The Stars Hollow Historical Society blog is excited to announce that we are accepting submissions of blog posts and longer essays on Gilmore Girls and for public humanities broadly construed.
Our project, Stars Hollow Historical Society, seeks to track public history, heritage tourism, and public humanities references in Gilmore Girls. This includes public history and literary references, amongst other things. We are calling for people to add references to our google spreadsheet, as well as submit blog posts or essays on public humanities issues in Gilmore Girls. Blog posts should be around the 500 word mark and engage with the public humanities broadly construed (history, literature, art, academics, etc). Some potential post ideas include literary tourism in Gilmore Girls, Rory’s book list and the literary canon, the Stars Hollow Museum. Please submit either pitches or full drafts to firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact form on our blog!
Stars Hollow is a town that hopes to attract visitors through its various historical and heritage-based tourism initiatives, yet it is also extremely insular, with a select group of individuals wielding disproportionate influence. The historicity and elitism of the town combine in the annual reenactment of the “Battle of Stars Hollow.”
We are introduced to the reenactment in “Love and War and Snow,” episode 8 of season 1. At the town meeting, Mayor Harry Porter announces the upcoming reenactment. While he asks for volunteers, it is not clear that interlopers are welcome. The knowing nod that grocer Taylor Doose gives the man sitting beside him suggests that the reenactors among the crowd are already known to each other. Furthermore, the reenactment calls for a limited cast. As local restaurateur Luke Danes puts it “Twelve guys stood in a row, all night, waiting for an enemy that never showed; they got stood up, they should’ve been wearing prom dresses […] have any of you ever considered the fact that you’re glorifying a war we fought so we could keep land that we stole?”Read More »
It’s time to make a list.
I’m making a list of all of the public history (and more broadly public humanities) moments on Gilmore Girls and I need your help because there’s seven seasons and a Netflix original and the dialogue is, well, dense. Also, you will probably catch stuff that I don’t.
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WB / Via fanpop.com
In episode 6:6 of Gilmore Girls Welcome to the Doll House, Town Selectman Taylor Doose brings colonial reenactors to a town meeting to share his new idea: change Stars Hollow’s town street names back to their historic 18th century roots. Loralai is fiercely opposed to the idea because the Dragonfly Inn’s street name would change back to Sores and Boils Alley, something unattractive for potential guests. But Doose and other townspeople mythologize the 18th century as truly “historic” and so even unflattering 18th century street names were preferable to 20th century constructions.
This was only one example of an obsession with Revolutionary and Colonial history by town selectman Taylor Doose. There is the annual Revolutionary War reenactment, even though no battle took place in Stars Hollow and a fixation on objects slightly related to George Washington during the development of the Stars Hollow Museum. But Doose, and other town residents felt that history mildly related to the founding fathers or slightly connected to the Revolutionary War was more important than the 20th century history that led to new street names or any history about women, people of color, or the working class. In fact, there is no interpretation of race in any of the historic sites and museums (even though https://gilmoreblacks.tumblr.com/ has shown the African American presence in the show). And the only mention of a “historic” woman, is when in episode 5:11 Woman of Questionable Morals, it is found that the Revolutionary War battle was avoided because a “woman of questionable morals” had sex with the general to avoid battle. Women’s history was only important to Stars Hollow when it involved the Revolutionary War and sex.
This depiction of “historic” reflects broader cultural emphasis on the Revolutionary War and the founding fathers, at the expense of more inclusive or impactful histories.
This is the project of a group of graduate students in history at Temple University and the University of South Carolina. We have decided to combine our love of public history and Gilmore Girls by cataloguing ALL of the references of public history/heritage tourism in the series. We will be writing posts on our favorites: possible topics include founder’s chic in Stars Hollow, literary tourism and the Gilmore Girls, Queer identity and reenactment, etc etc. If you have an idea for a post or submission, please contact us.