Monday, June 27, 2011

The Tea Party

1873-1894

This essay was published on  Lapham’s Quarterly website under the title “The Tea Party Parties On” on 26 July 2011.

The first populist tea party movement came in the form of colonial-themed dinners during the Centennial Celebration, marking the country’s hundredth birthday, in 1876. The festive gatherings featured the simple fare of the colonial period, quaintly described in an antiquated style of English. Such dinners would come into fashion again during the last decade of the nineteenth century. This time, however, they reflected a broader nostalgia for the colonial period in response to social forces shaping the country.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let There Be Peace

Richmond, Virginia
1883


On October 15, 1883, one hundred and eighty-nine Union veterans of the Civil War boarded a train in Newark, New Jersey, heading for Richmond, where they would attend a banquet with veterans of both sides. When I discovered a menu from this dinner, oddly printed on a Confederate banknote, I became curious about why they wanted to hold their reunion in the former capital of the Confederacy.