AHA Today

What We’re Reading: July 23, 2009 Edition

AHA Staff | Jul 23, 2009

NARA_Flickr_Treaty_of_ParisIn recent news, Obama picks Jon Jarvis for the National Park Service, $116 million goes toward improving the teaching of American history,  Governor Tim Kaine supports the Wilderness Battlefield fight, and starting July 27 the public can review the Social Studies-History Standards.  We also note two events: a constitutional history graduate course and the Thomas Paine exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Then, read about some new digital history projects:  podcasts from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, digitized records from the Freedmen’s Bureau, and NARA on Flickr. And finally, a review by Peter Green, a report on Historical Thinking in Higher Education, first ladies’ homes, John Brown and Harper’s Ferry, and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11.



  • Robert H. Smith Seminar – The Institute for Constitutional History (PDF)
    The Institute for Constitutional History, of the New-York Historical Society, is hosting a semester-long graduate course on Constitutional History (see PDF). Designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law and related disciplines, the seminar will be taught by the distinguished scholars Akhil Reed Amar (Yale College and Yale Law School) and James Oakes (CUNY Graduate Center).
  • One Life: Thomas Paine, The Radical Founding Father
    On August 7, the National Portrait Gallery opens the exhibition “One Life: Thomas Paine, The Radical Founding Father.” This exhibition marks the 200th anniversary of Paine’s death and features 22 objects including the museum’s recently acquired portrait of Paine by the French artist Laurent Dabos, made around 1792.

Digital History

Articles and Reports

  • Google Books or Great Books?
    Peter Green uses a review of Anthony Grafton’s latest book in the Times Literary Supplement to reflect on the Republic of Letters from the Renaissance to the digital age.
  • Historical Thinking in Higher Education (PDF)
    The Australian Historical Association has linked to a report on Historical Thinking in Higher Education that includes recommendations for working with primary sources, visual and new media as well as assessing students on historical thinking.
  • Revisiting the First Ladies’ Homes
    From the Smithsonian magazine comes an article on first ladies’ homes, with links to their respective web sites.
  • Let History Ring
    Though famous to some and infamous to others, John Brown and his raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia left its mark in history. The brick federal arsenal that Brown and his men claimed as their headquarters on October 16, 1859 has become a landmark to Harper’s Ferry, except the bell tower is missing one critical component: its bell! Rick Holmes retells the story of the bell’s journey through the Civil War to its current resting place in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
  • To The Moon!  
    New York Times writer, John Noble Wilford, covered the original launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of America’s first moonwalk, Wilford remembers the days leading up to one of the country’s most historic moments. 

Contributors: David Darlington, Noralee L. Frankel, Elisabeth Grant, Arnita A. Jones, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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