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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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

This Article on Samuel Adams Will Change Your Life

This morning’s article at the online Journal of the American Revolution bears the reprehensible clickbait title “You Won’t Believe How Samuel Adams Recruited Sons of Liberty.” And I wrote it.

In fact, thinking of that title, at first as a joke, helped me figure out how to pull together some Boston 1775 postings and comments from 2006 into a new article. I did a lot of rewriting, but I decided to stick with the opening that had gotten me started.

Todd Andrlik at the J.A.R. keeps track of what articles get the most clicks, out of curiosity and wanting to serve the readership and not because of advertising. I’m curious to see if that title might have any effect. Here and on the Boston 1775 Facebook page, the postings that prompt the most clicks and comments often aren’t the ones that share new sources or try to break new ground in interpretation. Rather, it’s those that address current topics like the use of Revolutionary War history in today’s politics or the historical inaccuracies in Sleepy Hollow. Of course, I probably respond the same way on other sites.


G Lovely said...

Read the JAR piece, and dang, it did change my life. I'll still drink Sam Adams, but I'll never look at his face on the bottle in the same way again.

EJWitek said...

As usual with Revere, there always is a source for his engravings and print. Although Revere used Copley's portrait of Samuel Adams in the oval, he used an English engraving of Richard, Earl of Temple, William Pitt's brother-in-law that appeared in two books published in the 1760's for the format of the engraving, replacing the Earl with Adams. The figure of Liberty to the left of the Earl was modified by Revere to be standing on a book with the words "Laws to enslave America." Revere replaced the male armored soldier in Earl Temple's portrait with Minerva, the Roman goddess of War and Wisdom. The reference to the 29th regiment is rather obvious.
Revere could perhaps be called the first American Champion of recycling.

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks, Ed. I analyzed the imagery of that Adams engraving back here, but didn't know the source.