Archive for July, 2019

Sir Richard Bulstrode, 1610 – 1711

What is memorable about Sir Richard Bulstrode is not his longevity, which is remarkable in and of itself given the lack of medical care during the 17th century, but the network of correspondence that this diplomat engaged in. “… the Pforzheimer collection [Harry Ransom Center, University of Texan at Austin] preserves over 1,450 handwritten newsletters that were sent from offices in London to Richard Bulstrode between 1667 and 1689 while he was stationed in Brussels. These newsletters contained proprietary information for their subscribers about proceedings in parliament, activities of the military and royal family, and court gossip that could not be printed in public newspapers. As reciprocation for this service, Bulstrode and other subscribers around the English realm and Europe mailed accounts of news and politics from their host regions along with copies of local newspapers back to London.”

The Bulstrode Papers, contained in the invaluable series Catalogue of the Collection of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents, present these newsletters in modern transcriptions along with editorial apparati. They are a treasure house of information and are considered a logical successor to Pepys’ diaries, extending coverage from 1667 to 1675.

His writings were published posthumously. They include: Memoirs and reflections upon the reign and government of King Charles the 1st. and K. Charles the IId … wherein the character of the royal martyr, and of King Charles II. are vindicated from fanatical aspersions.
Written by Sir Richard Bulstrode. Now first published from his original manuscript (1721), and    Miscellaneous essays: Viz. I. Of company and conversation. … XIII. Of old age (1715)

Two recent monographs that explore the dissemination of news during Bulstrode’s time are: News Networks in Early Modern Europe (2016) and Travelling Chronicles: News and Newspapers from the Early Modern Period to the Eighteenth Century (2018).

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Letters of President James Polk

A pivotal figure during the Mexican War, Polk’s letters, while published in a scholarly edition, were not available freely online. That has since changed and you can now read the fourteen volumes of his correspondence.

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New Jersey Postcards

The NJ State Library has a collection of slightly over 1800 postcards featuring various towns in the state. These tend to be representations from times past so they act as a primary source of information. This collection is arranged by town name; here are the postcards for Jersey City. The University of Maryland houses the National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection that contains thousands of these items; you can search by state as well as by town. New Jersey is represented by over 500 of these.

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Robert Mueller’s Testimony Before Congress

For those who are interested, the two separate hearings will be broadcast on C-SPAN where they will be permanently housed as well as an unofficial (but normally quite accurate) transcript of each session will be made available.

Since election security figures so prominently in his report (redacted version here), there are some worthy sites one should look at:

Campaign and Election Security Policy: Brief Introduction; The Designation of Election Systems as Critical Infrastructure; Election Security: Issues in the 2018 Midterm Elections (CRS)

Elections: Observations on Voting Equipment Use and Replacement (GAO)

SECURING U.S. ELECTION INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROTECTING POLITICAL DISCOURSE (House Committee on Oversight and Reform)

Election Security | Cybersecurity: What Legislators (and Others) Need to Know (NCSL)

Election Security (EFF)

Election Security (NPR)

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UK Election Statistics, 1918 – 2018

This report – UK Election Statistics: 1918 – 2018 – A Century of Elections – presents a plethora of information covering a wide span of elections, their results, party affiliations, characteristics of the members of the House of Commons, local elections, mayoral elections, etc. It is amazing how much data is crammed into 94 pages!

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50 Years Ago Today: the First Men on the Moon

Not quite the scenario envisioned by H G Wells in his novel First Men in the Moon, but an astounding achievement nevertheless. Practically anyone alive at that time can tell you exactly where they were. I was with my Irish grandma – Nanny – watching on a black and white tv. She who had escaped Ireland under pain of death for teaching Gaelic, who had married a veteran of the Spanish American War, had lived long enough to witness this. She cried.

Here are some sites of interest:

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting hosts To the Moon, a collection of 146 interviews of those who participated in this program;

The American Presidency Project contains hundreds of speeches/announcements/proclamations on the Apollo program;

The BBC has issued Apollo in 50 numbers – informative essays on everything from the cost of the program to the workers that helped put men on the moon;

C-SPAN has a pre-launch interview with Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins as well as additional relevant videos;

Infodocket has assembled a small collection of vital primary sources, including the flight journal;

NASA has numerous links on the Apollo Program as well as a collection of Apollo-related videos;

The New York Times offers its extensive coverage of this mission; and

YouTube carries many videos of Apollo 11.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong at 10:56pm ET on July 20, 1969 from the surface of the Moon.

 

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As Climate Change Continues, the Heat Index Increases

The heat index is used by the National Weather Service to issue heat event warnings. This article – Increased frequency of and population exposure to extreme heat index days in the United States during the 21st century –  from Environmental Research Communications– posits that this measure of the “apparent temperature” will reach beyond the upper thresholds of this tool as more episodes of high heat are experienced, putting millions of people at risk. The combination of high heat and humidity will jeopardize many with the likelihood of heat stroke. We will have an adumbration of this condition this upcoming weekend. Stay out of the sun, limit physical activity, and stay hydrated.

 

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