Posts Tagged ‘George Catlin’

Ireland and the American Indians

4 November 2010

By Juliana Adelman

Every once in a while the historian experiences a series of coincidences which makes her take a second look at something and maybe file it under ‘interesting lead to pursue in future’.  While reading through the minute books of the Dublin Zoological Society I came across a tantilizing reference to the visitation of a tribe of American Indians to the gardens in the 1840s.  I assumed it was another example of the distasteful nineteenth-century practice of human displays: public exhibitions of ‘savages’ from all continents were popular attractions and sometimes they were placed alongside animal exhibits.  Soon after, I came across an article on the visiting Indians in a Dublin newspaper.  The coverage surprised me.  There was certainly an element of condescension and titilation, but the Indians were treated as a mixture of visiting foreign dignitaries and actors. Far from the seedy sideshow in native flesh that I had imagined.  The tribe was described as making a visit to the zoological gardens, rather than being on display there, and all the gate receipts for the day were donated to them.  Hmmm, so much for a historian’s assumptions.

I didn’t think much more of it until a few months later I was reading William Cronon’s book Nature’s metropolis: Chicago and the great west (heartily recommended).  Cronon referred repeatedly to George Catlin’s doomed campaigns to save both American Indian tribes and buffalo habitats in the west.  Catlin, one of America’s early environmental campaigners, documented the demise of the buffalo in the face of expanding American cattle grazing. Catlin sounded familiar. Read more

Pue’s recommendations for November

1 November 2010

Juliana Adelman In honor of Thanksgiving I will be posting a piece later this week about the Ioway Indians who visited Ireland in the 1840s.  You can see George Catlin’s stunning portraits of them, and other tribes, here and here.  This quarter’s Antennae magazine (free online) is on ‘the politics of meat’, something that is on my mind at the moment as I move from thinking about horses to thinking about cows and pigs.  Be warned: Antennae involves gory images and lefty politics.  Myles Dungan has decided to offer some competition to Talking History and has started a new history show on RTE radio 1, Sundays from 6 to 7.  If the first one is anything to go by, it’s going to be good listening.

Lisa Marie Griffith When Flann O’Brien died he left one unfinished novel. Adapated by Arthur O’Riordan his unfinished work has been completed and has become Slattery’s Sago Saga. I was lucky enough to see it during the summer when it did a short run in Dublin. The play is now running throughout the country including Carlow, Drogheda and Tralee. Facebook has all of the details but you can also buy tickets online at the venues where the play is running. Top of my reading list for November is Patrick Walsh’s The Making of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy: The life of William Conolly 1662-1729. This is  a study which eighteenth century Irish historiography desperately needs. Conolly was a pivotal figure in eighteenth century Irish politics and finance. His remarkable architectural legacy is Castletown House in Co. Kildare so this will be an illuminating read! Patrick is also a regular contributor to Pue’s.

Christina Morin A few days ago, I had the unexpected need and, as it turns out, pleasure to access materials in the Irish Architectural Archives. A fantastically picturesque building with a cosy, well-lit reading room, not to mention boxes and boxes of fascinating photos of Dublin and Ireland over the years, the IARC is a lovely place to work, even if you’re not consulting the Georgian Society Minutes or other such materials. If you need to find me this month, I may well be there! Aside from that, I intend to avoid as much as possible the ever-earlier encroachment of Christmas by concentrating instead on Thanksgiving, which, for me, mainly means pumpkin pie – a strange idea, it seems, for anyone not from the US, but my favourite dessert bar none. In case you want to try it but aren’t keen on making your own, Beaufield Mews in Dublin is offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal on 25 November (with a rather un-traditional glass of egg nog with which to start off. A little bit of Christmas encroachment, I think, but nevertheless…)

Kevin O’Sullivan A number of things caught my eye in the past month. Top of the list is Miriam O’Callaghan’s fascinating Miriam Meets interview with Joe Lee and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh about their long-standing friendship, with some comments on the history profession thrown in for good measure (download or listen here). Then there’s Pivot Dublin, a collaborative effort to make Dublin the World Design Capital in 2014 and in the process help us to re-think our attitudes to the urban environment. That effort, according to one of its organisers, also gets at least some of its inspiration from the Irish Design Reform Movement of the 1960s. A couple of digital sources next: last week I came across yet another article on the problems of archiving the internet; and I’ve also been reading my way through some of the IHR’s online Reviews in History. Finally, and in an act of shameless promotion, if you’re around UCD on 11 November, I’m helping to organise the Ireland since 1966: New Perspectives conference, which aims to tackle the issues that surround the writing of contemporary history. You might even get to hear from a contributor or four from this parish while you’re there.