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Spot of Parchment June 2019

On the morning of August 19, 1814, President James Madison received word that British forces had landed at the mouth of Patuxent River and were marching toward the White House. A few days later, he received a secret dispatch relaying the news that the British were approaching Washington. The next morning, he mounted his horse, [...]

Spot of Parchment April 2019

Those of you who know me, know that I'm obsessed with animals, especially dogs. One of my favorite recent discoveries has been learning about First Lady Grace Coolidge. She absolutely loved animals of any kind, especially her dogs. Her official portrait, painted by Howard Chandler Christy in 1924, is my favorite of the first lady [...]

When Is It OK to Just Know? (Omohundro Conference Part II)

I attended a plenary on creative writing at the Omohundro Annual Conference (if you missed part I of my recap, read it here). In theory, the panel was about history writing in other contexts: narrative, historical fiction, poetry. It was so fantastic and everyone simply buzzed about the conversation for the next few days. But [...]

Bringing Wonder Back into My Historical Practice (Omohundro Conference Part I)

Over the weekend, I attended the Omohundro Institute Annual Conference. It was a fantastic conference and I came away inspired and ready to tackle my work. I also had a few reflections I'd like to share. On Saturday night, the OI threw a 75th anniversary party on Jamestown Island. Of course, Jamestown can be a [...]