Episodes

Biography Early United States The Washingtons

162. Ending Washington's Life with Jonathan Horn

June 11, 2020

In March 1797, newly-inaugurated president John Adams thought he detected a glint of joy in George Washington’s eyes as the aging Virginian stepped off the world stage. Adams told his wife Abigail it was as if Washington was…

Mount Vernon Slavery Washington Library Fellows

161. (Repeat) Finding Ona Judge's Voice with Sheila Arnold

June 4, 2020

Note: This episode originally aired on January 30, 2020. In May 1796, Ona Judge , Martha Washington’s enslaved maidservant, freed herself by walking out of the Washington’s Philadelphia home. She had learned that Martha inte…

American Revolution Slavery War Economy

160. Recasting Tacky's Revolt as an Atlantic Slave War with Vincent Brown

May 28, 2020

Virginia is a landscape shaped by slavery and the enslaved communities who labored in bondage on plantations like Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the smaller farms that surrounded these large estates. But in the eighteenth cen…

Early United States Washington Library Fellows

159. Preserving Historic Real Estate with Whitney Martinko

May 21, 2020

In 1812, Pennsylvania state legislators contemplated something that most Americans would now find completely unimaginable: demolishing Independence Hall in Philadelphia, converting the site to a series of building lots, and …

Biography Religion Early United States

158. Praying to the Adams Family Gods with Sara Georgini

May 14, 2020

In November 1800, President John Adams composed a letter to his wife, Abigail, just after he moved into the new White House. He concluded his letter to his “dearest friend” this way: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Bles…

American Revolution Women War

157. Finding the Hidden Families behind the Boston Massacre with Serena Zabin

May 7, 2020

On the evening of March 5, 1770, Captain Thomas Preston and a small contingent of British Redcoats under his command fired into a crowd of civilians massing on King Street in Boston, killing several people. Many of us are fa…

Mount Vernon Early United States The Washingtons Washington Library Fellows

156. Making a Pilgrimage to Washington's Tomb with Matthew Costello

April 30, 2020

In December 1799, George Washington died after a short illness. His body and his legacy quickly became fodder for nineteenth century Americans – free and enslaved – who were struggling to make sense of what it meant to be an…

Biography Colonial America

155. Painting Portraits of Colonial Virginia with Janine Yorimoto Boldt

April 23, 2020

In 1757, Martha Dandridge Custis paid the artist John Wollaston the handsome sum of 56 pistoles for portraits of her, her husband Daniel Parke Custis , and their children , John and Martha. A pistole was a Spanish gold coin …

Biography American Revolution Early United States

154. Recovering the Founding Legacy of Dr. Benjamin Rush with Stephen Fried

April 16, 2020

In 1793, the dreaded Yellow Fever swept through Philadelphia. The deadly virus raced through the nation’s capital between August and November, killing at least 5,000 of the city’s inhabitants. Among the multi-racial group of…

Politics War Early United States

153. Putting Secession and Jefferson Davis on Trial with Cynthia Nicoletti

April 9, 2020

In May 1865, Union forces captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Irwinville, Georgia as the Civil War neared its end. Davis had led the Confederate States of America since 1861. He was taken to Fortress Monroe in …

Presidency Politics Early United States Washington Library Fellows

152. Creating George Washington's Cabinet with Lindsay Chervinsky

April 2, 2020

There are many things that we take for granted in the modern United States. The president’s cabinet is one of them. Although the cabinet is a prominent fixture of the federal government, and a powerful and essential one at t…

Slavery Colonial America Economy

151. Going Timbering and Turtling in the Caribbean with Mary Draper

March 26, 2020

Three hundred years ago, timber and turtles were key commodities for English settlers on Barbados and Jamaica . Barbadians sailed northwest to the island of St. Lucia where they harvested timber while Jamaicans headed to the…

Digital History

150. Teaching Online in a Time of Covid-19 with Sadie Troy

March 19, 2020

It's mid-March 2020 and chances are you're listening to this episode from the comfort of your home as you practice social distancing. Over the past few weeks many schools and businesses has suspended public operations and tr…

Cartography

149. Charting a Geographer's Career with Ron Grim

March 12, 2020

Dr. Ron Grim has been a geographer for over 40 years. After receiving his PhD from the University of Maryland, Ron embarked on a career that included stops at the National Archives of the United States , the Library of Congr…

Politics Early United States Colonial America Washington Library Fellows

148. Inventing Disaster with Cindy Kierner

March 5, 2020

On the morning of November 1, 1755, a devastating earthquake struck the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The quake leveled buildings, triggered fires, and caused a tsunami that laid waste to the urban landscape. When it was all…

Early United States The Washingtons Economy Washington Library Fellows

147. Setting the Table for the American Cincinnatus with Ron Fuchs

Feb. 27, 2020

In 1784, Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Shaw set sail on the Empress of China destined for the city of Canton, or Guangzhou, in southern China. Shaw was a Boston native who served under Major General Henry Knox during the …

Mount Vernon Digital History

146. Doing Public History at Mount Vernon with Jeanette Patrick

Feb. 20, 2020

Like many folks around the country, you might have spent the last three evenings watching Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Washington documentary series on the History Channel. Documentaries are a form of public history, which we migh…

American Revolution Politics Cartography Digital History

145. Creating the New Map of Empire with Max Edelson

Feb. 13, 2020

When the British defeated the French and their allies in the Seven Years’ War, they acquired vast new territories that expanded British America. Britain’s North America Empire grew to include New Brunswick in Canada, Florida…

Biography Presidency The Washingtons

144. Sizing Up the Thigh Men of Dad History with Alexis Coe

Feb. 6, 2020

The modern biography as we know it dates to the eighteenth century when Scottish author and lawyer James Boswell published The Life of Samuel Johnson . Boswell produced an account of the rascally Englishman, a friend of his …

Mount Vernon Slavery

143. Finding Ona Judge's Voice with Sheila Arnold

Jan. 30, 2020

In May 1796, Ona Judge , Martha Washington’s enslaved maidservant, freed herself by walking out of the Washington’s Philadelphia home. She had learned that Martha intended to give her away as a wedding present to Elizabeth P…

American Revolution War The Washingtons

142. Plotting against General Washington with Mark Edward Lender

Jan. 23, 2020

In late 1777, George Washington’s disappointing performance as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army was a source of growing concern among some army officers and members of Congress. While he had won important victories…

Women Slavery Washington Library Fellows

141. Accounting for Women in the Business of Slavery with Alexi Garrett

Jan. 16, 2020

When George Washington died in December 1799, it changed Martha Washington’s legal status. Just as she did when she was widowed for the first time in 1757, Martha once again became an independent person in the eyes of the la…

Early United States Washington Library Fellows

140. (Repeat) Republican Laws and Monarchical Education with Mark Boonshoft

Jan. 9, 2020

This episode originally aired in June 2019. Once the United States achieved its independence, how did white Americans expect to educate the new republic's youth? How did questions about education become a flash point in the …

Women Politics The Washingtons Washington Library Fellows

139. Harnessing the Power of Washington's Genealogy with Karin Wulf

Jan. 2, 2020

Early Americans like George Washington obsessed over genealogy. Much was at stake. One's place on the family tree could mean the difference between inheriting a plantation like Mount Vernon and its enslaved community, or wor…