AHA Today

What We’re Reading: October 7, 2010 Edition

AHA Staff | Oct 7, 2010

National Library of Medicine - Binding Wounds online exhibitIn the news this week, the U.S. apologizes for tests on Guatemalans in the 1940s and Germany makes its last WWI reparations payment. Then, we bring you a number of Civil War related articles: the donation of 700 Civil War photographs to the Library of Congress, African American surgeons and nurses during the Civil War, looking toward the sesquicentennial, military communication from the Civil War to now, and part two of the “Discovering the Civil War” exhibit at the National Archives. Read on for articles from Deborah Kaplan on her late husband Roy Rosenzweig, Samuel Redman on archivists and historians, and The Chronicle on the Sustaining Digital History project. And finally, see the history of the bicycle, explore Detroit’s past, revisit slavery in the North, learn about the celebration of a historic oil spill, view Washington D.C. from 20 years ago, and chuckle at ideas of time share computing from the 60s.


Civil War


  • The Afterlife of an Archive
    Deborah Kaplan, wife of the late Roy Rosenzweig, describes the scholarly treasures she found when sorting through Roy’s things in the months after his death.
  • From the other side of the desk…
    Samuel Redman, a PhD candidate at University of California, Berkeley and academic specialist at the Bancroft Library, offers some thoughtful musings about the relationship between historians and archivists for American Archives Month.
  • Historians Are Interested in Digital Scholarship but Lack Outlets
    The Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog looks at a recent conference from the Sustaining Digital History project.

Glimpses into the Past

  • Exploring continuity and change through the history of the bicycle
    Teacher Peter Pappas, describes how he used the Smithsonian’s bicycle collection to prepare a lesson on Exploring Continuity and Change: the History of the Bicycle.
  • Don’t Forget the Motor City
    David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, writes a history/travelogue of Detroit.
  • New England’s hidden history
    The Boston Globe revisits the North’s uncomfortable history of slavery. Joanne Pope Melish, author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and ‘Race’ in New England, 1780-1860, explains the need to expose this hidden history: “If you have obliterated the historical memory of actual slavery, that makes it possible to turn around and look at a population that is disproportionately poor and say, it must be their own inferiority. That is where New England’s particular brand of racism comes from.”
  • Town With Record Oil Spill Celebrates Its History
    The small town of Taft, California celebrates its heritage with the 10-day Oildorado Days festival. That’s right, Taft rejoices in the country’s biggest oil spill that started on March 15, 1910 and continued for a year and a half, spewing onto the surrounding land and subsequently bringing tremendous wealth to its citizens: “It was a time when small lakes of oil covering the landscape meant only one thing — wealth and prosperity.” Listen to the story from NPR’s All Things Considered.
  • Hidden Washington DC
    This Flickr photo set from photographer Michael Horsley capture the streets of D.C. from 1985 to 1988. Read this post for more information, and some highlights from the photo collection.
  • I Used a Real Computer At Home… and So Will You
    Google Books has digitized an article from the May 1967 issue of Popular Science about time share computing. It starts off, “One day soon, you’ll be able to rent a giant digital computer as you rent a telephone now. What will you do with it? How will you work it? Here’s a glimpse into the future.” Hat tip.

Contributors: Miriam Hauss Cunningham, David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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