Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

I remember with fondness, as do many of us who came of age in the 1990s, my neon pink and purple “caboodle.” For those of you unfamiliar with the form, it is a molded plastic container with a latched top that raises up to reveal a multitude of trays, containers, and mysteriously shaped indentations all intended to house cosmetics, hair products, and personal accessories. For my teenage self the caboodle was the ultimate symbol of femininity and the mysterious physical manipulations of skin and hair that being an adult woman required. My caboodle is long since gone, but I suspect its lingering memory shaped my interest in eighteenth-century cosmetics and the dressing furniture that housed them. Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

Excerpt: The Ashley Cooper Plan, by Thomas D. Wilson

Ashley Cooper’s Grand Model was the ultimate product of English colonial policy, political philosophy, and city planning prior to the Enlightenment. The Fundamental Constitutions and “instructions,” products of both Ashley Cooper and Locke, formed a body of law and policy written by two of the most astute minds of the time, tempered to be sure by the diverse opinions of the remaining seven Carolina proprietors. Within those documents, city planning (in the broad sense of the term used throughout) held an essential place in the overall design of the colony’s social structure, economy, and government. Continue Reading Excerpt: The Ashley Cooper Plan, by Thomas D. Wilson

Video: Kishwar Rizvi on Islamic Architecture and Historical Memory

In the following video, Rizvi talks with Marilyn Wilkes about The Transnational Mosque in an episode of The MacMillan Report, produced by the MacMillan Center at Yale University. Continue Reading Video: Kishwar Rizvi on Islamic Architecture and Historical Memory

April Merleaux: The Subtlety of the Sugar Babies

Last summer, to celebrate finishing the manuscript of my book, Sugar and Civilization: American Empire and the Cultural Politics of Sweetness, I went to New York to see artist Kara Walker’s installation A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby in an old Domino sugar factory in Brooklyn. Walker is known for making bold art that calls on viewers to consider histories of racial violence in the United States, and A Subtlety did just that. Sugar, Walker points out, is historically tied to race in many and multiple ways. Continue Reading April Merleaux: The Subtlety of the Sugar Babies

Excerpt: Crafting Lives: African American Artisans in New Bern, North Carolina, 1770-1900, by Catherine W. Bishir

For most black artisans in the antebellum South, being born into slavery placed clear limits on their future. No matter how skilled they might be, seldom could enslaved artisans expect to trace the customary path from apprentice to master that white artisans pursued. For Montford, as for a remarkable number of his fellows in New Bern, however, the timing and circumstances of his birth together with his skills, industry, ambition, and relationships enabled him to realize such hopes as he moved from slavery to freedom and became a master of apprentices and slaves, a property owner, and a voting citizen. Only as Montford’s life drew to its close in the 1830s did he and his fellow artisans of color witness the onset of oppressive racial laws that chilled the hopes of New Bern’s black craftsmen for themselves and for their children. Continue Reading Excerpt: Crafting Lives: African American Artisans in New Bern, North Carolina, 1770-1900, by Catherine W. Bishir

The Chesapeake House honored by Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians

This work can truly be called a paradigm shift for how we should see and understand a significant regional development of American architecture. Continue Reading The Chesapeake House honored by Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians

Lawrence S. Earley: The Stories I Heard

Milan Lewis of Atlantic said that he had joined the Navy during the Second World War. “I didn’t go in because I was patriotic,” he said. “I went in because I was digging clams for 40 cents a bushel, and I thought the Navy would be better, which was a mistake. The clamming was better.” Continue Reading Lawrence S. Earley: The Stories I Heard

Tobe: Charles Anderson Farrell Photographs Digitized in New Collection

Even with all the criteria Farrell needed to meet, the final product is wonderfully authentic. Farrell explained, “The children look natural and unposed because I spent far more time on the little game we played than on the photography. The photography was incidental, and I think that only a few times were the children aware of the camera.” Continue Reading Tobe: Charles Anderson Farrell Photographs Digitized in New Collection

William Ferris: A Little Bit of Story in Everything

My grandfather loved to tell me the long, frightening story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. When he finished telling the tale, I would ask him, “Grandad, tell it again.” And he would patiently tell me the story again. No memory from my childhood burns brighter than this story and its telling by my grandfather. Continue Reading William Ferris: A Little Bit of Story in Everything

Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery Hosts Thomas Day Exhibit

Much like Marshall and Leimenstoll’s book, Dubrow describes the Smithsonian’s exhibit as, “doubly intriguing—combining his startlingly unique cabinets, bureaus, chairs, even a child’s Gothic-Classical style ‘commode’ (potty), architectural designs, with his extraordinary career.” Continue Reading Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery Hosts Thomas Day Exhibit

Video and Event Celebrate Paul Kwilecki’s “One Place”

Kwilecki developed his visual ideas in series of photographs of high school proms, prison hog killings, shade-tree tobacco farming, factory work, church life, the courthouse. Continue Reading Video and Event Celebrate Paul Kwilecki’s “One Place”

Howard Risatti: Environmentalism Reviving Tradition in Art

I want to stress that what artists like M. C. Richards and other were doing by raising our sensitivity to ecological issues was indeed very important. It was an attempt to help us find the will to actually do something. Continue Reading Howard Risatti: Environmentalism Reviving Tradition in Art

Howard Risatti: Monetary Motivations in Art and Perceptions of Craft

Evidently money and marketing, which support these biennials, are a big part of this change. They have transformed art into a high-profile activity in which the elite now collect contemporary art instead of old masters as they did at the beginning of the last century. Continue Reading Howard Risatti: Monetary Motivations in Art and Perceptions of Craft

Fiona Deans Halloran: Thomas Nast, Horace Greeley, and the Gift of Gaffe

Where did he find his inspiration? Frequently in what we would call gaffes. Those little slips that so reveal the true character of any politician helped to inspire Nast’s pencil to new heights. Continue Reading Fiona Deans Halloran: Thomas Nast, Horace Greeley, and the Gift of Gaffe

Fiona Deans Halloran: The Literacy of Thomas Nast

What does it mean to be literate? Fiona Deans Halloran explores the literacy of Thomas Nast’s political cartoons. Continue Reading Fiona Deans Halloran: The Literacy of Thomas Nast

Southern Gateways: essential southern reading that makes a great gift

Our Holiday Sale is now underway! If you need some gift ideas for the folks on your list, our Southern Gateways catalog is a great place to start. Southern Gateways is where we collect of all our general interest books about this region we call home. Continue Reading Southern Gateways: essential southern reading that makes a great gift

Fall sale wrap-up: new categories 50% off, sale ends soon!

Announcing our last four sale subjects, all at 50% off, with free shipping for orders over $75 for the next two weeks. Continue Reading Fall sale wrap-up: new categories 50% off, sale ends soon!

Interview: Daniel W. Patterson on The True Image

A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel Patterson documents the craftsmanship of this group and the current appearance of the stones. In two hundred of his photographs, he records these stones for future generations and compares their iconography and inscriptions with those of other early monuments in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Continue Reading Interview: Daniel W. Patterson on The True Image

UNC Press Fall Sale: New categories

New Fall sale categories: business history and southern history. Throughout the fall, we’re offering 50% off selected titles in the disciplines listed below. Enter 01SALE12 at checkout. Spend $75.00 and the shipping is free. Continue Reading UNC Press Fall Sale: New categories

Miles Orvell: Main Street in the 21st Century

Travel across the U.S.A., from Maine to California, and sooner or later you’re bound to stop at a new Main Street-inspired mall. Along the way, you may also find yourself driving into a town with an actual historic Main Street that is struggling to assert its relevance in the age of malls and supermalls. After the postwar romance with the mega shopping mall—which drained the vitality out of small towns across the U.S.—Americans are gradually coming back to the idea of the small-scale community embodied in the Main Street model. Continue Reading Miles Orvell: Main Street in the 21st Century