Enfilade

The NEH and NEA Are National Treasures: Save Them

Posted in today in light of the 18th century by Editor on January 20, 2017

My standard for publishing posts with advocacy ambitions is relatively high: namely I need to be convinced that the matter at hand will potentially inflict significant blows to the work of academics and museum professionals as related to the eighteenth century, or that some important material inheritance related to the eighteenth century is endangered. Threats to the NEH and the NEA are hardly new, but given the now entirely extraordinary context of American politics, such threats could be realized. As the National Humanities Alliance notes, there’s nothing inherently partisan about this issue, and coalitions of Republicans and Democrats care deeply about these organizations. Now is the time to vocalize how important we believe the NEH and NEA to be for the common good of the United States. Craig Hanson

From the NHA (19 January 2017). . .

nha_logo_primary_icon_webNews broke this morning that the in-coming Trump Administration has a budget blueprint that proposes the elimination of NEH, along with other cultural agencies, and a major downsizing of others. This news has elicited great concern from the humanities community, and it is undoubtedly time to rally support for the National Endowment for the Humanities. That said, this blueprint is not an official proposal.  The Trump Administration will be shaping its budget request over the coming months with broad input and we look forward to an opportunity to demonstrate the value of federal funding for NEH.

We are also heartened by Republican support in Congress, which has been strong over the past few years. Indeed, Republican-controlled appropriations committees have supported increases for both NEA and NEH for the past two fiscal years. More broadly, many Republicans have opposed far more minor cuts to the agency.

Consistently, Members of Congress have been compelled by advocacy that points out that:

• Through a rigorous peer-review process, NEH funds cutting-edge research, museum exhibits that reach all parts of the country, and cultural preservation of local heritage that would otherwise be lost.

• NEH’s Standing Together initiative funds reading groups for veterans that help them process their experiences through discussions on the literature of war; writing programs for veterans suffering from PTSD; and training for Veterans Affairs staff to help them better serve veterans.

• NEH grants catalyze private investment. Small organizations leverage NEH grants to attract additional private, local support. NEH’s Challenge Grant program has leveraged federal funds at a 3:1 ratio to enable organizations to raise more than $3 billion in private support. State Humanities Councils, meanwhile, leverage $5 for every dollar of federal investment. Grants through the Public Programs division have leveraged more than $16 billion in non-federal support, an 8:1 ratio.

We ask you now to send a message to your Members of Congress and the President-Elect to make clear that you, as a constituent, value the humanities.

Going Forward

Going forward, we will call on you again as the Congressional appropriations process for FY 2018 begins. We also encourage you to join us for our Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day on March 13th and 14th. Our goal is for constituents to visit Members of Congress from all 50 states to ensure that Congress serves as a stopgap to any efforts to defund NEH. Finally, we encourage you to spread word on social media. The more advocates receiving our alerts, the stronger our collective impact!

Note (added 20 January, 7am EST) — Jennifer Germann usefully notes this petition related to upcoming NEA funding.

New Book | Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here

Posted in books by Editor on January 20, 2017

1024px-tudor_place_north_facade

The north facade and back gardens of Tudor Place, Washington, D.C. (Georgetown). The house was built in 1816–17 by Thomas and Martha Parke Custis Peter with William Thornton (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, December 2011).

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From The White House Historical Association:

Leslie Buhler, ed., with photography by Bruce White, Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here (Washington, D.C., The White House Historical Association, 2016), 304 pages, ISBN: 978  1931  917568  $50.

tudor-place-coverReleased to mark the bicentennial of Tudor Place, this new title is the first comprehensive record of this important National Historic Landmark in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Two grand houses were under construction in the young Federal City in 1816: one the President’s House, reconstructed after it was burned by the British in 1814, and the other Tudor Place, an elegant mansion rising on the heights above Georgetown. The connection between these two houses is more than temporal, as they were connected through lineage and politics for generations. The builders of Tudor Place were Thomas and Martha Parke Custis Peter, Martha Washington’s granddaughter. In the 1790s George Washington had been a frequent guest at the Peters’ townhouse when he was in the nascent Federal City, attending to its planning and selecting sites for the U.S. Capitol and the President’s House. In 1817, when President James Monroe moved back into the reconstructed President’s House following the fire of 1814, the Peters were completing their own grand home, Tudor Place, designed in concert with their friend, Dr. William Thornton, architect for the first U.S. Capitol Building. The White House and Tudor Place each represent the spirit and aspirations of the early Republic. Little more than two miles apart, each survives as a national architectural landmark. While the White House is perhaps the most well known building in the world, Tudor Place remained a family home until 1983 and very private, although the Peters welcomed some of the nation’s foremost leaders as their guests and were themselves guests at the White House.

Now a historic house and garden museum (open to the public since 1988), the house remains as the Peters lived in it, preserving spaces and belongings of many eras while adapting their home and landscape to contemporary fashion and functions. This year, as Tudor Place turns 200, this lavishly illustrated book—the first definitive history of the house and its collection—takes us into the house to explore its rooms, gardens, archival collections, and such rare artifacts as one of only three surviving letters from George to Martha Washington.

Leslie L. Buhler served as Executive Director of Tudor Place for 15 years, retiring in 2015.

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C O N T E N T S

• Joseph Ellis, Introduction
• Leslie Buhler, The Custis-Peter Family of Georgetown
• William C. Allen, An Architectural History of Tudor Place
• Patricia Marie O’Donnell, The Landscape of Tudor Place
• Erin Kuykenall and Leslie Buhler, Living at Tudor Place

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New Book | Black Georgetown Remembered

Posted in books by Editor on January 20, 2017

From Georgetown UP:

Kathleen Menzie Lesko, Valerie Babb, and Carroll R. Gibbs, Black Georgetown Remembered: A History of Its Black Community from the Founding of ‘The Town of George’ in 1751 to the Present Day (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2016), 232 pages, ISBN: 978  1626  163263, $28.

19c9b413-ee5a-41ef-8939-dbc9ff45412e_1-90794f88ce752cbf86cf923d701e5fd0First published in 1991, Black Georgetown Remembered chronicles and celebrates the rich but little-known history of the Georgetown black community from the colonial period to the present. Drawing on primary sources, including oral interviews with past and current residents and extensive research in church and historical society archives, the authors record the hopes, dreams, disappointments, and successes of a vibrant neighborhood as it persevered through slavery and segregation, war and peace, prosperity and depression.

This 25th anniversary edition of Black Georgetown Remembered—with a new introduction by Kathleen Menzie Lesko and a foreword by Maurice Jackson—is completely redesigned and features high-quality scans of more than two hundred illustrations, including portraits of prominent community leaders, sketches, maps, and nineteenth-century and contemporary photographs. Kathleen Menzie Lesko’s new introduction describes the impact of this book.

Black Georgetown Remembered is a compelling and inspiring journey through more than two hundred years of history. It invites readers to share in the lives, dreams, aspirations, struggles, and triumphs of real people, to join them in their churches, at home, and on the street, and to consider how the unique heritage of this neighborhood intersects and contributes to broader themes in African American and Washington, DC, history and urban studies.

Kathleen Menzie Lesko is a former scholar-in-residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library and current research scholar at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
Valerie Babb is the Franklin Professor of English and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia.
Carroll R. Gibbs is a professional historian, lecturer, and author of numerous works on African American history.

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