Consolation Prize is a podcast about the history of the United States in the world through the eyes of its consuls.
We’re delighted to announce a new podcast from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, dedicated to the experiences of consuls and how they fit into the wider history of the United States and the world. Consolation Prize is a narrative podcast, where our host, Abby Mullen, tells the stories of these consuls and their context with help from scholars who study them and from the consuls themselves as they write about their lives.
Season 1 is all about American consuls in the nineteenth century. Future seasons may explore foreign consuls in the United States, or twentieth-century consuls, or even foreign consuls not affiliated with the United States at all. But we have to start somewhere—and nineteenth-century American consuls have more than enough stories to cover several seasons. We’re focusing mostly on consuls who served before the professionalization of the service began, when consuls weren’t paid a salary from the federal government (though we’ll stray a little into the second half of the century).
You’ll hear stories about betrayal, murder, exotic animals, and a lot of bickering this season. You’ll hear how consuls chose to further their own profit at the expense of the government, and how they chose to uphold U.S. honor at their own expense. You’ll hear them defend American citizens and throw Americans under the bus. But most of all you’ll hear how Americans lived, worked, and traveled outside the United States, and how their experiences changed the world.