Shelburne, VT, April 27, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Clio Visualizing History of Shelburne, Vermont, (http://www.cliohistory.org) has unveiled a first-of-its-kind online exhibit that explores the interplay of American journalist Lowell Thomas, British officer T.E. Lawrence, and the creation and impact of the “Lawrence of Arabia” legend.
This exhibit is launched at a time when the world’s attention is focused on the Middle East with new forms of journalism and communication delivered through cell phones, Facebook and Twitter empowering a new generation. “Creating History: Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia” looks at an earlier era of media innovation following World War I. It examines how journalism can make legends and such legends can make history.
Lowell Thomas was the best-known journalist in America at one time, and he played the key role in the creation of the “Lawrence of Arabia” legend. T.E. Lawrence came to be involved in the shaping of the national borders of the Middle East—borders that are not greatly different from the Middle East we know today. Lawrence’s greatest influence was exercised behind the scenes as a dominant participant in the Cairo Conference of 1921—exactly 90 years ago.
“Creating History: Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia” takes a close look at Lowell Thomas’ connection to T.E. Lawrence. With more than 200 images, journal entries, videos and audio journalism, the exhibit explores forces that can create legends, and examines how legends can have significant long-term ramifications. Now—30 years after the death of Lowell Thomas—is the first time that many of these materials have been made available on the World Wide Web.
While searching for a World War I success story, entrepreneurial American journalist Lowell Thomas encountered an extraordinary figure in Jerusalem: a British army officer named T.E. Lawrence who dressed in Arab robes and had helped capture the Turkish port of Akaba.
With a cameraman in tow and a ton of equipment, Thomas followed Lawrence into the desert, turned his footage into a multimedia spectacle seen by millions of people, and helped create “Lawrence of Arabia.’’ Lawrence’s new celebrity and brilliant mind earned him a seat at the table when the map of the Middle East was redrawn.
The “Lawrence of Arabia” legend would go on to spawn a major motion picture that will mark its 50-year anniversary in 2012, many books and historical papers, and a multitude of perspectives on Lawrence’s controversial role in World War I and the Arab Revolt.
The “Creating History: Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia” online history exhibit was produced by Lola Van Wagenen of Clio Visualizing History and filmmaker Richard Moulton. Contributors included historians, librarians, educators, and Thomas and Lawrence experts. They included Mitchell Stephens, a professor of journalism at New York University; Steve Caton, a professor of contemporary Arab studies in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University; Joel Hodson, the director of education at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library; Bogac Ergene, associate professor in the History Department at the University of Vermont; and John Ansley, the director of the Marist College Archives and their James A. Cannavino Library Special Collections, which includes the Lowell Thomas Papers. Ecopixel of Essex Junction, Vt., provided Web design and development for the online exhibit.