Re: Is what we're doing REAL history??

Dennis Storzek

--- In, "cvsne" <mjmcguirk@...> wrote:

I am taking a class called Study and Writing of History as part of the
required coursework for a History MA/PhD program. While discussing
research and appropriate sources the professor made an interesting
statement about what can be considered "real" history - by that she
meant a valid source -- as opposed to a "popular" historian.


I'll put my $.02 in. It's "real history" if the author can cite
primary sources, i.e. railroad or builder's records or articles in
contemporary trade press. If it's just a retelling of what the author
heard somewhere or surmises from known facts, it's popular history,
and must be viewed with an eye toward the fact that while the author
believes something is true, it may not be.

That's why I always try to cite sources in these web discussions. In a
recent post I cited an article by Lane in a 1973 issue of the R&LHS
publication "Railroad History". If one wants to explore the material
further, he can obtain the original article and find the source of
Lane's material, which are memoranda from the USRA files now in the
National Archives. Real history will have an unbroken thread of
provenance all the way back to the source.

I also try to indicate when I am stating MY INTERPERATATION of the
historical record. What I write I believe to be true, but that doesn't
mean it is, and I'm always willing to have someone prove me wrong by
citing a source. That way, we all learn something.


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