The Rest Is History

Powerful phrases, prehistoric creativity, and the origins of quarantine.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, June 19, 2020

Sei Shonagon, from the series Ancient Patterns, by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1896. Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Fischer and Margaret Gentles funds.

• On celebrating Juneteenth during social distancing. (The Guardian)

• “How Racist Was Flannery O’Connor?” (The New Yorker)

• An interview with Wangui Muigai: “As a historian of medicine, I’m interested in how people have understood their health and bodies, and when faced with a health crisis, where they turn for help.” (Nursing Clio)

• “How Children Took the Smallpox Vaccine Around the World.” (JSTOR Daily)

• When the Confederate flag was one of the things carried by American soldiers abroad. (

• On Frank Kameny. (Boston Review)

• “One of the most powerful phrases in the Civil Rights Act is often viewed as a malicious joke that backfired. But its entrance into American law was far more savvy than that.” (Slate)

• How to make a pleasurable and very fictional Catherine the Great. (

• Reading Sei Shonagon in 2020. (The American Scholar)

• On prehistoric aesthetics. (Aeon)

• “Today, we only know Douglass through his writings—there are no known recordings of him—but during his lifetime his primary fame was as a speaker. In the last generation before electronic mass entertainment, he was a star of the speaking circuit, holding audiences spellbound. But what if we could hear him speak? What if we could get a gist of how the man sounded, of how his speeches rolled?” (Library of Congress Blog)

• “No one knows who painted this depiction of hell, or who asked for it to be made, or even what purpose it served. We only know that it was done in about 1515 in Lisbon.” (Cabinet Kiosk)

• The various places named after Braxton Bragg might be getting a name change. (Los Angeles Times)

• What to do with a bust of Avery Brundage at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum? (New York Times)

• A brief history of why Aunt Jemima stayed on syrup bottles for so long. (Washington Post)

• The beginning of quarantine. (Zócalo Public Square)

Petrarch shows one way to survive the plague. (Public Domain Review)

• On the Maya ruins of Uxmal. (

• This week in obituaries: Tomisaku Kawasaki, Sally Banes, Thomas Freeman, John Furnival, Pat Brymer, Manuel Felguérez, Willie Thorne, Frederick C. Tillis, Jean Kennedy Smith, Delbert Africa, Vera Lynn, Keith Tippett, Bobby Lewis, Alan Hurwitz, and Ronald Tackman.