10.27.15: Civil War Photography, Cookbooks, & Dana Gould's Spooky Film Picks

Oct 27, 2015

Prior to the Civil War, images of war were the stuff of legends and mystery – then came the photographs of Alexander Gardner. Today, the legacy of a photographer who captured the graphic violence of war, and inspired questions about the power and ethics of war photography that are still being discussed today.  Plus, we’ll dive into a collection of more than 700 antique cookbooks to find out what scholars can learn by looking at food - and get a taste for some unusual recipes from back in the day. 

Listen to the full show. 

Dark Fields of the Republic

From the streets of Tehran to executions in the desert, citizens and photo-journalists now give us a look at conflict-zones the world over. But during America’s Civil War, it took the work of a few intrepid photographers equipped with bulky cameras, tripods and sheets of film to bring the images home—among them, a Scotsman named Alexander Gardner.

His work is the subject of a retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery "Dark Fields of the Republic: Alexander Gardner Photographs, 1859-1872" which was curated by the Portrait Gallery’s Senior Historian David Ward.   

Funeral Food

Meg Favreau is a writer, comedian, and regular contributor to the online food magazine “Table Matters”.  She explored the history and meaning behind funeral dessert traditions in an article called “A Snack Called Death”.

Uncovering America's Food History

Credit Courtesy Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery, Bowdoin College Library

Cookbooks are inspiring and often beautiful, but are they worth studying? Maybe when you have a massive collection spanning hundreds of years. That is a treasure trove for scholars studying American food ways and domesticity. This summer, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine acquired a collection of more than 700 historical cookbooks, at least one of which was written before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Marieke Van Der Steenhoven is outreach fellow for special collections at Bowdoin, and has been digging into the collection these past few months. 

You can learn more about the exhibit and see some pictures here

Dana Gould's Spooky Film Picks

Dana Gould’s love of Halloween, and the B horror movies that come with it, is perhaps most evident in the seven years he spent writing and producing The Simpsons. Among the episodes he worked on, “Tree House of Horror XVII”, for which he is credited as co-executive producer Dana Ghoul-ed.  Get it? He is also the host of the podcast The Dana Gould Hour.

We've also got a listing of his recommendations, from the interview, plus a special web extra that features a conversation he had with Virginia after the interview wrapped. Check it out here: Dana G(h)ould's Six Picks for Spooky Flicks.