Every month the American Scottish Foundation spotlights a person or event that illustrates the shared and enduring history, culture, and kinship between the America and Scotland.
JUNE SPOTLIGHT ON JAMES GORDON BENNETT
James Gordon Bennett
On June 1, 1872, James Gordon Bennett, the founder, publisher and editor of the New York Herald, dies. Bennett built one of the biggest publishing empires in United States history, his paper becoming the highest circulated in America in 1866.
Bennett was born in Banffshire, Scotland, and at an early age traveled throughout Scotland.
In 1819, he joined a friend who was sailing to North America, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where Bennett briefly worked as a schoolmaster. to then sail south to Portland, Maine to teach there and in Boston, Massachusetts by 1820.
New York Herald Building, NYC 1895
He worked in New England as a proofreader and bookseller before moving to the Charleston Courier in Charleston,South Carolina. He moved to New York City in 1823, where he worked first as a freelance paper writer and, then, assistant editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer, one of the oldest newspapers in the City.
New York Herald June 20, 1861
By May 1835, Bennett began the New York Herald, and with it he transformed American journalism. Historian Robert C. Bannister considered Bennett a talented yet controversial editor who expanded traditional coverage by adding sports reports, a society page, advice columns, and election news while pioneering and coupling tabloid journalism with use of the new technologies of telegraph, pony express, and offshore ships to bring fast news coverage to reach the exploding market–and voters–of working men and women.
Tickets $150 – ASF Members and Friends receive a Special $30 Ticket discount via link below
The evening is to raise awareness for this great new initiative underway in Edinburgh:
As Development Director Jules Halston explains… ” The Quaich Project reimagines and redevelops Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh….set against the stunning backdrop of Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle, a space for all in the heart of Edinburgh.
The Quaich Project will see the building of a new theatre and world-class performance venue; landscaped and accessible gardens with space for reflection, play and socialising; improved public amenities; and a new visitor and heritage centre accessible from Princes Street. …”
A fascinating talk and book signing by University of Aberdeen Dept of Archaelogy Dr Gordon Noble on his discoveries about Scotland’s Picts hosted by the AIA-NY Society’ – Scotland’s Picts, the Lost People of Europe
Wednesday, October 16, – 6.30pm University of The Graduate Center, CUNY, Fifth Avenue and 34th St., Room C197, Concourse” floor.
ASF Members and Friends are invited to attend – No Charge.
The Picts were considered a troublesome people, They were never conquered by the Romans who even had to erect Hadrian’s Wall to keep them out of the Roman Empire,
The Picts have a mysterious historical record – the lost people of Europe – until recent archaeological excavations in Scotland have revealed a powerful and sophisticated culture.
Jamie McGeechan, ASF Music Ambassador, updates us from Scotland today with news around Culann, an award-winning band from Ayrshire, Scotland, who have just released their second album, The Great Ecumene.
Culann are PJ Kelly, Sean Kelly, Greg Irish, Ross McCluskie and Calum Davis.
As Jamie goes on to explain: “I first met singer and guitarist PJ Kelly on the set of Outlaw King, the recently released Netflix biopic about Scottish king and freedom fighter Robert the Bruce on which Jamie had a supporting role.
Jamie, aka Little Fire, is one of our leading “eyes and ears” in Scotland, reporting that ..”Culann may be the best Scottish rock band that you haven’t heard of yet, and well NOW you have.”
It’s clear, however, that Culann is a band completely at ease with doing their own thing. They have been thriving by developing their sound, from their self-titled debut album released in 2012 to their follow up, The Great Ecumene, released at the end of April 2019.
The opening track “Evonium” is a great scene-setter for the album and gives a good insight into what Culann sound is like: intelligent compositions with powerful performances, great melodies and hooks, and 100% given with every note on each track.
What you get with Culann is a band who is not afraid to play with styles, aesthetics, and colors. They literally throw everything at it in the first track so it completely works. And, in case you’re wondering, the name Evonium is an ancient lost city in Scotland, considered by some to be Irvine, close to where the band lives.
In fact, The Great Ecumene itself is full of literary references – lyrics and sounds evoking nautical themes, ancient and forgotten lands and heroes – and all whilst sounding very modern indeed. Culann is Scottish storytelling, and “Evonium” is a welcoming opener on our journey into the world of Culann and The Great Ecumene.
Second track “Event without experience” is a track that is the key to Culann; “the band packs so much sonic brilliance into each song that it can initially confound you whilst arresting your attention; for me that’s what great music is all about–you can’t ignore it and it will stop you in your tracks. There is a particularly delightful flute solo from Gavin Millar, which is a real thing of beauty, ” explains Jamie, on a track that has everything else.
Track number four is atmospheric and clever, a song Jamie has not heard in a long time. One of Jamie’s favorites on the album, he tells us that because “Ecumene” is the name the ancient Greeks gave to the known world, the track is quite menacing and arresting at the same time. “It’s well crafted and takes the listener on a journey full of twists and turns, and as I’m listening to it right now, I feel like I’m in a dream world.” Its this juxtaposition of myth and human that makes Culann’s music so powerful.
All Reverie is another stand out track, one of the more obvious with real commercial appeal, although other songs such as Century Box and Aegis are “real growers” that can remain with you for days after listening.
The last track on the album, Queen Street, is a song which will grab you by the heart and serves as a fantastic closer to the album. Starting off as a heartfelt acoustic ballad, it builds into something people will want to sing back at the band, bringing down the roof live.
The band give everything on every track, mastery of song writing and composition, performances nothing short of mesmerising, “even artists Peter Strain, Pamela Scott, and Culann themselves have brought together the aesthetics of the album visually to tell a story,” Jamie informs us.
As Jamie noted …”Culann may be the best Scottish rock band that you haven’t heard of yet, and well NOW you have.” TAKE A LISTEN
The Great Ecumene is available from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and in CD / Vinyl from the band directly at
Jamie McGeechan, contributing writer, May 2019, email@example.com
ASF knows that our members love to hear about different places to stay in Scotland, so we are delighted to share a unique accommodation we you could stay at. Would you like to stay in a contemporary take on a traditional Scottish Brochs or Blackhouses?
VisitScotland have spotlighted this authentically Scottish experience so one can get in touch with ancestral roots – staying in an architecturally stunning modern broch or a charming (but modernized) traditional Blackhouse,
Traditional Brochs are often located in picturesque and secluded locations as we show in this image of The Brochs of Coigach. Today’s Brochs and Blackhouses but still offer modern life essentials such as hot showers, electricity and WiFi!
Unique to Scotland, historic Brochs are large drystone towers, dating from 100 BC to 100 AD (during the Roman invasion of Britain), the new generation of Brochs are warm and inviting custom-built drystone Broch, inspired by the architecture of prehistoric Brochs.
Once common throughout the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, Blackhouses are traditional Scottish dwelling with a thatched roof, and today’s charming versions offer sympathetically renovated interior, including exposed stonework, solid fuel stove, underfloor heating and a fully fitted kitchen. The Isle of Lewis Gearrannan Village is pictured here.
On behalf of the ASF Board a thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the Wallace Award Celebration such a memorable evening.
The evening saw Sir Moir Lockhead, Chairman of National Trust for Scotland, and Dr Andy Scott, renowned sculptor, with the Wallace Award for their contributions to Heritage, Arts and Culture.
Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean, oversaw the menu, adding special touches. Glendronach Single Malt offered guests a whisky tasting of their excellent malts.
The wonderful team of Claire Mackenzie and Scott Gilmour of Noisemaker gave us musical interludes.
Silent and Live auctions helped support the ongoing work of the ASF and for an ASF Grant to the new Baird Family Hospital in Aberdeen and its Neonatal unit being overseen by the ARCHIE Foundation alongside the University of Aberdeen.
If you have questions please call the ASF Office on 212 605 0338
Historic Environment Scotland are leading on the honoring of a group of 6 Scottish stone masons who travelled to Washington DC in 1794 – they have now been honored with a plaque unveiled at 66 Queen Street in Edinburgh
HES have now mounted an exhibit with background to The Scots Who Built the White House – and is now on display at the Engine Shed in Stirling until Friday 12th April 2019. Entry is free.
The Arsenal Central Park, 64th Street & Fifth Avenue, NYC
6pm Talk – followed by Wine & Cheese up on the Arsenal Rooftop Garden
Chris Wadle, National Trust for Scotland’s Garden and Designed Landscape Manager for Aberdeenshire and Angus. Chris’ will update us on the restoration of the Robert Burns cottage garden and give us insight into the restoration of the National Trust for Scotland’s Gardens.
John Kinnear, Architect, Author and Historian, President of the American Friends of the Georgian Group. Noted for his work in historical preservation, will speak to the influence of Scots on the early gardens of the United States including Alexander Hamilton home The Grange, and the heather gardens at Fort Tryon Park.
If you would like to make a donation to the Foundation in support of our Heritage, Arts and Culture programming, opportunities are noted HERE.
Have you tried the ASF Harney & Sons Scottish Morn or Scottish Afternoon Teas?A percentage from each purchase of these two special teas goes towards supporting the ongoing work of the ASF. To order one of our great brews order directly from Harney & Sons HERE
Titled Eternal Springtime: A Persian Garden Carpet from the Burrell Collection, the collaboration between the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, and The Metropolitan Museum, New York, will provide a rare opportunity for members of the public to see the earliest example of a garden carpet outside of Asia.
The Wagner Garden Carpet is considered to be one of only three early surviving Persian garden carpets in the world. The design of this particular carpet is unique and no other examples resembling it or using part of its base-pattern have yet been identified. Measuring 5309 mm (17.5 ft) in height and 4318 mm (14.2 ft) in width, Wagner Garden has rarely been seen on display and has spent most of its time in storage at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow.
Named after an early 20th century owner, the carpet is a 17th century Persian Kirman pile carpet with a formal garden layout. Unusual for this type of garden carpet, it almost invokes a heavenly walled menagerie that immerses the person sitting on it in its natural but well-ordered world. The design was inspired by both the pre-Islamic Persian Paradise and the descriptions of the Garden of Heaven in the Qur’an.
Eternal Springtime will be displayed in the Metropolitans suite of 15 galleries and takes place whilst the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, undergoes an estimated £66 million refurbishment of its building and redisplay of its extensive Collection.
When the Burrell Collection reopens in late 2020, The Wagner Garden Carpet will be focal object of a three-carpet display that explores heavenly gardens in Islamic art as depicted on Persian carpets.
Director of Burrell Renaissance, James Robinson, says, “Expanding our international reach, reputation and impact is core to the Burrell Collection’s vision that will enable the Collection to engage with the world in new and more meaningful ways. Our collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum demonstrates the Burrell’s reach, in geography and material culture, which will see the collection regarded rightly as a global resource.”