Archives: Videos

Glorious Lessons: John Trumbull, Painter of the American Revolution

Richard Brookhiser
June 4, 2024

John Trumbull experienced the American Revolution firsthand by serving as an aide to American generals George Washington and Horatio Gates and being jailed as a spy. Throughout his wartime experience, he made it his mission to record the conflict, giving visual form to the great and unprecedented political experiment for the citizens of the newly […]

A Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution

Mike Duncan
May 16, 2024

Few in history can match the revolutionary career of the marquis de Lafayette. For over fifty incredible years at the heart of the Age of Revolution, he fought courageously on both sides of the Atlantic as a soldier, statesman, idealist, philanthropist and abolitionist. As a teenager, Lafayette ran away from France to join the American […]

Admiral de Grasse’s Leadership: New Insights Into the American Revolutionary War

Jean-Marie Kowalski
May 3, 2024

Drawing from his recent co-authored book, Admiral de Grasse and American Independence: Command and Operations, Jean-Marie Kowalski, Ph.D., associate professor of history and lecturer at the Université Paris-Sorbonne and the École Navale (French Naval Academy), discusses recent research and discoveries surrounding French admiral Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse and British and French naval operations. In […]

An English Lord in America: Lord Fairfax and George Washington in Revolutionary Virginia

Nicholas Fairfax
April 24, 2024

Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, played an influential role throughout the life of George Washington. Having been introduced to Washington shortly after settling in Belvoir, Va., in 1747, Fairfax became Washington’s first employer when he hired the sixteen-year-old Virginian to survey his lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although a professed Loyalist […]

A French Engineer’s Map Depicting the Early Military Operations of the American Revolution

Andrew Outten
April 19, 2024

In 1777, French army officer Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, with the marquis de Lafayette. During the American Revolution, Capitaine du Chesnoy served with Lafayette as both his aide-de-camp and mapmaker, producing several important plans of key engagements. In addition to his maps serving as vital tools for French officers who […]

The Marquis de Lafayette and His Farewell Tour

Alan Hoffman and Chuck Schwam
March 27, 2024

In 1824-1825, the marquis de Lafayette embarked on a tour of the United States, returning for a final time to the country he helped establish and whose democratic experiment he saw as a model for the rest of the world. Throughout his thirteen-month tour, he visited all twenty-four states of the union, where he was […]

At War, At Sea: The Legacy of James Forten as a Revolutionary War Veteran

Matthew Skic
March 5, 2024

In February 2023, the Museum of the American Revolution opened the acclaimed special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia. The exhibition introduced visitors to three generations of the family of James Forten (1766-1842), a free Black Revolutionary War veteran and sailmaker, as they battled slavery and defended freedom in the early United States. Matthew […]

The American Revolution in the Old Northwest

Larry Nelson
February 28, 2024

The American Revolution in the West is often neglected from the overall history of the conflict, though it had a significant impact on how it was conducted. Larry Nelson, assistant professor of history at Bowling Green State University, discusses this important component of the war by examining American ambitions in the Old Northwest, the vast […]

Three George Washington Manuscripts from the American Revolution

Rachel Nellis
February 9, 2024

Research Services Librarian Rachel Nellis discusses three manuscripts signed by Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution. The manuscripts, recently donated to the Institute as part of the George Miller Chester Jr. (Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut) Collection of Historic General Washington Documents, include two wartime letters written by Washington from […]

Dishonored Americans: The Political Death of Loyalists in Revolutionary America

Timothy Compeau
January 24, 2024

In the final words of the Declaration of Independence, the signatories famously pledged their lives, their fortunes and their “sacred Honor” to one another, but what about those who made the opposite choice? By looking through the lens of honor culture of the period, Timothy Compeau, assistant professor of history at Huron University College at […]

Seized with the Temper of the Times: Identity and Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary America

Abby Chandler
January 9, 2024

The Stamp Act riots in Rhode Island and the Regulator Rebellion in North Carolina, although movements in smaller colonies, tell a broader story about the evolution of American political thought in the decades surrounding the American Revolution. Without pre-existing local tensions, the fury of the Stamp Act crisis might not have spilled over during the […]

A Collections of Letters Written from Captivity by William Russell

Andrew Outten
December 15, 2023

Historical Programs Manager Andrew Outten discusses a collection of letters written from captivity by William Russell, an American soldier and privateer who was imprisoned twice during the Revolution. Following his initial capture at sea, Russell was first held prisoner at Mill Prison in England before being released. Shortly after, he was recaptured and incarcerated on […]

Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America

Benjamin Carp
December 13, 2023

On the night of December 16, 1773, a party of Bostonians boarded three British vessels and dumped over three hundred chests of tea into Boston Harbor. In addition to objecting to taxation without representation, the participants were also protesting the Tea Act of 1773, which forced them to pay a tax on top of the […]

God Save Benedict Arnold: The True Story of America’s Most Hated Man

Jack Kelly
December 7, 2023

For more than two centuries, all most Americans have ever known about Benedict Arnold is that he committed treason—yet he was more than a turncoat. He was a superb leader, a brilliant tactician, a supremely courageous soldier and one of the most successful military officers of the early years of the Revolutionary War. His capture […]

A Handkerchief Commemorating the Reign of King George III

Paul Newman
November 17, 2023

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a handkerchief commemorating the reign of British monarch King George III, made ca. 1812. The large printed handkerchief chronicles contemporary events in a lavishly decorated manner and includes several portraits of notable British figures from the period. This Lunch Bite will focus on the various depictions on […]

A Client State or a Great Power: Radicals vs. Moderates in the Diplomacy of the American Revolution

Robert W. Smith
November 14, 2023

During the Revolution, American policymakers were divided into two factions—radicals and moderates. Radicals saw the United States as a great power, equal to France and worthy of alliances with as many foreign powers as possible. Moderates, however, doubted American military power and were content to rely on military assistance from France alone. In each case, […]

King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father

Brooke Barbier
November 1, 2023

John Hancock is often associated with the radical commencement of the Revolution and his audacious signature at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence, but his politics were not nearly as bold as they may have seemed. Throughout the Revolution, he frustrated both patriots and loyalists alike but remained the most popular and powerful man […]

An Allegorical Portrait of a French Naval Officer

Emily Parsons
October 31, 2023

Deputy Director and Curator Emily Parsons discusses an allegorical portrait from our museum collections. Completed in 1783 by Parisian artist Nicolas René Jollain, the painting depicts Thomas François Lenormand de Victot, a fallen French naval officer from the Revolutionary War. Lenormand de Victot had been serving in the French navy for twenty years by 1778, […]

The 2023 George Rogers Clark Lecture: How King George III Could Have Won the American Revolution

Andrew Roberts & Gen. David Petraeus
October 27, 2023

Historian Lord Andrew Roberts and Gen. David Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.) deliver the 2023 George Rogers Clark Lecture through a conversation of how King George III could have won the American Revolution. Together, they have recently published the new book, Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine. Presented annually since 1975, the Society […]

Visit of the King and Queen of Siam to Anderson House in 1931

Glenn Hennessey
October 20, 2023

Director of Marketing and Communications Glenn Hennessey for a discussion of the 1931 visit to Anderson House by the king and queen of Siam (now Thailand) and the ephemera that documents it. From April 29 to May 1, the royal couple occupied the house—on loan from Larz and Isabel Anderson, who were out of town—for […]

The Tory’s Wife: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America

Cynthia Kierner
October 17, 2023

The Spurgin family of North Carolina experienced the cataclysm of the American Revolution in the most dramatic ways—and from different sides. Jane Welborn Spurgin was a patriot who welcomed Gen. Nathanael Greene to her home and aided the Continental forces. Her husband was a loyalist and an officer fighting for King George III in the […]

Statues of Nathan Hale

Emily Parsons
September 22, 2023

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” The words Nathan Hale is said to have uttered just before being hanged as a spy by the British are among the best remembered of the Revolution. The young schoolteacher-turned-officer-turned-spy was a hero to nineteenth-century Americans, but they didn’t know what […]

The Prelude to Monmouth: From Valley Forge to Monmouth, From Colonial Rebellion to European War

Ricardo A. Herrera
September 15, 2023

For this special lecture, Dr. Ricardo Herrera of the U.S. Army War College explores the events that led to the Battle of Monmouth, along with the subsequent global nature of the American Revolution and its impact on British strategy for the remainder of the conflict. This lecture was part of our larger two-day battlefield tour program […]

The 2023 Society of the Cincinnati Prize Presentation: Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War

Friederike Baer
September 8, 2023

The 2023 Society of the Cincinnati Prize honors Friederike Baer, Ph.D., professor of history at Penn State Abington and her book Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War (Oxford University Press, 2022). In this special event, Dr. Baer receives Cincinnati Prize and discusses her deeply researched examination of the German auxiliaries. Between 1776 and […]

A View From Abroad: The Story of John and Abigail Adams in Europe

Jeanne Abrams
August 29, 2023

From 1778 to 1788, future president John Adams lived in Europe as an American diplomat. Joined by his wife, Abigail, in 1784, the two shared rich encounters with famous heads of the European royal courts. Jeanne E. Abrams, professor of history at the University of Denver, shows that the Adams’ journey not only changed the […]

The Patriot’s Monitor

Stacia Smith
August 28, 2023

It’s back to school season! To celebrate, this month’s Collections Corner features the Institute’s director of education, Stacia Smith, discussing The Patriot’s Monitor, an 1810 American primer written by Rev. Ignatius Thomson of Pomfret, Vermont. As this textbook was “designed to impress and perpetuate the first principles of the Revolution on the minds of youth,” […]

Catharine Macaulay’s An Address to the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland, on the Present Important Crisis of Affairs

Rachel Nellis
August 18, 2023

Research Services Librarian Rachel Nellis discusses Catharine Macaulay, a radical English writer and historian sympathetic to the American cause, and her 1775 pamphlet, An Address to the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland, on the Present Important Crisis of Affairs. Using events such as Parliament’s passing of the Stamp Act and the Boston Massacre, Macaulay’s pamphlet […]

William Hunter: A British Soldier’s Son Who Became an American Citizen

Eugene Procknow
August 15, 2023

The son of a British soldier, William Hunter accompanied his father, a non-commissioned officer in the British army’s 26th Regiment of Foot, while on campaign during the American Revolution. Throughout the war, Hunter witnessed the first-hand terrors of combat, was captured twice, and produced the only surviving account written by a child of a British […]

An Orderly Book Kept by British General Robert Cuninghame

Paul Newman
July 21, 2023

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a manuscript orderly book kept by British General Robert Cuninghame from his time in command of an army camp near Clonmel, Ireland, 1778. An important historical record, this book records the daily orders disseminated at the camp and includes court martial proceedings, unit movements and the rotation […]

South Carolina Provincials: Loyalists in British Service During the American Revolution

Jim Piecuch
July 19, 2023

The Loyalists who supported the British during the American Revolution have frequently been neglected in accounts of that conflict. Nevertheless, Loyalists made significant efforts to assist British forces in restoring royal control of the thirteen colonies. This was especially true in South Carolina, where backcountry Loyalists under almost-forgotten leaders such as Joseph Robinson and Euan […]

The Franco-British Struggle for Global Hegemony and the Career of Lt. Col. Dupleix de Cadignan, 1755-1784

Robert A. Selig
July 13, 2023

Jean-Baptiste Dupleix de Cadignan (1738-1824) entered the French army’s Régiment de Bourgogne-Infanterie as a lieutenant on April 15, 1754, five weeks before his sixteenth birthday. That same day, he began a diary that forms the basis for his over four-hundred page, two-volume journal owned by the Society of the Cincinnati. Commencing in April 1755, when […]

French Military Treatises of the Eighteenth Century

Joe Stoltz
June 26, 2023

Coping with the sunset that followed Louis XIV’s death, battered by a string of costly military defeats, and influenced by the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the French army was primed for reform in the mid-eighteenth century. Scholar-soldiers spilled buckets of ink debating the nature of the French soldier, how to deal with modern reliable […]

Prisoners of Congress: Philadelphia’s Quakers in Exile, 1777-1778

Norman E. Donoghue
June 20, 2023

In 1777, Congress labeled a group of Philadelphia Quakers who refused to help defend the city against the imminent invasion by British troops as “the most Dangerous Enemies America knows.” They ordered Pennsylvania to apprehend them. In response, state officials sent twenty men—seventeen of them Quakers—into exile, banishing them to Virginia, where they were held […]

Disunion Among Ourselves: The Perilous Politics of the American Revolution

Eli Merritt
June 7, 2023

Far from a harmonious collaboration, the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War was so filled with political strife that the delegates feared the Revolutionary War would end in disunion or civil war. But instead of disbanding, these founders managed to unite for the sake of liberty and self-preservation, forging grueling compromises and holding the young […]

Society of the Cincinnati Eagles of the Twentieth Century

Emily Parsons
May 19, 2023

The Institute’s deputy director and curator, Emily Parsons, discusses Society of the Cincinnati Eagles of the twentieth century. The Eagle insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati is one of the most historic American medals and has been worn by members at meetings, dinners, ceremonies, and other events for more than two hundred years. Designed […]

Early French Eagle Insignias of the Society of the Cincinnati

Emily Parsons
May 13, 2023

The Society of the Cincinnati’s Eagle insignia has been the most recognizable symbol of the organization and its members for more than two hundred years. Designed in 1783 by Pierre-Charles L’Enfant, the double-sided gold insignia bears scenes of the Society’s namesake, Cincinnatus, on the breast of an American bald eagle, and is suspended from a […]

The New Game of the American Revolution

Stacia Smith
April 24, 2023

This segment of Collections Corner features the Institute’s director of education, Stacia Smith, discussing The New Game of the American Revolution, a 2022 acquisition from our library’s Robert Charles Lawrence Fergusson Collection. Created in 1844 by the author of the Merry Cards, The New Game was printed in Boston by Lorenzo Burge/Thayer & Company Lithographers, […]

Spanish and American Diplomacy and Partnership in the Time of the Revolution: A Celebration of Trans-Atlantic Friendship

Larrie Ferreiro and Richard Kagan
April 18, 2023

The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute and the Embassy of Spain in the United States host a celebration of Spanish-American friendship at the international headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Aranjuez on April 12, 1779, […]

The Surveyor’s Eyes: Mapping Empire in the Era of the American Revolution

Max Edelson
April 13, 2023

In the second half of the eighteenth century, British surveyors came to North America and the West Indies in unprecedented numbers. Their images of coastlines, forts and frontiers helped win the French and Indian War and pictured a triumphant British Atlantic world. The American Revolution shattered this vision of peace, commerce and settlement. Once tasked […]

A Handkerchief Commemorating the Reign of King George III

Paul Newman
March 23, 2023

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a commemorative handkerchief charting the reign of King George III, ca. 1812, through various political appointments, government ministries, and events of national and global interests. This handkercheif is a valuable artifact in providing a British perspective of the American Revolution, and how it fits into the broader […]

The Wandering Army: The British Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War

Huw J. Davies
March 21, 2023

In 1774, Gen. Henry Clinton embarked on a “martial grand tour,” visiting the battlefields of Europe with his friend, the military theorist Henry Lloyd. What the two observed on their travels would change the British approach to the war that broke out in North America the following year. From his practical and theoretical study of […]

The Diplomatic Uniform of Larz Anderson

Paul Newman
March 10, 2023

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a diplomatic uniform made for Larz Anderson by Davies & Son of London, England, for his appointment as the U.S. minister to Belgium in 1911. At the time, U.S. diplomats were prescribed to wear civilian suits, however as it was normal for diplomats to be presented before […]

François-Jean de Chastellux and American Independence

Iris De Rode
March 2, 2023

François-Jean Chastellux, a major general in the French army, member of the Society of the Cincinnati and cousin of the marquis de Lafayette, played a central role in the Franco-American alliance during the Revolutionary War. Recently, a collection of more than four thousand pages of Chastellux’s private papers were discovered at his estate in Burgundy, […]

Affairs of State: 118 Years of Diplomacy and Entertaining at Anderson House

February 24, 2023

Diplomacy and entertaining have always gone hand in hand in the nation’s capital. Anderson House, headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, has played a historic role in that story during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—but one that has largely gone untold. Since its opening in 1905, the mansion has been the site of hundreds […]

Friedrich Wilhelm Steuben’s Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States

Andrew Outten
February 23, 2023

On February 23, 1778, Gen. George Washington welcomed Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm Steuben of Prussia at Valley Forge. Throughout the Revolutionary War, Steuben was instrumental in transforming the Continental Army into a professional fighting force. This month’s edition of Collections Corner features the Institute’s historical programs manager, Andrew Outten, discussing one of the most iconic publications […]

In League with Liberty: The Persistence of Patriots of Color and the Formation of the First Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Army

Robert Geake
February 16, 2023

As states struggled to fill enlistment quotas in late 1777, the Rhode Island General Assembly, drawing from a proposal from Rhode Island general James Varnum, voted to allow the enlistments of indentured servants, indigenous peoples and former slaves. With that, the First Rhode Island Regiment, known as “the black regiment,” was formed. Although met with […]

Charles Stedman’s History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War

Andrew Outten
February 10, 2023

Historical Programs Manager Andrew Outten discusses Charles Stedman’s History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War that contains detailed annotations made by British general Sir Henry Clinton. Stedman, who served as an officer in the British army for most of the Revolutionary War, wrote a detailed history of the conflict that was published in […]

The Battle of St. Louis and the Attack on Cahokia

Stephen L. Kling, Jr.
January 31, 2023

Compared to events in the East, the American Revolutionary War in the West has received sparse attention despite its major impact on the geographical extent of the United States after the war. In 1779, in response to George Rogers Clark conquering the Illinois country and Spain entering the war, Lord George Germain set in motion […]

The Real Miracle at Valley Forge: George Washington’s Political Mastery

David O. Stewart
January 24, 2023

Throughout the punishing winter at Valley Forge, Gen. George Washington preserved the Continental Army while also forging it into an effective fighting force. This achievement not only reflected military leadership but also deft political action that allowed the commander-in-chief both to repel an attempt to supersede him and to command the congressional and national support […]

Six Letters Written by Capt. Jonathan Birge

Rachel Nellis
January 21, 2023

This segment of  Collections Corner features the Institute’s research services librarian, Rachel Nellis, sharing a remarkable series of six surviving letters written from New York in the summer and fall of 1776 by Capt. Jonathan Birge of Bolton, Connecticut, to his wife Priscilla. This series details Birge’s company’s activities, including descriptions of their supplies, sickness, […]

A Captured British Light Dragoon Carbine

Emily Parsons
January 20, 2023

Deputy Director and Curator Emily Parsons for a discussion of a British Pattern 1756 light dragoon carbine and the winding road it took to seeing action in the American Revolution. In May 1776, just two months after the British had evacuated Boston, a Massachusetts privateer captured an armed British transport ship, the Hope, near Boston Harbor. […]

Anthony Walton White’s Silver Camp Cups

Emily Parsons
December 29, 2022

This pair of silver camp cups was owned by Anthony Walton White, an officer in the New Jersey Line and the Continental Light Dragoons during the Revolutionary War. The cups were made in Philadelphia about 1776 by silversmith Richard Humphreys, who made a similar set for George Washington during the war. Small and simple yet […]

A Presentation Sword Awarded to Commodore Joshua Barney

Paul Newman
December 16, 2022

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a presentation sword awarded to Commodore Joshua Barney (1759-1818) by the city of Washington, D.C., for his service at the Battle of Bladensburg, fought on August 24, 1814. Barney, who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati, […]

The Contagion of Liberty: The Politics of Smallpox in the American Revolution

Andrew Wehrman
December 13, 2022

With a smallpox epidemic raging during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington was forced to order the mandatory inoculation of the Continental Army. Washington, however, did not have to convince fearful colonists to protect themselves against smallpox—they were the ones demanding it. In his new book, The Contagion of Liberty: The Politics of Smallpox in the […]

“As long as I have served, I have not left a battlefield in such deep sorrow”: The Archaeology of a Mass Burial Discovered at Red Bank Battlefield

Wade P. Catts
December 7, 2022

For nearly a decade, Red Bank Battlefield Park, N.J., has been the focus of a series of archaeological studies investigating the Hessian attack on Fort Mercer on October 22, 1777, during the Philadelphia campaign. During a public archaeology program conducted in the summer of 2022, a mass burial space was discovered and is thought to […]

Two Congressional Presentation Swords

Paul Newman
November 19, 2022

This segment of Collections Corner features the Institute’s Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discussing two Congressional presentation swords from our museum collections. Resolved by Congress on November 4, 1777, one sword was awarded to Marylander Samuel Smith for his “gallant defense of Fort Mifflin on the River Delaware” — which the Americans were […]

A Series of 1778 Prints Satirizing the Carlisle Peace Commission

Rachel Nellis
November 19, 2022

Research Services Librarian Rachel Nellis discusses the art of satire and Matthew and Mary Darly, the English husband and wife print shop owners and caricaturists. This Lunch Bite explores the Darly’s careers and focuses on their series of four 1778 prints satirizing the British Carlisle Peace Commission—a failed attempt to negotiate a peace with Congress. […]

The Other 1776: Reform and French Military Dress in the Late Ancien Regime

Matthew Keagle
November 15, 2022

Following its catastrophic defeat in the Seven Years’ War, the French military undertook a comprehensive series of reforms affecting everything from warship design to soldiers’ uniforms, which dramatically altered the army’s appearance. This uniform provided unheard-of amenities for French soldiers but was widely disliked and quickly replaced. The fallout surrounding the 1776 uniform reflects the […]

Misinformation Nation: Foreign News and the Politics of Truth in Revolutionary America

Jordan E. Taylor
November 10, 2022

“Fake news” is nothing new. Just like millions of Americans today, the revolutionaries of the eighteenth century worried that they were entering a “post-truth” era. Their fears, however, were not fixated on social media or clickbait, but rather on peoples’ increasing reliance on reading news gathered from foreign newspapers. News was the lifeblood of early […]

Chinese Tea and American Rebels: The Global Origins of the Revolutionary Crisis

Nick Bunker
October 28, 2022

Drawing from his book, An Empire on the Edge, a 2015 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History, historian Nick Bunker delivers the annual George Rogers Clark lecture and re-examines the Boston Tea Party and the onset of the revolution in Massachusetts in 1774, placing them in their global context. Making connections between events in […]

A 1770 Edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost

Ellen McCallister Clark
October 24, 2022

On October 17, 1777, British general John Burgoyne surrendered his army to American forces under Gen. Horatio Gates. To mark the 245th anniversary of this pivotal milestone in the Revolutionary War, this edition of Collections Corner features Library Director Ellen McCallister Clark discussing an unexpected treasure from our library collections, a 1770 edition of John […]

Women at War: Confronting Challenges and Hardships in the American Revolution

Holly Mayer, Benjamin Carp, Lauren Duval, Don Hagist and Carin Bloom
October 18, 2022

Women participated in the American Revolution in complex and varied ways, and the Revolution transformed their place in the new nation. This panel discussion convenes several contributors to a new anthology, Women Waging War in the American Revolution, and will be moderated by Dr. Holly Mayer, professor emerita of history at Duquesne University. Panelists Benjamin […]

First Among Men: George Washington and the Myth of American Masculinity

Maurizio Valsania
October 12, 2022

George Washington, hero of the French and Indian War, commander in chief of the Continental Army and first president of the United States, died on December 14, 1799. Shortly thereafter, the myth-making surrounding Washington began and has persisted today. Washington is frequently portrayed by his biographers as America at its unflinching best: tall, shrewd, determined, […]

North of America: Loyalists, Indigenous Nations, and the Borders of the Long American Revolution

Jeffers Lennox
October 5, 2022

At the start of the Revolutionary War, independence had its limits as patriots were surrounded by indigenous peoples and loyalists throughout the northern regions that straddled the colonial borders, and these foreign neighbors were far from inactive during the Revolution. Upper Canada, Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and especially the homelands that straddled […]

Lt. William Popham’s Orderly Book

Rachel Nellis
September 25, 2022

On September 25, 1780, Benedict Arnold fled West Point and defected to the British as news of his betrayal spread. Our newest Collections Corner video features Research Services Librarian Rachel Nellis sharing an orderly book kept by Lt. William Popham in the late summer and early fall of 1780. This orderly book features the shocking […]

Dark Voyage: An American Privateer’s War on Britain’s African Slave Trade

Christian McBurney
September 22, 2022

Historian Christian McBurney discusses the harrowing voyage of the Marlborough, an American privateer vessel that sailed across the Atlantic to attack British slave trading posts and ships on the coast of West Africa during the Revolutionary War. His new ground-breaking book is the first to explore the efforts of the Marlborough’s officers and crew, along […]

William Faden’s 1778 and 1784 maps of the Battle of Brandywine

Andrew Outten
September 9, 2022

Historical Programs Manager Andrew Outten discusses two maps produced by British cartographer William Faden depicting the Battle of Brandywine. William Faden is well known for his maps of major battles of the Revolutionary War. Unusually, he produced two maps of the Battle of Brandywine, one in 1778 and the other in 1784. Each map shows […]

“To Have The Bed Made”: Invisible Labor and the Material Culture of Nursing in the Revolutionary War

Meg Roberts
August 25, 2022

Alongside the surgeons and physicians, the medical care of the thousands of sick and wounded Continental soldiers relied upon the tireless work of army nurses, camp followers, housewives, cooks, laundresses and local families. In contrast to the voluminous records of soldiers’ and military leaders’ wartime experiences, the contribution of women has often been summarized fleetingly […]

The Historiscope: A Complete Panorama of America

Stacia Smith
August 25, 2022

The historiscope is an educational toy manufactured by Milton Bradley & Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1868-1890. It features a scrolling set of hand-colored lithographs wound around two vertical wooden dowels with metal handles set into a cardboard box that allowed a child to present one image after the other to a gathering of family […]

The Habsburg Monarchy and the American Revolution

Jonathan Singerton
August 16, 2022

During the Revolutionary War, the Habsburg monarchy, the largest continental European power of the eighteenth century, never formally recognized the United States, but its ruling and mercantile elites saw opportunity, especially for commerce. Bringing together materials from nearly fifty international archives, Jonathan Singerton of the University of Innsbruck reconstructs the full sweep of relations between […]

“A Kind of Partisan War”: An Archaeological Perspective on Francis Marion

Steven Smith
August 4, 2022

When Nathanael Greene was appointed commander of the southern Continental forces in the fall of 1780, he wrote to George Washington that he would be forced to fight “a kind of partisan war,” until he could raise an army large enough to contend with the British. Greene’s strategy was to check the main British army […]

The Artifacts of Arnold’s Bay: Following the Diaspora of Material Culture Over Time

Christopher Sabick & Cherilyn Gilligan
July 28, 2022

During the last engagement in the 1776 northern campaign season, Gen. Benedict Arnold burned the remaining vessels of his American fleet in Lake Champlain to prevent capture by the British. In 2020, the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program funded an archeological survey project of this area, now classified as a Revolutionary War battlefield […]

The Art and Science of Siege Warfare in the American Revolution

Glenn F. Williams
July 14, 2022

Fortification and siege doctrine were a critical component of any eighteenth-century military. Drawing mainly from the Siege of Yorktown, Dr. Glenn F. Williams of the U.S. Army Center of Military History explores the intricacies and technical expertise required to carry out an effective and successful siege in the Revolutionary War. This lecture focuses on eighteenth-century […]

Nathanael Greene’s Pistols

Andrew Outten
July 8, 2022

The Institute’s historical programs manager, Andrew Outten, discusses a pair of holster pistols that was owned by Gen. Nathanael Greene and given to his aide-de-camp, Nathaniel Pendleton, who served under Greene during the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. The brass box-lock pistols were made about 1782 by William Grice and Charles Freeth of Birmingham, […]

Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778

Ricardo A. Herrera
July 6, 2022

In this new history of the Continental Army’s Grand Forage of 1778, award-winning military historian Ricardo A. Herrera uncovers what daily life was like for soldiers during the darkest and coldest days of the American Revolution: the Valley Forge winter. There the army launched its largest and riskiest operation—not a bloody battle against British forces […]

William Truman Stoddert Portrait Miniature

Emily Parsons
July 1, 2022

This watercolor portrait miniature pictures First Lieutenant William Truman Stoddert of the Maryland Continental Line, who served in the Revolutionary War for six years. The portrait was painted about 1778 by Charles Willson Peale, the most important American artist during the war and a soldier himself. Lieutenant Stoddert probably commissioned this miniature as a gift […]

Spanish Model 1757 Flintlock Musket

Andrew Outten
June 22, 2022

The Spanish Model 1757 musket was the standard Spanish infantry firearm during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution. In June 1779, Spain formally declared war on Great Britain, creating a de facto alliance with the Americans and expanding the global reach of the Revolution. Spain supplied these muskets and other military stores to […]

Dr. James Tilton’s Society of the Cincinnati Eagle Insignia and Treatise

Emily Parsons
June 17, 2022

The Institute’s deputy director and curator, Emily Parsons, discusses Dr. James Tilton’s Society of the Cincinnati Eagle insignia and 1813 medical treatise. James Tilton served in the Revolutionary War first as a military physician for the Delaware Regiment and later as a Continental Army hospital physician. During the brutal winter encampment at Morristown in 1779-1780, […]

Medicine in the American Revolution

Ronald S. Gibbs
June 16, 2022

Disease was a major part of everyday life in the American colonies, especially during the Revolutionary War. For every soldier dying of wounds in the war, seven died of infections including smallpox, malaria and typhus. Doctors were influenced by ancient medical thought, and with the best intentions, treated diseases with bleedings, leeches and purges. Ronald […]

The Burning of His Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee

Steven Park
June 9, 2022

On June 9, 1772, a group of prominent Rhode Islanders rowed out to the British schooner Gaspee, which had run aground six miles south of Providence while on an anti-smuggling patrol. After threatening and shooting its commanding officer, the raiders looted the vessel and burned it to the waterline. Despite colony-wide sympathy for the raid, neither […]

A Portrait of Capt. Francis Lord Rawdon

Paul Newman
May 20, 2022

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a portrait of Capt. Francis Lord Rawdon by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, ca 1777. Lord Rawdon, an Irish-born officer in the British army, saw extensive service in the northern and southern theaters of the Revolutionary War and took part in almost every major battle. This Lunch Bite focuses […]

Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War

Friederike Baer
May 17, 2022

Between 1776 and 1783, Great Britain hired an estimated thirty thousand German soldiers to fight in its war against the American rebels. Collectively known as Hessians, the soldiers and accompanying civilians, including hundreds of women and children, spent extended periods of time in locations as dispersed and varied as Canada, West Florida and Cuba. They […]

The Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati

Ellen McCallister Clark
May 13, 2022

The most important and iconic treasure of the Society of the Cincinnati’s archives is the Institution, the document that formally established the organization of Revolutionary War veterans. On May 13, 1783, a group of Continental Army officers gathered at General Steuben’s headquarters near Newburgh, New York, to finalize and adopt the Institution. The Institution lays […]

America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution

C. Bradley Thompson
April 27, 2022

The American Revolution was a watershed in the principles of government between centuries of monarchical and aristocratic rule and free societies based on moral principles that shaped the Revolutionary ideal of universal equality. Professor Thompson, author of America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration that Defined It, explores the logic […]

French Naval Engraving

Rachel Nellis
April 22, 2022

This recently acquired 1790 engraving depicts two French frigates, the Astrée and the Hermione, engaged in battle against a convoy of six British warships off Cape Breton Island on July 21, 1781. Engraved by François Dequevauviller, after the painting by Auguste-Louis de Rossel de Cercy, the print was a collaboration of the two artists, who […]

Benjamin Rush’s Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers

Ellen McCallister Clark
April 15, 2022

Library Director Ellen McCallister Clark discusses Benjamin Rush’s Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers from our library collections and a feature of our exhibition, Saving Soldiers: Medical Practice in the Revolutionary War. Published in 1778, Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers reflected the ambition of physicians as well as American leaders to apply the insights […]

Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero

Christian Di Spigna
April 12, 2022

Dr. Joseph Warren, a respected physician and architect of the Revolutionary movement, was one of the most important figures in early American history—and might have gone on to lead the country had he not been killed at Bunker Hill in 1775. Warren was involved in almost every major protest against British policies in the Boston […]

Mercy Otis Warren’s Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous

Rachel Nellis
March 18, 2022

Research Services Librarian Rachel Nellis discusses Mercy Otis Warren’s Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous, published in 1790, that contains two plays and several allegorical or satirical poems on the Revolution that were dedicated to George Washington and praised by Alexander Hamilton.    

Thomas Kempton Powder Horn

Paul Newman
March 17, 2022

This engraved powder horn was made by an unidentified professional carver for Capt. Thomas Kempton of Massachusetts during the Siege of Boston in 1775. The powder horn depicts scenes of Roxbury and Boston, including the Boston lighthouse, a fort flying the British flag, Boston Neck, a barracks and other buildings in Roxbury. Museum Collections and […]

Displaced: The Siege of Boston and the “Donation People” of 1775

Katie Turner Getty
March 10, 2022

In 1775, the British army seethed within Boston as the Continental Army besieged the city, compelling thousands of civilians to flee to the surrounding countryside. General George Washington and the Massachusetts Provincial Congress coordinated efforts to support the influx of displaced persons while attempting to protect the Continental Army from smallpox flaring in Boston. Many […]

Cornwallis: Soldier and Statesman in a Revolutionary World

Richard Middleton
March 2, 2022

Charles Cornwallis was a leading figure in late eighteenth-century Great Britain. His career spanned the American War of Independence, Irish Union, the French Revolutionary Wars and the building of the second British Empire in India. Focusing on the first part of his new major biography, Richard Middleton offers insight into Cornwallis’ time in America  and […]