Thank you, Laine Nooney

April 18th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Yesterday I spoke at an amazing program titled, Mistakes Were Made, produced by Laine Nooney. Laine, you did a great job, and can I just say that the speakers you chose were amazing. Every one of them was brilliant, and if they weren’t such lovely people I would have been terrified of them.

The pictures below were taken by the great writer and illustrator, Vivian Swift. Thank you very much, Vivian!

On the far left is my co-speaker, Joy Rankin, @JoyMLRankin, who researches American history, the history of science and technology, and the history of gender. And next to her is the moderator of the event Finn Burton, assistant professor at NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Media Culture, and Communication.

Mistakes Were Made, NYU

And that’s me, doing my best not to show my nervousness. I stumbled over my words from time to time, but what are you going to do?

Mistakes Were Made, NYU

Be Sociable, Share!

Saving Young Black Women from the Gallows

April 15th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I’ve been researching an 1829 execution of a 21 year old black woman for my book, and I came across two other sentences of death. 18 year old Diana Sellick, who was scheduled to be hung on April 18, 1816, except her sentence was commuted to life in prison. That life wouldn’t turn out to be much longer, however. She died in prison in 1822. The other case was 19 year old Rose Butler, who was hung in 1820. Both Diana and Rose were also black. Sentences of death for women were exceedingly rare, but not so rare for young black women, it seems.

All these cases are very interesting, Sellick is an early example of the insanity defense, for instance, but I have tons of other research to do! I also noticed another person who turns up in all three cases, the Rev. John Stanford. He was a Baptist preacher who died in 1834 and apparently made an effort to save all three women. The fabulous historian Thomas C. McCarthy, writes about him here.

God knows if I will ever have the time but I’ve found an archive with some letters relating to Stanford and Sellick that I’m dying to read. I wonder if someone has done research into capital punishment and women, and looked at the percentage of white and black women executed. Probably, right?

Washington Square Park, where Rose Butler was hung in 1820. So far I haven’t found any indication of where in the park she was executed. It was very nice out on the day I took this picture, and students were sitting all around, enjoying the sun.

I was looking at the trees and trying to gauge which might be almost 200 years old.


Be Sociable, Share!

Through the Passageway

April 13th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

If you are interested in education and the history of education, I just got this blurb about a book written by a friend of a friend. I wish I had gone to City and Country School and had someone like Jane for a teacher!

“Through the Passageway offers a short history of the founding of City and Country School by Caroline Pratt in 1914, and then, through the intimate view of a teacher in collaboration with colleagues from 1968 to 1998, shows the school’s dynamic approach to learning by experience involving jobs, trips, and the arts. The book presents lively anecdotes of the children (ages three to thirteen) in this setting, for example a five-year-old making a table herself from scratch, and eight-year-olds turning the entire classroom into a ship. It also recounts what happened when the school faced financial problems and when more conservative politics of the 1980s resulted in the pressure to change.

“Through the Passageway describes this vibrant school life as an alternative to the more regimented, test-driven direction education has taken at the present time.”

Jane Llewellyn Smith taught at City and Country School in New York, NY for thirty years. She is retired and lives in Orient, NY. To order a copy email:

Be Sociable, Share!

NYU Talk on Thursday

April 11th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m going to be part of an event at NYU in April 17th titled: Mistakes Were Made: Computer History, Decompiled. This event is being produced by Laine Nooney, a computer and video game historian in the Media Studies Department at NYU. There’s still time to register! Lots of smart, interesting people will be giving talks. Jason Scott, who started the twitter account for his cat, Socks, aka Sockington, Sockamillion, etc., will be there.

Graffiti I liked. Now where was I? Broadway?

Graffiti New York City

Be Sociable, Share!

I Need to be More Selective about my Reading

April 9th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

And viewing. The other week, just before leaving for choir practice I watched this video of a cop abusing an Uber driver. It’s so awful my heart was still pounding when I got to the church.

And just now I just read this article about orthodox Jewish men demanding that women change their seats on airplanes. Again, my heart is pounding. Why do I watch and read these things??

On to nicer things (unless you are Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). An Easter bunny in front on the Cynthia Rowley Curious store. Actually, this bunny has a very skeptical expression, doesn’t he (or she)? This bunny is not at all sure about me.

Bunny, Cynthia Rowley Curious

Be Sociable, Share!