200 episodes

Conversations at the Washington Library is the premier podcast about George Washington and his Early American world. Join host Jim Ambuske 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
    • 4.6 • 67 Ratings

Conversations at the Washington Library is the premier podcast about George Washington and his Early American world. Join host Jim Ambuske 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

    199. Unravelling the Mystery of the Strange Genius of Mr. O. with Dr. Carolyn Eastman

    199. Unravelling the Mystery of the Strange Genius of Mr. O. with Dr. Carolyn Eastman

    In the early years of the nineteenth century, former Virginia schoolteacher James Ogilvie embarked on a lecture tour that took the United States by storm.
    Born Scotland, Ogilvie became a renowned orator, packing rooms in urban Philadelphia and rural Kentucky alike. As he crisscrossed the nation, lecturing on topics that spoke to American anxieties about the fate of their young republic, Ogilvie became a major celebrity.
    Many Americans admired him, some even hated him, as he asked them to look into the mirror to see themselves.
    On today’s show, Dr. Carolyn Eastman joins Jim Ambuske to discuss her new book, The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2021. Dr. Eastman is a Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University. Please visit the University of North Carolina Press's website to learn how you can get 40% Dr. Eastman's book. 
    About Our Guest:
    Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., is associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of the prizewinning A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution.
    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
    198. Contesting Monuments and Memory in South Carolina with Dr. Lydia Brandt

    198. Contesting Monuments and Memory in South Carolina with Dr. Lydia Brandt

    The South Carolina State House Grounds is a landscape of monuments and memory. Since the capital moved from Charleston to Columbia in the 1780s, South Carolinians have been erecting, moving, and contesting monuments on the capitol’s grounds, using them to debate the past as they really argue about their present.
    Monuments and statues are the subject of great debate right now, not only in the United States, but around the world, and South Carolina’s commemorations can help us to understand why. In 1858, South Carolinians purchased a George Washington statute for their capitol grounds, as did other legislatures in the nineteenth century, but the reasons they did so may surprise you.
    On today’s show, former Washington Library Research Fellow Dr. Lydia Brandt joins Jim Ambuske to discuss her new book, The South Carolina State House Grounds: A Guidebook, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2021. Brandt, who is a professor of art history at the university, is an expert on how American buildings and landscapes shape ideas about the past. Her book takes the public on a tour of the Carolina capitol to show how metal, earth, and stone tell stories about the past and attempt to re-write it.
    Brandt is also the host of Historically Complex, a podcast that guides listeners on a walking tour of the South Carolina State House Grounds. Stay tuned after today’s conversation for an exclusive sneak peek at one of Brandt’s Historically Complex episodes.
    About Our Guest:
    Lydia Mattice Brandt, Ph.D., is an architectural historian, historic preservationist, and associate professor of art history at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of First in the Homes of His Countrymen: George Washington's Mount Vernon in the American Imagination and many articles published in Winterthur Portfolio, Antiques & Fine Art, and the Public Historian.
    About of 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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    • 54 min
    197. Stumbling Upon the Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger with Craig Koslofsky and Roberto Zaugg

    197. Stumbling Upon the Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger with Craig Koslofsky and Roberto Zaugg

    Two weeks ago, we brought you the story of Johann Peter Oettinger, a seventeenth-century German-speaking barber-surgeon who in 1693 journeyed to Africa and the West Indies on behalf of the Brandenburg African Company. His journal from that period captures the height of German participation in the transatlantic slave trade.
    Today, we bring you the story of the journal itself and how two historians, Craig Koslofsky and Robert Zaugg, found the manuscript independently of one another in the Berlin archives.
    The journal’s history is as important as its contents. How we interpret the history within it means we need to know something of its origin. And for more than a century, what historians thought was Oettinger’s authentic journal, wasn’t the real journal at all.
    On today’s show, Koslofsky and Zaugg weave together a tale made of paper scraps, lost manuscripts, family revisions, and plain dumb luck to reveal the journal’s true origin, and how what could have resulted in the academic equivalent of fisticuffs turned into a wonderful collaboration.
    Koslofsky and Zaugg are the co-editors and translators of A German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Seventeenth-Century Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger (University of Virginia Press, 2021).
    Our friends at UVA Press are offering a 40% discount on this published edition of Oettinger’s journal. If you’d like your own copy, use discount code 10BARBER on the press's website. 
    About Our Guests:
    Craig Koslofsky, Ph.D, is Professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    Roberto Zaugg, Ph.D., is is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
    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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    • 56 min
    196. Reconstructing the Life of a German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade with Craig Koslofsky and Roberto Zaugg

    196. Reconstructing the Life of a German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade with Craig Koslofsky and Roberto Zaugg

    In 1693, the young German barber-surgeon Johann Peter Oettinger joined a slave trading venture for the second time.

    In the employ of the Brandenburg African Company, Oettinger sailed with his shipmates from Europe to the African coast where they procured their captive human cargo, took the middle passage to the West Indies, and exchanged their enslaved people in the colonies for a variety of goods. Along the way, Oettinger encountered a mix of European, African, and colonial peoples who traded or were traded, across borders, often regardless of nationality.

    We know about Oettinger’s involvement because he kept a journal. His two stints aboard slave trading vessels were part of a 14-year period as a journeyman in Europe and the Atlantic world, a life he recorded on scraps of paper that he eventual fashioned into a proper diary.

    Oettinger’s voyage marked the high-point of German-speaking peoples' participation in the transatlantic slave trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through his words we can see how that trade shaped lives far beyond the ocean’s borders. It is a portrait of an early modern world becoming modern.

    On today’s show, Jim Ambuske talks with Dr. Craig Koslofsky and Dr. Roberto Zaugg, the two historians who discovered Oettinger’s long forgotten journal buried in the Berlin archives

    Koslofsky and Zaugg are the co-editors and translators of A German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Seventeenth-Century Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger (University of Virginia Press, 2021).

    This is part one of a two-part series about Oettinger’s life and journal. On today’s episode, we explore Oettinger’s European and Atlantic worlds, and his 1693 slave-trading voyage. In two weeks, we’ll talk about the journal as an artifact, one that has a remarkable history in its own right, and how Koslosfsky and Zaugg stumbled across it.

    Our friends at UVA Press are offering a 40% discount on this published edition of Oettinger’s journal. If you’d like your own copy, use discount code 10BARBER on the press's website. 

    About Our Guests:

    Craig Koslofsky, Ph.D, is Professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Roberto Zaugg, Ph.D., is is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

    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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    • 59 min
    195b. [En Español] Ofreciendo a George Washington un regalo real con el profesor José Emilio Yanes

    195b. [En Español] Ofreciendo a George Washington un regalo real con el profesor José Emilio Yanes

    Bienvenido a Conversaciones en la Biblioteca de Washington. 

    Hoy, Jim Ambuske habla con el profesor José Emilio Yanes de la Universidad de Salamanca en España. Yanes es el autor del libro El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift. El libro cuenta la historia de cómo un burro jugó un papel importante en la relación diplomática entre España y los nuevos Estados Unidos. 

    Muchas gracias a Allan Winn, Jr. por traducir durante nuestra conversación. Gracias por escuchar. Obtenga más información sobre George Washington y Mount Vernon visitando www.mountvernon.org.

    Muchas gracias a Kelly Molds por su ayuda editorial.

    About Our Guests:

    José Emilio Yanes Garcia is Superior Polytechnic School of Zamora and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca (Spain). He is the author of El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift (2019).

    Allan R. Winn, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who now resides in Zomora, Spain. He is the proprietor of Allan School of English. Winn assisted Yanes with translation work in El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington and provided translation for this episode.

    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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    • 30 min
    195a. Offering George Washington a Royal Gift with Professor José Emilio Yanes

    195a. Offering George Washington a Royal Gift with Professor José Emilio Yanes

    In 1784, King Charles III of Spain sent George Washington a token of his esteem. Knowing that Washington had long sought a Spanish donkey for his Mount Vernon estate, the king permitted a jack to be exported to the new United States. Washington named the donkey Royal Gift in recognition of its royal origin, and the donkey became somewhat of a minor celebrity when he disembarked from his ship in 1785.

    As it turns out, Spanish jacks like Royal Gift were highly prized animals in the Atlantic world. And in this case the Spanish, who had supported the United States during the American Revolution, saw an opportunity to use a donkey as a way to shore up diplomatic relations with the new republic and protect their interests in North America.

    On today’s show, Professor José Emilio Yanes joins Jim Ambuske to discuss his new book, El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift.

    Yanes is a veterinarian and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca in Spain. As the title of his work suggests, it is a Spanish language book, one that makes use of manuscripts in Spanish archives to flesh out Royal Gift’s story.

    We spoke last fall with the help of his friend and collaborator, Allan Winn, Jr., who it so happens is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who has lived in Spain for many years now and runs Allan School of English in Zamora.

    If Spanish happens to be your mother tongue, or if you are like me and you are desperately trying to get better at it, please check out the Spanish-language version of this episode, which will appear in your podcast feed.

    Before we get started, we ask that you do us a quick favor. If you like the show, please drop us a review through your favorite podcast app. We’d really appreciate. And be sure to check out our new website for the show, which we think will make it easier for you to find your favorite episodes. You can find us at www.georgewashingtonpodcast.com.

    About Our Guests:

    José Emilio Yanes Garcia is Superior Polytechnic School of Zamora and Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca (Spain). He is the author of El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington: El periplo de Royal Gift (2019).

    Allan R. Winn, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Virginia who now resides in Zomora, Spain. He is the proprietor of Allan School of English. Winn assisted Yanes with translation work in El Regalo de Carlos III A George Washington and provided translation for this episode.

    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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    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
67 Ratings

67 Ratings

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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.

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Excellent

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

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Great.

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

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