In 2017, while at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Pete Ross and I made an amazing discovery. A diorama made in Suriname by a free man of Color named Gerrit Schouten looked stunningly like a watercolor from South Carolina painted by a white man named John Rose. When I went into the archives and learned more about the dance in the diorama, the Banya Prei, and then compared that against early accounts of the banjo, I was floored. What we saw in Suriname cropped up all over the Americas.
At the 2018 Banjo Gathering, Pete and I presented about the Banya discovery.
Is your neighbor being annoying? Too loud? Coveting another neighbor's wife? What do you do about it?
...also known as Swedish gingerbread cookies!
As I was rolling out dough for pepparkakor last weekend, I realized I didn't know anything about the distinctly thin and crispy cookies I've been cutting out and eating every year. So, I decided to look into what I could find about the history of Swedish gingerbread and share my favorite recipe, which comes from an almost-antique 1986 Allt Om Mat.
Enjoy and God Jul!
Just in time for election day, OZY published my piece on how early feminists in the U.S. got inspiration from women participating in the French Revolution. This story was inspired by an essay in Riot and Revelry in Early America, a book that explores the celebrations, parades, and traditions that helped create American culture, even if they have been forgotten.
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.
Here, pieces of material culture are examined in the light. The stacks are open. Read the stories behind objects and ephemera found in private collections, archives, and museums.
African American History
Banjo Collector's Gathering
"Freak Show" History
Native American History
New York City
South American History
Tri Racial Isolate
World War II