The Rest Is History

Trees, writing on the wall, and miscellaneous moments in American political history.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, September 24, 2021

Watercolor no. 35, Field with Two Pine Trees, by Allen Tucker, 1937. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the Allen Tucker Memorial.

• “The transformation of trees into data might seem a phenomenon of the modern era; but the use of trees in the technologies that record data has a very long history.” (Places Journal)

• “The government’s targeting of Haitians as a group has a long, dark history in the annals of U.S. immigration enforcement.” (The Intercept)

• Archaeologists deployed aerial-scanning technology at Teotihuacán. (Gizmodo)

• “Now we realize that ancient Christianity was like a great comet: its luminous trail once swept across the globe, from the Horn of Africa to the coast of Tamil Nadu, and from Mesopotamia to the court of the emperor of China.” (The New York Review of Books)

• “We are just beginning to uncover the history of African American technology, just beginning to understand its relation to the full story of American invention and innovation, and now finally seeing that these histories are intertwined from the start.” (The MIT Press Reader)

• “A Secret History of Venice Is Written on the Walls of Its Quarantine Stations.” (Atlas Obscura)

John C. Calhoun and austerity politics. (Slate)

• A history of the power held by the gentry. (The Atlantic)

• “At the end of 1933, Keynes was worried that Roosevelt was about to blow the recovery by under-spending and trying to balance the budget. So he wrote the president a very long letter telling him to stop screwing around and spend some money, and he published it on New Year’s Eve in the New York Times.” (In the Long Run)

• Meet Queen Amanirenas. (Narratively)

• A history of the sonogram. (

• Revisiting the work of the African Theater. (New York Times)

• Found: “a series of camel sculptures carved into rock faces in Saudi Arabia.” (BBC News)

• On music and labor history in West Virginia. (The Baffler)

• This week in obituaries: Melvin Van Peebles, Sarah Dash, George Holliday, Irma Kalish, Reuben Klamer, Antony Hewish, A.J. Johnson, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Barbara Campbell Cooke, Norman Bailey, Peter Williams, Ruth Christ Sullivan, Rudy Riska, Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Joan Washington, Michael Chapman, Ralph Irizarry, Willie Garson, Jane Powell, and Fred Dakota.