Friday, May 22, 2015

The Historiography of the English Reformation (Part 2)

In the previous post on this topic, we introduced the old Whig-Protestant reading of the English Reformation, some version of which, reaching back all the way to the sixteenth century, was dominant. Sometime in the late twentieth century, however, the dominance of this version of the story of the English Reformation began to unravel, giving way to what would eventually be called the revisionist school of interpretation.

In 1975, a former student of G. R. Elton’s, Christopher Haigh, published an expansion of his Ph.D. dissertation under the title Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire. Using public records and private papers he found in six English archives, Haigh was able to create a portrait according to which the county of Lancashire was hardly impacted at all by Lollardy, and remained happily isolated from most of the reforming influence and pressures of the sixteenth century. Historians had always known, wrote Haigh, that Lancashire had especially resisted reformation. There, “religious change was a slow and far from unimpeded process.” He acknowledged that things were different in other parts of England. However, he suspected that “the contrast is between Lancashire and what the conventional wisdom tells us happened elsewhere, rather than between Lancashire and what actually took place in the rest of England." [1] Naturally, such a comment provokes the question of exactly how representative Lancashire, with all of its admitted differences, might be. At any rate, remarking on Haigh's title, Peter Marshall recently observed that the book had rather more to say about resistance than reformation. At the same time, Marshall acknowledged that Haigh forcefully argued that “the church before the 1530s commanded very widespread allegiance,” that “Protestantism only ever made a small number of converts,” and that “Catholic practices long continued in defiance of the law.” Consequently, Haigh’s 1975 book did much to generate new interest in and discussion of the historiography of the English Reformation. [2]

In the early 1980s, J. J. Scarisbrick joined the campaign against the standard view with the publication of The Reformation and the English People. As Scarisbrick explains, his book represents the series of Ford Lectures which he had delivered at Oxford University in 1982. Using testamentary records and the accounts of churchwardens among other sources, he argues that the Reformation in England was “implemented from ‘above’ by statute, proclamation and royal commission.” Moreover, “on the whole, English men and women did not want the Reformation and most of them were slow to accept it when it came." [3] Scarisbrick acknowledges that though some parishioners were godly and devout, not all of them were. Yet, he says, we should recognize a distinction between indifference and hostility, and the impressive construction and refurbishment of churches during the early decades of the sixteenth century suggest widespread approval and support of England’s traditional religion. 

As early as 1982, the same year that Scarisbrick delivered his lectures, Haigh published a landmark article in which he set out to explain what was then “The Recent Historiography of the English Reformation.” The article was especially significant for two reasons. First, Haigh accounted for a wide range and large number of works that had been published during the previous half-century. Second, he provided a template according to which those books and articles might be organized. The various interpretations could be grouped, he said, “in relation to two matrices.” The first of these related to “the motive force behind the progress of Protestantism.” Haigh observed that “at one extreme, it could be suggested that Protestant advance was entirely the result of official coercion, while at the other extreme it could be said that the new religion spread horizontally by conversions among the people.” The second matrix related to the pace of religious change. While some scholars had concluded “that Protestantism made real progress at an early date and had become a powerful force by the death of Edward VI,” others asserted that very little had changed in the first half of the sixteenth century and that “the main task of protestantizing the people had to be undertaken in the reign of Elizabeth." [4] In what was surely an oversimplification, and yet a helpful one, Haigh went on to identify four sectors of the interpretive field. First, there were those scholars who saw what they believed was rapid, top-down reform. This traditional interpretation, he wrote, was best represented by G. R. Elton. In his book, Reform and Reformation: England 1509-1558, and in an earlier title, the 1972 work, Policy and Police: The Enforcement of the Reformation in the Age of Thomas Cromwell, Elton emphasized the effectiveness of Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s chief minister. A great statesman, Cromwell so masterminded the Henrician Reformation that by the time of the Act of Supremacy of 1534, England was closer to being a Protestant country than anything else. [5]

It was A. G. Dickens, the aforementioned author of The English Reformation, who served in Haigh’s formulation as the best representative of a second quadrant in the field. This was the place where interpreters agreed with the first group that the Reformation came quickly to England. Yet, again, scholars like Dickens identified religious sources of the rapid Reformation. Haigh noted against this view, however, that then-recently revealed evidence seemed to indicate the existence of a traditional religion in England that was not “moribund, dispirited and repressive." [6] This was a telling clue. It suggested that a newly-recovered body of evidence would open up a new future for the historiography of the English Reformation.

[1] Christopher Haigh, Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), vii-viii.

[2] Peter Marshall, “England,” in Reformation and Early Modern Europe: A Guide to Research, ed. David M. Whitford (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2008), 251.

[3] J. J. Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), vii and 1.
[4] Christopher Haigh, “The Recent Historiography of the English Reformation,” Historical Journal 25, no. 4 (December 1982), (accessed February 11, 2015).

[5] G. R. Elton, Reform and Reformation (1977) and Policy and Police: Enforcement of the Reformation in the Age of Thomas Cromwell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972).

[6] Haigh, “The Recent Historiography of the English Reformation,” 998.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

See Larkin Graduate!

With Michele at Larkin Davis Johnson's graduation from Texas Tech School of Law last Saturday, May 16th. We're all so proud!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Same-Sex "Marriage" in Early America

Cleves, Rachel Hope. Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Charity & Sylvia is a carefully-researched and well-written book about two women in early nineteenth-century America who were as married as they could have been. Along the way, readers learn a great deal about Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, their extended families, their decades-long relationship as "husband and wife," and their status as members of the church and pillars in the community of Weybridge, Vermont.

Rachel Hope Cleves tells this interesting tale in part to demonstrate her thesis: "Same-sex marriage is not as new as Americans on both sides of today's debate tend to assume; it is neither the radical break with timeless tradition that conservatives fear nor the unprecedented innovation of a singularly tolerant age that liberals praise. It fits within a long history of marriage diversity in North America that included practices such as polygamy, self-divorce, free love, and interracial unions" (xviii).

One reason that Charity & Sylvia is getting so much "buzz" is that the story related in this book stands on the other side of typical boundaries in the field of LGBT history. Specifically, it pays attention to: 
  • women, not men
  • the early nineteenth, not the late twentieth century
  • life in a small town, not a large city
  • religion as part of the story, not the antithesis of the story
In other words, it is significant that this book is not about gay men living in San Francisco during the late twentieth century who typically stay as far away from churches as they possibly can. Charity & Sylvia also breaks with previous historiography in another way: unlike many scholars of queer history, Cleves argues that people in early America actually assumed that women who were close friends, and especially those who lived together as a couple, were likely more than just friends.

One question the book raises has to do with its character as a case study. This is a story about one couple. So just how representative might this story be? However we answer that question, one thing is not in doubt: because "same-sex marriage" is such a hot-button topic in American culture and politics these days, this book will be read and discussed for several years to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Historiography of the English Reformation (Part 1)

Sometime in late 2016, I hope to take (and pass!) my comprehensive exams in European History. So, during the past few months, I’ve tried to get up-to-speed on what has been written about the English Reformation. I went back only about fifty years or so, a half century in which scholars published a staggering amount of material. That is why I think of this little series of posts as a mere sampling. There’s just so much to read. I can’t get to it all. Be that as it may, I have given most of my attention to the most significant books and articles. No, I haven’t gotten to them all. But the works that appear in my survey tend to be well-known titles, with good reason. Anyway, here’s what I have come up with so far. Your observations are welcome.

Any summary of the history of early modern England must be able to account for the origins of the Church of England and of the character of what was later called Anglicanism. How and why, for example, is Anglicanism distinct from those other Reformation families known as Lutheranism, Calvinism, and the Anabaptist tradition, the so-called Radical Reformation? To ask the question in a different way, why does the Church of England represent a unique expression of Protestantism? Why is the worldwide Anglican community listed as a separate branch of Protestant Christianity? Beyond the question of the origins of the Church of England, one might also ask about the continuity and character of English Catholicism, or about the nature, early beginnings, and demise of Puritanism.

From a much broader perspective, investigations of the English Reformation tend to advance or reject what Patrick Collinson once referred to as “a kind of cosmic significance” that has been claimed for events that occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. [1] Collinson was speaking about the Reformation in general. But to take his observation and apply it specifically to our topic, one might ask if the English Reformation was a kind of crucible of modern civilization. Was it that significant? Some have thought that it was. Fifty years ago, A. G. Dickens asserted that it was “a seminal episode in world history,” a period that “changed the outlook of Englishmen even as they braced themselves to make their astonishing impact upon western civilization.” [2] According to Dickens, knowing the story of the English Reformation is essential to understanding the historic greatness of England. Was he right? Of course, the answers to such questions must appeal to the history of how the Reformation unfolded in a unique way in England.
During the past three to four decades, students of the English Reformation have done their work in a dynamic and constantly-changing field. Before the late 1970s and early 80s, the historiography of the English Reformation was relatively simple. What is now known as the Whig (or Whig-Protestant) school of interpretation, an inherited and long tradition, ruled the day. Naturally, among representative historians there was some variety. For example, in The English Reformation, a classic survey first published in 1964, A. G. Dickens focused on theology. The character of the English Reformation, he said, was religious, and the changes that occurred from 1529 to 1559 were dramatic. The Reformation’s apparently great and sudden success was due to the desire of the majority of the English people who were tired of the traditional religion. [3]

By contrast, in his 1977 book, a synthesis titled Reform and Reformation: England 1509-1558, G. R. Elton focused not on theology, but on politics, and portrayed the English Reformation as a major step toward the establishment of a modern nation-state. Elton did not argue that there was a perceived need for reformation in England at the dawn of the sixteenth century, so much as he assumed that there was. According to him, that need was met not by the whims of King Henry VIII, but by the efforts of his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. Either way, according to Elton, the English Reformation was a much-desired and top-down radical transition enacted by royal decree. [4] Dickens and Elton highlighted different aspects of the Reformation in England. What they held in common was that the Protestant Reformation in England was welcome and refreshing. Because of its long-awaited and strong appeal to the English people, reformation took effect quickly. [5]
To gain a sense of the confidence and prevailing influence of the Whig-Protestant view of the English Reformation, one would need to look no further than Keith Thomas’s 1971 classic, Religion and the Decline of Magic. In his chapter on “The Impact of the Reformation,” for example, Thomas drew a straight line from the Lollards of the late fourteenth century to the English Reformation of the early sixteenth century. Thomas quoted and commented on an impressive series of documents ranging from “The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards,” published in 1395, to Thomas Hobbes’ 1651 magnum opus, Leviathan. Long before the later separatists, Lollards, the religious descendants of John Wycliffe, attacked anything and everything in the traditional religion of England that seemed magical or supernatural. This was especially true of those aspects of the Roman Catholic tradition for which there was no obvious scriptural support. Above all, these proto-reformers denied the doctrine of transubstantiation and, for that matter, anything else that suggested the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. What is significant here is that, throughout, Thomas merely assumed the popularity and lasting influence of Lollardy. When reformation came to England in the early sixteenth century, he said, “[t]he decline of old Catholic beliefs was not the result of persecution; it reflected a change in the popular conception of religion.” Thomas went so far as to compare “popular Catholicism of the Middle Ages” to “many other primitive religions." [6]
[1] Patrick Collinson, The Reformation: A History (New York, Modern Library, 2003), 3. This brief survey is a splendid piece of work, written by a true master. Chapter 8, “Exceptional Cases: The Reformation in the British Isles,” was especially helpful to me in working on this project. It provides the big picture in simple narrative form, along with a few historiographical interludes.

[2] A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation (New York: Schocken Books, 1964), v.

[3] Dickens, The English Reformation.

[4] G. R. Elton, Reform and Reformation: England 1509-1558 (London: Edward Arnold, 1977).

[5] Note the end date of Elton’s subtitle: 1558. Apparently, according to Elton, in spite of the reign of Mary I, by the time of the accession of Elizabeth I reformation in England, or much of it, had been already been accomplished for good. 

[6] Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971), 51-77, esp. 75.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Division in the American Restoration Movement: A Summary of Jonathan Woodall's Dissertation

Woodall, Jonathan Franklin. "The Post-Termination Rhetoric of the American Restoration Movment." PhD diss., University of Memphis, 2014.

In 2014, Jonathan F. Woodall, under the guidance of Professor Sandra Sarkela, completed a PhD in the field of Communication at the University of Memphis. The dissertation, “The Post-Termination Rhetoric of the American Restoration Movement,” combines rhetorical studies with historical investigation of what traditionally has been called the American Restoration Movement. 

As Woodall explains, the word termination is a technical expression that refers to the death of the founder of a movement. In this study, termination specifically points to the death of the religious pioneer and patriarch Alexander Campbell (1788-1866). Woodall seems to favor the older term American Restoration Movement because, apparently, he does not believe that Barton W. Stone (1772-1844), though prior to Campbell, provided critical leadership in what has more recently been called the Stone-Campbell Movement. To be clear, the author does not explicitly deny Stone’s influence—especially his influence in one of the post-termination factions—so much as he simply focuses on Campbell as the much more significant figure. Again, the all-important “termination” event featured in this study is the death of Campbell.

Woodall's basic research question involves the commonly debated issue of exactly what generated division within a once-unified American religious movement of the nineteenth century. Also, when did division occur? From the early 1830s until he died in 1866, Alexander Campbell presided over an impressive and growing movement that sought to reconstitute biblical Christianity. Today, three distinct religious bodies represent the movement associated with Campbell: the Disciples of Christ denomination, independent Christian Churches, and the acappella Churches of Christ. The first group, the Disciples of Christ, would be listed among several liberal, mainline Protestant denominations. The other two groups subscribe to a conservative theology and practice congregational autonomy. How and when did these three branches emerge?

Woodall argues that, from the standpoint of rhetorical analysis, four sermons included in an 1868 anthology, The Living Pulpit of the Christian Church, edited by W. T. Moore, represent a key to answering those questions. The author explains that rhetorical studies involve, among other things, “the identification of groups” which will be generated “during a period of termination” (1).  “[I]n a moment of termination, what is ultimately at stake is the movement's ideology” (2). Woodall asserts that in his exploration of American Restoration Movement texts, he has “located competing ideographs, or patterns, within the movement and discovered new leaders as they sought to organize their audience and convince them to support the ongoing efforts” (2). Significantly, he notes that a tension in the outlook of Campbell himself increased the likelihood of “competing ideographs” of the early post-termination period:

Campbell’s influence was far reaching, especially through the circulation of his perfecting ideology within his journal. However, Campbell’s ideology not only contained a perfecting myth, but a democratic view of religion with very little structure. In fact, there was no official leadership position outside the context of the local congregation; hence, Campbell’s leadership stood as a contradiction to the very ideology he promoted (12).

Woodall argues "that while the Restoration Movement of Campbell terminated at his death, new rhetorical leaders emerged using competing ideographs found within the work of Campbell to seek new inceptions leading to splintering." Close textual analysis of the four sermons he examines reveals "a widening diversity of ideas within the movement instead of a constant unity of beliefs, values, and practices" (20).

Paradoxically, Alexander Campbell’s compelling leadership of a movement committed to religious principles that were thoroughly democratic nearly guaranteed post-termination splintering. Either way, the heart of Woodall’s dissertation examines four leaders, all of whom knew Campbell, and all of whom contributed a sermon to Moore’s anthology. Following the Civil War and the death of Campbell, Moore wished to present a united front. According to his vision for the collection, all of the best-known preachers and editors of American Restoration Movement during the early post-termination period would speak with one voice. Yet, according to Woodall, it was not to be. In the pages of The Living Pulpit of the Christian Church he detects four competing ideologies. He provides a map of the four central chapters of his work when he writes,

The Movement had an emerging “association” ideology through the establishment of colleges and universities, fueled by the leadership of W. K. Pendleton; a “militant” ideology focused on the frontier and rural areas, fueled by Benjamin Franklin; a “purification” contingency in the South, fueled by Tolbert Fanning; and a “progressive” contingency in the North, fueled by the leadership of Isaac Errett. Each ideology can be traced back to Alexander Campbell’s own ideographs throughout his decades of leadership (30).

Significantly, not only did each of these post-termination leaders contribute a sermon for Moore’s anthology, each one served as the editor of an important serial publication of the time. Pendleton, a son-in-law to Alexander Campbell, took over the editorship of the Millennial Harbinger, which Campbell had begun in 1830. Franklin was editor of the American Christian Review, which promoted biblical primitivism and the common man, and exuded the popular myth of the wisdom of the rustic. Fanning was the founding editor of the Gospel Advocate magazine. Published from Nashville by a southern pacifist, the Gospel Advocate espoused a radical resistance to all human government and championed the kingdom of Christ alone. Errett, editor of the Christian Standard, championed a progressive outlook which highlighted the fact that God had not written one book, but two. The church should interpret both biblical and natural revelation in order to gain the understanding necessary for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.

Not only does Woodall’s work help to explain the sources and trajectory of division in the American Restoration Movement, it also provides an answer to the question of chronology. Specifically, the dissertation takes a side on the question of when division occurred. Did it happen at or near the time of the Civil War, or did the break come in the decades that followed? In his review of some of the pertinent literature, Woodall notes that scholars like Douglas A. Foster and Bill Humble have insisted that the movement divided in the 1860s. On the other hand, Earl I. West, the father of distinctively Churches of Christ historiography, said that almost everyone in the movement was attempting to hold it together, and that they succeeded in maintaining unity for some time following the war. Siding more with Foster and Humble, Woodall writes, “From the point of the Living Pulpit publication in 1868, it is almost impossible to view the Restoration Movement holistically” (170-71).

“The Post-Termination Rhetoric of the American Restoration Movement” represents a solid contribution to the study of the rhetorical range and history of the Campbell tradition. Although the dissertation was done in the field of Communication, specifically Rhetoric, historians of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement can learn much from it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Day in the Western History Collections at OU

I spent Thursday, March 19, 2015 in the Western History Collections, which is a part of the library system at the University of Oklahoma, It was rainy in Norman that day. Students were gone for Spring Break.  The Collections are held on the third floor of the beautiful old School of Law building, Monnet Hall.

Anyone who knows anything about college football knows that the Sooners are a perennial powerhouse. So I wasn't surprised, but was amused to see the note about the hours of operation on game days!

A plaque at the entrance to the building.  . . .

The central reading room for the Western History Collections, an inspiring place to study! . . .

Among the one-of-a-kind items I examined was this 1907 photograph of the First Christian Church in Chickasha, Indian Territory. The photo was taken about eight months before statehood.  . . .

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Meeting with Meta at the Oklahoma History Center

I was in the archive at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City this Monday through Wednesday, March 16-18. What a great place to do research on the history of the Sooner State!

I spent almost all of my time there going through "Box 1" of the Meta Chestnutt Sager Collection. Those folders look innocent. But searching through their contents wore me out.  . . . 

Among the many documents in the collection, there were also a few photographs. In this one, probably taken in Nashville, Meta is about 26 years old. The year would have been 1889.

Here she is 50 years later, in 1939, beside her house in Chickasha, Oklahoma. This photo was taken on the day she rode the train to Oklahoma City where she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Among the few items she put in her scrapbook was the Rock Island Railroad napkin from the train ride to "the City."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Summary of "Unless Authorized to Act" by C. J. Dull

Dull, C. J., “Unless Authorized to Act: A Suggestion for the Timing Issue in the Civil War Hypothesis Concerning the First Division in the Stone-Campbell Movement.” Encounter 63, no. 4 (2002): 373-84.

Professor C. J. Dull begins with the notion that the Civil War marked the beginning of the end of any unity within the Stone-Campbell movement. He states, however, that "[t]he problem is that the tangible split did not happen then."  Moses Lard, in his classic 1866 editorial certainly did not think that a split was taking place. Two years later, W. K. Pendleton said much the same thing. Since then, interpreters have pointed to any number of events that supposedly mark the moment of division:

1866 - the death of Alexander Campbell
1879 - the death of Benjamin Franklin
1889 - the Sand Creek Address and Declaration
1903 - the revival at Henderson, Tennessee
1906 - the official census split

"What this paper wishes to suggest is that the reason such arguments [against musical instruments and the missionary society, fvb] found increasing plausibility toward the end of the nineteenth century was that there had arisen a class of congregational leaders and members who by the mere fact that they had served in the military, whether North or South, found the argument that silence excludes more compelling."

Dull cites a few examples where subordinates during the Civil War were upbraided for having done something that, though reasonable, was not authorized. The soldier who acted without authorization was out of line, no matter how practical or pressing his actions might have been.

" . . . we can conceive that the first member of the threefold hermeneutic--command, necessary inference, approved example--would have taken on special force for war veterans, and this stronger view of 'command' in which silence does prohibit would have come more naturally for them than for those who had not served."

Dull goes on to note evidence like presence of Churches of Christ near military installations worldwide, and what seems like periods of growth among a cappella churches in the wake of American wars.

"In summary, I wish to suggest that the Civil War was a contributing factor in our first split in that it helped to nurture and emphasize a perspective that valued more highly the value of silence than had previously been the case, an issue that resonated quite strongly at the beginning of the twentieth century and, apparently, following a quarter century of general peace and negative views of the military because of the Viet Nam conflict, much less at the end. . . . On the whole, emphasis has historically been placed on prominent individuals of the period and their role in this split. Perhaps many less prominent individuals may have been equally, if not more, significant. Rather than concentrating on what such individuals as Lipscomb, McGarvey and Hardeman said, we might consider investigating to whom they said it."

Though this article presents an interesting suggestion (see again the title), it begs for evidence from sermons and articles in which advocates of the threefold hermeneutic use military examples and metaphors. Dull does not provide such evidence, which may or may not be there. If this article could cite such evidence, then that could change Dull's suggestion and conception into a considerable argument. One can only wonder if, since the publication of this article, someone has taken up the challenge of trying to assemble the necessary evidence required in order to try the case.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Silver City, Indian Territory

[page 173]

County: Grady
Location: (a) Sec. 22, T 10 N, R 6 W  (b) 19 miles north, 8 miles east of Chickasha; 3 miles north of Tuttle
Map: Page 219
Post Office: May 29, 1883--June 17 1890

Silver City, located just south of the Canadian River where it was crossed by the Chisholm Trail, was an important stopping point for cattlemen on their way to northern markets. Just when the village had its beginning is obscure. It is known, however, that a Mexican family living nearby sold quirts to cowboys before 1880. The Canadian may have caused the village to be located at its particular site. In the vicinity were three small creeks with good water, and the land between the creeks furnished a grazing area when the river was in flood. Even when the

[page 174]

water in the Canadian was low, quicksand could present a problem. Cattle, once they had started across, had to be kept moving. Most trail bosses preferred to hold the cattle on the south bank if the crossing could not be completed in daylight. With the opening of the Unassigned Lands, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation, and the Cherokee Outlet for settlement, the Chisholm Trail ceased to exist.

In 1890, when the Rock Island extended its tracks south of the river, there was a general movement from Silver City to the new town of Minco. One of the noted pioneers of Silver City was Meta Chestnut [sic], who had organized a subscription school. She also moved to Minco where she started Minco Academy, which later become El Meta Bond College.

The only existing reminder of Silver City is the cemetery. All land formerly occupied by the village and trail is now in agricultural use.


Source: John W. Morris, Ghost Towns of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press), 173-74.

Note: The Oxford English Dictionary defines "quirt" as "a riding whip with a short handle and a braided leather lash."

Friday, January 02, 2015

Some of My 2014 Books

In late August of 2014 I began full-time study in the field of history. That means I got in a lot of reading last year, especially in the fall. I either perused, skimmed, read, or completely-processed more than a hundred books. And then there were the articles, essays, and book reviews. Listed here are most of the books I thoroughly digested. Almost to a one, they're worth reading if your interested in the topic.

A. Early American History

Anderson, Jennifer L. Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America (2012)

Bolster, W. Jeffrey. The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail (2011)

Carp, Benjamin L. Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (2011)

Cronon, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (1983)

Jasanoff, Maya. Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War (2011)

Little, Ann M. Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (2007)

Rediker, Marcus. Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (2004)

Richter, Daniel K. Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (2001)

Taylor, Alan. The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 (2013)

B. American Religious History

Conkin, Paul. Cane Ridge: America's Pentecost (1990)

Dochuck, Darren. From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion and the Death of Jim Crow (2012)

Fisher, Linford D. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America (2014)

Hall, David D. A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England (2011)

Herzog, Jonathan P. The Spiritual-Industrial Complex: America's Religious Battle against Communism in the Early Cold War (2011)

Kidd, Thomas. God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution (2012)

Porterfield, Amanda. Conceived in Doubt: Religion and Politics in the New American Nation (2012)

C. History of Renaissance and Reformation Europe

Burke, Peter. The European Renaissance: Centres and Peripheries (1998)

Cunningham, Andrew and Ole Peter Grell, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Religion, War, Famine and Death in Reformation Europe (2000)

Davis, Natalie Zemon. The Return of Martin Guerre (1983)

Ginzburg, Carlo. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (1980)

O'Malley, John W. Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era (2000)

D. Twentieth-Century U.S. History

Boyle, Kevin. Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age (2004)

Branch, Taylor. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988)

Brands. H. W. Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2009)

Brilliant, Mark. The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941-1978 (2010)

Dallek, Robert. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 (2003)

Gerstle, Gary. American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century (2001)

May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (1988)

Miscamble, Wilson D. The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (2011)

Schrecker, Ellen. Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1998)

Self, Robert O. All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s (2012)

E. Primary Sources

Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave (1853)

Paine, Thomas. Age of Reason (1794-96)

Foster, Hannah Webster. The Coquette or, The History of Eliza Wharton (1797)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Trip to Carlsbad

It's been such a busy week! Larkin and Ory were married in Wellington on Saturday. We spent the night in Altus at the wonderful (well, adequate) Days Inn, and came back to Tulia on Sunday. 

Then, on Monday, it was time for Michele, Abigail, and I to begin our next adventure, one that turned out a little longer than we had planned. It was a nice drive from Tulia down to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We got up Tuesday morning ready for our day at Carlsbad Caverns.

By late afternoon, we were tired and had seen just about all we could. Walking out of the visitor center, we discovered that everything was coated in a sheet of ice. After we scraped off our cars, we drove slowly down the mountain out to the highway. Michele was planning to drive south and spend a day or two with her sister and her family in El Paso. Abigail and I turned north, planning to make it back to Tulia that night.

Before we reached Carlsbad, just a few miles north of the Caverns, Michele called and said, "Get a room in Carlsbad." We knew the weather wasn't nice, but didn't understand. On her way south, she had seen more than one overturned car. She had even stopped to help a couple who had rolled over in their pickup. They stayed warm and waited for the emergency vehicles in her car.

Naturally, Michele was afraid and had no intention of going to El Paso, Tulia, or anywhere far. She was convinced that neither car should go beyond Carlsbad that night. The roads were just too treacherous. So Abigail and I stopped and got a room in Carlsbad, and Michele eventually met us there.

After a good meal at the motel restaurant, we spent our second night in Carlsbad. This morning, Wednesday, December 31st, we woke up to a couple inches of snow. But there was daylight, and crews had made some progress in clearing the roads. It was a long, slow trip home. But we made it safely. Best of all, we had our unforgettable day at the Caverns.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmastime in Texas and Oklahoma

Just a quick note from my home here in Tulia, Swisher County, Texas. It's Sunday evening, December 28. The last few days have been full and fun. But I'm so glad to be home now, taking it easy.

On Thursday, both Ben and Aubrey drove down from Amarillo to spend Christmas with me and Michele. We exchanged gifts and, of course, ate a bit too much. (But it was so good, thanks to Michele).

Ben, Aubrey, and Michele. Christmas Day 2014

Friday, the 26th, was a long day for Abigail, me, and Michele. Ab started the day with an early-morning flight out of Hartford, CT. She changed planes at Midway in Chicago, and landed before noon in Oklahoma City. Michele and I had also gotten up early that morning to drive from Tulia to OKC.

After the three of us shared lunch, we drove to Wellington, Texas, for a wedding rehearsal. My niece, Larkin Davis, was getting married to Ory Johnson the next day. And I was one of the officiants! 

Larkin and her dad, Keith Davis. Wedding rehearsal dinner, Dec. 26, 2014
After rehearsal and dinner in Wellington, the three of us were back in the car headed to Tulia, where we spent the night. Whew! We were so tired.

We got to sleep in the next morning. The wedding wasn't until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and we didn't need to be back in Wellington until about 1. That was nice. The wedding went off without a hitch. The other officiant in the ceremony, Judge Les Hatch from Lubbock, is a great guy and did a fine job. It was so good to be with most of my family that day.

After the wedding reception, Michele and Abigail and I decided that we hadn't gotten to spend near enough time with my kid sister, Vicky Crews, and her family. They had just come in from Arkansas the night before. They would be staying the night in Altus, OK before returning to their home on Sunday, the 28th. So we all loaded up and went to Altus together. 

We met at my parent's house and got to catch up a bit. When the folks started getting weary, we went to the motel and took over the lobby until late into the night. 

Joy, Abigail, and Frank H. Bellizzi at the Davis-Johnson wedding, Dec. 27
With my parents, two great people