‘Must We Forget Our Confederate Ancestors?’

Did you know that Russia once had a colony in California? If not, you may wish to check out “The Forgotten History of Russia’s California Colony.”

Christian McBurney asked “Why Did a Boston Mob Kill a French Officer” during the American Revolution.

Escape CoffinsJohn Fea called our attention to an interesting profile of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “I Had the Advantage of Disadvantage.”

Near the centennial of Hitler’s brush with death on the front lines of World War I, New York Times Op-ed writer Timothy W. Ryback asked What would “History [be like] Without Hitler?


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Boston Historical Events for the Week of October 27, 2014

Boston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday October 27 and Sunday November 2, 2014

Boston-Athenaeum.gifBoston Athenaeum

Amazon ImageWednesday, October 29, 12-1 pm, Author Talk, Free

Twenty-five years ago this November, massive crowds surged unexpectedly toward the Berlin Wall when they heard that East Germans were now free to move to the West. Mary Elise Sarotte (Harvard University) will discuss the collapse of the Berlin Wall using details from her new book The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall. The East German ruling regime knew that the announcement would prompt the removal of the Wall, but they had not planned for it to fall the very night of their announcement. In fact, the Berlin Wall fell not as the result of a bargain between either Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It fell by accident. Sarotte will reveal how separate decisions made by underground revolutionaries, disgruntled Stasi officers, and dictatorial party bosses sparked an unexpected series of events, which culminated in the chaotic fall of the Berlin Wall.


Boston-by-Foot.gifBoston By Foot

Friday, October 31, 6-7:30pm, Walking Tour, Meet on State House Steps, $10 Members/$20 Nonmembers, Tickets Required

Celebrate All Hallows’ Eve by walking over the dark side of Beacon Hill. Your guide will regale you with the stories of ghosts, murders, and mayhem that haunt this quiet neighborhood. The tour includes a stop at the home of the murdered George Parkman and the tale of his dismembered body. You will also see where the Puritans hung Quakers by the neck and the burial sites of several famous men. WARNING: Apparitions of lawyers and ministers, murderers who walk in their sleep, stranglers may appear to you on this tour. Or they may not. You just never know.


BPL.gifBoston Public Library

Amazon ImageMonday, October 27, 6-7pm, Author Talk, Copley Square, Free

Bryan Stevenson will discuss his book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Stevenson started the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice dedicated to defending some of the most marginalized people in the United States. Walter McMillian was one of the first defendants Stevenson took on. A black man from Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, a judge sentenced McMillian to die for a murder he did not commit. Just Mercy follows Stevenson’s battle to free McMillian and the stories of other men, women, and children, innocent and guilty, who found themselves at the mercy of an incapable justice system.


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Why I Review History Books and Why You Should Too

BooksHow many books do you read each year?

How many books do you read because a friend, family member, or colleague recommended them to you?

How many do you read and purchase because you read a favorable review online?

Book reviews serve as important guides for potential book readers and buyers.

In this post you will discover why leaving book reviews on retail and review websites such as Goodreads helps both your fellow readers and historians.


The Power of a Review

Book reviews sway our decisions about whether we should read, and/or buy, a book because they offer us social proof of its quality and content.

Our time is precious and none of us want to waste our time reading a book that has a poorly written or told story or that does not contain the information we seek. Therefore, we rely on reviews to help us figure out which books are worth investing time in.

We also use reviews to help us determine whether we should purchase a book or borrow it from our local library. If a lot of people loved a book, you may be more inclined to purchase it whereas you may opt to place a book on your library borrow list if it has a mix of positive and negative reviews.


2 Types of Reviews: Ratings and Scholarly Reviews

There are 2 types of reviews that effect our decision-making process: Ratings and Scholarly, or Literary, Reviews.

Amazon1. Ratings: Websites often allow customers to review a book by rating it.

Amazon uses a 5 star scale: 1 star means the book is bad and 5 stars denote a MUST read.

If a book carries a lot of positive ratings, you are more likely to decide to read it because a group of people have vetted the book as good and therefore worth your time.

If you are undecided about whether to read a particular book, negative ratings, or a lack of ratings, may sway you against reading it.


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Wednesday Link Roundup #71: Productive Writing and Interesting History

Jefferson Roundup Wednesday Link Roundup: Links to the most interesting history, news, writing, and technology posts that passed through my RSS and Twitter feeds over the last week.



The Law Library of Congress announced a partnership with HeinOnline to offer better digital access to US federal law documents for free.

Do you like camping? The New England Historical Society reminds us that “Before the Winnebago there was the Springfield Portable House.”

The 16th-Century Dance Plague” hit Strasbourg, France in July 1548.



Would you like to be more productive? Fast Company writer Rachel Gillett suggests setting a work-type theme for each day of the week in “Give Your Day a Theme to Regain Focus.”

3 Productivity Tips from Winston Churchill“offers information about 3 of Churchill’s productivity rituals.


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Boston Historical Events for the Week of October 20, 2014

Boston Historical EventsBoston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday October 20 and Sunday October 26, 2014.


Abitail Adams HSAbigail Adams Birthplace

Saturday, October 25, 9am-2pm, Historical Symposium, First Church in Weymouth, Free, RSVP Requested

The Abigail Adams Birthplace Historic Site and The Adams Papers Editorial Project will commemorate the 250th wedding anniversary of John and Abigail Adams with an historical symposium. The symposium will take place in the historic First Church of Weymouth, the church where Abigail’s father William Smith preached. Five accomplished scholars will discuss the public and private roles John and Abigail played throughout their lives together. Time will be allowed for the audience to ask questions and for a general discussion during each session of the symposium. Please visit the Symposium website for a detailed schedule.


Boston-by-Foot.gifBoston By Foot

Saturday, October 25, 1-2:30pm, Walking Tour, Kings Chapel Burying Ground, $5 Members/$15 Nonmembers, Tickets Required

Learn about Puritan New England death customs in “Grave Undertakings: Death in Boston,” an exciting tour that will take you through three of Boston’s historic burying grounds: King’s Chapel, the Granary, and the Central Burying Ground. As you walk among the dead, your knowledgeable guide will tell you about Puritan religious views, practices, headstone symbolism, and traditions of death. Meet your guide in the King’s Chapel Burying Ground.


Sunday, October 26, 2-3:30pm, Walking Tour, 555 Talbot Ave, $5 Members/$15 Nonmembers, Tickets Required

Join Boston By Foot for a tour of “Carruth’s Hill” in Dorchester. Public transportation allowed “Carruth’s Hill” to develop into a beautiful garden suburb. The wealthy flocked to this neighborhood where they used well-known architects to build their beautiful Victorian houses. Your guide will lead you through this historic neighborhood and together you will experience its beauty and explore the lives of the extraordinary people who have called it home.


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