Deirdre McCloskey, professor emerita of everything, once wrote a book chapter titled “The Coolness of Alexander Gerschenkron”  about her mentor in the economics department at Harvard. I’m beginning to think someone ought to write a full-length piece about the “Coolness of Deirde McCloskey.” I once wrote an article criticizing a small bit of McCloskey’s work, […]

Abandoned churches, school buildings, and houses are common fare on the backroads of West Virginia. I found this old wooden church down a dirt road in Hampshire County, about 7 miles from the city of Paw Paw. The introduction of automobiles must be partially to blame for the demographic changes in mountains. Even though populations […]

Here’s a fun activity for historians and students in history classes:  Go to your school or university library, open up old books and shake them out  (not literally shake them, you guys!). How many books might you need to shake out before you find a piece of paper?  Usually its about 20 or 30 books. […]

Page 1: A typical ad: West Pennsyltucky Technical Community College has an opening for a Visiting Assistant Professor of American History at their regional branch campus in Texazona. It’s a 6-6 teaching load with an option to teach extra online courses for $1500 a piece, and you also have to make marketing calls to recruit […]

or A Brief History of Brief Histories. Once upon a time, history was long, boring, and cumbersome. It was full of facts, and it went on and on. Nobody could read more than a page of it without falling asleep at their desk. Something needed to be done. What if we could condense a history […]

Probably sometime in 1942 or maybe 1943, my grandfather stopped in Southhampton Island  (at the time part of the Northwest Territories) in Canada. Probably because my grandfather had so many war stories from Europe, he never told the story about visiting the Inuit in northern Canada. When my grandfather landed in Canada, the United States […]

A few years ago, when I was still controlling the mic at the classroom podium, I gave my class an assignment to make an illustrated notebook, rather than a final paper.  The purpose of this was to encourage students to go through their notes from 15 weeks of class and re-think them, integrate them in […]

On Friday, I was interviewed for 50 minutes for the Research on Religion podcast, run by Tony Gill, a professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. The topic of our discussion was the history of the Dutch immigrant leader Albertus Van Raalte and his church history manuscript that I re-discovered in the archives […]

This week, I served as a judge at a history fair a local K-12 school (yes, a rare remaining example of K-12 under one roof).  Anyway, I had to smile at the trend of history presentations based on very recent things, like ninendo, Pokemon, and X-box. Who is to say that this history is less […]