J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

At the Armchair General website, Scott Stephenson wrote a very gratifying review of the Journal of the American Revolution’s first collection of articles, noting two of my own contributions to the volume among many others:
I found more information in this one volume than I have in the last half-dozen books on the Revolutionary War that I read. . . . For the student of history this book is a wonderful treat. Articles such as the biography of Artemas Ward, or the story of Nathan Hale’s capture, or the life of British army camp followers are engagingly written and provide a great look at the Revolutionary War. Military enthusiasts will delight in the aforementioned Delaware crossing article, the details of Pyle’s Massacre, and coverage of Eutaw Springs and the skirmish at Monmouth that occurred two years before the better-known Battle Of Monmouth. There are even a few recipes for making 18th-century food such as savory chicken pie and boiled pudding (you don’t need a bread oven, you can use modern conveniences).

So what about the hard-core, dyed-in-the-indigo, I Know What Cornwallis Ate For Breakfast student of the American Revolution? You’ll learn that the famous 1776 “Take Notice” recruiting poster was actually printed in 1798 for the Quasi-War with France. You’ll discover the phrase “no taxation without representation” first appeared as a newspaper headline in 1768 London and deeply researched pieces on the deaths of Major John Pitcairn and General Simon Fraser. The origin of the Molly Pitcher legend, what happened after the 1780 Battle of Camden before General Nathaniel Greene took command of the colonial forces, a biography of John Trumbull, an interview with best-selling author Thomas Fleming—this book contains all that and so much more.
My emphasis.

Last week the J.A.R. site offered a group interview with contributors on these five questions:
Question #2 produced the broadest disagreements. I was surprised by the relative lack of variety in answers to #5.

And now a look ahead at what 2014 will bring for Boston 1775. I’ve completed over seven years of blogging daily about Revolutionary New England. In the coming months I plan to rerun some older postings I particularly like, refreshing their links and adding any necessary corrections or new information. Those might amount to one or two postings a week. I’m hoping that will yield a little more time for other projects.


Todd Andrlik said...

I look forward to you brushing the dust off your older work since I'm constantly finding gems in your archives. Great idea! I would also love it if you put together a top 10 list of your favorite Boston 1775 articles from years past -- either your personal faves or those that generated the most traffic. We'll be doing the same thing at JAR tomorrow, looking back through the 2013 archives. Thanks for all your support and outstanding contributions to JAR and Reporting the Revolutionary War. It's been great working together these past two years. Cheers to 2014!

J. L. Bell said...

A list of posts that got the most hits, huh?

1. Anything that discusses "Mount Whoredom."

2. Anything else.

Byron DeLear said...

Congrats John on a fantastic run of seven years of producing great pieces and info on the American Revolutionary War! Although I haven't been digesting Boston 1775for your entire tenure, for the several years I have, it has been an invaluable resource in my own work and studies and I heartily recommend Boston 1775 as, IMHO, the best American Revolutionary War-era website.

John L. Smith said...

J.L. - hilarious ... and true! From a historical/archaeological standpoint, say where WAS Mt. Whoredom? My guess is maybe where Newbury Street is now? See? You already got me started ...

J. L. Bell said...

In a brilliant stroke of real-estate rebranding, the developers of Mount Whoredom renamed that part of Beacon Hill "Mount Vernon" and turned it into upper-class house lots. The Mount Vernon neighborhood is still one of Boston's wealthiest.