By Emily A. Margolis
On the morning of February 20, 1962, Mrs. Curtis Hamilton served her family a “good, hot breakfast,” just as she did every day. But on this day her family dined al fresco, sipping coffee from thermoses on the dunes of Cocoa Beach, Florida, as they awaited the start of America’s first crewed orbital spaceflight. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hicks, drove in with their granddaughter Debra from Waco, Texas, to join the catered launch party. Meanwhile many more onlookers gazed skyward from the Beach Causeway, which now resembled a parking lot rather than a roadway.
Every week, AHA Today showcases a new grant, fellowship, or scholarship of interest to historians which has been posted to our free Calendar. This week we are featuring fellowships from the Linda Hall Library.
By Susan M. Reverby
Contentious debates over the removal of Confederate general statues that dot our landscape have led the AHA to make an eloquent statement about the meaning of memorialization and history in context. Statues of what in the end are vanquished leaders of a traitorous army, put up during the height of American racism, are a concern, but what about the so-called “Father of American Gynecology” who perfected his techniques on the bodies of enslaved women? The prestigious science magazine Nature waded into this question recently and all hell broke loose.
Julia E. Rodriguez is an associate professor at the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Durham, New Hampshire, and has been a member since 1997.
By Greg Eghigian
In the summer of 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold described seeing nine bright objects flying in close formation at remarkable speed near Mount Rainier in Washington. Soon after, when pressed by curious journalists, he described the strange aircraft as “flat like a pie pan and somewhat bat-shaped,” noting they “flew like a saucer would if you skipped it across water.” Though he never uttered the phrase “flying saucer,” newspapers throughout the world rapidly adopted the term. Just weeks after Arnold’s sighting, a Gallup poll revealed that nine out of ten Americans were already familiar with the moniker.
By Courtney Howell, Victoria Irvine, Luis Villavicencio, Ian Criman
Over the course of the summer, our team of eight undergraduate researchers collected data and engaged in historical research on tuberculosis, or consumption as it was known historically, in the United States. In the first post on our research, “Who Died of Consumption?” we discussed our research process and delved into the connections between race, newspaper reporting, and experiences with the disease as exemplified by tuberculosis victim and famous African American poet Paul Dunbar.
Yovanna Pineda is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida. She lives in Orlando, Florida, and has been a member since 1999.
The Zika virus has recently announced its unwelcome arrival in the continental United States. In addition to over 2,500 individuals who have contracted the disease abroad, some 50 locally generated cases have been confirmed in Florida. Many more cases are anticipated. With the public health resources needed to combat the disease running dry, the administration has requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding. As usual, however, Congress is gridlocked, and it’s anybody’s guess whether a funding bill will pass before members leave Washington to campaign for reelection.