FIRST PUTNAM BIO IN A CENTURY
Robert Ernest Hubbard was our December speaker. He is the author of a 2017 book, Major General Israel Putnam: Hero of the American Revolution. Hubbard teaches at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut. He has written a number of books, including one on last survivors. Who was the last survivor of the Titanic, for instance? We were tempted to ask Mr. Hubbard to speak on that subject too.
Mr. Hubbard gave us a rare treat in his slide show – color slides! We usually get a lot of maps and line drawings in the slide shows of authors. But Mr. Hubbard showed pictures he himself had taken of spots in Connecticut that were connecticutted with Putnam. Your editor first heard of General Putnam in Fifth Grade. There was a story in our reading book about Putnam’s famous encounter, as a young man, with a wolf that had killed seventy of his sheep. Putnam crawled into a 40-foot cave, shot the wolf, and dragged him out. This made him a celebrity in Pomfret, Connecticut. Mr. Hubbard showed us a photo he had taken of that very cave. There was also a story, from the war, of General Putnam, all 250 pounds of him, riding down a steep slope to escape enveloping Redcoats. Mr. Hubbard has been there, too, with his camera.
Robert Hubbard has a good, loud voice, and an entertaining manner to match his entertaining subject. The 2017 appearance of his book fills a long-unfilled gap. The last full-length biography of Old Put was published in 1903!
Chairman Dave Jacobs took on a new role at the December meeting – that of auctioneer. Three books were auctioned off, including The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, by Peter S. Onuf, and Benedict Arnold’s Army, by our own Arthur Lefkowitz.
The Board of Governors held its semi-annual meeting before the dinner.
ANNUAL BOOK AWARD NOW PRESTIGIOUS!
Chairman Dave Jacobs reports that he has been contacted by publishing companies and people in the history field asking who has been nominated for our annual book award. This has not happened before, and it shows our Round Table attracting attention and respect.
NEW RUSSELL SHORTO BOOK
In November, Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World, published Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom. Big – 640 pages. Praised by Gordon S. Wood, who has spoken at our Round Table. Offers stories of individuals who fought for their personal liberty, including a slave who managed to free himself and his family, and a rebellious woman who escaped from an abusive husband. Shorto’s theme is individual liberty, and how the Revolution continues today.
Andrea Meyer reports that if you go to www.historynet.com you will find photo galleries and over 5,000 articles on US and world history. It is operated by the Weider History Group, the world’s largest publisher of history magazines, which was founded in 2006.
N-YHS MAP EXHIBIT STILL OPEN
Lynne Saginaw reported the November opening of the New-York Historical Society exhibition “Mapping America’s Road From Revolution to Independence.” You still have time to see it! The exhibition will close March 18.
ALPHABET SOUP, STRAINED
The BROADSIDE has started receiving regular emails from one Peter Feinman, who represents IHARE: the Institute of History, Archeology and Education (what happened to the R?), of Purchase, NY. In his December 6 missive, Feinman argues policy with NYSHA, which is HQ’d in Cooperstown and is now known as the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers Museum. That is about the only name he spells out. After that, it’s all initials. The BROADSIDE had to look up some of them to find out what all these organizations were. NYSHA is the New York State Historical Association. At the bottom of the email is a big button that reads: “Donate To IHARE.”
December 8 email: A board member of APHNYS made a presentation at a conference of NCPH. Those two will hold a convention in 2018 jointly with C & TC and TAWC, U. of UT and ACASD. HAL is putting on a traveling exhibit on the past, present and future of incarceration in America. The message also mentions a conference in Nashville on GLAM. QCC of CUNY is also mentioned, along with SUCC. And the big button at the bottom again: “Donate to IHARE.”
December 12: More on Feinman’s wrangle with NYSHA. Feinman plans to digitize the 35 Hamilton-Burr letters leading up to the duel. These are the subject of the “Your Obedient Servant” number in the Hamilton musical.
In subsequent bulletins, Feinman mentions AASLM, REDC, MANY, WNYAHA (pronounced “Whinny Aha,” this was Hiawatha’s horse), NYSCSS, NYAH, RACM, NYSCA, and NYSHC. And the New York State Historian. Don’t forget to send in your REDC-CFA, for your funding, and clear your calendar for MAD! And the BROADSIDE never did find the expansion of NYSOPRHP.
After hundreds of words about these alphabet soup organizations, Feinman complains that “there is no vehicle through which to advocate for New York State history.”
No vehicle?! Looks like a traffic jam to the BROADSIDE!
And at the bottom, the inevitable button: “Donate to IHARE.”
THIS OLD HOUSE
The Morris-Jumel Mansion, in Washington Heights, reports a burst pipe and flooding in the freshly-restored Octagon Room. The Mansion will be closed for a few days as the staff cleans up. Eliza Jumel’s ghost is disappointed to be deprived of tourists to frighten. This would never have happened when Gen. Washington was in command at the Mansion… mainly because there were then no pipes, no indoor plumbing, and no running water in the house.
FIFTH ARRT CONGRESS IN APRIL
Yorktown, Virginia will host the Fifth Congress of American Revolution Round Tables in April. Just one weekend: Friday, April 6 to Sunday, April 8.
There are at least seventeen American Revolution Round Tables! Who knew? Google the term and you will see Round Tables for NYC, the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, Philadelphia (which meets at Ft. Washington, PA), DC (which meets at the Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant (sounds inviting!)), Northern Delaware (a program of the Delaware Society for the Preservation of Antiquities), and North Jersey. I did not see a listing for Fredericksburg, VA, where our own Jim Davis founded a Round Table some years ago. But Jim does show up in the links list of the Richmond group, along with Rhode Island, Low Country South Carolina, and Washington Crossing, PA.
The Journal of the American Revolution lists more: Minuteman National Historic Park, Concord, MA, Bergen County, NJ (meeting in Westwood, while the North Jersey Chapter meets in Morristown), Carlisle, PA (hometown of Margaret Corbin, America’s first female soldier), Richmond, VA, Williamsburg/Yorktown, The Back Country (meeting in Spartanburg, SC), and Lehigh Valley, meeting in Easton, PA.
The American Revolution Round Tables are all different. Some have no food. Jim Davis offers only cookies and coffee at Fredericksburg. Some meet in different cities from meeting to meeting because everyone drives. The Philadelphia Round Table meets on Mondays, because that is the slow night at their restaurant. Each attendee orders separately.
BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS
Jim English reviewed a new GW book at the December Round Table. George Washington, The Wonder of the Age, by John Rhodehamel, was the book. Jim emphasized the fact that the book is only 300 pages long – less than one third the length of Ron Chernow’s blockbuster. It is no textbook, but a popular biography by a former archivist at Mount Vernon. Jim finds the subtitle no more than the subject’s due.
Your Editor’s friend Becky Akers, who attended the Round Table a few times and read a book review for us some ten years ago, has written two novels set in the Revwar. Halestorm, 2012, about Capt. Nathan Hale, and Abducting Arnold, 2013.
There was a man named George Dudley Seymour who devoted his life to collecting every scrap of information relating to Hale and putting them all into one book of 700 pages. Since Hale was only twenty-one when he was hanged, he did not have a long life and did not leave much of a paper trail documenting it. So if you find Seymour’s book (rare, but Becky might lend you hers), you will know as much about Hale as Becky or Seymour or probably anyone else in the future will ever know about America’s first spy.
Fred Cookinham will review Boston’s Massacre, by Eric Hinderaker, in February, and Jean Hayter will tell us about a recent book on Ben Franklin’s son, the Loyalist Governor of New Jersey.
BOSTON CRYPT OPENED
“Hang a lantern in the belfry tower of the Old North Church as a signal light….” We all grew up with Longfellow’s poem about Paul Revere and his confederate who flashed two lanterns because the British were coming by sea that fateful night. The Old North Church is getting spruced up for the increasing tide of tourists, so they opened the 200 year old crypt of the church to see what it held. There, unseen by any but the ghosts and rats, were thirty-seven tombs. Those tombs dated from as early as 1732 to as late as 1860. Some coffins in the tombs were stacked, some were shelved. Eleven hundred mortal remains were found. Some coffins were collapsed. Some had gotten open somehow. It was found that the church officials sometimes used wood shavings as packing material around the bodies. (This was before Styrofoam.) The church is spending nine hundred thousand dollars for the restoration.
Since BROADSIDE is sent out electronically two weeks before each dinner, we will set a deadline for submissions at three weeks before each dinner. The next Round Table will be Tuesday, April 3, so Tuesday, March 13 will be the deadline for submissions, and Tuesday, March 20 will be the day you should look for the April BROADSIDE in your email.
THE SPEAKER FOR FEBRUARY
Dr. Peter Lubrecht will speak on his 2016 book New Jersey Hessians: Truth and Lore in the American Revolution. Published by History Press. Dr. Lubrecht teaches English and theater at Berkeley College in New Jersey. He is an avid researcher with an interest in historical theater and theater history. He gives historical dramatic presentations, including one on the Booth theatrical family. He has written a book on Martin Luther, one on a German soldier and diarist of World War I, and one on a New Jersey troop in the Civil War that was patterned on Europe’s Hussar mounted troops.
He will tell us about the Headless Hessian of Morrisville Swamp and the mysterious Ramapo Mountain people who descend from Hessian deserters. Wir haben ein gute Vorlesung, ja?
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIRMAN
We are still accepting nominations for our annual book award. Which do you think was the best book published in 2017 on any subject relating to the era of the American Revolution? Note: After July 4, 1776, Americans were no longer subjects, but you may nominate books about them anyway. Nominations can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Round Tablers will foregather as usual on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Coffee House Club, on the sixth floor of the General Society Library, at 20 West 44th Street. Dinner will be served promptly at 7:00. This will be the first dinner of 2018 and will continue our 59th year. As usual, we would like everyone’s reservation in advance. Reservations made 30 hours in advance are very much appreciated, and pre-payments will save time upon arrival. Reservations can be made via Treasurer Jon Carriel’s e-mail address, email@example.com, or by phone at 212-874-5121. If you have any concerns about the menu, Jon will gladly connect you to Irene, the very accommodating Coffee House Chef. Pre-payments can be mailed to Jon at 57 West 70th Street, # 3A, New York, NY 10023, if you are not still protesting the Stamp Act.
Your most obdt svt,
David W. Jacobs