“Angelic Music: The Story of Benjamin Franklin’s Glass Armonica”
By Corey Mead
288 pp., Simon & Schuster
Reviewed by Márcia Balisciano
Founding Director, Benjamin Franklin House, London
While reading Corey Mead’s charming tale of Benjamin Franklin’s glass armonica, it becomes apparent he is as passionate about music, as he is a careful historian and Franklin admirer.
He begins his story by revealing perhaps the least known of Franklin’s many guises, that of musician. Read More…
In The News
The Washington Post, May 12, 2017 — In anticipation of Mother’s Day — May 14, 2017 — today Washington Post reporter Gregory S. Schneider shared this bit of history about George Washington and his mom, Mary Ball Washington.
Schneider writes: When George Washington was elected president, he did what a good boy should do: rode to Fredericksburg, Va., to tell his mom.
Mary Ball Washington was 80 years old, ancient for a woman of that time, but still formidable. George’s visit, according to some accounts, produced one of the great archetypal mother-son conversations.
George: Guess what? They want me to be president.
Mom: I’m dying.
George, flustered: Well, as soon as I get settled in New York, I’ll come back and …
Mom: This is the last time you’ll ever see me. But go, do your job. That’s more important.
George and his mother had an unusual relationship for the 1700s, more like what you might see in a sitcom from the 1970s. She was indispensable to him but intolerable. She hectored him; he performed Enlightenment-era eye rolls with quill and ink.
[The fake news that haunted George Washington]
Two hundred years ago, when the mythology of George Washington was being etched in marble, Mary Washington enjoyed a flowering of attention as the Grandmother of Our Nation. Then historians recast her as a controlling shrew.
There’s so much material.
Click here to read more.
March 20, 2017 — In conjunction with Sunshine Week and timed for the opening of confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, C-SPAN asked polling company Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) to learn more about the public’s interest in the third branch of government. The results: Fifty-seven percent of those polled weren’t able to name any, or gave an incorrect name.
Click here to review the survey. And click here to study the poll results.
More History Matters
Tips from Teachers
Why is it so important to understand history? “Because history is the common experience that binds us together as a civilization,” explains Tim Bailey, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 2009 National History Teacher of the Year. “If we do not understand where we came from and how we got here, we cannot understand where we are going and what it will take to get there. This cannot be a one-time conclusion that people reach, but a generational legacy.”
How can you bring the lessons home?
- Kids: Fall in love with history. “History is the most engaging subject because it is our story,” insists Bailey, who believes that teachers can engage students by using the deeds and words of the people who wrote that story. How? “Use primary sources, realistic simulations, visual and tactile artifacts, field trips. Get students closer to the action rather than looking at it from a great distance.” Read More…