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Explore the Dublin Destinations That Inspired “Dracula”

When Bram Stoker penned “Dracula,” arguably the Irish author’s most recognizable piece of writing, little did he know how much the blood-hungry protagonist would become embedded in pop culture years later. Today Dracula is easily one of the most recognizable characters in literary history, not to mention a staple at Halloween costume parties around the world.

Growing up in Dublin, Ireland, Stoker took much of his inspiration for his horror novel, which was released in 1897, from his hometown and points nearby. From the crypts tunneling beneath a medieval church in the center of Dublin to the crumbling façade of a former monastery in a seaside town where he would go on holiday, inspiration was all around him. And there’s no better way to experience the man behind the book in person than to follow in his footsteps.

In addition to being a wealth of inspiration for the author, the city is also the location of the annual Bram Stoker Festival. Now in its seventh year, the four-day event (October 26-29) celebrates all things Stoker and will include a “gothically inspired program of events” such as live performances, readings and guided tours. While many of his haunts will serve as venues during the festival, the following places are a must visit for any “Dracula” fan.

Bram Stoker’s Homes

Bram Stoker's former home on Kildare Street.
Bram Stoker’s former home on Kildare Street. (Flickr Michael Coghlan – Flickr/Creative Commons)

The small, Georgian-style house located at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf, Dublin 3, is everything one would expect from the birthplace of the literary legend. In an article published in “The Irish Times,” the author describes Stoker’s childhood home as an old house that “creaks and groans at night” with crucifixes displayed prominently on the walls and black wooden beams crossing the ceiling. Stoker lived there until adulthood, eventually moving into a house at 30 Kildare Street, Dublin, 2, an historically landmarked building. While both properties are not open to the public, they’re still both worth visiting just to be able to walk in the author’s footsteps.

Trinity College Dublin

Inside the library at Trinity College, where Stoker was a student.
Inside the library at Trinity College, where Stoker was a student. (Flickr Fred Bigio – Flickr/Creative Commons)

During his college years, Stoker was better known for his athletic prowess than his academic abilities, competing in weight lifting and speed walking competitions. Between studying and events, he also worked as a civil servant at Dublin Castle and juggled roles as auditor of the school’s historical society and president of the school’s philosophical society, making him a well-known figure around the campus. In 1870 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, claiming that he graduated with honors, however Trinity College refutes that claim.

Saint Ann’s Church of Ireland

Built in the early 18th century, Saint Ann’s has been an important landmark in Dublin for centuries and is notable for both its Baroque style of architecture and its many contributions to the community (since 1723, the church has had a bread shelf near the altar that offers freshly baked bread for anyone in need). The church is also where Stoker and Florence Balcombe were married in 1878. Interestingly, before tying the knot, Balcombe was dating another local legend: Oscar Wilde.

Dublin Writers Museum

A bust of Stoker created by sculptor Bryan Moore resides inside the Dublin Writers Museum.
A bust of Stoker created by sculptor Bryan Moore resides inside the Dublin Writers Museum. (Courtesy Dublin Writers Museum)

Much like Stoker, many of the world’s most celebrated writers have lived in Dublin, including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Brinsley Butler Sheridan. Perhaps one of the best places in the city to experience their literary accomplishments firsthand is at the Dublin Writers Museum. Housed inside an 18th century mansion, the museum contains a comprehensive collection of books, portraits and artifacts belonging to these late writers, including a first edition of Stoker’s “Dracula.” Other holdings include business letters penned by Stoker, a portrait by painter Aidan Hickey and a bust created by sculptor Bryan Moore given to the museum earlier this year in the presence of several members of the Stoker family.

St. Michan’s Church Crypts

The mummified remains of Dublin's elite rest in the crypts beneath St. Michan's Church.
The mummified remains of Dublin’s elite rest in the crypts beneath St. Michan’s Church. (Jennifer Boyer – Flickr/Creative Commons)

As one of the oldest churches in Dublin (it dates back to 1095), it’s no surprise that this medieval place of worship gives off a bit of an eerie vibe. But it’s what rests beneath St. Michan’s that’s truly creepy. Located past a metal-chained doorway and limestone stairway sits the burial vaults of some of the city’s most notable residents, including the Earl of Leitrim. Precariously stacked, many of the coffins have given way to the hands of time, revealing the skeletal remains of its occupants. It’s said that Stoker regularly visited the crypts and used them as inspiration when writing “Dracula.”

Whitby, North Yorkshire, England

Stoker visited Whitby Abby in the seaside town of Whitby while on holiday.
Stoker visited Whitby Abby in the seaside town of Whitby while on holiday. (Wikimedia Creative Commons)

Although not in Dublin (it’s located 300 miles to the east in England), Whitby played a key role as inspiration in the creation of “Dracula.” In 1890, Stoker went on holiday to the seaside town, spending time exploring its medieval architecture, including Whitby Abbey, a crumbling Benedictine monastery founded in the 11th century. Stoker mentioned the abbey in his book along with Swales, one of Dracula’s victims, which Stoker took from an inscription on the headstone from a nearby graveyard. But perhaps the author’s biggest epiphany was during a visit to the local library, where he flipped through a book about Vlad Tepes, a 15th century prince who killed his enemies by driving a wooden stake into their hearts, thus earning the nickname Vlad the Impaler—or simply, Dracula.

SMITHSONIAN.COM

Jennifer Nalewicki is a Brooklyn-based journalist. Her articles have been published in The New York TimesScientific AmericanPopular MechanicsUnited Hemispheres and more. You can find more of her work at her website.

Sinan, the Ottoman Empire’s Master Architect

Rustem Pasha Mosque in the foreground and the Suleymaniye Mosque, an Ottoman imperial mosque on the Third Hill of Istanbul.
National Geographic Creative/Alamy

Between the 13th and 16th centuries the Ottoman state grew from a small Turkish principality in Anatolia into a sprawling empire that controlled territory in eastern Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. This transformation was accompanied by the development of a distinctively Ottoman style of architecture. Across the diverse territories that had been gathered under Ottoman rule—and that had little in common in terms of language, religion, or culture—monumental buildings featuring massive domes and soaring pencil-thin minarets were instantly recognizable manifestations of Ottoman grandeur.

The individual most responsible for developing and refining the classical Ottoman architectural style was a builder named Sinan (1491–1588), who served as the empire’s chief architect from 1539 until his death in 1588. During that time he designed hundreds of buildings, including mosques, palaces, baths, tombs, and caravansaries, and oversaw the construction of hundreds more.

Sinan was born to a Christian family in southeast Anatolia. When he was 21 he was drafted into the Jannisary corps, an elite Ottoman infantry force who were recruited as adolescents or young men from the Christian territories of the empire and converted to Islam. He participated in the military campaigns of Suleyman the Magnificent, both as a combatant and as an engineer—the latter allowed him to develop the building expertise that he would put to use later in life.

When Sinan was 47, Suleyman appointed him as the chief architect in Istanbul. Sinan embarked on a series of increasingly impressive buildings. His first large mosque was the Sehzade Mosque in Istanbul, dedicated to the memory of Suleyman’s son and heir who died at the age of 22.

Another of Sinan’s most important works is the Süleymaniye Mosque complex, which remains an essential feature of Istanbul’s skyline. It is almost as large as the Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine church that was converted into a mosque in Ottoman times. The core of the building is a vast dome flanked by two semidomes, which combine to form an awe-inspiring interior space. The ground on which the Süleymaniye complex was constructed slopes toward the Bosporus strait; one of Sinan’s architectural talents was his ability to build on challenging terrain.

The Selimiye Mosque, built in Edirne between 1569 and 1575, is considered Sinan’s masterpiece. In this building, Sinan managed to build a dome roughly as large as the dome of the Hagia Sophia, both having a diameter of about 31 meters. The dome sits on eight piers in an octagon, rather than the usual four larger piers, giving the central space a feeling of openness and weightlessness that is enhanced by the light that filters in from hundreds of small windows.

After completing the Selimiye Mosque, Sinan continued to design smaller buildings until his death in 1588.

 

Isaac Newton’s List of the 57 Sins he Committed by the Age of 19

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Sir Isaac Newton was a mathematician and physicist during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  He developed the principles of modern physics, especially about motion and gravity, and was considered instrumental in the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, according to Biography.

Newton is a very multifaceted figure.  He was undeniably a brilliant scientific mind, and a very pious man.  He was also prone to fits of rage, insecurity, and social withdrawal, where he would do no work and isolate himself from everyone.

He had a longtime interest in the study of alchemy, and was searching for the recipe to create the Philosopher’s Stone, which was reputed to turn base metals into gold, and have the power to confer eternal life.

Unlike with his interests in math and physics, his alchemical research was a very private pursuit, and was not driven by money so much as it was inspired by a desire for power over nature, according to Nova.

All of these things taken together build a picture of a man who struggled with mental illness, probably bipolar disorder, according to Futurism.

When he was around 19 or 20, Newton maintained a diary in which he cataloged a list of his sins.  Examining his list, it’s clear that he had problems with anger from a young age.

He identifies, among his sins, “peevishness” with his mother, his sister, and at “Master Clarks, for a piece of bread and butter”.  He lists “falling out with the servants”, as well.

You could say that bad temper and grouchiness are par for the course for a boy of his years, and that would certainly be true, but he also specifies, as number 13, “threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them, and the house over them”.

He also cites multiple examples of physical aggression, punching his sister, beating people, and putting a pin in someone’s hat, so that it will scratch them. He comes across as anxious, egotistical, and dominating.

Newton was not a people person.  He didn’t make friends.  In his personal life, he only had close emotional relation relationships with two people, his niece Catherine Barton, who became his housekeeper in London, and a mathematician named Fatio de Duillier, who was only 25 when he and Newton met.

Their relationship was very emotionally intense, and neither man ever married, which makes some of Newton’s biographers speculate that the men were romantically involved, although there is no proof.

In his professional life, he was very touchy and insecure about his work, and would fly into fits of rage over its criticism, resulting in his withdrawing and refusing to continue his work.  These episodes of withdrawal could last for months.  He shied away from fame, and requested that his papers be published anonymously.

He had sincere religious beliefs, and was a nominal Anglican, but seemed to have a Puritan view of morality and religious observance, as can be seen from his list of sins.

Multiple items reflect his notions of what he owed to God, and his remorse at not always living up to that standard. He had a keen interest in mysticism that was tied firmly to his study of alchemy.

He believed that he had been chosen by God.  In fact, the pseudonym he took to communicate with fellow alchemists was Jehovah Sanctus Unus, which translates to “Holy God”, according to the New York Post.

Despite all of these issues, Sir Isaac Newton was brilliant, and prolific in his work.  His intellectual curiosity was not hampered by what was clearly a difficult personality, and despite his struggles and mood swings he still made a large and incredibly significant contribution to the world of science.

 Ian Harvey

Ten books to read in September

Gary Shteyngart, Lake Success (Credit: Credit: Random House)

Gary Shteyngart, Lake Success

In Shteyngart’s biting, edgy, often hilarious new novel, hedge-fund manager Barry Cohen, who manages $2.4 billion (£1.86b) in assets and is being investigated by the SEC, is steadily divested of privilege while travelling across the country by Greyhound bus. Back home, his estranged wife Seema struggles to keep up with their newly diagnosed autistic three-year-old son, Shiva, and begins an affair with a neighbour. Her sections of the novel are tender in comparison with Barry’s. An outgoing narcissist, he befriends a crack dealer on a Baltimore block that fans of The Wire like to visit, hangs out with a onetime colleague in Atlanta, tracks down an old Princeton girlfriend in El Paso. Barry loses everything, but gathers more kindness from his fellow passengers than from everyone in his years in finance. (Credit: Random House)

Abby Geni, The Wildlands (Credit: Credit: Counterpoint)

Abby Geni, The Wildlands

Geni’s impressive second novel begins with a catastrophic tornado. Cora, six years old, notes that the horses are screaming and the Oklahoma sky is “soaked with a new colour. Damp jade. Split pea soup. Moss on stone.” Within hours, her father, their home, and all the animals are gone. Her older sister Darlene settles brother Tucker, sister Jane and Cora in a mobile home instead of going to college. Tucker takes off, drawn into animal-rights activism. Three years later, injured after bombing a local factory that is cruel to lab animals, he kidnaps Cora to help him. Cora adores Tucker, but gradually sees how dangerous he is. Geni’s genius is that she makes us empathise with every member of this troubled family, and also with the animals Tucker yearns to protect. (Credit: Counterpoint)

Kate Atkinson, Transcription (Credit: Credit: Little, Brown)

Kate Atkinson, Transcription

In the latest from this masterful, Whitbread award-winning novelist, Juliet Armstrong is living alone in 1950, working as a producer for the BBC. She encounters a former colleague she knew as Godfrey Toby, but he denies knowing her. This sighting is the first reminder of a clandestine role she thought she’d left behind when the war ended. From 1940 to 1944 Juliet worked for MI5 as a transcriptionist for Godfrey. He was taping fifth columnists – Nazi sympathisers in London who brought him treasonous information, believing he was a Gestapo agent. As long-buried secrets resurface, Juliet’s life is at risk and it’s unclear who can help her decipher the mystery. “Today the dead were everywhere, tumbling out of the box of the past and inhabiting the world of the living.” (Credit: Little, Brown)

Miriam Pawel, The Browns of California (Credit: Credit: Bloomsbury)

Miriam Pawel, The Browns of California

Pawel’s illuminating history focuses on the father and son who served nearly a quarter century as California governors: Pat Brown, an “ebullient, beloved, old-style politician” and his “cerebral, skeptical, visionary son,” Jerry Brown. The family’s California roots date back to a forebear who arrived in Sacramento in 1852. Pat Brown served eight years as governor in the 1960s, encouraging bipartisanship, a robust university system and preserving water resources. Jesuit-trained Jerry Brown was a forward-thinking governor in the 1970s and early ‘80s, anticipating climate change and the growth of the technology industry. When he returned to office in 2011 as governor once again, California was the sixth most powerful economy in the world. In his 2017 State of the State speech, he vowed to defend immigrants and noted, “When California does well, America does well.” (Credit: Bloomsbury)

Eric Vuillard, The Order of the Day (Credit: Credit: Other Press)

Eric Vuillard, The Order of the Day

Vuillard’s extraordinary, disturbingly resonant, Prix Goncourt Award-winning novel about the early days of the Third Reich, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti, highlights the “underhanded maneuvers, marriages of convenience, double dealings,” greed and vicious passivity of those who appeased and supported Hitler. In February 1933, 24 German businessmen gather secretly and agree to finance the Nazi Party. (“And there they stand, affectless, like 24 calculating machines at the gates of Hell,” Vuillard writes.) British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain learns that Hitler has invaded Austria on 12 March 1938, while hosting a farewell lunch for Ambassador von Ribbentrop. Ribbentrop yammers on, intentionally distracting the overly polite Chamberlain. “What’s astounding about this war,” writes Vuillard, “is the remarkable triumph of bravado… Everyone is susceptible to the bluff.” (Credit: Other Press)

Deborah Eisenberg, Your Duck Is My Duck (Credit: Credit: Ecco)

Deborah Eisenberg, Your Duck Is My Duck

Six mercurial stories from the lauded short-story master reflect our shifting times. The title story follows an artist who encounters a wealthy couple who surprise her with the news that they just bought a painting of hers. Soon she is their guest in a tropical beach house, where a playwright in residence warns her, “things are clearly about to get worse.” In the story Taj Mahal, the grandson of a vaunted Hollywood director writes a memoir, and the great man’s inner circle reunites to complain about it after it’s been published. In The Merge a corrupt CEO’s hapless post-college son tries to find his way on his own. Recalculating revolves around Adam, who discovers an uncle who long ago left the family’s Iowa farm for London, and serves as “a hazy figure, radiant and beckoning.” (Credit: Ecco)

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Small Fry (Credit: Credit: Grove Press)

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Small Fry

This gripping memoir by Steve Jobs’ daughter adds another layer of complexity to the public perception of the late Apple co-founder. Her mother is Jobs’ high-school girlfriend, artist Chrisann Brennan. They never married, and until DNA tests proved it definitively, he denied paternity. In her teens, Lisa lived in his Palo Alto home with Jobs and his wife Lorene. She babysits for her infant brother, but she feels alone, unsure she belongs. One night Jobs says if she doesn’t come with the family to the circus she should move out. She leaves, and after that, he’s rarely in her life. Her yearning for his affection is palpable, as is her compassion for a man of dark moods who withholds money and affection, but who, she writes, also can be “sensitive, collaborative, fun.” (Credit: Grove Press)

Jill Lepore, These Truths (Credit: Credit: WW Norton)

Jill Lepore, These Truths

Harvard professor Lepore’s invaluable political history serves as a refresher course on the American experiment, based on three political ideas – “political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people”. It’s also an old-fashioned civics book, explaining “the origins and ends of democratic institutions.” She ranges from 1492, with Columbus’s voyage, to the aftermath of the 2016 election, that “rent the nation in two”, and Donald Trump’s Twitter account. She parses the origins of the Constitution, the separation of church and state, the effects of slavery and the Civil War on the democracy, the country’s entrance into world wars and the Cold War, plus the wars waged since 9/11. By emphasising founding fathers and presidents, and charismatic leaders on both sides of the political divide, she makes history vivid. (Credit: WW Norton)

Mary Gabriel, Ninth Street Women (Credit: Credit: Little, Brown)

Mary Gabriel, Ninth Street Women

Gabriel’s fascinating group portrait of Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler – women who played pivotal roles in the New York School during the emergence of abstract expressionism between 1929 and 1959 – shimmers with vivid personal detail. Gabriel opens with the landmark Ninth Street Show in May 1951, which included all five women. She traces their interwoven paths from studio to Cedar Bar to the Eighth Street loft known as the Club, to gallery openings and museum collections. Over time, Willem de Kooning outshone Elaine; Jackson Pollock eclipsed Krasner. Key contributions were erased (Helen Frankenthaler was ignored as the “fount” of the Color Field School). Gabriel makes sure these major artists who have been written out of history are not forgotten. (Credit: Little, Brown)

Lydia Kiesling, The Golden State (Credit: Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Lydia Kiesling, The Golden State

Daphne is a single mother with a toddler daughter, working for the Al-Ihsan Institute in Berkeley. Her husband was tricked into giving up his green card, and is now in immigrant limbo at his mother’s house in Istanbul. One morning, on impulse, she fetches Honey from day care and takes off for Altavista in the high desert of northern California, to the home she inherited from her grandparents. There, she has breathing space to consider her next moves and adjust to the relentless challenges of new motherhood. She encounters a neighbour in the State of Jefferson movement to secede from California and have a state without laws, and allies herself with an older woman who has spent time in Turkey. Unexpected intersections and convergences make this first novel sparkle. (Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Do We Really Use Only 10 Percent of Our Brain?

Brain illustration
© V. Yakobchuk/Fotolia

It’s one of Hollywood’s favorite bits of pseudoscience: human beings use only 10 percent of their brain, and awakening the remaining 90 percent—supposedly dormant—allows otherwise ordinary human beings to display extraordinary mental abilities. In Phenomenon (1996), John Travolta gains the ability to predict earthquakes and instantly learns foreign languages. Scarlett Johansson becomes a superpowered martial-arts master in Lucy(2014). And in Limitless (2011) Bradley Cooper writes a novel overnight.

This ready-made blueprint for fantasy films is also a favorite among the general public. In a survey, 65 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “People only use 10 percent of their brain on a daily basis.” But the truth is that we use all of our brain all of the time.

How do we know? For one thing, if we needed only 10 percent of our brain, the majority of brain injuries would have no discernible consequences, since the damage would affect parts of the brain that weren’t doing anything to begin with. We also know that natural selection discourages the development of useless anatomical structures: early humans who devoted scarce physical resources to growing and maintaining huge amounts of excess brain tissue would have been outcompeted by those who spent those precious resources on things more necessary for survival and reproductive success. Tougher immune systems, stronger muscles, better looking hair—just about anything would be more useful than having a head full of inert tissue.

We’ve been able to back up these logical conclusions with hard evidence. Imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), allow doctors and scientists to map brain activity in real time. The data clearly shows that large areas of the brain—far more than 10 percent—are used for all sorts of activity, from seemingly simple tasks like resting or looking at pictures to more complex ones like reading or doing math. Scientists have yet to find an area of the brain that doesn’t do anything.

So how did we come to believe that 90 percent of our brain is useless? The myth is often incorrectly attributed to 19th-century psychologist William James, who proposed that most of our mental potential goes untapped. But he never specified a percentage. Albert Einstein—a magnet for misattribution of quotes—has also been held responsible. In reality, the concept most likely came from the American self-help industry. One of the earliest mentions appears in the preface to Dale Carnegie’s 1936 mega best seller, How to Win Friends and Influence People. The idea that we have harnessed only a fraction of our brain’s full potential has been a staple for motivational gurus, New Age hucksters, and uninspired screenwriters ever since.

Obviously, this is bad news for anyone hoping to find the secret to becoming a genius overnight. The good news, though, is that hard work still works. There is plenty of reason to believe that you can build brainpower by regularly working at challenging mental tasks, such as playing a musical instrument, doing arithmetic, or reading a novel.

SACAGAWEA – NATIVE AMERICAN EXPLORER

Sacagawea, also spelled Sacajawea, (born c. 1788, near the Continental Divide at the present-day Idaho-Montana border [U.S.]—died December 20, 1812?, Fort Manuel, on the Missouri River, Dakota Territory), Shoshone Indian woman who, as interpreter, traveled thousands of wilderness miles with the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–06), from the Mandan-Hidatsa villages in the Dakotas to the Pacific Northwest.

Separating fact from legend in Sacagawea’s life is difficult; historians disagree on the dates of her birth and death and even on her name. In Hidatsa, Sacagawea (pronounced with a hard g) translates into “Bird Woman.” Alternatively, Sacajawea means “Boat Launcher” in Shoshone. Others favour Sakakawea. The Lewis and Clark journals generally support the Hidatsa derivation.

A Lemhi Shoshone woman, she was about 12 years old when a Hidatsa raiding party captured her near the Missouri River’s headwaters about 1800. Enslaved and taken to their Knife River earth-lodge villages near present-day BismarckNorth Dakota, she was purchased by French Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau and became one of his plural wives about 1804. They resided in one of the Hidatsa villages, Metaharta.

When explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived at the Mandan-Hidatsa villages and built Fort Mandan to spend the winter of 1804–05, they hired Charbonneau as an interpreter to accompany them to the Pacific Ocean. Because he did not speak Sacagawea’s language and because the expedition party needed to communicate with the Shoshones to acquire horses to cross the mountains, the explorers agreed that the pregnant Sacagawea should also accompany them. On February 11, 1805, she gave birth to a son, Jean Baptiste.

Departing on April 7, the expedition ascended the Missouri. On May 14, Charbonneau nearly capsized the white pirogue (boat) in which Sacagawea was riding. Remaining calm, she retrieved important papers, instruments, books, medicine, and other indispensable valuables that otherwise would have been lost. During the next week Lewis and Clark named a tributary of Montana’s Mussellshell River “Sah-ca-gah-weah,” or “Bird Woman’s River,” after her. She proved to be a significant asset in numerous ways: searching for edible plants, making moccasins and clothing, as well as allaying suspicions of approaching Indian tribes through her presence; a woman and child accompanying a party of men indicated peaceful intentions.

By mid-August the expedition encountered a band of Shoshones led by Sacagawea’s brother Cameahwait. The reunion of sister and brother had a positive effect on Lewis and Clark’s negotiations for the horses and guide that enabled them to cross the Rocky Mountains. Upon arriving at the Pacific coast, she was able to voice her opinion about where the expedition should spend the winter and was granted her request to visit the ocean to see a beached whale. She and Clark were fond of each other and performed numerous acts of kindness for one another, but romance between them occurred only in latter-day fiction.

Sacagawea was not the guide for the expedition, as some have erroneously portrayed her; nonetheless, she recognized landmarks in southwestern Montana and informed Clark that Bozeman Pass was the best route between the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers on their return journey. On July 25, 1806, Clark named Pompey’s Tower (now Pompey’s Pillar) on the Yellowstone after her son, whom Clark fondly called his “little dancing boy, Pomp.”

Lewis and Clark ExpeditionHeadwaters of the Missouri River, detail from Lewis and Clark Expedition map by William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, 1804–06.Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Washington, D.C.
Pompey’s Pillar, near Billings, Mont., U.S.Travel Montana

The Charbonneau family disengaged from the expedition party upon their return to the Mandan-Hidatsa villages; Charbonneau eventually received $409.16 and 320 acres (130 hectares) for his services. Clark wanted to do more for their family, so he offered to assist them and eventually secured Charbonneau a position as an interpreter. The family traveled to St. Louis in 1809 to baptize their son and left him in the care of Clark, who had earlier offered to provide him with an education. Shortly after the birth of a daughter named Lisette, a woman identified only as Charbonneau’s wife (but believed to be Sacagawea) died at the end of 1812 at Fort Manuel, near present-day Mobridge, South Dakota. Clark became the legal guardian of Lisette and Jean Baptiste and listed Sacagawea as deceased in a list he compiled in the 1820s. Some biographers and oral traditions contend that it was another of Charbonneau’s wives who died in 1812 and that Sacagawea went to live among the Comanches, started another family, rejoined the Shoshones, and died on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation on April 9, 1884. These accounts can likely be attributed to other Shoshone women who shared similar experiences as Sacagawea.

Lewis and Clark ExpeditionRoute of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804–06.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Lewis and Clark Expedition: Corps of Discovery annotated member listAnnotated list of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery from William Clark’s journal, 1825–28. Clark notes that Sacagawea (“Se car ja we au”) is dead, among others.The Newberry Library, Gift of Everett D. Graff, 1964

Sacagawea’s son, Jean Baptiste, traveled throughout Europe before returning to enter the fur trade. He scouted for explorers and helped guide the Mormon Battalion to California before becoming an alcalde, a hotel clerk, and a gold miner. Lured to the Montana goldfields following the Civil War, he died en route near Danner, Oregon, on May 16, 1866. Little is known of Lisette’s whereabouts prior to her death on June 16, 1832; she was buried in the Old Catholic Cathedral Cemetery in St. Louis. Charbonneau died on August 12, 1843.

Sacagawea has been memorialized with statues, monuments, stamps, and place-names. In 2000 her likeness appeared on a gold-tinted dollar coin struck by the U.S. Mint. In 2001 U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton granted her a posthumous decoration as an honorary sergeant in the regular army.

Jay H. Buckley

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