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ALL (51)

Our stories (35)

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 josephine sarah marcus earp

Yet the connecting thread between Earp and the two men from whom he later parted ways has not been discussed much in scholarship on Earp: a Jewish woman from New York named Josephine Marcus. Like Wyatt Earp, fact and fiction are difficult to separate when it comes to understanding the life of the woman who would become his wife. On both counts, this largely is due to Josephine’s attempts to guard the Earps’ legacy. What follows is a brief sketch of her life based on verifiable facts.

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It’s widely acknowledged that Napoleon was the first modern leader to make substantial and systemic use of propaganda that is recognizable to a modern audience. The massive portraits depicting Napoleon as emperor, ancient warrior, and Christ-like healer remain timeless testaments to Napoleon’s authorship of his own image. It comes as no surprise that Napoleon also controlled the press and censored the performing arts and literary publications in order to maintain the narrative that he wished his citizens-subjects to retain. Of all of Napoleon’s disinformation campaigns, the most brazen continues to dazzle today: his Egyptian campaign.

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Arthur surprised everyone. In an America torn by Garfield’s assassination and party politics, he immediately set to work proving he was above partisan squabbles.

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Napoleon in the Holy Land

December 2, 2020

Napoleon’s attempt to take the Holy Land, and the later Egyptian occupation of Palestine (1831-1840), also opened up the floodgates for modern diplomacy and travel to the Holy Land.

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The 50th Anniversary of the Shootings at Kent State

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | May 4, 2020
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The French Impressionists were a tight-knit group of artists centered in Paris in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Though there were other factors which contributed to their parting of ways, the Dreyfus Affair seemed to signal a point of no return for this once-intimate group of painters.

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Mark Twain and the Holy Land

December 11, 2019
October 25, 2019 - February 2, 2020

Of all the topics that might have engaged young Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ imagination in 1867, none was less likely or less promising than Palestine, the Holy Land. Known for his biting satire and humorous short pieces on California and the West, Clemens (1835–1910) found the subject that would propel him to national acclaim almost by accident. His serendipitous discovery of a “pleasure cruise” to Europe and the Near East, his success at inveigling his way onto the journey, and reactions to his fellow passengers and to the people and places he visited came to happy fruition in The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress. No book of his ever sold more copies in his lifetime.

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Mark Twain and the Adams Colony

By Karen Chernik | November 12, 2019

American colonists followed preacher George J. Adams from New England to Ottoman-ruled Palestine on a messianic mission to prepare the Holy Land for the return of the Jews. “We are going to become practical benefactors of the land and the people,” Adams stated, “to take the lead in developing its great resources.” A year after arriving, some of these impoverished colonists wanted a ticket home. It was at that moment that author Mark Twain came to town while on a five-month pleasure trip through Europe and the Middle East.

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The Bicentennial of Herman Melville’s Birth

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | August 1, 2019

It wasn’t until he visited the Holy Land and wrote the longest poem in American literature about it, though, that he  gave up the idea of ever publishing again. He was finished: Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land did him in.

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Just three months into his presidency, Kennedy pledged, in his address to Congress on May 25th, 1961, ”that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” To which he added “No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

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Jerusalem Day: The Reunification of Jerusalem

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | May 30, 2019
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Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday: JFK on Jefferson

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | April 13, 2019

President Kennedy laments he hasn’t time to write about Thomas Jefferson, and then carefully does so.

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The 75th Commemoration of the Death of Orde Wingate

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | March 24, 2019
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The Assassination & Funeral of Robert F. Kennedy

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | June 5, 2018
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December 2010 - March 2013
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The Holocaust

December 7, 2017

Manuscripts exploring the mounting dangers before the Holocaust, the devastation it wrought, and the way the Jewish people both resisted in the face of the Holocaust, and re-established their homeland in the wake of it.

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Albert Einstein on arrival at SS Rotterdam in New York. George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress.

Albert Einstein: Original Letters in Aid of his Brethren

December 6, 2017
November 2008 - February 2009
Beverly Hills Public Library. November 2008 - February 2009.

Albert Einstein saved his energy, and the use of his fame, for two things: Understanding the laws of nature was one, and aiding his Jewish brethren – who so needed a homeland and a refuge from the horrors of Hitler – was the other. These letters – some handwritten, some typed and signed – reflect his passionate commitment to the survival of the Jewish people. Most remarkable, perhaps, is that in this work, running what he called his own kind of “immigration office,” Einstein personally saved hundreds of Jewish lives from Hitler’s persecution and death camps. He was also concerned with the creation of a homeland for his people and in building a University in Jerusalem. This virtual exhibit includes some select items that were displayed at the original exhibition.

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General View of Jerusalem ca.1890-1900. Source: Library of Congress.

The vision of the Holy Land in 19th-century America was shaped by religious and cultural sentiment, and influenced by the experiences of those groups who traveled there: missionaries, pilgrims and tourists, explorers, settlers, and consular officers, all of whom had different motives for their journey and reports.

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Theodor Herzl at the first or second Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897-1898. Wikimedia Commons, Governmental Office of Press, Israel.

The Anniversary of the First Zionist Congress

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | August 29, 2017
The 120th Anniversary of the First Zionist Congress

Herzl, Envisioning the First Zionist Congress, Vows the Return of the Jews to Palestine.

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The Anniversary of the Funeral of the Apollo I Astronauts

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | January 31, 2017

President Lyndon B. Johnson writes to the parents of astronauts killed in the Apollo I disaster.

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The_Custer_Fight_Charles_Marion_Russell_1903_Library_of_Congress

Custer’s Last Stand – June 25, 1876

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | June 23, 2016
Custer's Last Stand - The Anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

Days Before Leaving to Drive Out the “Indians” from the Bighorn Country, Custer Predicts Mining Fortunes To Be Made There

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The Death and Funeral of Nancy Reagan

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | March 6, 2016

“Nancy sends her love,” – Ronald Reagan, miraculously surviving an assassination attempt, is optimistic about his recovery.

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The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | January 26, 2016

Schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe Writes About Her Excitement Going into Space on the Ill-Fated Challenger.
On January 28, 1986, the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:38 EST and, 73 seconds into its flight, exploded nine miles above the Atlantic Ocean. All seven crew members were killed, including 37 year-old McAuliffe, who had been selected from 11,000 applicants to be a “Teacher in Space.” Largely because of her presence, some 17% of Americans watched the live coverage of the launch.

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Robert Todd Lincoln, Witness to Presidential Assassinations

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | September 14, 2014

If in the annals of American history, there was ever an expert witness on Presidential assassinations, that person would be Robert Lincoln.

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The Death of Nathaniel Hawthorne

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | May 19, 2014

Franklin Pierce on the death of his dearest friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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America’s First Ladies

April 12, 2014
April 2014 - October 2014

Through over two hundred years of social upheaval, First Ladies have responded to the evolving burdens and challenges of this unofficial “office.” Some of these women became famous, but most have been forgotten. Yet we should not overlook the importance of these extraordinary women.

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March 2013 - March 2016

This exhibition deals with the relationship that developed between the United States of America and the Holy Land, starting in 1844.

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President for a Day

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | January 21, 2013

Who is in charge, when the presidential term ends on noon on the Sunday, but the Oath isn’t taken, until Monday?

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The Wright Brothers: Inventing the First Successful Airplane

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | December 17, 2012
The Wright Brothers: Inventing the First Successful Airplane

An Extraordinary Orville Wright Letter: How Watching Birds Led to Manned Flight at Kitty Hawk.

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The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | October 31, 2012

The most famous gunfight in Western history; three men had been killed, and someone, the law said, had to answer.

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©Shapell Manuscript Foundation. All Rights Reserved. For more information, please contact us at shapell.org.

The Sinking of the RMS Titanic

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | April 15, 2012

President William Howard Taft, heartbroken at the loss on the Titanic of his military aide, writes an emotional eulogy.

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The Alfred Dreyfus Degradation Ceremony – Paris, France

By Sara Willen, Resident Historian | January 5, 2012

The Dreyfus Affair was “one of the great commotions of history. ” It began in 1894 against a backdrop of espionage and antisemitism, when Jewish French Army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was wrongly convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.

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The Electric Light Bulb is Invented

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | October 22, 2011

Thomas Edison: “I am busily engaged on the electric light.”

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April 2011 - July 2011

Although Tsar Alexander II and President Abraham Lincoln came from very different backgrounds, they led eerily parallel lives. The United States President proclaimed the emancipation of slaves in the territories of the Confederation in 1863. The Russian emperor signed the liberation of the serfs in 1861. Freedom, however, came at a cost. Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 and Alexander II assassinated on March 13, 1881.

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What Education Teaches

January 31, 2011
April 2007 - August 2007

“What Education Teaches” is an exhibit of the original letters of famous people discussing, explicitly or implicitly, what they’ve learned, why they’ve learned it, and how that knowledge has informed their actions. The exhibit featured the autograph material of Mark Twain, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, and others.

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