The Nature and Practice of State and Local History

The Nature and Practice of State and Local History

The Nature and Practice of State and Local History

The Nature and Practice of State and Local History

Excerpt

There are many spacious apartments in the House of History. Some are occupied by individuals devoted to examining and telling the story of national and international events. Others are filled with specialists--scholars devoted primarily to political or economic or social activities. Rooms are given over to the energies of men who concern themselves with religious history or the history of art or even the tracing of intellectual concepts. There is space devoted to those who wish to work only with the dramatic story of immigration, public health, agriculture, inventions, folkways, and science. In this House of History labor those whose primary concern is the writing of biography, whether of towns, cities, or individuals, and those fascinated by the study of the growth of business, industry, and mechanization. Workers also select time spans. Thus, one scholar may be dedicated to the glories that were Greece and Rome's, another to Germany in the nineteenth century, and still another to the frontier period in the development of the United States. Single cells hold desks for diplomatic historians, for students of arms and logistics, for persons interested in the home missionary, for researchers in tribal customs and beliefs, for laborers who are engrossed with a single political administration.

Ample space is provided in the House of History for those concerned with the neighborhood and with local activities. This is true because history, like the coverlet of old, is woven from many strands whose strength and hues can not be identical if a bold and well-understood pattern is to result. Clio, the goddess who presides over the house, is catholic in her taste and wide in her understanding that patterns of cultures and the lives of men demonstrate a wonderful diversity. History embraces the whole of human experience from the least to the greatest.

This is why the House of History is no narrowly conceived structure with self-imposed limitations. It enlarges to welcome the unfolding of each new age and graciously provides room for every new idea. History never can be static. It is never a definite accomplishment. The loom of research, weaving new knowledge and recent interpretations, hums endlessly. Yet the House of History . . .

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