Fifty years after Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty, NPR is beginning a series on the legacy of this initiative. The first installment, which revisits the Kentucky county where the iconic front-porch photo of LBJ was taken, may be found here. Half a century later, many residents could not survive without services such as food stamps and energy assistance, which date back to LBJ’s administration. Still, times remain very tough in this Appalachian community, due partly to a scaling back of the coal mining industry that was the region’s lifeblood for generations.
The photographs of Curtis B. Johnson are an integral part of our new Buildings of Vermont. Beginning January 7, the Middlebury College Museum of Art will present Observing Vermont Architecture, which features one hundred of Mr. Johnson’s images. The exhibit will run through March 23. Complete details are here.
The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés, a “stimulating collection” of essays that “explores Washington’s relationships with a series of younger men” including Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, Henry Knox, and Nathanael Greene. Its editor, Robert M. S. McDonald, is associate professor of history at West Point. In the following essay, McDonald reminds us of the very full range of Washington’s leadership.
Many people picture Vermont with handsome barns overlooking rolling pastures, white country churches punctuating hillsides of blazing maples, and small villages clustered around gracious greens. While not inaccurate, this image does little justice to the architectural richness of a state that retains so significant a variety of building types, landscapes, and historic environments that it was declared a national historic treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here is a seasonal sampling of places worth a look, drawn from Buildings of Vermont by Glenn Andres and Curtis Johnson (whose photographs also enhance the text), the latest volume in the Buildings of the United States series published by the Society of Architectural Historians and the University of Virginia Press.
Regular visitors to our web site have seen its logo on our home page but may not know what the American Literatures Initiative actually is. The University of Virginia Press is proud to take part in this Mellon-funded program with the goal of publishing books by first-time authors in the field of literary studies. Recently the 100th title in the ALI imprint was published, so this seems like a good time to reflect on this unique, award-winning project
Rot, Riot, and Rebellion: Mr. Jefferson’s Struggle to Save the University that Changed America is the fascinating history of the early days of the University of Virginia and how the institution’s survival was hardly a foregone conclusion. The book has recently received good reviews from both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal and is now the subject of a feature in the University of Virginia Magazine. In the following piece, coauthor Carlos Santos considers how Thomas Jefferson’s insistence on separation of church and state extended to the university he founded, a radical idea in a time when religious instruction was central in higher education.
Critics considered Thomas Jefferson’s unorthodox views of Christianity evil as hell fire. Political enemies dubbed him an “audacious howling Atheist.” Ministers called him a tool of French secularism, while others argued that declaring for Jefferson was declaring for no God.
Elected president in 1800, tradition holds that the women of New England hid their Bibles in wells, convinced that Jefferson, aided by his atheistic allies, would fuel bonfires with the Good Book.