A Skimmington Shaming
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!
Read my profile of Eli Smith on OZY.
This past April, I had the opportunity to attend the Brooklyn Folk Festival in New York City's most hipster borough. The event was co-founded and is produced by Eli Smith, the multi-instrumentalist string band musician of the Down Hill Strugglers. The music he booked was a curated experience of great folk and traditional bands from New York and across the country. His music is deeply rooted in the history of folk and traditional music in the United States, and he brings in the complexity of that history when he books other acts too. And through this type of music, he wants people to create, think, and resist.
Happy Valentine's Day!
I always loved finding old greeting post-cards when I worked at the archive. What better day to share some of my favorites?
Lost Witch Song from the Wizard of Oz
While searching through the Levy Collection at in the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries Special Collection for witch images, I came across "The Witch Behind the Moon," and it was so complex that I thought it deserved it's own post.
The Witching Hour Arrives...
It's October! That means we can start with Halloween-themed posts, right?
The Celebrated Witches Dance crops up in sheet music archives across the country, especially this edition transcribed by Wm. Vincent Wallace, and printed in New York City in the 1850s.
Originally titled "Le Streghe," or The Witches, it was published in 1813 for violin accompanied by piano. (You can hear and see a performance of the original arrangement here.) The flighty staccato notes and quick runs punctuated by longer, more melodic sections definitely evokes what the cover to the right depicts.
This edition was published by William Hall & Son in New York City. Hall seems typical of sheet music publishers during the mid 1850s - he not only published this Americanized European classical music, but sold the instruments (pianos, guitars, melodeons, and woodwinds) to play it.
The Crab Derby in Crisfield
Everyone is in place, waiting. Money and honor are on the line. The gate comes up. Bang! They're off!
In 1947, the town of Crisfield decided to host a hard crab race outside of their post office as part of a summer Fishing Fair, highlighting their seafood bounty. In Maryland, summer is synonymous with eating blue crabs out on a deck by the water, and Crisfield, located on Eastern Shore between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is a town that revolves around watermen and fishing culture.
I came across these great clips from WMAR-TV's coverage of the 6th annual crab race via the University of Baltimore's archives, which got me to look into the history of the event a little more.
Wait, what? Easter? Witches?
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
James Ford Bell Library
Native American History
New York City
South American History
World War II