Confederate Monuments: Dealing with Tough History

In Ulysses S. Grant’s first inaugural address in March 1869, he discussed the way in which each section of the country should come together and settle their differences after the Civil War. He stated that it should be “approached calmly, without prejudice, hate, or sectional pride, remembering that the greatest good to the greatest number…

The First Completely Annotated Edition of Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs

The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant are widely considered to be one of the most well-written pieces of non-fiction American literature. Mark Twain, a close friend of Grant’s and whose company published the first edition of the memoirs, called them ‘a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.’ The memoirs have been in continuous print since…

Hancock County, West Virginia, in the Civil War

Virginia, the home state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was notably divided during the Civil War. The growing factions were evident in the state’s most northern reaches. In May 1861, pro-Unionists in Hancock County, VA(now West Virginia), decided to organize a company of men to help fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers….

The Humble Origins of Horse Racing in Northeastern Ohio

Recently, while researching letters from the Sutliff Collection, I discovered a letter from a man named Lyman Potter to Calvin G. Sutliff in Vernon, Ohio. In the letter, Potter asked Sutliff to train one of his horses just as he “would a race horse.” From my research, I have concluded the letter was written around 1826…

Dueling Pianos: Muzio Clementi vs. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Can you imagine the scene? It is Christmas Eve in 1781 at the Royal Viennese Court, and everyone, including the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, is waiting for the piano duel to commence. Sitting at one piano is a well established Italian composer, Muzio Clementi, and at the other is the most anticipated prodigy of…

John Forsyth and La Amistad

  John Forsyth was born in 1780 and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) in 1799. From 1813 to 1834, Forsyth served as a U.S. congressman, senator, and governor from Georgia. On July 1, 1834, Andrew Jackson appointed him as Secretary of State. He remained in that position during the Martin…

A Dithyrambic Poem by Platt Rogers Spencer

​A Dithyrambic Poem by Platt Rogers Spencer Platt Rogers Spencer’s contribution to American history is not widely known, but it is right in front of your eyes. It can be seen when you drink a can of Coca Cola, or when you se e a Ford truck commercial. The connection is hidden in the type…