Category: Bright

Touring Annandale: Former White House Social Secretary Linda Faulkner Reveals the Artistic Wonders Inside Her Texas Home

Our house has brought together two people—my husband and myself—along with 17th-, 18th-, and early 19th-century hand-water-colored prints of flora and fauna from around the world, which decorate our walls today. They speak of the glory of God’s creation. Gilbert and I met in Washington, D.C., during the Ronald Reagan administration. He was working on…


The Story Behind the Colonial Trial that Laid the Foundation for Establishing America’s Freedom of Press

When James Madison of Virginia, later the fourth president of the United States, wrote that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”—God-given rights ultimately enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution—there is little doubt that one thing on his mind was the trial of John Peter…


Wild Adventures: the Heart-Pounding Legend of Lewis and Clark’s Mission to Map Out America’s Frontier

The vast prairie stretched in front of the Lewis and Clark expedition, teeming with life and promising new discoveries. In present-day Nebraska, they spotted and described little furry animals we now call prairie dogs. Lewis was amazed by their burrow networks and sheer numbers. One day, Lewis observed a jackrabbit bounding across the plains. “It…


How America’s First First Lady Martha Washington Overcame Intense Scrutiny to Set the Tone for Her Successors

Streets, parks, towns, and cities are named for her husband, but Martha Washington’s grace and tenacity are also worthy of remembrance. Not much is known about the country’s first “first lady,” even from her own correspondence. She burned most of the letters between her and her husband, George, soon after he died. But the few…


A Great American Orator: How 19th-Century Senator Daniel Webster Developed His Unique Gifts

A contemporary, journalist Oliver Dyer, described Daniel Webster this way: “The head, the face, the whole presence of Webster, was kingly, majestic, god-like.” That third description stuck. Others began referencing the senator and orator from New Hampshire as “Godlike Daniel.” His words could move the hearts of his listeners, and his vibrant voice often brought…


Book Recommender: ‘Destruction of the Steamboat Sultana,’ the Story of Mississippi’s Deadliest Maritime Disaster

In April 1865, the steamboat Sultana’s boilers burst shortly after passing Memphis on its way to Cairo, Illinois. The boat burned and sank. Aboard were nearly 2,200 passengers and crew. Of those aboard, 1,168 died. It was the deadliest maritime disaster in the United States. Not until the Titanic sank in 1912 would another maritime…


Book Recommender: ‘The Gettysburg Cyclorama,’ Discover the Story Behind the Most Iconic Painting of the Civil War Battle

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” penned Oscar Wilde in an 1889 essay, “The Decay of Lying.” Yet “The Gettysburg Cyclorama: The Turning Point of the Civil War on Canvas” is one exception. The book’s writers, Chris Brenneman and Sue Boardman, who have worked as licensed guides at the Gettysburg National Military…


Disrupted Speech

Stuttering affects more people than you might think. Roughly 3 million Americans have this speech disorder that makes speaking smoothly difficult. Scientists are learning about what causes people to stutter, and genes tell a big part of the story. “People with stuttering know exactly what they want to say. They’re just unable to say it at the…


A Tour Through North Carolina’s Tryon Palace, Once Known as the Finest Government House in Colonial America

North Carolina’s Tryon Palace was once known as the finest government house in colonial America. Completed in 1770, only years before the Revolutionary War, the palace was built for British royal governor William Tryon. The price of building the palace met with controversy and added to conflict in the Colonies. During the war, it became…


How 19th-Century Painters Frederic Edwin Church and Ferdinand Richardt Captured the Magnificent Beauty of Niagara Falls

“Their roar is around me. I am on the brink of the great waters—and their anthem voice goes up amid the rainbow and the mist.” —Excerpt from “Niagara,” Grenville Mellen, 1839 In the 19th century, realistically painted works of the Romantic period offered viewers in America, and across the Atlantic, the chance to glimpse the…