What We’re Reading: February 24, 2011 Edition
History education is important to the AHA, and this week we begin this week with two links on the subject. First up, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has put together a commission, which includes a number of prominent historians, to come up with ways to improve excellence in the humanities in the U.S. Then, we link to an article from The Economist, which emphasizes the need to improve history education, despite the push for an increased focus on math and science. Next, check out the redesign of the Library of Congress’ historical newspaper site, meet a new Russian history blog, remember the 1962 space flight through pictures, learn about 69 of Thomas Jefferson’s books that were recently found, and hear about the final victim identifications of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. We also link to Eric Foner’s appearance on the Colbert Report and the news of recently unearthed Lincoln documents. And just for fun, learn about movies shooting in D.C. this summer, and the historical figures they focus on.
- Yanked from the Margins
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced a high-level commission to discuss "the top ten actions that Congress, state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education." AHA president Tony Grafton, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, and Annette Gordon-Reed stand out among the scholars representing history.
- Don’t know much about history
The Economist laments the push for math and science education over history, and notes disturbing statistics like, “America’s schoolchildren score even more poorly in history than in maths.” Hat tip.
- Searching Historic Newspapers Just Got Better
The Library of Congress invites users to beta test the redesign of their Chronicling America historic newspaper site.
- Russian History Blog
A group of historians of Russia just initiated a Russia History Blog where they will be "sharing their research, reflections on the research and publications of others, movie reviews, etc."
- The Historic Flight of Mercury 6
The Atlantic remembers the 1962 space flight with John Glenn through pictures.
- Jefferson’s books found in Mo. university library
Washington University in St. Louis has found
6974 of Thomas Jefferson’s books in their rare collections, containing handwritten notes by the president.
- The Fire That Changed Everything
Almost 100 years after the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, the names of the last remaining unknown victims have finally been determined thanks to the work of historian Michael Hirsch.
- Stephen Colbert’s interview with historian Eric Foner
Last week historian Eric Foner went on the Colbert Report to discuss Lincoln, slavery, and the Civil War.
- Frederick business owner unearths rare Lincoln papers
Documents signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864 were recently discovered in a bedroom closet in Maryland.
- ‘J. Edgar,’ ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ might film in D.C.
Historical figures are the subjects of two movies that may film in D.C. this summer. Though the historical accuracy, especially of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” is questionable.
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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