History of the Lincoln Assassination: Where to find historical documents online.

13 Apr

For the 150th of Lincoln’s assassination, here’s a fine list of historical links, courtesy of Slate: History of the Lincoln Assassination: Where to find historical documents online..

Photographing the Forgotten Magic of All 947 Towns in Iowa

13 Apr

Originally posted on Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies:

What Cheer, Iowa. Population 646. Photo by Cody Weber

It’s an Iowan pastime, Cody Weber tells me, to take long drives down dirt-and-gravel roads just to see where you’ll end up. Often, these road will go on for miles, jilting your car with every bump on the rough terrain, before dropping you off in a little town with fewer than a thousand people. Sometimes, there’s a gas station, but more often you find a patchwork of abandoned schoolhouses, corner stores with caved-in roofs, rolling fields, and houses where the same families of Iowans have lived for generations. If you blink, you’ll miss these places entirely—but if you look at these towns very closely, with the right perspective, you just might find something magical there.

That’s what Weber says, at least, and he would know. The native Iowan set off last month to photograph all 947 towns in the state for…

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America’s Pastor (Billy Graham)–a review by James Bratt

11 Apr

Historian James Bratt (Calvin College) provides a fine review of Grant Wacker’s recently published study of Billy Graham: America’s Pastor. You can read Bratt’s review here: Billy Graham – THE TWELVE.

Appomattox and the Ongoing Civil War

10 Apr

Historian David W. Blight, Yale University, has some extensive and informative reflections on the “end” of the Civil War 150 years ago. You can read his Atlantic article here: Appomattox and the Ongoing Civil War — The Atlantic.

Studies in Midwestern History

7 Apr

Originally posted on Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies:

In case you aren’t familiar with this site, or haven’t checked it in a while, there’s now a third essay at the e-journal Studies in Midwestern History. Take a look: Studies in Midwestern History — Midwestern History Association.

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Rednecks: A Brief History

7 Apr

On the first day of class, my students often ask me, “Where are you from?” My southern accent throws them, I suppose, since we’re in a classroom in downtown Chicago.

For the past few years, I’ve responded, “Are you familiar with the reality TV series Duck Dynasty?” Most of them nod, wide-eyed. “I’m from that town,” I say. Then I add, “but don’t hold it against me.”

A couple of things are happening when I do this. First, I’m attempting to break the ice with these young adults by personalizing myself and revealing I’m up on current trends in reality television. Second, I’m also distancing myself from my hometown for fear that my incoming students will liken me to my televised counterparts: southern “rednecks.”

So begins Kelli Marshall’s fascinating brief history of the term “redneck.” You can read her JSTOR Daily post (including her discussion of the development of “postmodern rednecks”) here: Rednecks: A Brief History | JSTOR Daily.

Finding Solace in the Midwest Where It Isn’t Supposed to Be

4 Apr

Originally posted on Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies:

Historian Jon Lauck makes a fascinating re-examination of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio and Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street. Are they really books that sustain the popular image of the Midwest as boring and backward? Lauck thinks not: Flyover Country ReviewFinding Solace in the Midwest Where It Isn’t Supposed to Be – Flyover Country Review.

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