Friday, October 9, 2009

The Shoemaker and the Tea Party

The undergrads in my research seminar are reading Alfred F. Young's The Shoemaker and the Teaparty: Memory and the American Revolution.

I could go on an on about how this is a lovely little book for introducing the subject of historical memory to undergraduates. I could tell you that Young's skillful blending of biography and argument in the first half is a great model for writers embarking on their first research projects. I could rhapsodize at length about the usefulness of this book for exploring the process of nation-making between 1790 and 1830.

Instead, I will chuckle and observe that the titular shoemaker, George Robert Twelves Hewes, had fifteen children. He named the 11th "Eleven Hewes" and the 15th "George Robert Twelves Fifteen Hewes" (called "Fifteen" in everyday situations).

Also, this book, at 207 pages plus an 11-page preface, earns a VPI Grad Student Seal of Approval.