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The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson
The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Volume 110, Part 2
In commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the American Philosophical Society’s founding in 1743 and the birth of its long-time president, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the APS Library, along with the National Constitution Center, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania held a symposium in June 2018 that explored the history of science, knowledge production, and learning during the Age of Jefferson. The volume contains papers from many of the presenters at the symposium. The chapters touch on an enormous range of topics and fields, much like Jefferson's own intellectual life. Also much like Jefferson, they are international in scope. Subjects range from inoculation to animal magnetism to Jewish migrants in the eighteenth century. Both books are a testament to the mission Jefferson served throughout his life and that both institutions still aim to serve today: “to promote useful knowledge.” more info

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What Ever Happened to the U.S. Congress's Portraits
What Ever Happened to the U.S. Congress's Portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette? Retracing the Events that Led to the Conflagration of the Capitol and the Loss of the Pictures on 24-25 August 1814: Tran. of the American Philosophical Society V
One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American political culture is what became of the United States Congress’s state portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the British invasion of the Capitol, Washington, D.C., on the night of 24–25 August 1814. Conceived by Benjamin Franklin during a diplomatic mission, requested by the American delegates at the height of the War of Independence, and granted by the French king after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, these official full-length images of the French monarchs arrayed in ceremonial magnificence were recently identified as atelier copies after Antoine-François Callet’s Louis XVI and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s Marie-Antoinette (both 1783) and traced through Congress’s successive assembly rooms at New York City (1785), Philadelphia (1790), and Washington (1800). The fate of the royal portraits has been difficult to determine due to the incomplete documentary record and conflicting eyewitness accounts. Larkin initially takes a telescopic approach to the problem, moving from British and French production of state portraits to assert political claims in North America and despoliation of Western European countries of their art treasures, to show British and American interests at stake in the practice of looting and incendiary warfare waged across the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay prior to the destruction of the public buildings in Washington, D.C. He then pursues a microscopic approach, analyzing period documents, letters, images, and plans to test the viability of two theories—that the royal portraits were burned by British troops during their occupation of the capital or looted by American scavengers during the chaotic aftermath. While physical evidence of the portrait artifacts remains elusive, this study of the images as objects of desire, danger, and loss breaks new ground for scholars desirous of constituting an art and material history for the War of 1812.
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T. Lawrence Larkin is Professor of Seventeenth- to Nineteenth-Century European Art at Montana State University, Bozeman. He has published on aspects of early modern French and American art and culture, with a two-fold interest in the portrait patronage and mythical permutations of Queen Marie-Antoinette and the trans-Atlantic diplomatic gifts and political culture of French, British, and American governments during the Revolutionary and Imperial Eras. His books include a monograph, In Search of Marie-Antoinette: Stefan Zweig, Irving Thalberg, and Norma Shearer (Palgrave-Macmillan), and an edited volume, Politics & Portraits in the United States & France during the Age of Revolution (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press), both published in 2019.
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The Power of Maps and the Politics of Border
The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders: Papers from the conference held at the American Philosophical Society, October 2019: Transactions, APS (Vol. 110, Part 4)
Some papers include: Unpacking the Meaning of Maps, Power, and Boundaries; The Legacy of Major Sebastian Bauman’s Map of the Siege of Yorktown; Mapping Old and New Empires in the Early U.S.; Cherokee Boundaries Above, Below, and Beyond; Cherokee Territoriality, Anglo-American Surveying, and the Creation of Borders in the Early 19th-Century West; Chickasaw and Cherokee Resistance to American Colonization, 1785-1816; Hydrography, Natural History, and the Sea in the 19th Century; William Darby’s “A Map of the State of Louisiana” and the Extension of American Sovereignty over the “Neutral Ground” in the Louisiana-Texas Borderland, 1806-1819; Initiating the World’s Longest Unfortified Boundary; Mapping Inequality, Resistance, and Solutions in Early National Philadelphia. Illus. more info

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Benjamin Franklin, Swimmer
Benjamin Franklin, Swimmer: An Illustrated History (Transactions Vol 110, Part 1

The story of Benjamin Franklin’s lifelong delight in swimming and his influence in making swimming popular in the western world has never been told. This book uses Franklin’s love of swimming to examine the founder’s life, times, and strong, inventive personality through a lens that historians have previously overlooked. Franklin’s personality emerges through the lens of swimming. We see him clearly as a leader, an inventor, and a strong, proud man. As he was in many fields, he was self-taught. He interacted with family, friends, and acquaintances through swimming. Swimming also offered him an entrée into British society.

Franklin discusses swimming in his Letters and in his Autobiography. Friends and family also comment on his swimming. Primary sources for this book include Franklin’s writing, that of his contemporaries, and other artistic and archaeological sources. When Franklin’s grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache was in his care in France he swam in the Seine. Bache’s Journal constitutes another important primary source for this book. The escapades of this engaging literate teenager in France with his grandfather never before have been published.

In 1968 the International Swimming Hall of Fame honored Franklin with membership. The citation mentions his various inventions that made swimming more efficient and his own feats as a swimmer, but most of all his success in promoting swimming as an essential part of any education. Benjamin Franklin’s advice about water safety and his conviction that everyone should learn to swim because it promotes health, hygiene, and safety is still relevant. Swimming has always been “useful knowledge.”

Sarah B. Pomeroy is Distinguished Professor of Classics and History, Emerita, at Hunter College and the Graduate School, CUNY. She is also Lady Joan Reid Author in Residence at Benjamin Franklin House, London, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the fields of women’s history and classical studies, she uses not only textual sources but also artistic and archaeological evidence in order to reconstruct the past. Her publications include Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity (1975, 1995); Women in Hellenistic Egypt from Alexander to Cleopatra (1984, 1990); Spartan Women (2002); The Murder of Regilla. a Case of Domestic Violence in Antiquity (2007); and Pythagorean Women: Their Lives and Their Writings (2013). Her most recent book is Maria Sibylla Merian, Artist, Scientist, Adventurer (2017). Her books have been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, and Chinese. Professor Pomeroy received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and she is an Honorary Fellow of St. Hilda’s College, the University of Oxford. Like Ben Franklin, she likes to play the harpsichord and to swim.

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The Art of Revolutions
The Art of Revolutions: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Vol. 109 Part 5
The American Philosophical Society exhibition, Curious Revolutionaries: The Peals of Philadelphia (April-December 2017), Curated by Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows  Drs. Diana Marsh and Amy Ellison, offered visitors a look at the lives, accomplishments, and legacies of Charles Willson Peale and his talented family. Expanding on the exhibition, "The Art of Revolutions" conference, cosponsored by the American Philosophical Society , the Museum of the American Revolution, and the Phildelphia Museum of Art, explored the role of imagery in infulencing and giving meaning to the political wrevolutions that defined the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The conference was held October 026-28, 2017, at the American Philosophical Society. Included here is a selection of the talks presented at the conference, revised and updated. The volume also contains an introduction by Cathy Kelly and compelling preface by Patrick Spero, Librarian and Director of the APS Library. more info

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Lunar Calendars of the Pre-Columbian Maya
Lunar Calendars of the Pre-Columbian Maya: Transactions, APS (Volume 109, Part 1)
Pre-Columbian Maya interest in the waxing and waning of the Moon is well documented. This rare example of interdisciplinary scholarship brings together a deeply penetrating knowledge of positional astronomy and Maya hieroglyphic writing, two highly disparate areas of study, and synthesizes them into a thorough interpretation of the relationship between astronomical concepts in the Maya codices and monumental inscriptions. Prompted by the recent discovery of the Xulum 10K-2 lunar table, this volume is a logical follow-up to work published in 2011 by the Brickers, “Astronomy in the Maya Codices.” It is a comprehensive study of the Maya lunar calendar. Illus. more info

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Season of Conspiracy
http://www.dianepublishing.net/John_Milton_s_Roman_Sojourns_p/978-1-60618-094-5.htm
This volume considers the March 1560 conspiracy of Amboise and subsequent plots devised later that year to remove the young King Francis II from the sway of his chief advisors of the house of Guise and improve the legal situation of France’s Protestant movement. New and rediscovered evidence reveals the conspiracies to have been more closely linked to the network of Reformed churches within France and to John Calvin in Geneva than previously understood. The results compel a reconsideration not only of events that are often said to have constituted the first act of the French Wars of Relition, but also of Calvin’s political engagement and sagacity. more info

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Biblioteca Angelica ms. 1551
Biblioteca Angelica ms. 1551: The Origins of Ethnohistorical Illustration of Asia and the Americas Around 1600 in Rome: Transactions, APS (Volume 109, Part 3)
This volume consists of three sets of watercolor drawings, each depicting non-Europea peoples or places in Asia and the Americas. The volume belonged to the famous collector and antiquarian Camillo Massino (1620-1677), and was part of a large donation to the library by his descendants in the 19th century. This is the first in-depth investigation of the three series in terms of materials or manufacture, possible relations to one another or other contemporaneous illustrations, and role in advancing understanding of the depicted peoples. Clues within the drawings, their style and content suggest not only new interpretations, but specific links between and among them, and likely origins, placing them squarely into the most intense period in the early modern era of European interest in these cultures. Illus. more info

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Spreading the Word
Spreading the Word: Scottish Publishers and English Literature 1750-1900: Transactions, APS (Vol. 109, Part 2)
A disproportionate number of the great publishing houses of the English-speaking world - -Blackie, Blackwood, Collins, Constable, Macmillan, Millar, Murray, Nelson, Smith and Elder, Strahan -- were founded after the Treaty of Union in 1707, by men, often of humble origin, from “north of the border” (Scotland). Many of the now classic English writers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were personally encouraged by the men running these companies, nearly all of whom were also committed, for cultural as well as commercial reasons, to making literature in English accessible to all. This essay offers a comprehensive, yet short overview of this remarkable Scottish contribution to English literary history. Illus. more info

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John Beale Bordley’s “Necessaries
John Beale Bordley’s “Necessaries”: An American Enlightenment Pamphlet in its Historical Contexts
John Beale Bordley (1727-1804) first had “Necessaries” printed in 1776 as a 17-page pamphlet. In 1799, he revised his work and reprinted it as a chapter in “Essays and Notes on Husbandry and Rural Affairs.” “Necessaries” published a 3rd time in 1801, when “Essays and Notes” saw a corrected and expanded edition. With its history spanning Colonial, Revolutionary, and early national America, Bordley’s work provides an advantageous window from which to view some of early America’s central debates as they played out on the ground. Uncovering its historical contexts enriches our understanding of it as well as of its author and his enlightened, revolutionary, and increasingly Republican times. Illus. more info

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