Season 3

138. Happy Holidays from the Washington Library

Dec. 26, 2019

The podcast team is off for the holidays. We'll be back in the new year with new thought-provoking interviews with the likes of Jeanette Patrick, Karin Wulf, and Max Edelson. In the meantime, be sure to check out our full ba…

American Revolution War

137. Seeing the British Side of the American Revolution with Andrew O'Shaughnessy

Dec. 19, 2019

What does the American Revolution look like from a British vantage point? How does that change the way we think about the origins of the United States, and major figures such as George Washington , Thomas Jefferson , or Geor…

American Revolution War

136. Executing Major John André with D.A.B. Ronald

Dec. 12, 2019

On October 2, 1780, Major John André was executed as a spy on George Washington’s orders. The British officer had convinced American general Benedict Arnold to switch allegiances, but having been caught in the act, André was…

Biography American Revolution Early United States Colonial America

135. Editing Early America with Nadine Zimmerli

Dec. 5, 2019

Dr. Nadine Zimmerli recently joined The University of Virginia Press as its editor of History and Social Sciences books. A former editor at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture , Zimmerli is a historia…

134. A Constitutional Thanksgiving

Nov. 28, 2019

We’re off this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll be back next week with conversations featuring some of the leading lights in early American history. But we didn’t want to leave you holding the short end of the wishbo…

Women Religion Early United States

133. Facing the Wrath of Rachel Jackson's God with Melissa Gismondi

Nov. 21, 2019

If you know anything about Rachel Jackson, chances are you know her best as Andrew Jackson’s wife. You might also know that Rachel died in late 1828, just before Andrew became president. During Andrew’s presidential campaign…

American Revolution War

132. Quartering Troops in Early America with John McCurdy

Nov. 14, 2019

In the Declaration of Independence , Thomas Jefferson criticized George III for "Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us" in the years before the American Revolution. To hear Jefferson tell it, quartered troops had …

Digital History

131. Let's Get Digital With Loren Moulds

Nov. 7, 2019

How has technology changed the way that historians and educators tell stories about the past? What does it mean to do "digital history" and how can one get started? On today's episode, Dr. Loren Moulds of the University of V…


130. Writing the History of Early America for Children with David Bruce Smith

Oct. 31, 2019

Historians spend a lot of time thinking about audience. Whether speaking at academic meetings, talking with the general public, or teaching students, we consider how we can best communicate our ideas to different groups. So …

Cartography Early United States Washington Library Fellows

129. Mapping a Nation with Erin Holmes and Janine Yorimoto Boldt

Oct. 24, 2019

Maps do more than visualize landscapes, identify political borders, or chart rivers and oceans. They show us the many and varied ways that we make sense of the world around us. How then, did Early Americans make sense of the…

Politics Digital History

128. Digitizing the Constitution with Julie Silverbrook

Oct. 17, 2019

The word “impeachment” is in the air these days. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a website to find information about what the Constitution’s framers thought about impeachment or any other Constitutional issue. Well, The Consti…

Politics Early United States

127. Walking through The Field of Blood with Joanne B. Freeman

Oct. 10, 2019

What comes to mind when you think about Congress in the nineteenth century? Perhaps you imagine great orators like Henry Clay or Daniel Webster declaiming on the important issues then facing the republic. And yes, in 1856, S…

Biography American Revolution

126. Entering a World of Paine with Harlow Giles Unger

Oct. 3, 2019

On today’s show, veteran journalist and biographer Harlow Giles Unger talks to Jim Ambuske about revolutionary radical Thomas Paine , one of his predecessors in the newspaper business. He is the author of the new book, Thoma…

Presidency Early United States Digital History

125. Simulating 1793 and the Fate of the Republic with Trey Alsup and Sadie Troy

Sept. 26, 2019

Imagine you lived in the year 1793. The United States has recently suffered its worst military defeat in its history at the hands of the Miami-Shawnee Confederacy. The French Revolution has turned horrifically violent and Fr…

Biography Women Early United States

124. The Power Broker and the King Maker: The Life of Elizabeth Willing Powel with Samantha Snyder

Sept. 19, 2019

In this episode of Conversations at the Washington Library , Samantha Snyder speaks to Jim Ambuske about the life of Elizabeth Willing Powel . Powel was a prominent Philadelphian who became close to the Washington family. Al…

Biography American Revolution War Early United States

123. Tracing the Rise and Fall of Light-Horse Harry Lee with Ryan Cole

Sept. 12, 2019

You may know him as Robert E. Lee’s father, but Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee was so much more. Born into a Virginia dynasty, the man who would become one of George Washington ’s protégés came of age with the American Revolu…

Politics Early United States

122. Making Sense of Murder in the Shenandoah with Jessica Lowe: Explorations in Early American Law Part 4

Sept. 5, 2019

On July 4, 1791, fifteen years after Americans declared independence, two men walked into a Virginia field. Only one walked out alive. John Crane, the son of an elite Virginia family, killed a man named Abraham Vanhorn after…

American Revolution Politics The Washingtons Washington Library Fellows

121. Interpreting George Washington's Constitution with Lindsay Chervinsky: Explorations in Early American Law Part 3

Aug. 29, 2019

In the fall of 1789, George Washington ordered a printed copy of the Constitution along with the laws passed by the First Federal Congress. A book binder bound the printed sheets in leather and added the words "President of …

Biography Early United States Washington Library Fellows

120. Meeting Alexander Hamilton, Attorney at Law, with Kate Brown: Explorations in Early American Law Part 2

Aug. 22, 2019

We all know Alexander Hamilton for his service during the Revolutionary War, his tenure as the first Secretary of the Treasury, and his death at the hands of Aaron Burr. But have you met Alexander Hamilton, Attorney at Law? …

Biography Politics

119. The Transatlantic Reach of Thomas Erskine and Law in the Age of Revolutions with Nicola Phillips: Explorations in Early American Law Part 1

Aug. 15, 2019

In what ways did the United States remain bound to Great Britain in the decades after American Independence? As it turns out, the law and legal ideas served as a connection between Americans and their former British brethren…

American Revolution War The Washingtons

118. Finding George Washington in Scotland with Rachel Hosker

Aug. 8, 2019

How did a George Washington letter find a home Scotland? In this episode of Conversations at the Washington Library , Jim Ambuske talks with Rachel Hosker, deputy head of special collections and archives manager at the Unive…


117. Resilience in a Time of War: A Special Purple Heart Commemoration Day Conversation with LTC Matthew Kutilek, USMC

Aug. 1, 2019

In this episode, Jim Ambuske chats with LTC Matthew Kutilek, USMC, a 2001 graduate of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Kutilek is a United States Marine Special Operations Officer with 18+ years of active duty serv…

American Revolution

116. Looking for Lafayette with Jordan Pellerito

July 29, 2019

In this episode, Jim Ambuske sits down with first year Ph.D. student Jordan Pellerito of the University of Missouri who is interning this summer at the Washington Library. Pellerito tells us about her Master’s degree work on…

Mount Vernon Slavery The Washingtons

115. The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 2

July 11, 2019

In this episode, Dr. Jim Ambuske continues his conversation with the Washington Library's Research Historian Mary V. Thompson to discuss her new book, "The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret": George Washington, Slavery, and…

Mount Vernon Slavery The Washingtons

114. The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 1

July 4, 2019

In this episode Dr Jim Ambuske sits down with the Washington Librarys Research Historian Mary V Thompson to discuss her new book The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret George Washington Slavery and the Enslaved Community at …

Politics Early United States

113. Republican Laws and Monarchical Education with Mark Boonshoft

June 27, 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 battle between Federalists and Republicans o…

Digital History

112. Welcome Jim Ambuske!

June 20, 2019

In this episode, Dr. Kevin Butterfield sits down with Dr. Jim Ambuske the Washington Library's new Digital Historian and future podcast host. About Our Guest: Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Wa…