Friday, February 27, 2009

Jessica Prince, Class of 2010

I met Jessica Diana Prince (Class of 2010) this past summer during my preliminary research. It seems she was doing an independent study project on Widener University During the Time of Lincoln so we had similar interests. We meet at the Delaware County Historical Society when she accompanied Beck Warda. Recently she presented her findings, I believe, to an alumni committee of some sort. I learned some things either I did not know or could not remember from my time a PMC.

She found a picture of Henry Clay Robinett[e]:

Source: University of the Pacific, Holt- Atherton Special Collections

In 1963 Battery Robinette was formed at PMC and fired their cannon at football games, until it cracked. Wonder when that was?

Source: Widener University Archives

This is how the battery looked recently:

Here is one of Lincoln she found, I would guess it is from around the turn of the century, when he was in charge of the Iowa National Guard, give or take a decade:

Source: Iowa State University Archives (another place I need to visit)

She has some more interesting information but it is not germane to my project

Thanks for sharing Jessica!

Keep History Alive


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Loyalty and Joe Biden

Well, my questions are coming along nicely but more is going through my mind. I feel it is important to develop a good working bibliography of the available/known source. Not as easy as it sounds. Since the focus of this project will be loyalty and its impact upon these two men before, during, and after the war, I am off to find sources on loyalty during the Civil War. I will then be able to review the literature and determine what others have said about the topic. This is sometimes called “status quaestionis”, the state of the question. I started developing questions around various aspects of the project: Loyalty, DMA, The Robinette & Lincoln families, and Henry & James themselves. Once I am closer to a good draft of questions I will post them here.

My students at AMU have been discussing the issue of loyalty . Here is what some of them had to say:

"The type of loyalty and the strength of it seem to be based upon that of the individual displaying it. It can be fickle or can be devoted with zealousness."

"We have seen political loyalties, whether they are tied to ideological ideas such as states rights or to the political parties themselves because of who they feel has their best interest in mind. Then there are loyalties to families, tribes, religious view points, traditions, or cultural similarities. Loyalties can often times be broken or thrown to the wayside because of perceived injustices or because individuals loyalties clash and one loyalty rules out the other. We read much about disenfranchised political party members flocking to the other side over policies. And who among us can say they don't have multiple loyalties?"

"Loyalty in this chapter was a little confusing. The American repeatedly said they did not want war but that's exactly what they were preparing for. When I think of loyalty my first thought is trust. You can recite the definition all day long but maybe it's not that black and white. When it comes down to it, maybe there are other factors to your "loyalty" that drives you from that trust."

"Loyalty pertains to every day life. Family, friends, job, church. Bearing true faith and allegiance, supporting, defending, trusting, believing in another. Without question, without hesitation, loyalty is kind of like unconditional love. You will be there no matter what."

" Loyalty should be defined in as many ways as it can be used. There are many uses for loyalty and many definitions as it differs from person to person. Immigrants became loyal to the bosses assisting them with jobs, medical aid, food, blankets, and housing. Slaves and ex slaves saw loyalty in a different light than wealthy plantation owners. Loyalties played a big part in the founding of the country, from protecting those in the original communities, to casting votes in much later elections. Loyalty applies to the area of study by showing how this particular subject forms governments, wealth and power, and cultures. Loyalty filled government jobs, paid salaries, and kept powerful men in powerful positions."

"A lot of history is shrouded in a fog of loyalty"

"Loyalty is something that is learned at a young age and stays with you throughout your life. It may change several times; loyalties to political parties change after controversies; loyalties to countries change after wars; loyalties to family change after crisis. I do not believe loyalty should be blind."

"Loyalty can be overrated to an extent."

A final thought does Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ring a bell?

Is it possible that there is a connection between our current VP and Henry Clay Robinette?

Keep History Alive!

Monday, February 23, 2009

THE Plan

Okay, the basics of my plan are together. Here is what I have laid out so far:

Initial Research Completed by 31 JUL 2009

I think I can successfully complete most of my research by this date based on my work schedule, conferences I am going to attend and holidays. Of course, no plan meets contact with the enemy so we will see how this goes. I have two monographs to complete for the Signal Corps during this time as well so it looks like a lot of words will be flowing during this time.

Through out this time I will need to travel some. Possible trips include: Pacific University for the papers of Robinette’s brother, Iowa State for the papers of Lincoln, Widener and the various Historical Societies in the area.

Begin Writing August/September

August and September should be interesting. I will be on vacation August 15-23 in Ocean City, NJ. That should give me time to run to Widener if I need to and some quiet time to pound work on the draft.

Initial Draft Completed by 1 OCT 2009

I will then use October for Peer Review. Okay, the trick here is to find a few “volunteers” to read and critique my draft. After I have asked some folks to do this, I will post their names for all to see. I also hope to travel back to Widener for Homecoming to allow for some more reviews while I am there.

Peer Review of Draft Completed by 1 NOV 2009

After the Peer Review I will make modifications and complete a few more drafts during November until I have it in a final form that I can be comfortable with.

Final Draft Completed by 1 DEC 2009

This is a drop dead date. No product no cash from APU/AMU and I must reimburse what I have spent.

Article Submitted by 1 DEC 2009

Submitted to whom? APU/AMU After that I will submit it for publication in a scholarly journal.

That is my initial basic plan. We will see how it changes as I go.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Week's Challenge

I have two goals for this week.

The first is to develop an efficient research plan.
I am working backwards from 1 December as that is that date by Which I must complete this project from APUS. My hope is to have this plan completed by the end of this week.

My second goal is to develop a series of questions about Robinette, Lincoln, and DMA to guide my research. The original list developed this week will, of course, grow as I begin my research. When the questions are complete...well, they never really are. You just hope to answer as many as you possibly can before you begin writing.

This week is critical to using my time effectively. I only have my weekends, holidays and my vacation days to complete the research. As much as I wish, this project will not be a fulltime endeavor.

Keep History Alive

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why Broomsticks?

Okay, why Broomsticks? A very interesting story on many levels. Supposedly military drill began in 1858 when Theodore Hyatt entered the gymnasium finding his pupils drilling with broomsticks. Hyatt soon introduced military training to “develop the muscles, expand the chest, and impart an erect gentlemanly carriage….”

As Dr. Moll, former President of PMC/Widener stated in his 1954 thesis entitled, A History Of Pennsylvania Military College--1821-1954

“It is altogether possible that the Hyatt cadets did drill with broomsticks in the fall of 1858, but by plan rather than accident, for Principal Hyatt announced the Infantry Drill and Military Uniform in the Circular printed duping the summer of 1858 for the term opening September 6, 1858. If the cadets drilled with broomsticks in the fall, it was because the Governor had not yet given the school s t a t e arms for drill. The legend of the broom drill is re-enacted annually at every PMC Commencement by the old grads who put on a broom drill as part of the Commencement festivities.”

Well, not any more. That is done at Homecoming.

According to Buxton, “Theodore Hyatt found his students drilling with broomsticks. The benefits of military instruction dawned up- on the progressive young teacher himself a one-time New York militiaman, and he promptly changed his school into a military academy.”

None the less, Colonel Hyatt's cadets put down their broomsitcks and pick up their sabers, rifles, or muskets and went to war.

Broomdrill shots at Homecoming from the Widener Wolfgram Memorial Libary collection.

Keep History Alive

Thursday, February 19, 2009

So where did the idea for this project come from?

Well, that is easy. As a seventeen year old Rook at Pennsylvania Military College, a good component of our "Rook Knowledge" was the history of PMC; leading back to Pennsylvania Military Academy and Gus George and his light artillery battery heading off to the Gettysburg Campaign. From there it weaves back to Delaware Military Academy and Henry C. Robinette, Battery Robinette, and the Battle of Corinth. Even further back takes one to Colonel Hyatt's Select School for Boys. The Broom Drill, as all cadets know, dates back to this period. Hence the title of this blog and the working title of my project.

That reminds me of one of our Jody Calls (little chants soldiers sing/shout while marching or double-timing in formation). "We are Colonel Hyatt’s" ... ah, I better not go there... this will be "G" rated blog throughout.

So here I was, highly impressionable and forced to inhale as much of this rook knowledge as rapidly possible. Some history was embellished, the sounds of the third day cannonade at Gettysburg being heard in West Chester and on and on.

Those stores and rook knowledge, as any grad of a military institution will tell you, stick with you forever. Why just the past school year I was sitting in Charleston, SC teaching two, soon to be Citadel Knobs, "How's the Cow" and giving them my spitshine rag and button board from "back in the day" at PMC.

That was the very seed of this project; the germination began from there. I always wondered about those cadets and what it must have been like. I remember, I think my senior year, going to West Chester to visit the Chester County Historical Society to do some research for a project about the history of PMC. Everything grew from there.

Since there had been a fire at the school in the 1880s much of this history was lost or ,at the very least, poorly remembered in Henry Buxton’s Pennsylvania Military College 1821 – 1921; in many cases more twistery than history, at least in my opinion. I began to question some “rook history” such as PMA’s role at Gettysburg. Did Guss’ battery actually make it to the fight? No, they were at Carlisle and left with rundown nags by a battery they relieved, but that is another story. Did DMA/PMA cadets fight on both sides of the Civil War? Yes. And on and on.

In the summer of 2008 I spent some time with Becky Warda at Widener talking history, checking out the artifact collection, and looking at the wonderful new timeline at the PMC Museum. I found a kindred sprit in her. Four days at Widener, the Chester County Historical Society, the Delaware County Historical Society, and the Delaware (state) Historical Society conducting preliminary research convinced me that there could be a project in here somewhere.

So with the grant assistance through American Public University/American Military University I decided to move forward with the project this year. Time will tell just how much of the history of these two men and DMA/PMA/PMC I will be able to unearth.

Keep History Alive

And so it begins

Welcome to my new blog. Thanks to my friends in the Sleeper Cartel and to my stduents at AMU, I have decided to maintain a blog of my current research project. First and foremost, I would like to thank the folks at American Public University/American Military University for a grant to continue my work this year. I also want to thank Rebecca Warda of Widener University the Collections Manager for the PMC Museum at Widener for all of her support and suggestions. She is a real gem at Widener.

I hope this blog will serve as a guide to others who might be interested in doing historical research and that you will all offer suggestions and advice as the project develops.

I would like to dedicate this blog and my research to all the cadets of Delaware/Pennsylvania Military Academy and Pennsylvania Military College. These men, noble in action and deed, served their country in every war since 1860. They are my motivation and my strength.

Keep History Alive