History is Present

Off The Beaten Path | The Great Obscuration of October 1865

By Chris Graham
Mellon Curator

Some editors called it the “great obscuration,” but despite the lighthearted superstition, Americans were extremely well informed about the total eclipse of October 19, 1865.

Ancient and early modern astronomers had long ago developed the principles used to predict solar and lunar eclipses and by the 1800s, American scientists could describe in great detail the timing and path of “obscurations.”

White House Wednesday: Behind the Stanchions | The Davis Bust

By Brianna Kirk
Lead Historical Interpreter

Everyone likes getting new things. With the holidays just past, many are enjoying new gifts as they start the new year.

Historians like getting new things, too. One of the rewards of working in a historic home is the plethora of artifacts that are donated. Each comes with its own interesting, and often fascinating, story.

The 2016 Election, Populists, & Greenbacks

By Chris Graham
Greenback America Guest Curator

On the BackStory podcast, the History Guys offered a “short take” on the election results. In searching through historical antecedents for the movement that propelled Donald Trump, Ed Ayers and Brian Balogh considered George Wallace and Huey Long, but I think they found the best analogy in the Populist movement of the 1880s and 1890s. The Populists felt, according to Ayers, that

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