Quote: Back when it was spelled publick

“People were making stuff up and foisting it on the public back when it was spelled publick. Ye olde fake news, you might say.” – Gregory S. Schneider

The fake news that haunted George Washington.” Washington Post. 10 April 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/04/10/the-fake-news-that-haunted-george-washington/?utm_term=.78d63ebc65b1 Accessed 2 May 2017.

Whenever people talk about all fake news today and how it’s a brand new thing, I know they haven’t read much history. False stories printed as fact date back to the Colonial era of this country. In the 18th and 19th century most large cities would have two newspapers one for each party and you would barely recognize the same news as it was carried in the two papers.

For all the fuss kicked up about the “new” term fake news (new as in approximately 1890), people have always used made up stories, or at least their own political slant on them, to try to sway opinion. I highly recommend reading both the article the quote is from and this one about people’s ideas about science and where they get them.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Being George

Historic Re-enacting is the process of putting yourself as much as possible into a different period of time and recreating the past. This is a widespread hobby, although it’s a bit on the wane as many history related things are right now. It’s also a diverse hobby and ranges from soldiers from French-Indian War to World War II to famous people to farm families to the newest trend 1930s sites. Every once in awhile a story about it will make the mainstream and I want to share one of those examples, find Being George a documentary film (about 37 minutes) at the website below.

http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2013/12/being_george.html

Although I wasn’t aware of the political fuss around this particular contest, in fact contests to who gets to be somebody aren’t something I’ve heard of before in re-enacting, I liked several points about it.

MOMCC Party 2013
MOMCC Party 2013

1. These are clearly sane people with an interest. You may or may not like each of the four individuals focused on, but they are all clearly sane. A lot of times the reporters in these kind of stories look for same kind of people they like to describe how the tornado sounded (see a very funny riff on a Jeff Foxworthy CD).

2. They cover the different ways people get into re-enacting.

3. They talk about the difficulty and the costs involved in getting accurate clothes and equipment.

4. Although there usually aren’t contests like this, having multiple people wanting to be the “Important” person (for example, Lee or Grant) can be an issue.

5. It shows growing pains of an organization and the importance of setting things up right.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Washington Quotes

“The problem with internet quotes is that you cant always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln

Pie Bird Collection
Pie Bird Collection

The Internet is awash in fake quotes. Sometimes from people who just don’t bother to look up the right quote and author. Sometimes from people who deliberately want to fool you. Sometimes it’s just that something that sounds smart people assume was said by quote magnets like Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain. However, if something is worth passing on, it’s worth giving credit where credit is due.

Now some of the organizations devoted to preserving the memory of famous people are trying to fight back. I had posted previously about attempts to be clear about what Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain didn’t say:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/what-lincoln-didnt-say

In honor of Washington’s Birthday (also known as President’s or Presidents Day), here is the set of what George Washington didn’t say.
http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/spurious-quotations

And since we’re honoring Washington, check out how to eat like George:
http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2014/02/how_to_eat_like_george_washing.php

And a quote that I originally published as part of the Kirkwood Libraries blog:

Even more basic things can be taken the wrong way. This can get you into trouble. Under the heading A “Cat’s” Tale in the Prologue (National Archives magazine) article linked to below, it explains how many serious looking websites, publications and even USA Today quote an interview that stated it was former President Richard Nixon who renamed Washington’s Birthday, Presidents Day. The original source? A humor column published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Michael Storey which is openly attributed  (complete with author photo) to the author’s cat.

Read more about it here:
http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/winter/gw-birthday-2.html

Since I couldn’t find my cherry pie photo today, here is a pie bird photo in honor of cherry pie.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Unique One-Room Schools

All too often one-room school museums turn into cookie cutter repetitions. I found an article that talked about taking one on and customizing it to a specific place and time period. I thought this quote provides an interesting example.

“Portraits of U.S. Presidents Washington and Lincoln hung on the Swimmer Schoolhouse walls when I began coordinating the village. In 1890, however, the Cherokee Nation was in conflict with the United States. It is likely that schools in the Cherokee Nation did not hang portraits of U.S. presidents on the walls. Quite possibly possible poor rural schools had no portraits at all.”

Coody-Cooper, Karen and Scottie Ennis. “What Is Authenticity? What if it Doesn’t Work?

Interpreting American Indian Village.” ALHFAM Bulletin Summer 2010: 16-20.

I think it’s always a good idea to try and tie any piece of history to a particular time and place. It makes it more interest and a more unique experience for your reader, visitor, or audience. Besides what’s true in one location may well not be in another. I’d love to hear about any other examples that you’ve seen where I museum made an effort to be true to a particular time and place.