These essays are classic blog posts.  This includes most of the pieces from the blog I started when I launched my website in 2016.  They are arranged chronologically, but you can search for topics or use the categories to locate related pieces.  What I’m writing about now has changed a little in that I’m starting to write a lot more about the research and analysis for the book that I’m completing (after a lot of years of work!) and especially about the pieces of research and analysis that have fallen outside the manuscript.  But I’m also still writing about archives, libraries, and Vast Early America.

“Elliot of Kellynch-Hall”

I’m no Austen scholar, and although I’ve been reading Austen for what seems like forever, given the expertise and extraordinary creativity of real Austen fans

Social Media is Listening in Community

I see lots of folks pondering what the major transitions at Twitter will mean for the communities of conversation they built up on that site.

Why “Vernacular Genealogy?”

Nov 4, 2022 Uncategorized
On my new Instagram account I’m posting images of genealogical objects–mostly texts, printed or manuscript, but also art and other materials–that I’ve come across in

Back to blogging

Nov 4, 2022 Uncategorized
I’m back to blogging. Or, more accurately, I’m back to having a space to blog.   Thanks to the good folks at Colour Outside, this site

Under Construction

Jun 16, 2021 Uncategorized
I’ve been writing lots in the last months, most of it for a forthcoming book and some of it elsewhere (Smithsonian, Scholarly Kitchen). I’ve also

Please Have a Big Helping of History

Nov 26, 2020 Uncategorized
I find Thanksgiving an especially challenging holiday. In my family it’s always been billed as the holiday we can all agreed on. With a diversity

Set Forth A Reckoning?: July 4th Roundup

Jul 4, 2020 Uncategorized
As soon as I started this blog, I knew I’d be writing about July 4th writing (and listening, and watching). This is a time of

Centering the Archives of Early America; or, Teaching Vast Early America in a COVID-19 Semester

May 25, 2020 #VastEarlyAmerica, Teaching
Archives and scholarship are crucially linked as historical phenomena and intellectual practices –a relationship essential to understanding the history and historiography of (Vast)

Time’s Convert in Vast Early America: Some Readings and Resources (Part 1)

Jan 1, 2020 Uncategorized
For fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls world, 2019 brought two wonderful treats.  For those of us in the U.S., we finally got access to

Vast Early America for 2019

Jul 14, 2019 Uncategorized
Vast Early America is a phrase I coined in 2016 to use as a hashtag, but #VastEarlyAmerica isn’t of my making, of course. This way

Frayed Fourth: A Roundup for 2019

Jul 4, 2019 Uncategorized
It’s a bit of a gray day here in the mid-Atlantic, probably not the best weather for fireworks. July 4th writing, though, is no respecter

Teaching Vast Early America (Take 1)

Jan 1, 2019 Uncategorized
How vast is Vast Early America, and how can we teach it? Long story short: embrace the challenge. A graduate seminar, with

Slavery in New England
(Public Reading Series)

Oct 13, 2018 Uncategorized
This week the Early American Reading Series discussed Wendy Warren’s New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America.

Writing Fourth: A Roundup for 2018

Jul 4, 2018 Uncategorized
Writing about July 4th is a distinct opportunity to assert and to wrestle with American ideas and the practices. A round-up of writing about

Fish Guts. Or, How to read a Book, a Sentence, and a Page.

Feb 16, 2018 Uncategorized
Editor’s Note:  Last month I offered a guide to the quick and dirty business of gutting a book.  Composed mainly for the benefit of graduate


Feb 3, 2018 Uncategorized
In early December a teenage boy who has been a part of our family’s close community for a decade, the same age as my younger

Efficient Reading

Jan 31, 2018 Uncategorized
This blog post’s real title is “How to Gut a (Scholarly) Book in 5 Almost-easy Steps,” but I kind of can’t bear “gut” as a

The Revolution in Bricky Reds

Jan 15, 2018 Uncategorized
In the fall I shared a primary source packet I created for the community reading group I host at the Omohundro Institute throughout the year.

Civic Engagement (with a Source Packet)

Nov 7, 2017 Uncategorized
When learning to discern is endangered, getting general audience readers to engage with primary sources along with historical scholarship is a useful civic action.

Hey! Scholarly Publishing is a Business #NACBS17

Nov 3, 2017 Uncategorized
Some Scholarly Publishing basics (with links) for a grad student audience at the Nov. 2017 meeting of the North American Conference of British Historians. #NACBS17

Writing Fourth: Roundup for July 4th

Jul 4, 2017 Uncategorized
We should be reading, writing and thinking about history every day, but this holiday particularly inspires and provokes. I’ve rounded up some of the

A Star-Spangled Metaphor

Jul 2, 2017 Uncategorized
July 4th is a national holiday that ought to be as straightforward as they come. But it’s not. Because nothing is.

Catching Up with Atlantic Families #AtlFam17

Mar 12, 2017 Uncategorized
My Spring graduate seminar on Atlantic Families is zooming through the semester– or at least, that’s what it feels like to me.  We’ve read and

Art, Feminism, and Intellectual Tourism

Mar 5, 2017 Uncategorized
This week I got to see a painting I’d been admiring and thinking about for thirty years.  Artemisia Gentileschi’s (1593-c. 1656) c. 1638 self-portrait, La Pittura, is

Timeless, not Harmless

Feb 19, 2017 Uncategorized
Do teachers, chefs, doctors and lawyers cringe at television depictions of their vocation?  Add this to the things I never thought I’d give more than

Reading Early Modern Atlantic Families

Feb 11, 2017 Uncategorized
My Spring graduate seminar at William & Mary on the histories of families in the Early Modern Atlantic World takes up a historical challenge that’s

Reading #VastEarlyAmerica in the Georgian Papers

Feb 10, 2017 Uncategorized
What can we learn about #VastEarlyAmerica from the archival collection at the very center of Anglo-imperial power? Last week the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle

Pacific Views: Early California Population Project

Jan 8, 2017 #VastEarlyAmerica
I think about #VastEarlyAmerica a lot, and I’ve returned many times to Steve Hackel’s work on early California.  When Steve’s book, Children of Coyote, Missionaries of

Serendipity and Digital Collections

Jan 3, 2017 Digital Humanities
One of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is to scan library websites for newly digitized materials, and for digital collections and

Slavery and (fictional) Georgian Britain

I’ve been reading Imogen Roberts’ Crowther and Westerman series of mysteries set in and around 1780s London.  In part because of the Omohundro Institute’s work

Discoverability, Edwardian Style

Dec 27, 2016 Digital Humanities
(From the OI’s blog, March 29, 2016) Discoverability is an essential concept for modern researchers, and a high priority for authors, librarians, and publishers. Making scholarship

#VastEarlyAmerica and Origins Stories: WMQ 1:1

Sep 20, 2016 #VastEarlyAmerica
(From the OI’s Blog, Feb 22, 2016) What started me thinking more seriously about the first issue of the William and Mary Quarterly was the typescript of

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