What do historians do with historical sources when they find them?
How do they read them for information about the past?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Zara Anishanslin, an Assistant Professor of History at CUNY’s College of Staten Island, leads us on an exploration of how historians read historical sources by taking us through the documents and objects left behind by four everyday people. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/084
This week I came across an article about Joe Bagley, the 31-year- old archaeologist who has been put in charge of one million mostly un-cataloged City of Boston artifacts. Underpaid and overburdened, he’s found ways to triage the projects that come at him each day. He has to be a historian, a fundraiser, a bureaucrat, a volunteer coordinator, a social media guru, an artifact guardian, a cheerleader for preservation, a meticulous registrar, and a broad minded strategic planner, all at the same time.
You’re not alone, Joe. This has become the narrative of the post-recession workplace. It’s like a reality TV premise: we give you poverty level pay and a mountain of responsibility, and expect you to turn this organization around with your hipster ingenuity. I see it so often that I’ve started to refer to it as the martyr-hero motif. Continue reading
New York has had several history-minded governors, including Andrew Cuomo, who often cites the Erie Canal and other historical achievements as evidence of our state’s historical greatness and resilience. Levi P. Morton signed the law that created the office of the State Historian. Alfred E. Smith signed the statute that created the network of official local government historians. Franklin D. Roosevelt served for a while as the official historian of the Town of Hyde Park.
But Theodore Roosevelt, governor from 1899 to 1901 and president, 1901-1909, was a notable historian in his own right. He read extensively in history and his home at Sagamore Hill on Long Island reportedly contained about 12,000 books, many of them on history, at the time of his death in 1919.Roosevelt’s own books “The Naval War of 1812” and “The Winning of the West” were best-sellers in their day. His History of New York City is still interesting. Continue reading
In the 2002 film “Spider-Man”, Uncle Ben tells his nephew Peter Parker that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
This year’s Utica College History seniors have taken Uncle Ben’s words to heart. They’ve used the power of research to fulfill the historian’s responsibility to reconstruct the past.
Moreover, each of the presentations plays with the theme “Superheroes” to discover some of the struggles and accomplishments in Mohawk Valley history. Continue reading
How did enslaved African and African American women experience slavery?
What were their daily lives like?
And how do historians know as much as they do about enslaved women?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the answers to these questions with Jennifer L. Morgan, a Professor of History and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and our guide for an investigation into how historians research history. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/070
How did average, poor, and enslaved men and women live their day-to-day lives in the early United States?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the answers to that question with Simon P. Newman, a Professor of History at the University of Glasgow and our guide for an investigation into how historians choose their research topics. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/066
The Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon will host a weekend of events and programs to commemorate over 200 years of Shaker pacifism, from Saturday, August 29 through Monday, August 31.
The Mount Lebanon Peace Weekend will consist of readings, a brunch and facilitated discussion about Shaker pacifist history, a panel of speakers currently active in the peace movement, and a special walking tour. Continue reading
The annual New York State History Conference, held at the end of June at Niagara University, demonstrated once again the robust diversity of the state’s historical community and its research, projects, and initiatives. There were many interesting sessions but I wanted to share impressions of five particularly interesting and important themes.
Cooperation. Paul D’Ambrosio, President of the New York State Historical Association, in welcoming conference attendees, emphasized the essential role of cooperation in sponsoring, organizing, and managing the conference. Continue reading
The organizers of Researching New York 2015 are inviting proposals for presentations on any aspect of New York State history – in any time period and from any perspective.The conference meets annually in November, bringing together historians, archivists, public historians, graduate students, museum curators, teachers, documentarians, and more to share their work on New York State history.
They are encouraging proposals that explore the diverse communities of New York – their histories and how they are gathered, preserved, and presented – whether considering the question of “what is a community?” or the experiences of specific communities. Continue reading
This week “The Historians” podcast features coverage of the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference held May 1-3. The half hour episode features interviews with conference participants Jim Kirby Martin, co-author of Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution (Hill and Wang, 2006); Jack Kelly, author of Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence (Macmillan, 2014); and Don Hagist, author of The Revolution’s Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs (Westholme Publishing, 2015). Continue reading