HIST179 Final Paper: The 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes

This was my final paper for HIST1790: North American Environmental History.  I decided to examine the historical accounts of the infamous New Madrid Earthquakes in Missouri in 1811-1812, largely because it complemented my interest in geology.

Convulsions of the Earth: The 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes

Eliza Bryan awoke to the sound of thunder.  As she sat up, her house began to shake violently, knocking the thirty-one year old from her bed and toppling furniture as she crawled out of her room.  Clambering outside into the pitch blackness, distant booms from deep within the earth, reminiscent of heavy artillery, drowned out the cacophonous din of screaming neighbors, squawking birds, braying horses and mooing livestock.  Still unable to stand amidst the overwhelming shaking, Eliza heard nearby trees snap like twigs and the usually calm river roar angrily while a sulphurous vapor invaded her nostrils.  To the four hundred residents of New Madrid, Missouri, in the morning hours of December 16th, 1811, God’s wrath had come.
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Posters: Lu’au and ¡Exótica!

This spring I designed two posters for on-campus events at Brown. Though I’m still figuring things out as I go in Photoshop and InDesign, they both came out quite nicely.


Chris asked me if I had any ideas for a cool poster to promote the Lu’au he was planning with the Hawaii Club. While brainstorming ideas, I thought of how much better the weather in Hawaii was compared to Rhode Island in February. That gave me the idea to create a trompe-l’œil window with a view of a Hawaiian beach, teasing the viewers’ plight while the slogan (shamelessly borrowed from Southwest Airlines) “Wanna get away?” encourages them to come. I found a suitable background photo, some good hi-quality wood textures for the window, and set to work. The final product was composed in Photoshop as a 300dpi 11″x17″ poster, set in Gotham and Commando.

Lu'au - 11"x17"


Matt and Roxy had asked me to DJ the Latino American Students Organization’s party in April. While planning for the event, I volunteered to draft a promo poster to replace the one Matt threw together in Microsoft Word. I used his layout, but used poster-quality images and textures that would be suitable for 11×17 printing. I compsoed the end result in InDesign and set the text in House Gothic 23 Bold Condensed 4.

¡Exótica! - 11x17
¡Exótica! - 11"x17"

University Hall Lights

During the weekend of November 15th, 2008, University Hall looked like a rainbow. To promote a campus event, students installed temporary colored gels over the usually white lights. The overlapping projections of color saturated the building with a smooth ROYGBIV rainbow gradient. Johnny and I took the camera and tripod to the Main Green late on Sunday night to capture some long-exposure shots.

We set up just in front of the Sayles Hall steps and explained to a suspicious patrolling campus safety officer that we weren’t a threat. After fine tuning the manual mode settings, we also switched the output filetype to NEF (Nikon’s raw image format) so we might have more agility in adjusting the exposure once post-processing came around. After quite a few trials (and even more errors) we perfected our composition–and just in time: a bank of clouds promptly rolled in from the west, shrouding the ultramarine sky with taupe in each exposure. Johnny and I moved around the green to shoot from other angles, though the glare from nearby streetlamps interfered with close-ups. To end the night, we took a few more exterior shots of Sayles Hall.

University Hall - close up
University Hall – close up
Sayles Hall - south
Sayles Hall – south

All photos are available in full resolution on the “Night Shooting” album on Flickr under the usual Creative Commons License.