In the news this week, President Obama helped break ground for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the U.S. marked the 50th anniversary of American space flight, and three finalists have been announced for the George Washington Book Prize. We also link to articles about a “hacker historian,” the upcoming 1940s Census web site, a look back at silent films, and more.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture groundbreaking
Yesterday, President Obama took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture with Laura Bush and a number of other representatives. Read a full transcript of President Obama’s remarks, view a photo gallery the event, watch video of the ceremony, or checkout a slideshow of the planned design for the museum.
- Washington College Announces Finalists for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize
Three books, John Fea’s Was America Founded As A Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction (Westminster John Knox Press), Benjamin H. Irvin’s Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors, (Oxford University Press), and Maya Jasanoff’s Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (Knopf) are in the running for this year’s George Washington Book Prize, which recognizes "a single recent work on Washington or his times that stands above the others” with a $50,000 award. Last year, AHA Member Pauline Maier won the George Washington Book Prize for 2011.
- New Journal of Belgian History*
Two Belgian scholarly journals, Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis and Revue Belge d’Histoire Contemporaine have merged to create the new Journal of Belgian History. Beginning in March, visit the new journal’s website (not yet available), to learn more and submit articles for the first English issue.
50th Anniversary of American Space Flight
Fifty years ago this week, on February 20, 1962, John Glenn orbited the earth, the first American to do so, in the Friendship 7 spacecraft. Both C-SPAN’s American History TV and the National Archives have posted videos of the historic event:
- John Glenn’s 1962 Orbital Space Flight – Universal Newsreel
C-SPAN’s American History TV has posted the 1962 Universal Newsreel, a black and white version of the event.
- NASA – Friendship 7
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first American to orbit Earth the National Archives will be displaying a NASA film about the event in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. They’ve also posted a five minute portion of the film to YouTube, which we’ve linked to above.
- Q&A: Hacker Historian George Dyson Sits Down With Wired’s Kevin Kelly
In this Wired magazine interview, historian George Dyson discusses the history of computers, the MANIAC project of the 1950s, Alan Turing, and more.
- 1940 Census Website
The National Archives and Archives.com have teamed up to create a new free 1940s Census data website that will go live on April 2, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. Learn more in this National Archives press release.
- The Artists
Inspired by the Oscar nominated silent film The Artist, The New Yorker looks back at the era of silent films in this article and slideshow.
- Marge Simpson
Historian Jessamyn Neuhaus, associate professor of history at SUNY Plattsburgh, offers a serious look at Marge Simpson, one of our favorite cartoon characters.
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Matthew Keough
*Update: In the post above we state, “Two Belgian scholarly journals, Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis and Revue Belge d’Histoire Contemporaine have merged to create the new Journal of Belgian History.” Thanks to David J. Hensley, who has pointed out this statement is not accurate. He explains: “The Journal of Belgian History is actually the English name of the Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis/Revue Belge d’Histoire Contemporaine, which are just the Dutch and French versions of the same title. The JBH, which will have one English issue and three Dutch/French issues per year, was formed from a merger of the BTNG/RBHC and another journal, the Bijdragen tot de Eigentijdse Geschiedenis/Cahiers d’Histoire du Temps Présent (again, one journal but with a bilingual name).”