Coincidence often fosters inspiration. A few days before I attended my umpteenth rally of this political season, I was given a gift. A near fifty-pound tome (a slight exaggeration) titled the Concise Dictionary of American History. Opening the book to a random page, I landed on an entry that brought several stark realities home. First, few political speeches rise above the rest. They are formulaic. Candidates acknowledge their supporters, identify the opposition, provide an anecdote designed to create a connection to the audience, and conclude with a call to civic duty. Second, the English language is changing fast. The particular entry on which I lit dealt with a word I rarely hear. Finally, I am getting older. With that comes a reluctance to abandon old things. After all, embracing today does not require erasing yesterday. If utilizing an old word contributes to the richness of a phrase, I am all for using it. This post is my attempt to dust off one such word (an effort that requires a little history).
If you are into cars, this is a great article.
By William Pearce
After winning the Elgin National Road Race, held in Elgin, Illinois on 23 August 1919, Duesenberg race car driver Tommy Milton began to focus on one of his top goals: establishing a new land speed record at Dayton Beach, Florida. The current record was held by Milton’s rival Ralph De Palma at 149.875 mph (241.001 km/h). Milton had been contemplating a land speed record (LSR) car for a long time. In December 1916, he and Fred Duesenberg entered into an agreement* to build a car to Milton’s specifications provided Milton would partially fund the vehicle. With his share of the Eglin winnings, Milton was one step closer to building the LSR car.
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Brews and Peruse: Examination of a historical document while drinking a craft beer. Consisting of three essential components:
1) The Document: Speeches of the 1940 Democratic Convention including Eleanor Roosevelt’s Address- Many people believe Franklin Roosevelt’s actions in acquiring the nomination were later justified when the U.S. entered World War II. However, political deception is still political deception…
2) The Beer: Grains of Truth from Ommegang Brewery- Why? Two reasons. First, both FDR and the beer are from New York. Second, well… there is the name. [My reactions to the beer are bold and bracketed]
3) My commentary: A tongue in cheek look at an American political event. My thoughts, no citations. (Italicized)
In 1940 Franklin Delano Roosevelt needed to make a decision. No previous U.S. president had achieved a third term. Only two, Theodore Roosevelt and US Grant had attempted to gain third terms, and both efforts were rejected. Believing that only he was qualified to lead the country at such a crucial time, FDR decided to run. However, gaining the Democrat Party nomination would present a challenge. Historical precedence indicated that Americans would once again reject someone desiring a third term, a reality necessitating Roosevelt’s apparent “recruitment” for the nomination. Chicago hosted the 1940 Democrat Party Convention and real political theater began on the convention’s first night…
Well researched, interesting history
It all started out with a question from a reader wondering if there was a railroad that went from New York City to Montreal circa 1855? He had some of John Stover’s books and with maps that show a line going from NYC to the Canadian border as early as 1850. But it’s really not too clear and there is no text stating that.
Our reader found the answer – no direct line, but there was a line through Vermont that then crossed over to Rouses Point and connected up with the Plattsburgh to Montreal line that opened in 1852. Yup, that bridge eventually became part of the Rutland line to Ogdensburg, NY
The D&H at created a line from Albany / Troy to Rouses Point. Then they bought a subsidiary, Napier Junction Rwy, that got them into Montréal. Connections NYC to Albany were not in place 1855.
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William F. Cody (en.wikipedia.org)
Moral dilemmas frequently arise when investment meets conscience. Given human nature, it is likely that such crises have existed as long as humans have invested money in things unseen. A story from the book Capital Stories about Famous Americans, demonstrates that at least one person came to question such an investment after witnessing one of Buffalo Bill’s famous western exhibitions.
Though often unrecognized, history constantly brushes against us. It is present in all the places we visit, in houses we walk past, and the roads on which we drive. Stored in libraries and archives the world over, these histories link people to place, but they are not easily accessible. Wireless devices allow us to access an incomprehensible amount of information, if we know what to enter in a search field. How can the history buff easily connect with the history around them? How can a football fan travelling through Portsmouth, OH, quickly discover the local stadium NFL Hall of Fame members once called home? If a naval enthusiast gassed up in Portsmouth, NH, how could they casually learn of William Badger’s 1800’s shipyard? Clio connects you with historic places, people, and events with which you are not familiar. It is free and simple to use.
Rarely, will I recommend a book with revisionist appeals. Claudio Saunt’s work, West of the Revolution, is such a book. As the title indicates, Saunt explores North American events contemporaneous to, but removed from, the American Revolution. Despite an appeal to modern revisionist belief, it is an enjoyable and informative read of 211 pages.
“Light on the Literary Life”
It is a dose of personal choice, and a quirk of history, that ushered a highly successful American novelist of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries into near obscurity. Winston Churchill authored several best-sellers by 1904, but later chose to pursue other interests. Churchill entered politics, took up painting, and eventually left the public eye. His name provided the quirk of history. His withdraw coincided with a different Winston Churchill’s rise to prominence. Our memory of the British politician turned author is so large that our memory of the American author turned politician is now faint.
The following story features Winston Churchill, the American author. It is one story featured in the book, Capital Stories About Famous Americans.