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primary sources



  • The Strange Case of Booker T. Washington’s Birthday

    by Bill Black

    A history teacher's saga of the verification of a seemingly simple fact shows that sources may not always be reliable, and that our knowledge of many facts is the product of historians' labor. 



  • Working with Histories that Haunt Us

    by Marius Kothor

    The author responds to a recent essay on the traumatic aspects of archival research. As a political exile from Togo, her identity and experience converged with subject matter she couldn't study at a remove. 



  • Please Stop Calling Things Archives: An Archivist's Plea

    by B.M. Watson

    "As many historians currently use the word “archives,” they seem to imply that an archive is the natural state in which primary sources arrange themselves after being discarded or left by their creators."



  • Democracy, History and the Presidential Records Act

    by James Grossman and Richard Immerman

    It's time to update the Presidential Records Act to clarify the kinds of materials that must be preserved and create real penalties for destroying them. 



  • Has Twitter Changed How History Will See This Era?

    Carole McGranahan, a professor of history and anthropology, says that social media need to be taken seriously as sources of insight into the actions of prominent and anonymous people alike, and need to be preserved as sources.