Author Archives: michaeljdouma

History Visualized with Epochs

It was common in the United States in the nineteenth century to speaks about history broken up into “ages” and “epoch.”  Because time was moving quicker than ever before, and changes were all around to see, contemporaries needed to use language that divided time into distinct periods on the path towards progress and civilization. A […]

Willard’s Chronographer

I just discovered another interesting spatial visualization of time, this one from a U.S. history text used in elementary schools in the mid 19th century., Emma Willard’s Abridge History of the United States (New York: A.S. Barnes & Co), 1852. Like I noted in my post on Hillyer’s “Staircase of Time” Willard treats her diagram […]

Why all history methods books on are highly rated

A curious thing happened today when I looked up a book on  I was reading Sometimes an Art, a book about history by the great historian Bernard Bailyn. I felt the book was pretty dry, uninspiring, and out-of-date. Certainly, it doesn’t match the quality of Bailyn’s other words, which have garnered him all of […]

The “Staircase of Time”

My new book, Creative Historical Thinking (Routledge, 2018), includes many diagrams showing spatial visualizations of time. One of my arguments in the book is that there are many ways in which we can visualize time. If we try to impose just one diagram, of say a timeline that goes left to right, or a cyclical […]

Call for Economic and Business History Case Studies – SAGE

A Doctor of History Fixes Broken Stories

I generally try to avoid using the title “Dr.” instead of “Mr.” because I don’t want to be called upon in an emergency to have to save someone’s life. I can imagine it now:  the captain’s voice comes over the speaker system: “Is there a doctor on the plane?”  When no one comes forward, the […]

The Coolness of Deirdre McCloskey

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 Backroad Church

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 […]

A Photo for a Dollar

Shake out a book: A Library Exercise for a History Class

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. […]