Weekly Log: May 12 – June 4

My hope is that eventually the Weekly Log category will actually sum up what I’ve done each week. However, this post, covering a period of 24 days, sets a precedent for loose construction of the term “week” — I may simply sum up and report “every so often.” Anyway, here’s what I’ve done since this blog began on May 12.

  • Worked through 14 boxes of documents in the Livingston Papers (Boxes 82 through 91, 149 and 149a, 152, and miscellaneous maps). These were mostly miscellaneous manuscript items and legal, financial, and land transaction records (none of which are really complete enough, unfortunately, to be used for a systematic study of those subjects in EL’s life). This ends my research in the Livingston collection for the present, a task that has taken up the bulk of my research time in this academic year, that has introduced me to the practice of archival research, and that has taught me a lot — still being assimilated — about Louisiana in the early 19th century.
  • Also in terms of primary source research, I read about 2.5 reels of the Gallatin Papers, covering the years from 1803 to 1805, making photocopies of the most important documents with handwritten notes. In the absence of satisfactory Jefferson Papers covering these years the Gallatin is a great (and underutilized) archive pertaining to federal government activities in these years. There remain about 10 reels I want to go through, and I should check to see if they exist in Louisiana or not….
  • For secondary reading, I read three books closely and completely: Kukla’s A Wilderness So Immense, Fernandez’ From Chaos to Continuity, and Fogel & Engerman’s Time on the Cross. I also skimmed other articles and books related to the plaçage question and race relations and daily life in New Orleans, generally; and did a little further reading on the surprisingly tricky and complex subject of the word “creole.”
  • I compiled my notes re: Charles Wollstonecraft.
  • I started this blog, and kept it up pretty regularly, including not only a daily log but brief reviews of Kukla and Fernandez books and a short essay about Thomas Jefferson.
  • I had productive, helpful meetings with Dan Rodgers, Tom Bender, Paul Miles, and (especially) Peter Silver.
  • I moved/renewed books, packed books up, made moving and travel arrangements, moved out of my carrel in Firestone, applied (unsuccessfully, for the moment) for departmental financial help, and generally did logistical drudgeries relating to our move(s) — out of Princeton at the end of June, and to New Orleans in August.

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