Letters to the Editor

On “History by Text and Thing”

Douglas A. Dixon | May 22, 2020

To the Editor:

I read with interest ShawnaKim Lowey-Ball’s recent article, “History by Text and Thing” (Perspectives on History, March 2020). I agreed and disagreed, as you’ll see reflected in my upcoming book, Beyond Truman: Robert H. Ferrell and Crafting the Past (Rowman & Littlefield). Diving into archives, or whatever source material is relevant, is essential, yet the secondary literature is indispensable as well. I was shocked that she would dismiss it so easily, as “not really doing history” (italics in original). We all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before, and while jumping into archives—what I did before I started my book—was imperative, meaning-making really took on much more depth and nuance once I knew how the topic was situated in what others had accomplished.

Douglas A. Dixon
Austin, Texas

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