Podcast Debut: Episodes 1 & 2

The Plodding Through The Presidents podcast is now live! 

After six years of plodding through blog posts and Facebook updates, I’m thrilled to be expanding to the world of podcasting with my wife, Jess. Our first two episodes are up now, and they’re tailor-made for this special combined Valentine’s/Presidents’ Day holiday. You can listen here, or anywhere fine podcasts are streamed. The show notes are posted below.

Find Plodding through the Presidents on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Episode 1 Show Notes: John & Abigail & Smallpox

Jess and I dig into the separate smallpox inoculations of John and Abigail Adams and the heartfelt and hilarious love letters this supercouple exchanged during their quarantines, along with some background on Lady Mary Montagu’s bold introduction of the smallpox inoculation from Turkey to England.

Abigail Adams and John Adams by Benjamin Blyth


Lady Mary Montagu by Jonathan Richardson the younger

Founders Online – letters between John & Abigail Adams
Time Magazine: How One Daring Woman Introduced the Idea of Smallpox Inoculation to England by Thomas Hager
The Story of Smallpox in Massachusetts by Samuel Bayard Woodward, M.D.
Inspired by my post “Love in the Time of Smallpox


Episode 2 Show Notes: Jefferson’s Broken Heart and Wrist

We explore Thomas Jefferson’s dangerous liaison in Paris with the talented artist Maria Cosway and her monkey-like husband Richard Cosway – a love story that resulted in two broken hearts, one permanently damaged wrist, and one epic 4000-word love letter written as a dialogue between Jefferson’s head and heart.


Maria Cosway self portrait


Richard Cosway self portrait


Richard and Maria Cosway

Founders Online – Jefferson’s Head and the Heart letter to Maria Cosway
Mr. Jefferson’s Women by Jon Kukla
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Jefferson and the Rights of Man by Dumas Malone
Jefferson: A Revealing Biography by Page Smith
John Adams by David McCullough
Richard Cosway, “The Macaroni Miniature Painter” from The Art Amateur, Vol. 8, No. 2 (January 1883)
Inspired by my post “Thomas Jefferson’s Head, Heart, and Wrist

I won’t link directly to the “don’t say I didn’t warn you” painting of Leda and the Swan, but it’s up to you if you want to Google Leda and the Swan by François Boucher 1740.


If you like what you hear, please subscribe, rate, and write a review!

For more information and frequently asked questions about the podcast, please visit the Podcast page.

Feedback? Comment or reach out on Facebook or Twitter!

We’ll be back next week with something positively scandlous!



  1. Albert L.
    February 11, 2020 / 9:12 am

    Fascinating stuff. You guys are awesome together. Congratulations!

    • Howard Dorre
      February 11, 2020 / 5:07 pm

      Thank you!

  2. Sharon Skinner
    March 1, 2024 / 10:22 am

    You two crack me up! Your banter makes me laugh out loud and I so appreciate Jess’s real-time responses and reactions. Great idea having her as part of the audience, in a way. Looking forward to hearing more!

    • Howard Dorre
      March 1, 2024 / 10:23 am

      Thank you so much Sharon! Glad to have you as a listener. And if you liked these episodes, I think you’ll really like the rest because we just get better! 🙂

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