We’ll Take a Cup of Kindness Yet: History of “Auld Lang Syne”

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne." This is the classic song sung on New Year's Eve after the ball drops in Times Square each year, and all around…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Time for Scary Ghost Stories

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmbsp-x2E8E "There'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow There'll be scary ghost stories, and tales of the glories of, Christmases long, long ago." A Christmas classic, this 1963 song by Andy Williams describes Christmas traditions, including some we no longer practice. What do scary ghost stories have to…

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside:” Context & Controversy

Last holiday season controversy erupted over a radio station's decision to ban "Baby, It's Cold Outside." And this year, John Legend & Kelly Clarkson's new version has stirred up opinions on the song once again. What is the controversy all about? And what's the context for the original song's lyrics? Read more below about the…

Dumbarton Oaks Museum & Gardens

Recently, I toured Dumbarton Oaks, which is a research library and collection in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The collection and estate was donated to Harvard University by Robert and Mildred Bliss, collectors of art and artifacts from around the world. The Blisses were particularly fascinated with Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, as well as…

The Monster Mash: 3 Interesting Facts About the Halloween Classic

Monster Mash. It was a graveyard smash. Monster Mash was released in 1962. Written by Bobby Pickett and Leonard Capizzi and recorded by Pickett and “the Crypt-Kickers.,” the single hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from October 20-27, 1962 and has been a Halloween favorite ever since. The song features Pickett doing an […]

“I Put a Spell on You:” From Radio Ban to Disney Movie Favorite

What are the origins of a popular song that has become a Halloween favorite? A breakup, a blues singer, and a drunken recording session. A song many know because of its numerous cover versions, "I Put a Spell on You" is now included on Halloween playlists, owing partly to its inclusion in the movie Hocus…

#19forthe19th: Women at Work

Women have always worked. But the nature of that work and where it took place has changed over time. In the United States, before the late 19th century, the majority of women's work was domestic, but as economic and social changes took place, women began working outside of the home and in more varied roles.…

Ford’s Theater: A Tour of Lincoln’s Assassination

Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. is an operating theater to this day, but historically it is best known as the site of Lincoln's assassination. On April 14, 1865, while Lincoln was attending a play at Ford's Theater with his wife and Major Henry Rathbone, John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate spy, shot Lincoln in…

National Museum of African American History & Culture: A Rave Review

The National Museum of African American History & Culture is one of those museums that pulls you in and keeps pulling you in. From the outside, it stands out, strikingly different from all of the other museums, monuments, and buildings on the National Mall, creating a welcome visual focal point. Entering feels like going into…

#PlayLikeAGirl: 5 Pioneering Female Drummers

The US National Archives' #19forthe19th Instagram Challenge is highlighting women's history for 19 weeks in celebration of the centennial of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. This week's theme? #PlayLikeAGirl I decided to take a look at pioneering female musicians who play instruments specifically female drummers, who continue to remain a…