192 episodes

Conversations at the Washington Library is the premier podcast about George Washington and his Early American world. Join host Jim Ambuske each week as he talks with scholars, digital humanists, librarians, and other guests about Washington's era and the way we tell stories about the past. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support

Conversations at the Washington Library Mount Vernon

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 65 Ratings

Conversations at the Washington Library is the premier podcast about George Washington and his Early American world. Join host Jim Ambuske each week as he talks with scholars, digital humanists, librarians, and other guests about Washington's era and the way we tell stories about the past. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mountvernon/support

    Throwing a Change-Up at the Washington Library with Jim Ambuske

    Throwing a Change-Up at the Washington Library with Jim Ambuske

    We wanted to let you know of some exciting changes we’ll be making to the podcast that will allow you to hear more from groundbreaking historians and scholars in new ways.

    Beginning today, Conversations at the Washington Library is moving to an every other week schedule. That means no new episode this week, but we’ll be back on January 21, 2021 with my chat with Julie Miller of the Library of Congress about the hidden lives in George Washington’s papers.

    Now, why are we making this change?

    As you may know, since the beginning the COVID_19 pandemic, our team at the Washington Library has been producing and hosting live digital book talks with authors around the country and the world. Even when we go back to in-person programming, and hopefully that will be soon, we’ll continue to offer you at least one digital talk a month through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

    In short, we’re launching a permanent digital talk series. To accommodate this exciting development, we’re transitioning Conversations at the Washington Library to the new schedule. But never fear; you’ll still get the same great in-depth conversations about the past and the people who explore it, just with a week’s breather in-between.

    We’re also shaking things up because we’re developing scripted podcast series that will allow us to tell stories about Washington’s early American world in narrative form. We’ve got some great stuff in the works, and while we can’t talk about our plans just yet, our team is hard at work in the writer’s room finding ways to bring forgotten voices to light.

    So, look for a new episode of Conversations at the Washington Library next week, stay tuned for future announcements about our scripted series, and check out our digital talks at www.mountvernon.org/gwdigitaltalks.


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    • 1 min
    192. Drinking Washington's Whiskey with Drew Hannush

    192. Drinking Washington's Whiskey with Drew Hannush

    For many people,  one of life’s great joys is a lovely dram of whiskey. Whether you’re a fan of Kentucky Bourbon, Single-malt Scotches, Japanese or Tennessee whiskey, every glass tells a story or contains memories that connect drinkers to different places, and different times. For Jim Ambuske, a dram of Cragganmore 12 instantly takes him back to Edinburgh, where he's spent many months hunting American Revolutionaries in the archives. But like most folks, he knows less about the stories behind the whiskies than I would like. That’s where Drew Hannush comes in. On today’s show, you’ll meet Drew, the host of the podcast Whiskey Lore, a show dedicated to exploring whiskey’s history, and debunking whiskey myths, one glass at a time. Drew stopped by the Washington Library just before the holidays to do some research for his newest season of Whiskey Lore, which will feature a series of episodes about George Washington and Whiskey. Now as you might know, Mount Vernon reconstructed Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery several years ago and the team there has been distilling whiskey ever since, something we’ve covered before in previous episodes. And just a reminder that if you’re a Virginia resident, we can now ship our whiskey and brandy directly to your door. 

    Jim Ambuske and Jeanette Patrick met with Drew during his visit to talk about his own whiskey journey, the stories he’s uncovered, and his fascination with Washington’s distilling efforts. Be on the lookout for Drew’s Washington-centered Whiskey Lore episodes to drop soon. 

    About Our Guest:  Drew Hannush is a writer of the best selling book "Whiskey Lore's Travel Guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon." He also hosts a travel lifestyle podcast called Travel Fuels Life and a whiskey stories podcast built on the brand - Whiskey Lore. Drew has traveled extensively throughout Scotland, Ireland, and the United States touring distilleries, picking up stories, and helping inspire travelers and whiskey lovers through his social media posts, book, and whisk(e)y tasting experiences. He uses his knowledge and authoritative voice to empower others. 

    About Our Hosts:   Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press. 

    Jeanette Patrick is the Center for Digital History's Digital Researcher and Writer. Among her many responsibilities, she serves as Associate Editor of the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington.  She holds an MA in Public History from James Madison University. She is a former Program Manager at the National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C.


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    • 44 min
    191. (Recast) The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 2

    191. (Recast) The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 2

    This is Part Two of Jim Ambuske's July 2019 chat with Washington Library Research Historian Mary V. Thompson. We’re recasting it in celebration of her 40th anniversary at Mount Vernon. If you missed Part One, please do give it a listen.

    Happy New Year to you all.

    About Our Guest:

    Mary V. Thompson is a long-time (38 year) member of the staff at Mount Vernon, where she is now the Research Historian. She is the author of In the Hands of a Good Providence: Religion in the Life of George Washington, A Short Biography of Martha Washington, and "The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret": George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon.

    About Our Host:

    Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.


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    • 40 min
    190. (Recast) The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 1

    190. (Recast) The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret with Mary Thompson: Part 1

    Forty years ago, Mary V. Thompson began her career at Mount Vernon as a museum attendant and history interpreter. She was quickly promoted to Curatorial Assistant, and within a few short years was named Curatorial Registrar, where she began researching numerous Washington and Mount Vernon related topics such as 18th-century foodways, animals, religion, Native Americans, genealogy, domestic life, & slavery.

    Today, she is the Washington Library’s indispensable Research Historian, and as many of our listeners no doubt know, she is the go to person for all things Mount Vernon and Washington.

    In celebration of Mary’s 40th anniversary at Mount Vernon, we’re pleased to bring you Jim Ambuske's July 2019 chat with her about her prize-winning book, “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret: George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon,” which recently won the James Bradford Best Biography Prize from the Society of Historians for the Early Republic.

    Thompson and Ambuske talked over the course of two episodes about her experiences at Mount Vernon, her interest in the enslaved community at Mount Vernon, and of course, her book. So after you’ve finished with Part One here, be sure to check out Part Two as well.

    And if you’d like to purchase a copy of Mary’s book, head over to shops.mountvernon.org to grab yours. Congratulations Mary on 40 amazing years at Mount Vernon. Here’s to many more.

    About Our Guest:

    Mary V. Thompson is a long-time (38 year) member of the staff at Mount Vernon, where she is now the Research Historian. She is the author of In the Hands of a Good Providence: Religion in the Life of George Washington, A Short Biography of Martha Washington, and "The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret": George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon.

    About Our Host: 

    Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.


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    • 31 min
    189. Confronting an Absolutist Monarch with Dr. Karie Schultz

    189. Confronting an Absolutist Monarch with Dr. Karie Schultz

    In this season of religious renewal, we bring you a story of religious dissent. In 1638, many of King Charles I’s Presbyterian subjects gathered at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh to sign the National Covenant. By renewing their own covenant with the Almighty, they also pledged to resist encroachments on church government by the king, and the innovations in doctrine he sought to make for the Church of Scotland.

    As we’ve discovered in previous episodes, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a time of religious upheaval and political discord. Reformation and Civil War remade European society, especially in the British Isles, and profoundly shaped colonial American history.

    Civil War and religious strife eroded the idea of the divine right of kings, leaving Charles I headless in the end.  These revolutions helped to create the eighteenth-century British world that George Washington rebelled against, as well as the kind of monarch George III would become.

    Today’s episode builds on recent conversations with Dr. Michelle D. Brock, Dr. Márcia Balisciano, and more as we explore the Covenanters movement in seventeenth-century Scotland with Dr. Karie Schultz.  For many of the thousands of Scots Presbyterians who settled in the American colonies in the decades before the American Revolution, including a man like the Reverend John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence, the National Covenant was a seminal moment in their religious history.

    Dr. Schultz takes us back to the seventeenth century to help us understand the origins of this crucial contest between king and kirk.

    Jim Ambuske caught up with Schultz over Zoom earlier this summer as she was finishing up her graduate studies at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. She is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the British School in Rome and the host of the podcast, Research in Scottish History, where Schultz and her guests break down exciting new work on a range of topics, from Scots in the Caribbean to the material culture of the hit series Outlander. Do check it out.

    About Our Guest:

    Dr. Karie Schultz completed a PhD on 'Political Thought and Protestant Intellectual Culture in the Scottish Revolution, 1637-51' at Queen's University Belfast. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the British School at Rome where she is studying the intellectual networks between Italian Jesuits and the Scottish and English priests training at their respective colleges in Rome, 1600-1745. She hosts the podcast, Research in Scottish History.

    About Our Host:  

    Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.


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    • 49 min
    188. Exploring the Benjamin Franklin House of London with Dr. Márcia Balisciano

    188. Exploring the Benjamin Franklin House of London with Dr. Márcia Balisciano

    In 1757, Benjamin Franklin returned to London after an over thirty-year absence. He first ventured to the imperial capital in 1724 to continue his education as a printer; he went back in the late 1750s as a politician, after being named the London agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly. Franklin took up residence at 36 Craven Street in London, today just down the way from Charing Cross Station, and right near Trafalgar Square. For nearly two decades, with a short return to Philadelphia in between, Franklin lived on Craven Street as he tried to advance colonial interests in the mother country. 

    On today’s episode, Dr. Márcia Balisciano joins Jim Ambuske from London to explore the Craven Street House that Franklin made a home. Dr. Balisciano is the Founding Director of the Benjamin Franklin House in London, the world’s only remaining Franklin home.  And as you’ll hear, the historic site not only connects us to Franklin and his life, but to the era of the English Civil War in the 1640s, and to eighteenth-century secrets buried in the basement. 

    Be sure to stay tuned after the chat to hear our first listener voice message. We’ll feature your comments and questions on the show from time to time. Find out how you can submit one later in the program. 

    About Our Guest: Dr. Márcia Balisciano is Founding Director of the Benjamin Franklin House in London. She holds a Ph.D. in Economic History from The London School of Economics and Political Science. In addition to her duties at Franklin House, she is also Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at RELX, a multi-national information, analytics, and events company, and serves as Chair of the United Nations Global Compact Network in the UK.  

    About Our Host:  Jim Ambuske, Ph.D. leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, Ambuske graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA Law, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  He is currently at work on a book about emigration from Scotland in the era of the American Revolution as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.


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    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
65 Ratings

65 Ratings

cjr816 ,

Enjoy This Podcast!

I enjoy hearing about was is happening at the library and Mt. Vernon. I was part of a Gilder Lehman Course with Gordon Wood in 2014 and since then have tried to keep track of all that is happening there. Thanks for the scholarly reflections of this important time period in American History.

Mayda A ,

Excellent

I love this podcast. Full of historical information.
I look forward to listening to every episode every week.

scm_one ,

Great.

Wonderful podcast. Interesting topics. Next best thing to visiting Mount Vernon.

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