A Blog for History Buffs

If you like history (and you must since you are reading this blog), The History Blog is a great place to get your daily history fix.

“Livius Drusus,” the editor of the blog, faithfully posts a history news item every day of the year, a schedule very few bloggers can boast of, myself included. Every day it is something different: the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon coin hoard, or the excavation of a centurion’s villa under a Metro station, or the restoration of a Renaissance painting. Here are two good recent ones:


Signed portrait of Harriet Tubman, c. 1868

Did you know that there is a photograph of Harriet Tubman as a young woman? It was discovered in an album last year, and the Library of Congress quickly digitized the entire album so that everyone could take a look. I had never seen a photo of her that wasn’t taken in old age. The History Blog reported on it when it was first discovered and the album went up for auction, and again this month went the digitization became available.

Harriet Tubman was in her mid-forties when this portrait was taken, so she is not really a young woman, but it is so much earlier than the other portraits we have seen, that it seems young.

Are you the kind of person who likes to quilt? (I quilt occasionally.) Would you spend more than 20 years on one quilt? (I don’t have that kind of stamina.) Adeline Harris spent eleven years collecting signatures from famous people of her day, and even longer sewing the blocks that incorporate the signatures. Her quilt is a who’s who of 19th century America, with the autographs of presidents, generals, authors, clergymen, scientists, actors, and many more — 360 signatures in all.


Detail from quilt, with the autograph of Abraham Lincoln in center

She meticulously sewed the signature scraps to two other pieces of silk, to make what is called a “tumbling block” pattern. The assembled blocks give the optical illusion of stacked cubes. It is a tour de force of quilting. The quilt was kept in pristine condition by her family for 140 years, and now belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

These are just two entries at The History Blog that fascinated me, but really, the blog is a treat every day. Check it out!


About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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