The fourth issue of our annual literary publication contains 48 works of poetry, photographs, fiction, essays, articles, and nonfiction by 33 authors about various historical topics. Within these pages, you will find contemporary outlooks on history right alongside little-known public domain works that feel as fresh and as vibrant (and as scary) as if they were written today. Here, the old meets the new, and you’ll discover fascinating history from a personal, accessible, non-scholarly literary approach.
As we go through an age of accountability and social justice as a society, the writing we’re seeing becomes more aware, more prominent in its voicing of history’s ill treatment of certain subsets of people and ideas. We start right out with the gut punch of American slavery, hearing the voices of then and now, through Rev. Richard Allen, slavemasters, runaways, and Frederick Douglass, and leading up to Juneteenth, when enslaved workers in Texas finally learned that they’d already been free for two years. We’ll meet Civil War zombies and cattle-hunting soldiers, and we’ll go in search of the lost hoof of a famous fire horse. We’ll explore the missionary failures of David Livingstone and Eleazar Wheelock and travel the seafaring journeys and shipwrecks of robber Joaquín Murrieta, arctic explorers, British lightermen, and one unfortunate girl in a rum keg. Women like Conchita Cintrón will have their firsts (and be arrested, naturally), and we’ll unravel the dark mind of Virginia Woolf. We’ll learn about the Brothertown Indians, the ill beginnings of Dartmouth College, and the massacres and stereotypes that Native Americans endured in the mid-to-late 1800s. We’ll travel to England with Samson Occom, Dominic Fanning, Oliver Cromwell, nuclear bombs, and the erosion of the East Yorkshire coastline through the years. Art is explored through the eyes of Leda with her swan, Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, the photography of the Great Depression, and Victorian photographs with dead people.
Featured Writer Kindra McDonald will take us through the Dismal Swamp and into the suicidal minds of Robert Frost and Meriwether Lewis, then through a history of salt, foot binding, and lost languages. Featured Writer Benjamin Goluboff examines the work and art curation of John Quinn and Walker Evans, the former responsible for the 1913 Armory Show that was the first exhibit of modern art, and the latter a renowned photographer of life in the 1930s. Their work is showcased next to the winners and finalists for the 2018 Charter Oak Award for Best Historical.
Trigger Warnings: slavery, racism, gun violence, animal amputation, death in childbirth, bullfighting, suicide, Native American massacres and betrayal by whites, climate trauma, light sexual content of transgender transitioning, light nudity in 16th-c. paintings, animal cruelty, child death (mild horror).
2018 Charter Oak Award Winners for Best Historical
1st Place: “After I Get Top Surgery, J. Robert Oppenheimer Watches Me Make Out with My Partner” by Linnet Ezra
2nd Place: “Yara ni ‘Ua” by Rebecca Pelky
3rd Place: “The Nurseryman” by Arthur Allen