1. Am I the only one confused by this? His project strikes me as history (of famous people) from below. Or some sort of confusion between “history” and “trivia” with varying degrees of “significance” thrown in for good measure. I wonder if he’ll take a picture of Phillips on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, which was the first (and last) site of my encounter with a 25 cent martini lunch special?

  2. Did you know that The Hope Diamond was pawned by Mrs. McLain of New York for $36,000 and the money was given to the Lindberg family to help pay the randsom for the kidnapped child.
    In the early 1980’s I read the transcript of the transaction. Mrs. Simpson at 95 years old, the last living member of the Simpson pawn shop family, show me the transcripts that her husband had taken while he was coming to terms with Mrs. McLain on repayment of the loan. There is a section in Simpson’s book ‘Hockshop’ that refers to the it.
    The curse of the Hope Diamond:
    While returning to New York by train with the diamond, Mr. Simpson had an appendicitis attack and was rush to the hospital for surgery.
    The workers at the pawn shop refused to go back to work if the Hope Diamond was stored in the shop. It was kept in a safety deposit box in a New York Bank.
    You should read ‘Hockshop’.
    It is badly written but tells the story of NY that no one has ever told. It would make one hell of a Musical.

  3. Andy: I get this project – nutty and somwhat random as it is – I just read Marita Sturken’s terrific book, Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch and Consumerism from OK City to Ground Zero & highly recommend it for thoughtful, sardonic analysis on the way that becoming a tourist in one’s own country can place you in a problematic & fascinating relation to the concept of history.

  4. Thanks for the comments, all. Andy: no need to apologize for snark here. There _is_ something random about this project, as Tona says.

    I guess the part of me that applauds any kind of popular historymaking, “history from below,” people engaging with the past around them etc. has to make peace with the part of me that points out how often those people are drawn to aspects of history that to me as a specialist may seem trivial or banal.

    re: your martini special, see this post of mine from (jeepers) 2 years ago: George Washington Puked Here. 🙂

    Tona: I will check out that book.

    Randy: That is definitely news to me.

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