primary sources

  • Introducing “Disciplining The Nation”

    by Matt Guariglia and Charlotte Rosen

    "Rooted in racial slavery, settler colonialism, and U.S. empire, policing and incarceration in the United States were slowly and meticulously built over time for the purpose of subordinating, punishing, and exploiting populations –and historians have the documents to prove it."

  • New Website to Offer View of Uncensored GI Opinion about World War 2

    "So much of what we know about the everyday experiences of Americans who served in the war comes from such sources as letters that were censored, memories recorded later, or films,” says historian Edward Gitre of the American Soldier in World War II Project. 

  • Expanding the Digital Black Atlantic

    by Roopika Risam

    Scholars who are bringing digital humanities work to the study of the African diaspora and the connections between Black people in Europe, Africa and the Americas are also mindful of the need to avoid perpetuating the gaps and omissions about historical Black experiences that characterize traditional archives.

  • The Most Ambitious Diary in History

    by Benjamin Anastas

    The playwright and classicist Claude Fredericks kept 65,000 pages of a journal, likely the longest record of one American life ever kept. Is it valuable as a documentary record, or as a demonstration of the self-mythologizing work of the diarist? 

  • Scientists Decipher Marie Antoinette's Redacted Love Notes

    “It’s always exciting when you discover that you can know more about the past than you thought you could,” said historian Rebecca L. Spang, who studies the French Revolution at Indiana University and was not involved in the study.

  • You are Only as Good as Your Sources

    by Bobby Cervantes

    Can researchers reexamine the boundary between journalism and historiography while maintaining the integrity of both? A researcher with a background in both explains how. 

  • A Lost Brontë Library Surfaces

    "A trove of Brontë family manuscripts — all but unseen for a century — will be auctioned by Sotheby’s as part of what the auction house is billing as the sale of a legendary “lost library” of British literature treasures."

  • The Ethics of the "N-Word" in the Classroom

    by Alan Singer

    Neither censorious expungement nor free speech absolutism offer good practical guidelines for teaching historical sources that include racial slurs. A professor of history education explains his approach. 

  • Keeping it Real: Historians in the Deepfake Era

    by Abe Gibson

    "Deepfake" videos threaten to undermine the integrity of primary sources, particularly for researchers and students of recent history. Historians need to be ready to question, verify, or push back against deceptive videos.

  • The Game Is Changing for Historians of Black America

    by William Sturkey

    "Active racism, exclusion, and environmental injustice have systematically destroyed or buried whole sections of Black history. Many of those who gripe about “erasing history” of Confederate monuments and other symbols in the South have no idea how much history has already been erased." Digital newspaper databases and genealogical tools are a key tool for reconstructing the record of Black history.