Tea With Sarah: Presidential Libraries, ECW, and Harp

Good afternoon, it’s time for tea!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for everyone and we didn’t have any specific questions for conversation today, so I get to practice my conversation skills by starting some topics and hopefully, you’ll add your own comments below.

If I was hosting a REAL tea this afternoon, Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies would be the treat and probably Vanilla Tea to drink. I’ve tried a new blend of vanilla flavored black tea this week and it’s full of subtle, delicious flavor.

Cream or sugar? And pass the cookies again…

How many Presidential Homes or Libraries have you visited?

Hmm…let’s see. In order, I’ve visited:

  • Thomas Jefferson – Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia
  • George Washington – Mount Vernon near Alexandria, Virginia
  • Ronald Reagan – Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California
  • Richard M. Nixon – Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California

Wow – only four? That’s a little disappointing to me. My dad visited the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston during spare time on a business trip (at my insistence).

This year I’m hoping to visit James Madison’s home Montpelier in central Virginia. And the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Kansas City, Missouri, is on my bucket list! Actually, quite a few libraries are on my “to visit” list. They are such wonderful places to learn about leadership, U.S. History, and historical politics – in all the struggles and triumphs.

Which Presidential Homes or Libraries have you visited? Or which ones are on your bucket list?

What is Emerging Civil War? And what do you actually do there?

Emerging Civil War is “a public history-oriented platform for sharing original scholarship related to the American Civil War. Our primary audience is the general public so scholarship is defined broadly: historical research, memory studies, travelogues, personal narratives, essays, book reviews, and photography. Journalistic style coverage of current Civil War-related events and the Civil War in pop-culture are also included… ECW seeks to encourage a diversity of perspectives in the scholarship it presents. We do that, in part, by identifying and spotlighting the next generation of Civil War historians and the fresh ideas they bring to the historical conversation…” (To quote directly from their website!)

Emerging Civil War shares scholarship through THE BLOG and has also successfully ventured into book publishing, working with traditional publishers.

Currently, I serve as co-managing editor for Emerging Civil War’s blog. What does that mean? In a nutshell, scheduling blog posts, keeping an eye on the published articles, editing drafts, working with guest authors, helping to coordinate special topic series, staying up-to-date and supporting new projects spearheaded by other editors or group leaders, and coordinating with the social media “division” at ECW. It has its busy moments, for sure, but it’s a lot of fun, too! I’m also working on a non-fiction history book for one of the Emerging Civil War series and one of my essays should be appearing in one of their collection books too.

This week we started ECW’s Black History Month series and among our other featured posts, we had a nice set of articles with a historical perspective on Civil War love stories for Valentine’s Day. Emerging Civil War is growing and transitioning in many good ways, and I’m excited to be part of the process.

Check-out Emerging Civil War Blog. Is there a particular battle or Civil War related topic you think we should cover? Leave me a comment on this post and we’ll take it into consideration!

Do you play a musical instrument?

Yes! Two, actually. Harp and piano.

I’ve been playing harp for twelve years this year – which is a little crazy to think about. Time flies! It’s a Celtic Harp (see photo) which is smaller than the harps usually seen with orchestras. With thirty-six strings and made of African Babinga Wood, this harp has a warm, comforting, relaxing tone. This week some new music I ordered arrived, and I’m enjoying some new hymn arrangements and looking forward to learning a spring-inspired musical suite.

Way back when (high school years!), I professionally recorded two harp CDs. You can listen to excerpts here and here. The CDs are still available and the word from marketing director is that they’ll be on sale next month for St. Patrick’s Day. A good (and true) rumor…

Piano was the first instrument I learned, and I still play a little. “Not very well, but then I don’t take the trouble to practice,” to quote Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Usually now, I just grab a book of easier songs or the hymnal and play for fun and to unwind after a busy day.

What about you? Do you play an instrument? Or what’s your favorite style of music?

And that’s all for today… Please give me some interesting reading material this afternoon with your own stories about visiting Presidential libraries, musical instruments, and/or an opinion of new topics for Emerging Civil War.

Thanks for coming for tea! See you again for another “conversation” in March…

Your historian,

Miss Sarah

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, editor, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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5 Responses to Tea With Sarah: Presidential Libraries, ECW, and Harp

  1. Thomas R Place says:

    Washington and was able to stand in tomd and re cite the prayer
    A Johnson

  2. rearadmiral says:

    Libraries: Truman and JFK (several times)
    Homes: Washington, Adams, Jefferson All several times.

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