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The History of Black Friday

The term “Black Friday” was originally used to describe the September 24, 1869, stock market crash, which was just one of the many self-inflicted misfortunes to besmirch the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (The Grant administration had its fair share…

Advice From William Faulkner on How to Write Fiction

“The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory,” said the Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner in his 1958 Paris Review interview. “Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody…

Photo via Library of Congress

History unearthed at James Madison’s Va. estate

In the shadow of James Madison’s Montpelier, archaeologists and metal-detecting hobbyists are teaming up to unearth the history that lies beneath the 2,650-acre Virginia estate. Armed with high-tech equipment and age-old tools, these oft-rivals are rediscovering land belonging to the…

History: David Wills & The Gettysburg National Cemetery

On Nov. 2, 1863, David Wills invited Abraham Lincoln to participate in the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Due to the letter’s late date, the invitation was –and still is–  labeled an afterthought or political formality by some.…

History: President Coolidge’s 1928 Armistice Day Address

 On November 11, 1928, Armistice Day, President Calvin Coolidge gave the following speech before members of the American Legion in Washington, D.C. The speech, which took place at the Washington Auditorium (described as a gaunt, barn-like structure in a 1929…

Founding Notes: Printing The Federalist Papers

This letter comes from Dr. Allan McLane Hamilton’s  The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton: Based Chiefly Upon Original Family Letters And Other Documents, Many of Which Have Never Been Published (1910). The biography, which is available online (it’s free) ,…