A recording from a webinar I moderated for the Netherlands American Foundation, with Leendert van der Valk and Vincent Tucker. https://vimeo.com/536451450

Since moving to Hampshire County, W.V. five years ago, I have been researching the history of my property and the county more generally. One problem in this research has been the lack of good, early maps. Early properties were defined by “metes and bounds” from the old Oak to the Chestnut, to the ridge, and […]

I’m using the teach-to-mastery approach in my course this semester. It helps that I only teach one class with 14 students in it. Essentially, I am allowing students to revise any assignment and turn it in for an improved grade as many times as they wish to. This is much more like how historians operate […]

I’m the new (2021) book review editor for the Journal of Markets & Morality, published by the Acton Institute. The journal is interested in books about the intersection of religion (specifically but not limited to Catholicism), ethics, and economics, but also theology, history, and other related topics. If you are the author of a new […]

I frequently hear that academic scholarship is less important than writing for the public because only two reviewers and the author ever read the typical academic article. Certain articles in pay-to-play journals probably are subject to that criticism. And articles in very niche journals might also be poorly read. But if you are writing for […]

When evaluating a CV, an encyclopedia article should count as negative one publication. (This doesn’t apply of course for something like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). My reasons: (1) No one reads encyclopedias anymore. (2) The editors of encyclopedias are usually washed up Associate Professors who don’t publish peer-reviewed materials any more, or who never […]

In my previous post I explained that historians have overcounted slaves in the New York census of 1830. Instead of the traditional count of 75 or 76, I estimated that there were in fact only between 38 and 51 slaves actually tallied on the census forms. One reason for the latter-day counting error, evident in […]

Gradual emancipation of slaves in New York began with a law of 1799, which freed the children of slave mothers at 28 year if a male child and 25 years if a female child. These children of slaves were not legally slaves, but were free persons, bound for a certain number of years to the […]

In my research on American slavery, I’ve come across frequent references to slaves and freed blacks of extraordinary age. Part of the reason for this, I suspect, is that many people did not know in which year they were born. Census takers engaged in “statistical heaping” when old people estimated there age at “about 100”. […]