A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History

A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History

Tim Grove

Language: English

Pages: 174

ISBN: 0803249721

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For more than twenty years, Tim Grove has worked at the most popular history museums in the United States, helping millions of people get acquainted with the past. This book translates that experience into an insider’s tour of some of the most interesting moments in American history. Grove’s stories are populated with well-known historical figures such as John Brown, Charles Lindbergh, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea—as well as the not-so-famous. Have you heard of Mary Pickersgill, seamstress of the Star-Spangled Banner flag? Grove also has something to say about a few of our cherished myths, for instance, the lore surrounding Betsy Ross and Eli Whitney.

Grove takes readers to historic sites such as Harpers Ferry, Fort McHenry, the Ulm Pishkun buffalo jump, and the Lemhi Pass on the Lewis and Clark Trail and traverses time and space from eighteenth-century Williamsburg to the twenty-first-century Kennedy Space Center. En route from Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic to Cape Disappointment on the Pacific, we learn about planting a cotton patch on the National Mall, riding a high wheel bicycle, flying the transcontinental airmail route, and harnessing a mule. Is history relevant? This book answers with a resounding yes and, in the most entertaining fashion, shows us why.

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pipe from the late 1700s or early 1800s from the collection of the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnography at Harvard University. Research revealed there was a high probability it was one of several given to Lewis during the expedition as a gift. Ronda wrote that “the pipe ritual aimed at clearing the air, quieting the mind, and making space for peace. Smoking sacred pipes united the social and the diplomatic, the personal and the official.” Lewis and Clark experienced pipes as social and

the staging area on a regular basis. Friends always asked me if I had a favorite artifact, but this was an impossible question to answer. Carolyn identified a series of “not-to-miss” artifacts we called “the treasures” that were mounted in special stand-alone cases prominently located in a central path through the exhibition. These objects would lure visitors from section to section and included Lewis’s Masonic apron, Jefferson’s theodolite (a surveying tool), the elk skin journal, and a

funneled to the cliff), and the campsites and processing areas near the base of the cliff. At some sites small rock cairns still mark the edges of the drive lanes, sometimes many miles from the cliff. These helped steer the buffalo to the cliff. Standing at the top of Ulm Pishkun, I tried to imagine the huge clump of fur and hooves of several hundred buffalo suspended for a split-second in mid-air—for some reason Wile E. Coyote kept coming to mind, frantically running in mid-air as he is

pattern, show the wear of centuries. Its classic Georgian symmetry includes pediment doors and Palladian windows. A moss-covered brick wall surrounds the building and the churchyard includes graves with markers that date to the early eighteenth century. Many cities in America boast a wealth of historic churches and synagogues in various states of decline. Certainly the old Eastern cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston feature an amazing number of these structures. As the

the American Red Cross. President Lincoln held his second inaugural ball in the large room on the third floor. What an event it must have been. Many guests most likely did not remember the dancing or the presence of President and Mrs. Lincoln. The memorable moment took place at midnight, when supper was announced. A 250-foot-long buffet table set up among model cases featured, among other delicacies, oyster and terrapin stews; beef à l’anglais; smoked tongue en gelée; ornamental pyramids of

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