Return of the Vann Seminar

Emory University’s Vann Seminar in Pre-Modern European History is starting up again this week for the fall. I’ve attended several past seminars and have always found stimulating conversations in a relaxed atmosphere. (Possibly the Emory students in attendance feel less relaxed than outsiders like me.) Each seminar is devoted to a draft paper by a […]

Moonlighting on Wikipedia

This week I’ve been clearing out the cobwebs by taking a break to write a Wikipedia article or three. Since Saturday I’ve added these obscure items to The Free Encyclopedia Anyone Can Edit: Georg Schäfer, a German capitalist, erstwhile Nazi official, and art collector. He needed to be distinguished from the globe-trotting, tale-spinning, acid-dropping painter […]

Hypertext history: Presenting documents on the Web

A new German website uses hypertext and Web technology to present an archive of first-hand accounts of the Thirty Years’ War in central Germany. If you’re interested in the future of digital archives, the site is worth a look, even if you don’t read German. It’s called MDSZ, short for Mitteldeutsche Selbstzeugnisse der Zeit des […]

Das Base Ball (circa 1894)

I happened on this German definition of baseball in an early Brockhaus encyclopedia. Here’s a translation: Base Ball (Eng., pronounced behs’ bahl), English and American national game, that for the most part resembles the German Ballspiel (which see). It is played with a hard, leather-covered ball and a wooden bat by two parties (clubs) of […]

The synergy of ad men and Nazis

An oil company is in trouble for touting coffee drinks with a slogan that once adorned the gates of a concentration camp (according to the Telegraph). “Jedem den Seinen!” shouted the Esso ads; it translates roughly as “To each their own!” Change the phrase’s plural number to singular, and you have the words on the […]