Albert Leon mugshot

November 10, 2017

Lesson learned: Research on the internet begins with access

Using the internet as a research venue offers a good opportunity to explore a topic that covers a wide geographic area such as the Caribbean Sea. However, as I’ve learned over the past couple of months as an intern with the Georeferenced Cultural Repository Inventory, in some cases the research may only be as thorough as access to the internet allows.

October 8, 2017

Internship with Smithsonian teaches need for human intelligence

Antigua & Barbuda is a small island nation in the Caribbean Sea. If folks in the United States have heard of it, it might be because of the recent ravages of Hurricane Irma. Barbuda, population about 1,600, was evacuated. After the storm, people who live there have little to go back to.

September 20, 2017

Counterfeiting story gets an added twist in attempted extortion

The story of Latvian counterfeiters Albert Leon, Fred Marneek, and Rudolph Swanson, outlined in an earlier post, keeps getting more interesting. Among the twists is one that could be filed under “No Honor Among Thieves.” Recently obtained documents from the National Archives have provided some details on proceedings in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, where the three men were indicted in late 1911 by a federal grand jury. They were accused of counterfeiting $10 bills.

August 6, 2017

Plan to re-read Swedish crime novels begins with Irene Huss story

Kurt Wallander, Martin Beck, and now Irene Huss. Over the years, I have worked my way through the stories of these three fictional Swedish police detectives and have decided to revisit them, one by one.

July 28, 2017

Lincoln County colony once home to Latvian immigrant farmers

While most late 19th and early 20th century Latvian immigrants to the United States settled in urban centers, some found new homes in rural areas. The most deliberate effort to establish a Latvian “colony” was in Lincoln County in northern Wisconsin.

July 13, 2017

Experience of other students builds confidence

Since last September, I have been in the shoes of a student, pursuing a graduate certificate in digital public humanities through George Mason University. This summer my focus has been on remaking a history of mass communication course. And as a student, it is reassuring to know that others have faced this challenge before.

July 6, 2017

An elevator pitch for a history project

As part of a course at George Mason University on teaching and learning history in the digital age, we have been asked to develop an “elevator pitch” for our final projects. My project will have students study and report on the first newspaper published in Pierce County, Wisconsin.


Just a list of books on my nightstand. #tsundoku

Poor But Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West

By Agata Pyzik, published 2014 by Zero Books.

Poor But Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

By J.D. Vance, published 2016 by Harper​Collins Publishers.

Hillbilly Elegy


By Jeffrey Pomerantz, published 2015 by The MIT Press.