Sillyhistory is my blog for writing and discussing history. At the moment, I’m writing mostly on pirates, as I’m teaching a course at the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Center for Adult Education on that subject. I usually put up one post a week. Feel free to browse. The category index should show you what kinds of topics I’ve been covering on this blog.
The image at the top of the blog is a selection from the painting The Capture of Blackbeard, 1718, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 – 1930). Ferris, who was named after a French painter and sculptor, was famous for a series of painting depicting episodes in American history. This one shows the real face-to-face battle between Blackbeard and the Royal Navy lieutenant sent out to destroy him, Robert Maynard, possibly the most dramatic event in the Golden Age of Piracy.
Who am I? I’m Brian Bixby. By the standards of our time, one is supposed to present one’s academic credentials when speaking on an intellectual subject, so here are mine. The most recent is a Ph.D. in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (the flagship campus of the system) for my dissertation on Shakers and tourists. Before that, I earned an M.A. in Historical Studies and Sociology (because one field wasn’t enough) from the grandiloquently named New School for Social Research, an unusual university in New York City. And to start my progress in higher education, I acquired an A.B. (not a B.A., because the degree is official given in Latin!) in Philosophy from Harvard University.
In my spare time, I also write fiction over at sister blog Sillyverse. It often has a historical background, not all of which is real.