And The Pursuit of Happiness…

Below, find the beginning of a wonderful blog from Maira Kalman of the New York Times. She is a gifted and hilarious writer. Click any of the images to be taken to the blog to read it in its entirety. I now officially have a huge crush on her and thank her for making history that much sexier!
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Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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JOHN ADAMS-Declaration of Independence-Drafting in 1776

I just started watching this mini-series and am in LOVE. We were still sitting on the edge of our seats after 2 1/2 hours of disk one. Here is a great moment between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

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Who Killed Pocahontas?

I loved this little bit from History Confidential by Bacall. Do enjoy!

We all have heard or seen a movie about the notorious love affair between Pocahontas and John Smith. Well the story didn’t quite happen the way we’ve heard or seen in movies. Legend has it that Pocahontas saved John Smith from native warriors who were about to club him to death. The story goes that Pocahontas ran to John Smith, cradled his head in her arms, and the warriors let him live. This is questioned by historians as this story is nowhere to found in John Smith’s journals. As far as them having a love affair shortly after this incident may not be true, as Pocahontas is believed to have been just twelve at the time (1607) and John Smith was twenty nine. What apparently happened though was that Pocahontas developed a girl crush on the dashing John Smith. It is known that Pocahontas did visit the Jamestown settlement frequently. Evidently she had a crush on him as she stopped visiting the settlement when John Smith went back to England in 1609.

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In 1612 Pocahontas was taken captive by the Englishmen. She asked about John Smith and was told he had died. She was told this lie by John Rolfe who unbeknownst to her wanted her for himself. And in 1614 John Rolfe married her, she learned English, and was given the Christian name of Rebecca. In 1616 she accompanied her husband to England and it is here she finds out that John Smith is in fact alive, is married and has several children. Her husband John lied to her.  John Smith went to see Rebecca and according to a note in his journal, it was a quick visit, and Rebecca was not well. He said: “After a modest salutation, without any word, she turned about, obscured her face as not seeming well contented and in that humor…we all left her…”

The day she, her son and husband were going to return to America, at the age of 21, Rebecca lapsed into a coma and died. But what killed her? Was it a broken heart? Did her husband speak the truth when he said Rebecca developed a fever the same day of her departure? Or was she murdered by a husband who became consumed with jealously? We will never know. The answer lies in an unmarked grave in St. George Church cemetery, located some twenty miles east of London.

Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 10:04 am  Comments (1)  
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Cocktail Conversation: The Origin of Wall Street (part1)

wall_streetChris and I were sitting around yesterday looking for a movie to catch our eye and somehow, wall street looked like a fascinating idea. This 1987 Michael Douglas/Martin Scheen/Charlie Scheen movie is enough to keep anyone entertained, but it made us wonder how did this crazy street come into play? While reading blogs, I stumbled upon History Confidential’s histrory of wall street, a complete coincidence, this morning! Enjoy.

Posted by Bacall in Early American

First off let’s investigate where the name Manhattan derives from. It comes from the word Manna-hata, the European name given by the settlers to the Native American people who lived there (now believed to be the Lenape tribe). A ship from the Dutch West India company with an officer named Robert Jeut were sent on a mission to discover a Northwest Passage to China;  it set out on the mission and landed in the Upper New York Bay instead on September 11, 1609. The Ship anchored off the northern tip of Manhattan. The ship’s captain, Henry Hudson, named the river “Mauritius River,” later changed to the Hudson River.

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In 1625 the fortress town of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island was founded by Wilem Verhulst, director of the Dutch West India Company. This making Manhattan Island the first permanent European settlement in what we now know as part of New York City, or as I call it, the heart of New York City. In 1626 Verhulst’s successor bought the Island from the Lenape for 60 guilders worth of goods. The value of these goods equaled $24.00, which in today’s currency works out to about $500-$700 dollars!

Now, bear in mind, the Lenape people had no concept of  land ownership. As far as they were concerned land could not be owned by anyone. Land, in their mind was like water, and air, there for all to partake in, freely. They saw the goods as a gesture of appreciation to them for sharing the land with the Europeans. They lived in peace for a little while. When the Lenape people later wanted the land back, the settlers built a wall to keep them out. That wall later became what we know as Wall Street where the New York Stock Exchange stands today. Think about that when you visit Wall Street next time.

Published in: on July 15, 2009 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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