AHA Today

What We’re Reading: April 14, 2011 Edition

AHA Staff | Apr 14, 2011

Washington Post - 50 years of spaceflightIn the news this week, some federal budget cuts will affect history and the humanities, a professor earns tenure with help from his Wikipedia edits, a proposal suggests history programs for those making declassification decisions, and a new historical film, on Paul Revere, is in the works.  Also check out links to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library’s Flickr stream, the FBI’s online reading room, and a BBC maps documentary on YouTube. This past week also marked anniversaries of both the Civil War (150th) and spaceflight (50th). We round up a number of links on both.


  • Budget Cuts Hit Teaching American History Grants
    The House Appropriations Committee has posted up a list of all the cuts to come in the final appropriations for the current fiscal year. Compared to last year, the budget will cut $73 million from Teaching American History, $13 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and $20 million from the National Archives.
  • Wikipedia Helps Professor Earn Tenure
    An English professor reportedly earned tenure in part by making peer review case for his Wikipedia edits. Could it happen in History?
  • Flickr Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Archives

  • Declassifying records
    The federal Public Information Declassification Board posted a proposal for “Stewardship of Our Classified History,” which supports for the notion that “[e]ach agency leader should establish an agency-wide history program” and “should instill a greater sense of history in records management.”
  • Paul Revere Movie
    The American Film Company, whose film The Conspirator AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman considered in a recent blog post, is working on a new film on Paul Revere, which will be based on David Hackett Fischer’s book Paul Revere’s Ride


  • Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Joins Flickr
    The Flickr blog welcomes the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library to the Flickr Commons by highlighting a few of their images.
  • FBI Records Online
    The FBI reports on its updated online reading room, called "The Vault", where visitors can search more than two thousand documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies.
  • Maps Documentary from the BBC
    The BBC’s complete “The Beauty of Maps” documentary is up on YouTube.


PBS Civil War CausesCivil War

  • Fort Sumter: The Civil War Begins
    Tuesday of this week we noted the 150th anniversary of the first shots of the Civil War being fired at Fort Sumter. See Smithsonian magazine’s longer article on the event as well as their many other articles on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
  • Civil War Causes: Historians vs. the Public
    Historians Drew Faust, Edna Medford, and Walter Edgar discuss the divide between historians understandings of the causes of the Civil War, and the general public’s. 
  • Walt Whitman Papers Discovered at National Archives
    A new collection of documents by Walt Whitman, from when he was a clerk at the Department of Justice during the Civil War, have been found at the National Archives. See also National Archives’ “Inside the Vaults” video on the find and Jennifer Howard’s article at The Chronicle.
  • Podcast: Civil War 150th
    Backstory with the History Guys has put together a three-part podcast series on the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, tracing the “dramatic six months leading up to the outbreak of war,” the motivations of the soldiers, and answers listeners’ questions. 
  • Va. teacher holds mock slave auction
    A fourth grade teacher giving a Civil War history lesson had her students participate in a mock slave auction, unsurprisingly upsetting quite a number of parents.

Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Chris Hale, Vernon Horn, Matthew Keough, and Robert B. Townsend

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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