Monthly Archives: October 2020

Family Secrecy: Experiences of Danish German Children Born of War, 1940–2019

Previously posted at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363199020967234?ai=2b4&mi=ehikzz&af=R

Journal of Family History, Ahead of Print.
Families with children born to Danish mothers and German soldiers during WWII often resorted to secrecy to ward off discrimination and harm. Not knowing their origins, though, could have long-term consequences for the identity formation of these children born of war (CBOW). Based on a qualitative analysis of personal testimonies and interviews, this paper shows that the secret burdened, protected, and implicated the CBOW in the case studies in different ways at different points in their lives. This article approaches secrecy not only as a root cause of CBOW identity crisis, but also as a potential resource for resilience through memory work.

Congress creates the Continental Association

Previously posted at: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-creates-the-continental-association

On October 20, 1774, the First Continental Congress creates the Continental Association, which calls for a complete ban on all trade between America and Great Britain of all goods, wares or merchandise.

The creation of the association was in response to the Coercive Acts—or “Intolerable Acts” as they were known to the colonists–which were established by the British government to restore order in Massachusetts following the Boston Tea Party.

The Intolerable Acts were a set of four acts: The first was the Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston to all colonists until damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid. The second, the Massachusetts Government Act, gave the British government total control of town meetings, taking all decisions out of the hands of the colonists. The third, the Administration of Justice Act, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and the fourth, the Quartering Act, required colonists to house and quarter British troops on demand, including in private homes as a last resort.

Outraged by the new laws mandated by the British Parliament, the Continental Association hoped that cutting off all trade with Great Britain would cause enough economic hardship there that the Intolerable Acts would be repealed. It was one of the first acts of Congress behind which every colony firmly stood.

READ MORE: 7 Events That Led to the American Revolution

Actor Burt Lancaster dies

Previously posted at: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/burt-lancaster-dies

On October 20, 1994, Burt Lancaster, a former circus performer who rose to fame as a Hollywood leading man with some 70 movies to his credit, including From Here to Eternity and Atlantic City, in a career that spanned more than four decades, dies of a heart attack at the age of 80 in Century City, California.

Lancaster was born on November 2, 1913, in New York City and raised in East Harlem. After a stint at New York University, which he attended on an athletic scholarship, he quit to join the circus, where he worked as an acrobat. An injury forced Lancaster to give up the circus in 1939, and he worked a series of jobs until he was drafted into the Army in 1942. Three years later, while on leave, Lancaster’s acting career was launched after he went to visit the woman who would become his second wife at the theatrical office where she was employed and was asked by a producer’s assistant to audition for a Broadway play. He got the part, as an Army sergeant, and soon got noticed by Hollywood. In 1946, Lancaster made his silver-screen debut opposite Ava Gardner in The Killers, based on an Ernest Hemingway short story. Lancaster stars as The Swede, a former boxer who’s tangled up with the mob and waiting to be murdered by hit men.

He went on to star in the 1951 biopic Jim Thorpe: All-American, about the Native American Olympian, and 1952’s The Crimson Pirate, in which he put his acrobatic skills to use as the swashbuckling title character. In 1953, he co-starred with Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity, a World War II film set in Hawaii just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The film, which contained the now-iconic scene in which Lancaster and Kerr are locked in a beachside embrace as waves roll over them, earned Lancaster his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. Among Lancaster’s other movie credits during the 1950s were Apache (1954), in which he plays a Native American warrior; Sweet Smell of Success (1957), in which he plays a ruthless gossip columnist; and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), in which he portrays Wyatt Earp to Kirk Douglas’s Doc Holliday.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Lancaster appeared in movies such as 1960’s Elmer Gantry, which earned him a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a con man turned preacher; 1961’s Judgment at Nuremberg, about the World War II Nazi war-crime trials; 1962’s Birdman of Alcatraz, which was based on the true story of a convicted murderer who becomes a bird expert while behind bars and garnered Lancaster another Best Actor Oscar nomination; Italian director Luchino Visconti’s 1963 historical drama The Leopard, in which Lancaster plays an aging aristocrat; 1968’s The Swimmer, based on a John Cheever story; the 1970 disaster movie Airport; and 1979’s Zulu Dawn, with Peter O’Toole and Bob Hoskins.

In 1980, Lancaster co-starred in director Louis Malle’s Atlantic City and his performance as an aging gangster earned him his fourth Best Actor Academy Award nomination. He was also featured in Local Hero (1983), in which he plays an eccentric oil company owner; and 1989’s Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner. Lancaster formed a production company with his agent, Harold Hecht, in the 1950s, becoming one of the first actors in Hollywood to do so. Among his producing credits were 1955’s Marty, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine).

French poet Arthur Rimbaud is born

Previously posted at: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/french-poet-arthur-rimbaud-is-born

On October 20, 1853, Arthur Rimbaud is born in Charleville, France. His father, an army officer, deserted the family when Rimbaud was six. Rimbaud was a brilliant student, and his first poem was published in a French review when he was 16. The following year, he rebelled and ran away to Paris. He joined the National Guard briefly during the Franco-Prussian War but quickly left to wander northern Paris and Belgium. He was captured by police and returned to his home.

Meanwhile, Rimbaud was writing poetry. He had concluded that poets must break through conventional morality and restraint in order to explore human experience. He sent some of his poems to Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine, who sent him money to travel to Paris and stay with him and his wife. Verlaine and Rimbaud became lovers, and Verlaine left his wife in 1872 for Rimbaud. That year, Rimbaud published his first book, New Poems. Verlaine and Rimbaud quarreled, and after a fight in July 1873, Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the wrist and was sentenced to two years in jail.

Rimbaud published A Season in Hell in 1873, and Illuminations in 1886. Most of his best poems were written before he was 20. He spent the last decade of his life roaming Africa and the Middle East. In 1891, he contracted gangrene and died in Marseilles, France.

Three members of the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd die in a Mississippi plane crash

Previously posted at: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/three-members-of-the-southern-rock-band-lynyrd-skynyrd-die-in-a-mississippi-plane-crash

In the summer of 1977, members of the rock band Aerosmith inspected an airplane they were considering chartering for their upcoming tour—a Convair 240 operated out of Addison, Texas. Concerns over the flight crew led Aerosmith to look elsewhere—a decision that saved one band but doomed another. The aircraft in question was instead chartered by the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, who were just setting out that autumn on a national tour that promised to be their biggest to date. On October 20, 1977, however, during a flight from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tour plane crashed in a heavily wooded area of southeastern Mississippi during a failed emergency landing attempt, killing band-members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines as well as the band’s assistant road manager and the plane’s pilot and co-pilot. Twenty others survived the crash.

The original core of Lynyrd Skynyrd—Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins and Larry Junstrom—first came together under the name “My Backyard” back in 1964, as Jacksonville, Florida, teenagers. Under that name and several others, the group developed its chops playing local and regional gigs throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, then finally broke out nationally in 1973 following the adoption of the name “Lynyrd Skynyrd” in honor of a high school gym teacher/nemesis named Leonard Skinner. The newly renamed band scored a major hit with their hard-driving debut album (pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd) (1973), which featured one of the most familiar and joked-about rock anthems of all time, “Free Bird.” Their follow-up album, Second Helping (1974), included the even bigger hit “Sweet Home Alabama,” and it secured the band’s status as giants of the southern rock subgenre.

On October 17, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd released their fifth studio album, Street Survivors, which would eventually be certified double-platinum. Three days later, however, tragedy struck the group when their chartered Convair 240 began to run out of fuel at 6,000 feet en route to Baton Rouge. The plane’s crew, whom the National Transportation Safety Board would hold responsible for the mishap in the accident report issued eight months later, radioed Houston air-traffic control as the plane lost altitude, asking for directions to the nearest airfield. “We’re low on fuel and we’re just about out of it,” the pilot told Houston Center at approximately 6:42 pm. “We want vectors to McComb [airfield] poste-haste please, sir.” Approximately 13 minutes later, however, the plane crashed just outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi.

U.S. Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase

Previously posted at: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-senate-ratifies-the-louisiana-purchase

On October 20, 1803, the U.S. Senate approves a treaty with France providing for the purchase of the territory of Louisiana, which would double the size of the United States.

At the end of 18th century, the Spanish technically owned Louisiana, the huge region west of the Mississippi that had once been claimed by France and named for its monarch, King Louis XIV. Despite Spanish ownership, American settlers in search of new land were already threatening to overrun the territory by the early 19th century. Recognizing it could not effectively maintain control of the region, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France in 1801, sparking intense anxieties in Washington, D.C. Under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, France had become the most powerful nation in Europe, and unlike Spain, it had the military power and the ambition to establish a strong colony in Louisiana and keep out the Americans.

Realizing that it was essential that the U.S. at least maintain control of the mouth of the all-important Mississippi River, early in 1803 President Thomas Jefferson sent James Monroe to join the French foreign minister, Robert Livingston, in France to see if Napoleon might be persuaded to sell New Orleans and West Florida to the U.S. By that spring, the European situation had changed radically. Napoleon, who had previously envisioned creating a mighty new French empire in America, was now facing war with Great Britain. Rather than risk the strong possibility that Great Britain would quickly capture Louisiana and leave France with nothing, Napoleon decided to raise money for his war and simultaneously deny his enemy plum territory by offering to sell the entire territory to the U.S. for a mere $15 million. Flabbergasted, Monroe and Livingston decided that they couldn’t pass up such a golden opportunity, and they wisely overstepped the powers delegated to them and accepted Napoleon’s offer.

Despite his misgivings about the constitutionality of the purchase (the Constitution made no provision for the addition of territory by treaty), Jefferson finally agreed to send the treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification, noting privately, “The less we say about constitutional difficulties the better.” Despite his concerns, the treaty was ratified and the Louisiana Purchase now ranks as the greatest achievement of Jefferson’s presidency.

Religious Patronage as Gendered Family Memory in Sixteenth-century England

Previously posted at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363199020966486?ai=2b4&mi=ehikzz&af=R

Journal of Family History, Ahead of Print.
Through an analysis of a large corpus of sixteenth-century wills and testaments, this article explores Englishwomen’s end-of-life religious patronage a site for the production of family identity and memory, and as a mechanism by which family and faith were woven together. It considers both the influence of the family on women’s post-mortem piety, and their role as executrices for their husbands. In doing so, it argues that women were integral to producing the commemorative practices that ensured their families’ immortality, and that these practices were in turn an important means by which religious practice and belief were renegotiated and refigured during the early English Reformation.

Negotiating Memory and Restoring Identity in Broken Families in Eighteenth-century Denmark

Previously posted at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363199020967296?ai=2b4&mi=ehikzz&af=R

Journal of Family History, Ahead of Print.
Early modern tugt workhouses are often seen as chaotic, multi-purposed institutions, mixing hardened criminals with marginal people like beggars and troublesome family members. In this article, I focus on the negotiation of family memory and identity between family and authority in cases when disobedient children were committed to these institutions for education and improvement. I argue that these negotiations provided an opportunity to restore parental authority by adjusting private family memory to the state’s expectations of good Christian households and responsible parents. Thereby, the private parental memory of disobedient children and the actions taken to deal with them also contributed to legitimizing the tugt institution by confirming its stated purpose in society, to provide improvement, and education.