Listening to America aims to “light out for the territories,” traveling less visited byways and taking time to see this immense, extraordinary country with fresh eyes while listening to the many voices of America’s past, present, and future. Led by noted historian and humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson, Listening to America travels the country’s less visited byways, from national parks and forests to historic sites to countless under-recognized rural and urban places. Through this exploration, Clay and team find and tell the overlooked historical and contemporary stories that shape America’s people and places. Visit our website at ltamerica.org.
#1586 Ten Things on Margaret Bayard Smith
hace 2 días
59:25Clay Jenkinson is joined by regular contributor Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky for a spirited conversation about Margaret Bayard Smith, one of Thomas Jefferson’s greatest admirers. Mrs. Smith, who was 35 years younger than Jefferson, was the wife of the editor of the National Intelligencer, the first Washington, D.C. newspaper. Her letters and journals, printed as The First Forty Years of Washington Society, contain some of the most interesting details of Jefferson’s presidency, beginning with his inauguration on March 4, 1801. What she noticed and admired was the peaceful transfer of power in this our happy republic. Because Jefferson was a widower, Margaret Smith and Dolley Madison served as hostesses at some of Jefferson’s White House functions. Smith and Jefferson shared a love of nature. In fact, when Jefferson retired he gave Mrs. Smith a geranium plant she coveted. She and her husband Samuel Harrison Smith visited Jefferson at Monticello in August 1809, just a few months into his 17-year retirement.
#1585 Ten Things About John Randolph of Roanoke
50:31Clay Jenkinson is joined by regular guest Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky to talk about one of the strangest and most extraordinary people of America’s Early National Period, John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia. Randolph was a brilliant and flamboyant man, hairless with the voice of a soprano and locked physically in a pre-pubescent state. Yet he was a brilliant orator, an outstanding Congressional floor manager, with a wicked tongue and a vituperative spirit. Randolph was a radical Republican who broke with President Jefferson when the third President behaved like a pragmatist rather than an ideologue. We discuss a number of episodes from Randolph’s colorful life, including his manumission of more than 300 slaves and his role in the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.
#1584 The Red Barber Program
52:44Clay is joined by Dr. Kurt Kemper of Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota, and our west coast Enlightenment correspondent David Nicandri. Both are deeply interested in American sports, both for the sport per se, but also for the window they provide on the larger dynamics of American life. This week’s topics: outsized college coach salaries; the madcap world of Bill Walton; the problematic temperament of Draymond Green; and the death of intercollegiality in American college sports. Dr. Kemper is the author of College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era. David Nicandri has written highly regarded books on Lewis and Clark and Captain James Cook.
#1583 College Football as Cultural Lens
59:42Clay is joined by two guests, David Nicandri the West Coast Enlightenment correspondent for Listening to America and Dr. Kurt Kemper of Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. Kemper is the author of College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era. Kemper and Nicandri believe that larger themes in American culture find expression in the world of sports. Much of the discussion surrounds the famous 1962 Rose Bowl—in which the faculty of Ohio State University voted not to send the football team to the celebrated New Year’s game because it would distract from the academic mission of the university. The result was a riot in Columbus, Ohio, with lots of property damage and in which faculty members and the university president were burned in effigy. In the end, UCLA played the University of Minnesota in the Rose Bowl. The program also explores the ways in which the Civil Rights Movement roiled college football in the 1950s and 60s.
#1582 On the Trail of John Steinbeck
59:07This week on Listening to America, Clay Jenkinson’s follow-up conversation with Russ Eagle of Salisbury, North Carolina, about following the trail of John Steinbeck. Russ is a former high school teacher and administrator with a vast love of the writer. After his report on the arrival of Steinbeck’s heralded boat, the Western Flyer, in Monterey, we talk about the other must-see places and objects in the Steinbeck universe: Rocinante, his truck camper at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California; Sag Harbor, his home on the eastern edge of Long Island; the original manuscript of the Grapes of Wrath at the University of Virginia; Doc’s Laboratory in the heart of Monterey; and the hand-carved box which he fashioned to deliver the manuscript of East of Eden to his editor in New York.
#1581 Henry Wallace and the World That Might Have Been
58:12Clay talks with Jeremy Gill of Hays, Kansas, about former Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace served several presidential administrations, some Republican but more Democrat. He was FDR’s New Deal Secretary of Agriculture, then FDR’s vice president in his third term, 1940-1944. The Democrats dropped Wallace as too radical in 1944, nominating Harry S. Truman in his place. So, Truman became the accidental president on April 12, 1945, not Henry Wallace. Wallace ran for the presidency against Truman as an independent in 1948 but lost badly. Wallace was a serious agrarian who experimented with new corn varieties and had a Victory Garden in Washington, D.C., during his tenure as vice president.
#1580 Ten Things about the Hamilton-Jefferson Relationship
59:15This week on Listening to America, Clay’s conversation with Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky about two of the greatest of the Founders, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson knew of Hamilton’s war heroics and his importance as aide-de-camp to George Washington, but he didn’t actually meet Hamilton until the spring of 1790 when they were two of the four members of George Washington’s cabinet. They were yin and yang. Jefferson was an agrarian and a strict constructionist, a man who was obsessed with peace. Hamilton was an urban man who wanted the government to support American industry, a broad constructionist of the Constitution who believed war could bring glory to himself and to the nation. They crossed swords in the Washington Cabinet but each found a good deal to admire in the other. In the end, Hamilton helped secure the Presidency for Jefferson, not because he thought Jefferson was right for the job, but because he knew that Aaron Burr was an unstable demagogue.
#1578 Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian
59:58This week on Listening to America, Clay Jenkinson interviews professional photographers John and Coleen Graybill of Buena Vista, Colorado, about the life and achievement of Edward S. Curtis. Curtis took 40,000 dry glass plate photographs of Native Americans between 1900 and 1935, and published 20 volumes of his portraits, landscape photographs, musical notations, and a gigantic amount of ethnographic prose. John is the great great grandson of Edward Curtis. The Graybills are traveling the West photographing descendants of individuals that Curtis photographed, and interviewing them on video about their lives and their heritage. They have released two books of previously unpublished Curtis photographs. It’s an amazing story of love, integrity, and perseverance.
#1577 The Listening to America Origin Story
59:06This week, Clay Jenkinson’s conversation with occasional guest host David Horton about the origins of the Thomas Jefferson Hour and the purpose of changing the name and focus of the program to Listening to America. Clay sings the praises of two hosts, Bill Crystal, now of Virginia, and David Swenson of Makoche Recording Studios in Bismarck, North Dakota. Clay recalls incidents that have occurred in his long career in tights and buckled shoes, and particularly the way in which Jefferson’s hypocrisy on race and slavery has been addressed by members of Clay’s audiences. Plus, what we can expect from Listening to America over the next few years as the United States reaches its 250th birthday.