Inventing the Recording

Coloured engraving after J.T. Balcomb depicting an Edison phonograph with a carbon microphone, 1878 / Wellcome Library Dr. Eva Moreda Rodríguez on the formative years of the recording industry, focusing on the culture surrounding the gabinetes fonográficos of fin-de-siècle Spain. By Dr. Eva Moreda Rodriguez / 07.12.2017 Lecturer in Music University of Glasgow To the question “When[…]

How Spam Became One of the Most Iconic Brands of All Time

By Dr. Ayalla A. Ruvio / 07.02.2017 Assistant Professor of Marketing Michigan State University While you might think of Spam as a basic canned meat, it’s actually one of the greatest business success stories of all time: Since Hormel Foods Corporation launched the affordable, canned pork product in 1937, it’s sold over eight billion cans in 44 countries around[…]

On Thoreau’s 200th Birthday, a Gift for Botany

Hundreds of new images from Thoreau’s collection of plant specimens will be available for viewing online. “I think it’s fair to say that the data that live inside these cabinets has been dark for far too long,” said Charles Davis (pictured), director of the Harvard University Herbaria. / Jon Chase, Harvard Staff Photographer By Alvin Powell[…]

Millennial Bashing in Medieval Times

In Sir Thomas Malory’s ‘Le Morte d’Arthur,’ a character complains that young people are too sexually promiscuous. The British Library By Dr. Eric Weiskott / 07.05.2017 Assistant Professor of English Boston College As a millennial and a teacher of millennials, I’m growing weary of think pieces blaming my generation for messing everything up. The list of[…]

Faces of the Mexican Revolution

By Beth Guynn / 09.09.2011 Senior Archival Cataloger Getty Research Institute When we think of the Mexican Revolution, many of us probably conjure up images of Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata, two of the most well-known figures from the ten-year civil war (1910-1920) that raged across Mexico during the early years of the twentieth century.[…]

The God of Israel: An Ancient People’s Growing Definition, Identification, and Understanding

Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall, Jerusalem / Photo by Peter Mulligan, Creative Commons By Dr. Michael W. Palmer / 12.09.2010 That Israel’s understanding of God changed over time is not a controversial claim. The biblical texts record significant changes very clearly. From Henotheism to Monotheism The twelve gods of the Greek Olympic pantheon with[…]

The Harvard in Thoreau

A Houghton Library exhibit contains ephemera related to poet and scholar Henry David Thoreau, such as this annotated 1854 copy of “Walden, or Life in the Woods,” owned by a friend of Thoreau. / Stephanie Mitchell, Harvard Staff Photographer As the bicentennial of his birth nears, it’s clear the College influenced him more than he’d have[…]

Leonardo, Rapunzel, and the Mathematics of Hair

Lecture by Dr. Raymond E. Goldstein at the Museum of London / 11.09.2016 Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems University of Cambridge Introduction How do physicists and mathematicians think about hair?  Everyone, especially those with their own hair, has surely been fascinated since their youth with the magical properties of bundles of hair: its “body”[…]

Plato’s ‘Republic’ and an Ancient Athenian Immigrant

Wikimedia Commons By Dr. David V. Johnson / 03.20.2017 Writer/Editor Stanford Social Innovation Review When it comes to immigration, not all foreigners are the same. The treatment of non-citizen legal residents, for example, raises very different moral and political questions from the larger debate about who should, and who should not, be allowed to enter.[…]

Archaeological Excavations on Itbayat and Siayan Islands

Siayan Island / Creative Commons     By Dr. Peter Bellwood (left), Dr. Eusebio Z. Dizon (center), and Dr. Armand Mijares (left) Bellwood: Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Australian National University Dizon: Professorial Lecturer in Archaeology, University of the Philippines Mijares: Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of the Philippines Introduction Here we describe  the layout of[…]

Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

Lecture by Dr. Christopher Clark at the Museum of London / 09.29.2014 Regius Professor of History University of Cambridge I wanted to begin by taking us back to the 28th of June 1914, which I think is the right place to begin, we should begin at the very beginning, the very best place to start,[…]

The Long, Forgotten Walk of David Ingram

Detail from Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues’ 1591 map of Florida, where David Ingram supposedly began his journey up the Eastern seaboard / Library of Congress If three shipwrecked English sailors really did travel by foot from Florida to Nova Scotia in 1569 then it would certainly count as one of the most remarkable walks[…]

Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia

“The music of Mendelssohn” / Project Gutenberg, Creative Commons Grounded in the theory that ideas, emotions, and even events, can manifest as visible auras, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater’s Thought-Forms (1901) is an odd and intriguing work. Benjamin Breen explores these “synesthetic” abstractions and asks to what extent they, and the Victorian mysticism of which[…]

Venus Felix, Genetrix, and Victrix in the Numismatic Record from Augustus to Hadrian: Stagnation to Innovation

Ruins of the Temple of Venus Genetrix, Rome / Wikimedia Commons By Caitlin Ryan / 08.2016 Historical Interpreter Scarborough Museum Abstract Venus is one of the most famous goddesses of the Roman pantheon, known for her grace and beauty. Her likeness was recreated countless times in a variety of different media. She was depicted in[…]

Joseph Cornell’s Mail Art

Card collaged by Joseph Cornell, enclosed with his letter to Susanna De Maria Wilson dated February 17, 1963. The Getty Research Institute, 2014.M.30 A look inside newly catalogued letters and collages by the American pioneer of collage and assemblage art. By Isabella Zuralski-Yeager / 06.27.2017 Special Collections Cataloger Getty Research Institute Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) is[…]

Hats Off: The Entry of Tarquinius Priscus into Rome?

By Dr. Jocelyn Penny Small Classical Archaeologist and Art Historian Rutgers University Etruscan Studies 8:6 (2001), 130-151 Iconography and divination have much in common.[1] Both are divinely inspired. Their practitioners need years of training and inculcation in the art of interpretation before formal admission into the priesthood. The interpretation invariably depends on details, or should[…]

Royal Propaganda, from Prints to Pixels

Triumphal Entry into Babylon (detail), Gérard Audran (French, 1640–1703) after Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–90), 1675. Etching and engraving, two sheets. Assembled size: 27 15/16 x 36 1/8 in. (71 x 91.8 cm). The Getty Research Institute, 2003.PR.33 By John Hicks / 05.27.2010 Research Assistant, Getty Publications Department Spin control—it’s been around for centuries. Louis[…]

Tages against Jesus: Etruscan Religion in the Late Roman Empire

Sandstone Etruscan relief excavation / Creative Commons By Dr. Dominique Briquel Professor of Archaeology and Latin Université de Paris-Sorbonne Etruscan Studies 10:12 (2007), 153-161 It may seem strange to associate in this way two entities which, at first glance, would seem to have nothing in common. The civilization of the Etruscans, which flourished in Italy[…]

Transnational Ashkenaz: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust

Monument at the Osipovichi Jewish cemetery / Photo by Alexander Litin, 2009 By Jan Schwarz / 04.11.2016 Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies Lund University 27 (2016) Abstract After the Holocaust’s near complete destruction of European Yiddish cultural centres, the Yiddish language was largely viewed as a remnant of the past, tragically eradicated in its prime.[…]

What Happened to the Vikings of Greenland?

The remnants of a Viking barn still stand at what had been the settlement of Gardar. (Ciril Jazbec) Newly discovered evidence is upending our understanding of how early settlers made a life on the island — and why they suddenly disappeared. By Tim Folger / March 2017 Science and Environment Specialist On the grassy slope[…]

The Eccentric, Democratic Architecture of Hans Scharoun

Philharmonie exterior. Photo by Chris Edwards The German architect created unique designs blending Expressionism and the International Style. By Dr. Kathleen James-Chakraborty / 05.09.2017 Professor of Art History University College Dublin The exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: Space for Music (April 25–July 30, 2017, at the Getty Research Institute) explores two iconic buildings, Hans Scharoun’s Berlin Philharmonic[…]

History and Architecture of the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome

The Basilica of San Clemente, Rome, church rebuilt 1099-1119 (mosaic 1130s) with eighteenth-century renovations (photo: Michael Foley, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 06.14.2017 Associate Professor of Art History, Department Chair Indiana University A shrunken Rome By the twelfth century, the city of Rome was a shadow of its former, imperial Roman self.[…]

American Slavery: Separating Fact from Myth

Five generations of a slave family / Shutterstock By Dr. Daina Ramey Berry / 06.19.2017 Associate Professor of History and African American Diaspora Studies University of Texas at Austin People think they know everything about slavery in the United States, but they don’t. They think the majority of African slaves came to the American colonies,[…]