This morning I had the honor of chatting with presenter Mike Hill on BBC Tees Radio, covering Whitby and northeast England, about my current crowdfunding campaign for a trip to England and a new biography of William Scoresby. I’m excited to share the story of one of the northeast’s famous sons with listeners in the region! I’ll post the link to the radio interview after it airs.
The local newspaper in Whitby, Yorkshire, ran a feature story about my campaign to raise money for a trip to England! The Whitby Gazette reports that I’m planning to research the personal letters and diaries of my third-great uncle William Scoresby, the first polar scientist, at the Whitby Museum.
“She also aims to find out more about how his observations influenced leading explorers, naturalists and statesmen,” reporter Sam Jones writes.
Scoresby himself bequeathed his voluminous collection of writings, scientific instruments and artifacts he collected on his many whaling voyages to the Whitby Museum. I gather that since his death in 1857, few people have examined the collection. That’s where I come in, and I’ll use the information I find in a new biography of this pioneering polar explorer and naturalist.
Last month, I gave a talk at the monthly history lecture series produced by the Society for the Appreciation of Social Studies (SASS) in Brooklyn. The subject: the symbols and science of the Freemasons, a secret society founded in England during the Enlightenment to encourage is members’ intellectual edification.
Despite its hush-hush nature, the Masons had an outsize influence on the development of the scientific method. Historians estimate that at least 350 members of the Royal Society were Freemasons. Many lay scientists and civic leaders were too, including my great-great-great-great-grandfather William Scoresby, Sr., who founded Britannia Lodge in Whitby, Yorkshire in 1772.
I’m happy to report that the venue, the Bedford in Wiliamsburg, was packed and that many audience members asked follow-up questions during the Q-and-A period following the talk. Luckily I was able to answer most of them.
Download the full Powerpoint presentation of “The Freemasons: Secret Scientists” (with visuals and offscreen text) on Slideshare!
I’m reposting a fabulous, complimentary review of The Forbidden Apple by Amazon.com Top 50 Reviewer Rob Hardy. Rob is not the demo I’d expect to laud The Forbidden Apple–he lives in rural Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife, three kids and multiple pets–but I’m extremely grateful that he took the plunge and submitted an erudite, thoughtful review of my sexy, urban book. Thanks, Rob!
“Before pornography was a few clicks away on your computer, and then before you could slip a videotape of an X-rated movie into your VCR, you had to go out to see performed porn. You also had to go out to buy dirty magazines. Any American city big enough had places for such commerce, but there was no commercial sex scene more famous than that of our biggest city. It isn’t surprising that the history of New York’s sex-for-sale is lively and full of contradictions, and in The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex & Sin in New York City (Ig Publishing), journalist and social historian Kat Long has chronicled the ups and downs of the city’s sex trade. Because New York leads the nation in many ways, this is a history of sexual culture in the United States, with particular attention to what has gone down in New York and in particular within the famous Times Square region. Long shows that though the region has been cleaned up for a few years, there has been over a century of attempts to rid the city of vice. The different versions of the vice squad through the century have fought the battle in different ways, but there has been so much give and take between the sides that it makes sense, as Long shows, to look at the different forces as symbiotic. “As everyone knows, the city is being rebuilt,” she quotes Police Chief William McAdoo as saying, “and vice moves ahead of business.” He said this, however, over a hundred years ago, and it remains true. Continue reading
Occasionally I like to do a Google search for myself and see what comes up. It’s a little intimidating to find out how seemingly all over the ‘net I am, but half of those hits are my own doing–this blog, my Facebook page, my MySpace page, and a lot of web sites I signed up for once and never used again (LinkedIn, I’m looking at you).
Tonight I discovered a review of “The Forbidden Apple” from Publishers Weekly via barnesandnoble.com. My publishers were concerned when the book came out in March that we had not scored a review in PW prior to publication, which they thought bode ill for the book’s sales. It seems that PW did review it as a web-only exclusive on March 16. Here we go:
“From brothels on the Bowery to the crusade to retake Times Square, journalist Long (“chief writer” of the guidebook Sexy New York City) examines the bawdiest characters and exploits in New York City’s history, and those determined to ruin the fun. Contextualizing the gritty, bopping, libidinous culture that most associate with New York in the 20th century, Long introduces readers to outcasts of all kinds, outraged moralists like Anthony Comstock and Ed Koch, popular Prohibition-era dances (the Charleston, the Black Bottom, the Lindy Hop), and iconic phenomena like the film Deep Throat. Long also covers civil rights milestones for gays and women (the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the 1970 Women’s Strike for Equality), and her reach, for much of the book, is far enough to make an apt general history of the city from Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Long’s fastidious research hasn’t discouraged a decidedly liberal bias (“free love” gets unconditional respect, Gov. Giuliani’s clean-up initiatives are condemned on sentimental grounds). Further, the final chapters focus narrowly on Times Square, devolving into a somewhat tiresome diatribe/eulogy. Long should capture the interest of New York history aficionados, but only if they tend to share her lefty permissiveness and it-was-better-when sentimentality. 11 b&w photos.”
GOV. Giuliani?! I suppose I shouldn’t feel too hurt that my last chapter devolved into a somewhat tiresome diatribe/eulogy if PW can’t remember that Giuliani was the mayor of New York, not the governor (yet).
Then I found a nice quote on the Big Red Apple blog giving a shout-out to my Lower East Side Tenement Museum talk on April 2: “History has never been this steamy!”
Another discovery: a lot of people in Malaysia seem to be named Kat Long.