Consolation Prize

Consolation Prize is a podcast about the history of the United States in the world through the eyes of its consuls. Hosted by Abby Mullen, the show discusses the complicated lives and careers of the low-level diplomats that were largely responsible for the United States’ reputation in the world.

Recent Episodes

Final Report Transmission

June 23, 2022

After two seasons, we have a lot to reflect on! We wanted you to hear the voices of the team, working mostly behind the scenes for the past two seasons, and hear about their experiences working on Consolation Prize.

Twelve Foreign Men

May 31, 2022

In our final episode of Consolation Prize, we return to 1844 Hawai'i, where we look at another case involving vice consul William Hooper.

The Consul and I

May 17, 2022

In this episode, we meet two Americans in 1860s Thailand. Reverend Dan Beach Bradley was a Christian missionary and a newspaper publisher, and Captain James Madison Hood was the US consul to the Kingdom of Siam.

Pacific Salmon Run

May 10, 2022

In this mini episode of Consolation Prize, we complete our tour of the world by going to the last continent where the United States had consuls: Australia.

Remember the Lusitania

April 19, 2022

In this episode of Consolation Prize, we investigate the role of consuls in dealing with wartime disasters and the toll they took on them.

The Art of Diplomacy

March 29, 2022

Irena Wiley was a diplomat's wife. But she was also an artist who used her art to reflect the humanity of the many people she encountered all around the world.

Guest: William Adair

States of Confusion

March 8, 2022

We explore the long and complicated relationship between the United States and the Papal States, the political-religious home of the Roman Catholic Church.

Views and Re-Views

Feb. 15, 2022

In this episode of Consolation Prize, we are exploring a consul’s involvement in a coup and a revolution.

What Is a Consul, Anyway? (re-release)

Jan. 14, 2022

In this special bonus episode, we talk with a scholar who studies the history of the US consular service. We answer your questions like, What is a consul? What do they do? What makes them so interesting? Why should we care a…

Guest: Nicole Phelps

Yeah, That Poinsett (re-release)

Dec. 22, 2021

In this bonus holiday episode, a re-release from 2020, we explore the consular life of Joel Roberts Poinsett, everyone’s favorite holiday historical figure.

Hawaii 4-3

Dec. 14, 2021

Consolation Prize is going true crime! In today's episode, we're going to hear about a murder case that a consul had to do some investigation of.

Beyond the Consul: Monterey

Nov. 18, 2021

Today we’re going to a domestic destination–but it wasn’t always domestic. The history of Monterey goes back hundreds of years, and it shows how empires and commerce come together in one prime location.

About the Hosts

Abby Mullen

Abby Mullen was the host and executive producer of Consolation Prize. She was a term assistant professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. Her work focuses on the First Barbary War, where she encountered the four consuls who inspired this podcast: Richard O’Brien, James Leander Cathcart, William Eaton, and James Simpson.

Frankie Bjork

Frankie Bjork was a producer on the second season of Consolation Prize. She was a graduate student at George Mason University studying Applied History with a focus in United States History. Her specialties include studies of influential people and groups in social and cultural movements, like Dorothy Height during Second Wave Feminism.

Megan Brett

Megan Brett was a producer on Consolation Prize. She was a digital history associate at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. She holds a PhD in American History from George Mason University. Her dissertation examined citizenship and identity in the United States through the lens of the Maury family, one of whom was a consul in Liverpool.

Bridget Bukovich

Bridget Bukovich was the Promotions Specialist for Consolation Prize. She was the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. She has a MA in Applied History, which she combines with her social media expertise to help share history with the public.

Andrew Cote

Andrew Cote was our composer-in-residence. As a composer of acoustic and electronic music, his compositions have been performed and recorded across three continents. His works have been featured at the Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the World Saxophone Congress, and various other festivals and conferences. His latest album, Ulterior Motives: The Saxophone Music of Andrew Cote, is available on iTunes, Amazon, and most other online retailers. Andrew previously taught music composition, orchestration, music technology, and directed the new music ensemble at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Andrew began teaching at Merrimack College in the fall of 2020, where he teaches courses in music theory and music technology.

Alison Langford

Alison Langford was the studio administrator. She was a fan of the show before she came to work at R2 Studios. She helped organize the studio and track guest info. She has a BA in English from GMU.

Deepthi Murali

Deepthi Murali was a producer on Consolation Prize. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. She has a PhD in Art History specializing in transcultural art and encounters of South Asia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Jeanette Patrick

Jeanette Patrick was producer on Consolation Prize and the Senior Producer for R2 Studios at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. She holds a MA in Public History and works to find engaging ways to bring the past to the present.

Brenna Reilley

Brenna Reilley was a research and production assistant for Consolation Prize. She was an undergraduate student at George Mason University studying History and Nonprofit Studies. Her work includes social and cultural history projects, such as Women Tavern Keepers, Medical History in the Americas, and East German Cinema.

Kris Stinson

Kris Stinson was a producer on Consolation Prize. He was a PhD student and Presidential Fellow in George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. His research interests revolve around the religious and intellectual culture of the early American republic.

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