Alexander von Humboldt
Constant Wonder - Radio Archive, Episode 697
- Oct 13, 2020 7:00 pm
- 52:45 mins
Alexander von Humboldt Guest: Eleanor Harvey, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and curator of the current exhibit, "Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture" Prussian Alexander von Humboldt was the most popular man in the world in his day (much to the annoyance of his contemporary, Napoleon). A true Renaissance man, he was knowledgeable in geography, history, politics, art, and the natural world. His six-week visit to the United States has left a lasting impact on the US, an impact that began with his urging Americans to take their democracy seriously. He said he felt like he was "practically an American himself." If it weren't for slavery, he may have gone all in for America. Imperfect Union Guest: Steve Inskeep, author of "Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War"; host, NPR's "Morning Edition" and NPR's morning news podcast "Up First" Jessie and John Frémont were central to the westward expansion of the United States. John Frémont attached the name Humboldt to landmarks across the country. Along the way, the Frémonts themselves became so famous that their name, too, can be found all over the West. And celebrity was the point for them.