The Artwork of Ben A. Barnes

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.06.29 AMI am so very thrilled to be able to include – on The Americanist Independent website – the exquisite  artwork of California painter and potter Ben A. Barnes.

Mr. Barnes  has been a teacher as well as  a commercial and freelance  artist since the 1950s. His work captures the essence of mid-century style with a particular California touch.

You can view his work by going HERE and clicking the Art and Literature tab. Subscriptions to the AI site are now and will forever be entirely gratis. So please enjoy with my compliments,


Confederate Memorial Day

I was going through some Harristorian archival video footage today and came across this: the Confederate Memorial Day commemoration at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.  This is from a couple of years back but the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy hold the ceremony every May. The video (a shade over four minutes) is worth the watch. A few of the participants make some very interesting observations.  By the way, the event is not advertised. According to to one representative, the UDC did not want any unfriendlies attending. I inquired about this (naturally) and she said, “the neighborhood has gotten a little dark…if you know what I mean.”

True story. And yes…I knew what she meant.

With compliments,


Beat! beat! drums!

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Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying,
Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators—would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.
      – Walt Whitman

Happy Veterans Day!

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 7.04.39 AMPictured above is my father (left), Michael Sidney Pilgreen – USN c. 1963 and my uncle (right), Jimmy Carl Harris – USMC c. 1958.

Dad served  out his hitch and went on to cause all sorts of trouble. Trust me, he had some good stories. He passed in 1998. Rest in peace.

Uncle Jim served in Viet Nam and retired from the Corps a sergeant major after Desert Storm. Now he’s an old Marine and an author living in Birmingham, Alabama 🙂 Semper Fi!

To all the vets out there…SALUTE!

With compliments,


The Americanist Independent is Once Again Up and Running

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 7.50.42 AMFriends, there is some good news here and some better news. The good news is that The Americanist Independent website is out of beta and now live for your reading pleasure. Yes indeed, you can once again read up on all the cutting edge scholarship, innovative teaching, and the arts in American History. Yay.

Here’s the better news: now it’s completely FREE. As a public historian I think it is best that this work is available to the entire public – open access. Not only is site access entirely gratis, but it looks better and runs much more smoothly than the beta version. As of November 9, 2014, much of the site is still under construction but all AI issues are available. You will still need to set up a profile (to keep out the spammers) only now there is no charge.  It’s FRREEEEEE (huzzah).

Sign on HERE.

With compliments,