Investigations Follow Up

By Jennifer Silverman
2 August 2011
Category: Follow Up

This week’s episode contained three popular repeats from season 8. Here’s an update on what happened with the stories since they originally aired in 2010.

Hot Town Poster

Hot Town Poster

What role did this striking poster play in the explosive events of 1960s America?

This story garnered a lot of viewer mail and comments.  Some viewers took exception to the story’s portrayal of the protesters at the Convention, believing the narrative projected a left-leaning bias.  Others wrote in to share their own experiences during this turbulent time in American history, memories of working with SDS, at the Convention, and even on the poster itself with Michael James (aka, Sunshine Jubilee). 

Compellingly, someone wrote in to say the man in the poster was a Chicago Police Officer, contrary to Michael James recollections, and that he had been next to the officer when the photograph was taken.  We’d be eager to hear any other thoughts on this.

On the production end, this was a particularly gratifying story to produce.  It is rare on History Detectives to find an artifact with recent history that allows the detective to interview original, living sources to solve the mystery.  Partly, it is that close proximity to events that provoke such strong feelings.  Regardless of political beliefs, being able to discuss the historic events of the 1968 Democratic Convention with Wayne Wiberg, Todd Gitlin and Michael James was a unique and rewarding experience for Tukufu and the production team.

Andrew Jackson's Mouth

Andrew Jackson's Mouth

How is this fragment connected a political protest in the 19th century?

In July, 2011, the USS Constitution acquired the Jackson Mouth from contributor PJ Whelan.  The Mouth is now on display at the museum in Boston.

The New York Times ran a story on the Mouth including many of the statue’s 175 years twist and turns we were unable to expand upon on air, including:

After the decapitation, the Constitution sailed for calmer waters in New York, where a replacement head carved by Dodge & Son of South Street was affixed to the figurehead in 1835.

Philip Hone, a prolific New York diarist, would write after viewing the Constitution approaching off the Rockaways: “I do not think much of her commander, have little respect for the effigy on her bow or the manner of its being placed there.”

When the Constitution was refitted in the mid-19th century, the original figurehead of Jackson was replaced by a second one.

The original Jackson figurehead — with the new head — was said to have wound up in a park in Lowell, Mass.

In 1927, it was reportedly auctioned off to William B. Leeds, who gave it to the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club of Oyster Bay, N.Y.

The recovery of the original mouth allowed historians to reconstruct Jackson’s countenance as it appeared in 1834, framed by his jutting chin and flowing bouffant mane.

“He’s not smiling or frowning,” Ms. Luray said. “He’s just, ‘I’m the president. Here I am.’ ”

Modoc Basket

Modoc Basket

What tales does this basket weave of the heroism of an American-Indian woman?

Contributor Cherie Cloudt let us know she has the basket proudly displayed in her house. Shortly after the episode aired, she got a query about selling the basket, but she prefers to find a collector who would agree to display the artifact in a museum that will tell the story of Toby Riddle.

Cherie says she will be using the basket as a focal point for two presentations she be giving in the spring: one at the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, NM, and another at the Arts in the Park Festival in Carrizozo, NM.

The viewer mail and posted comments to this story was fun – we heard from two different people who said they were related to Toby and her husband, Frank Riddle. While another person posted the link to Toby’s grave:

Thanks for watching!

Jennifer Silverman
Series Producer 


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