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Posts Tagged ‘royall’

Royall Tyler in a Comic (sort of)

This week the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge published an anthology of comics called Minimum Paige. The first item is a little horror story that I scripted and Alex Cormack drew called “The Essex County Literary Wax Museum & Menagerie.” Last night we learned that the editors also awarded that story second prize among all the eligible entries in the book.

What does this have to do with Revolutionary War history? Hmmm.

The images of Judge Pyncheon from The House of Seven Gables in our story are based on pictures of the playwright and jurist Royall Tyler, who grew up in Revolutionary Boston. Nathaniel Hawthorne took some inspiration for that character from talks with Tyler’s disapproving in-laws; more on that connection here.

Also, I spent all of the prize money and a little more on Revolutionary history books from the store’s used-books basement.

And, um, Gen. George Washington slept in a house a couple of blocks from the store. For almost two weeks.

But really I just wanted to brag.

Anne Royall and the Nude President

A few centuries ago, the President of the United States of America did not have a security detail. He could slip out of the White House and do as he pleased. And it wasn’t much of a problem until President Lincoln was murdered in 1865.

President John Quincy Adams was well know for one habit. He liked to swim nude everyday in the Potomac River. No big deal back then, right?

Anne Royall was a journalist. However, she was not treated well by most of the public. Who wanted a female journalist in the early 19th Century?

However, she scored a major success when she intruded on the morning swim of the President:

The Internet Public Library notes:

President Adams regularly swam nude in the Potomac River. Anne Royall, the first American professional journalist, knew of Adams’ 5 A.M. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had interviewed a president.

This appeared to be a sound approach. Ms. Royall got her wish. It is hard to imagine today but it is a part of presidential history.