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The Hidden Capitol

A walk in the woods not far from my house, in Rock Creek Park.   On the right side, you find a pile of stones. These are not ordinary stones. Hidden in a national park are the stones of the old facade of the East front of the U.S. Capitol; […]

What could be

If you haven’t read this story from yesterday’s edition of The Washington Post, please do. Lucky man, historian James I. Robertson, Jr., surrounded by artifacts. So blessed. So privileged! Out of the 1,600 pieces of information, he used 140 to write his book — all of it precious. What was […]

What we get wrong about history

Here’s a wonderful article that describes, exactly, the struggle to write about history. I found myself nodding agreement with the writer; it describes exactly how I feel about history and writing, as I put Emmett’s story together. I think you’ll enjoy it, too. Back to the manuscript….

“That” Kind of Discovery

OT, but you have to check this Twitter story out. It is incredible. A great thread. So, something magical happened to me today, and I wanted to tell you all about it. — Marcin Wichary (@mwichary) October 27, 2016 His last line is this: “Whatever it is that you care […]

First Intervention

In early May, 1906, Nicholas Van Sant was worried. His law firm with Emmett was not doing as well as he’d hoped. Although they had won cases and were building a client base, there was a negative cash flow. Emmett seemed to be doing well enough; but Van Sant hadn’t […]

The Surrogate

When Emmett lived in Sterling, Illinois from January to June, 1906, he boarded at the home of Mrs. Luella Snow Anning, widow, 802 West Third Street. Emmett’s best friend in Sterling was Nicholas Van Sant; a wealthy, prominent 50-something who considered Emmett the son he never had. Emmett’s closest-age friend […]

Not the Villain

Am I going soft on Emmett’s womanizing older brother, Cephas Love Wilson? A friend who had read this recent essay on Cephas asked me the other day if I had changed my mind about Cephas — did I now view him as less of an antagonist? I told her it wasn’t […]

Wonderful Distraction: Vanished Washington

I’ve spent several hours this weekend immersed in a pictorial website, Vanished Washington: An architectural eulogy of what was Washington, D.C. I’ve found several photographs of the buildings and sites where Emmett would have seen and visited when he lived in D.C. as a Congressman between 1913 and 1917. The […]

Modeste Hargis, Whistling Pharmacist

I’m pleased to report that not only have I located Emmett’s doctors (both in Pensacola and Washington, D.C.), but I’ve also located his pharmacist. Pretty damn good History Detective work, huh? I’ll have more on the doctors in another post, but I thought I’d introduce you to the pharmacist first, […]

Joseph E. Lee

As everyone knows (especially here in D.C.), whenever there is a change in presidential administration, there’s a big turnover in political staff jobs. A new president means lots of new job openings, new opportunities. Most of the time, the turnover has nothing to do with the ability of the staff […]