- For Presidents’ Day, here are their current rankings, according to this group of historians (via Inside Higher Ed). The thing I always find really silly about these rankings of presidential greatness is the obvious bias towards more recent presidents. You’d almost be relieved to have lived in the twentieth century, because of all of the presidential awesomeness then. Of the top ten on this ranking, only two (#1, Abraham Lincoln, and #7, Thomas Jefferson) are from the nineteenth century. There’s your obligatory citation of George Washington (#2?), which just seems like Founding Fathers tokenism, and the chronic overrating of John F. Kennedy (#6–who wants to bet that his stock drops dramatically when people born after 1963 dominate the historians who do these rankings?) Seriously: James K. Polk is #12? Whatever, dudes. Clearly, starting unnecessary and unprovoked imperial wars isn’t a disqualifying feature in these rankings, with George W. Bush listed at the high rank of #36. (And bien sur, most of the historians who did the rankings are dudes: 57 men, 10 women by my quick count.)
- Via Like a Whisper, we hear that Rutgers University’s Center for Race and Ethnicity is sponsoring a conference called “Black Women in the Ivory Tower: Research and Praxis,” March 5-6. Many of the participants were also contributors to Debra Gray White’s Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (2008), a book I’ve been meaning to read. It might make a good companion volume to Judith Bennett’s History Matters, which will be the subject of our Women’s History Month book club discussion here and at three other top women’s history blogs.
- And finally, I’m sorry for the belated valentine, but this collection of photos and descriptions of valentines from the 1920s and 1930s at Romantoes is really cool!