Image: Rohwer Camp #23. Credit: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Writing in the New York Times, Stephen Mihm notes the effect that digital newspapers are having on historic research.
For generations, biographers have used the same methods to conduct research: they waded through the paper trail left by their subject, piecing together a life from epistolary fragments. Based on what they found, they might troll through newspapers from specific dates in the hope of finding coverage of their subject. There were no new-fangled technologies that promised to transform their research, no way of harnessing machines to reveal new layers of historical truth.That’s all starting to change.
Several campaigns to digitize newspapers — Readex’s “American Historical Newspapers” available by subscription at research universities, or the free “Chronicling America” collection available at the Library of Congress — have the potential to revolutionize biographical research. Newspapers are often described as the “first draft of history,” and thanks to these new tools, biographers can tap them in ways that an earlier generation of scholars could only have dreamed of.
As we have learned at the Daily Mirror HQ, digitized newspapers such as ProQuest are a revolutionary tool for the conscientious researcher, and a formidable weapon against lazy historians who recycle the same old mistakes from secondary sources. Consider the story of Gen. Otis death car.
Road construction in Montana has revealed remnants of a Crow Nation reservation. Kirk Johnson in the New York Times.
“The Art of Living: Japanese American Creative Experience at Rohwer,” an exhibit of artwork by internees held at the Rohwer Relocation Center during World War II, will be display at Concordia Hall at the Arkansas Studies Institute through Nov. 28. Reuters story by Suzi Parker via the L.A. Times.