Interviews

The Places that Shaped Woodrow Wilson: A Conversation with Biographer A. Scott Berg

Posted on: September 18th, 2013 by David Robert Weible

 

"Wilson," a biography by author A. Scott Berg. Credit: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Wilson, a biography of the 28th president of the United States by author A. Scott Berg

A. Scott Berg is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner who has made a career out of chronicling the lives of famous Americans like Charles Lindbergh and Katharine Hepburn. His latest, and possibly most ambitious biography, Wilson -- released on September 10 ($40, G.P. Putnam’s Sons) -- brings a personalized view of the nation’s 28th president, a man history often depicts as grim, cold, and aloof.

“In fact, Woodrow Wilson was an extremely passionate, highly emotional man of great intellect,” says Berg. “That being said, I think his story is the most dramatic story ever to unfold in the White House.”

I spoke with Berg to get an insider’s view of the book and an understanding of some of the places that helped to shape not only Berg’s view of Wilson, but Wilson’s view of the world.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

New Farnsworth House Director Maurice Drue Parrish on Experiencing Modernism

Posted on: September 16th, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita

 

Farnsworth House. Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois

Maurice Drue Parrish recently joined as the new director of the Farnsworth House, a National Trust site in Plano, Illinois -- and one of the most iconic expressions of modern architecture.

Parrish was born in Chicago and grew up just miles from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Technology campus. He studied architecture at University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, before entering arts and museum administration. This summer, he found himself in charge of another Mies van der Rohe design: the Farnsworth House.

He has important visions for the house museum, including protecting the house from recurring flooding. Now, he's here to share his appreciation for modernism, the unique challenges of a modern house museum, and why visiting the site means a personal experience with art.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

Civil War: The Untold Story: Q&A with Director Chris Wheeler

Posted on: August 23rd, 2013 by Julia Rocchi

 

"It's not just about who we were then. It's about who we are now."

So says Great Divide Pictures of its upcoming documentary series Civil War: The Untold Story. Slated to air in early 2014, the series looks at the Civil War through the lens of the Western Campaign, and also dives into the homefront, politics, slavery, and the relatively unknown roles African-Americans played in the conflicts.

This last point particularly interested us at PreservationNation, where we've covered the role of contraband -- or self-emancipated enslaved people -- on YouTube, on this blog, and through our work at National Treasure Ft. Monroe. We caught up with Chris Wheeler, the series' producer-director, to ask him what he learned about this forgotten piece of history while filming.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

 

Joan's father and mother pose on the historic home's steps in 2013. Credit: Joan Menzer
Joan's father and mother pose on the steps of the historic house where he spent his youth.

When National Trust employee Joan Menzer was in elementary school in the 1970s just outside of Washington, D.C., her father would occasionally drive the family past the Craftsman bungalow he had spent the first few years of his life in near the Palisades neighborhood of the city. And though the house -- which her great-grandfather, a streetcar driver, had built in 1927 -- had remained within her extended family into the 1980s, Menzer had never stepped foot inside.

Then, this past April, curiosity got the best of her. After talking it over with a few friends who own historic properties in the area, Menzer decided to write the owner a letter, offering up history of the house. The owner responded with an invitation to visit, and Menzer took her parents -- who had since moved away from the area but were back visiting -- to see it.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

[Interview] Zach Schonfeld: "I Visit Presidential Birthplaces"

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita 3 Comments

 

Zach Schonfeld's project: he visits presidential birthplaces. Credit: Rachel Pincus.
“I wanted to pursue something absurd before succumbing to adulthood,” says Zach Schonfeld of his project on historical tourism and presidential history.

While in college, Zach Schonfeld had a quarter-life crisis. So, the 22-year-old decided to roadtrip across the country and see where U.S. presidents were born.

In the summer of 2011, he set off to blog about the local stories behind the national myths, from Jimmy Carter to Andrew Jackson to Ronald Reagan. The result: I Visit Presidential Birthplaces, a project funded by The History Channel and Wesleyan University, where Schonfeld studied English.

This past spring Schonfeld finished the project as his undergraduate thesis. Now, he’s here to share with us some of his presidential adventures.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.