August 1955 | Volume 6, Issue 5
The month of September will be celebrated throughout the United States as John Marshall Bicentennial Month. A commission was established by the 83rd Congress to encourage commemorative programs throughout the country.
The commission is publishing a commemorative brochure on the life of Marshall and his place in the nation’s history. A nation-wide speakers bureau will provide state and local groups with speakers and discussion leaders.
Chief Justice Marshall was born September 24, 1755, in a log cabin in the wilderness near Germantown, Virginia.
He served as an officer in the Revolutionary War, was a lawyer, a member of the Virginia convention which ratified the Federal Constitution in 1788, and commissioner to France. He also served as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives and Secretary of State in the Cabinet of John Adams. He was Chief Justice for 34 years.
On the campus of Syracuse University an historical film archive is being developed to locate and collect significant films which will be made available to the scholar and researcher interested in America’s commercial, economic, and agricultural development. The group carrying on the work is tentatively called the American Historical Film Foundation. The films now being collected are housed in Syracuse University’s Educational Film Library.
Available to the interested public will be films on how to shoe a horse, for example, or how to build a log cabin, steamboating on the Mississippi, and rafting on the Ohio. At the same time films will be added to the collection showing commonplace modern activities which may prove of interest to the historian of the future.
Eventually, each film included in the collection will be accompanied by a critique prepared by a committee of historians.
The nation soon is to have another Hall of Fame. More than a year ago the governors of seventeen western states named a board of trustee to select the site for a Cowboy Hall of frame to be patterned along the general lines of the Baseball Hall of Frame in Cooperstown, New York.
Before a final decision was reached 46 western communities were involved. Since early this year interest has been high in the area most concerned in the search for a location. The visiting committee charged with the task of deciding among the candidates saw parades, mass meetings, and royal entertainments; they heard offers of everything from money to a herd of longhorn steers as extra consideration.
The site finally selected was a gently rolling wooded hill overlooking Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The interest created in cowboy history by this spirited campaign has had other results, as might have been expected. In addition to rousing local pride in support of certain sites, feelings other than pride have been stirred. And in some cases it is reported that local cowboy museums are about to be formed.
A campaign to raise funds by public subscription for the purchase of the painting Washington at Dorchester Heights by Emanuel Leutze has reached a successful conclusion in Boston. The painting will hang in a public building to be designated by the Boston Art Commission.
The painting, over eight feet high, shows General Washington on March 17, 1776, standing on the summit of Dorchester Heights, now South Boston, while the British Army sails out of Boston aboard 150 ships bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Artist Emanuel Leutze was born in Germany but was brought to the United States and settles in Philadelphia about 1832 when he was sixteen. He returned to Europe for art training and in 1850 won the Gold Medal at Berlin for his now famous Washington Crossing the Delaware .
Delaware,the site of the earliest log houses in America, finally has one of these early buildings on public display.
The new Delaware State Museum Building No. 3, recently opened in Dover, features as its principal exhibit an authentic log house dating from about 1704. Originally located about forty miles North of Dover, the building was covered with clipboard when discovered by museum officials. Among the furnishing in the log house are a built-in bed covered with deerskin, an early Swedish-type wainscot chair, a slab bench and slab table, a number of wooden household utensils, and a primitive reel for winding yarn.
Big plans are in the making for the 1957 celebration of the 350th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Both a state and a federal commission have been established with appropriations.
The commissions have authorized the National Park Service to carry on archaeological investigation at Jamestown and on the site of Governor Sir William Berkeley’s spacious mansion, “Green Spring,” about three miles distant. Most recent diggings on Jamestown Island provide evidence of an Indian settlement antedating the English colony by several decades. Much new light will undoubtedly be shed on Seventeenth-Century Virginia as a results of this research.
The second undertaking, financed by federal funds, is a two-year project to search further for Virginia colonial records in British repositories and secure microfilm copies. Dr. George Reese, a Virginia scholar formerly with the State Department, has gone abroad to be in charge of the work. He will report to an advisory committee of archivists appointed by the commissions, who plan to make positive prints of the microfilm available for purchase by research libraries.
Dr. Thomas J. Wertenbaker, formerly of Princeton University, has been named chairman of a committee to draft a constitution and at make arrangements for the initial meeting this fall in Philadelphia of a group of persons interested in early American history and in forming a new historical society. A preliminary meeting to set this machinery in motion was held at Columbia University late in April.
Historians, writers, and others interested in early American history are scattered throughout the United States, most of them working in isolation without much knowledge of what others are doing in the same general field and without the stimulus that association with others concerned with this period of our history could bring. To meet this need is the primary goal of the group now at work forming the new organization.
Professor Lawrence Henry Gipson of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has played a leading role in the movement up to this point.
In Tennessee work is again underway on the restoration and reconstruction of historic Fort Loudoun 35 miles south of Knoxville on the Little Tennessee River. The Fort was built by the Colony of South Carolina in 1756–57 in the heart of the Cherokee Indian country as a barrier to French advance in the Mississippi Valley.
It was named for the Earl of Loudoun, British commander on chief in North America and garrisoned by troops from South Carolina.
In 1760, incited by the French, Cherokees besieged the fort and the garrison surrendered on August 7. When the troops marched out they were attacked by the Indians who killed a number of officers and privates as well as some women and children. The fort was burned.
The Fort Loudoun Association, incorporated in 1933 to maintain the site and to restore the fort, has carried on its task as best it could with limited funds. Now, however, with the bicentennial of the original fort drawing near, work is under way with renewed vigor. A special appropriation from the state of Tennessee is being used to reconstruct a section of palisades with loop holes, gun port, and firing platform and to erect a contemporary cannon of the National Park Service.
Tentative plans are being made to celebrate the bicentennial of Fort Loudoun in 1956–57.