Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Family History and the Changing Ways We Do History

Collin Charles's grandfather's military service record.

One of the cool things about history is that everything has a history (check out #everythinghasahistory)  This spring semester, Professor Chris Dalton is combining the new and the old in the senior seminar.  The theme is family history, which is not new, but the techniques the students are using are pretty new.  In addition to old fashion history work, students used tools like,,, and Google books.  The class also looked at the role genetics plays in how we understand our history.

Joe Giglio explored connections to Captain Ahab (maybe).

Professor Dalton wanted students to think about how genetics defines relationships over time.  He notes that:

Statistically, all people of European descent share a common European ancestor only 600 years ago.
Similarly, all people of European descent share all of each other’s European ancestors just 1,000 years ago.
Additionally, all people alive today  share a common ancestor 3,400 years ago.1

Of course, all of this led the students to explore more about their families leading to some interesting finds.

Rachel Collins did a family tree as part of her project.

Mason Kelley discovered some information on the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

1Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment: New York, 2017), 160-161, 164, 177.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Fall 2019 Courses

The department is going to be offering some cool classes next fall.  Professor Dalton will be teaching two new courses, one on world cinema and one on wizards and witchcraft.  He will be teaching the first-year seminar on the topic of wizards and witchcraft using case studies from different continents and time periods.  Dr. Henning will be offering European military history and modern Ireland.  Dr. Pitt is offering his course on Native American history, which will be a nice complement to some of the anticipated activities on campus.  Dr. Payne will be offering introduction to public history.  This class is designed to help students explore history careers but also to develop career skills such as team-work and iterative design.  Students create games based on research in Civil War materials in the archives.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Dr. Henning's Book is Now Available

Dr. Lori Henning, new to our history department, has a new book.  Harnessing the Airplane is published by the University of Oklahoma Press.  Her research is timely and important.

From the description from the University of Oklahoma Press:  At its dawn in the early twentieth century the new technology of aviation posed a crucial question to American and British cavalry:  what do we do with the airplane?  Lacking the hindsight of historical perspective, cavalry planners based their decisions on incomplete information.  Harnessing the Airplane compares how the American and British armies dealt with this unique challenge.  A multilayered look at a critical aspect of modern industrial warfare, this book examines the ramifications of technological innovation and its role in the fraught relationship that developed between traditional ground units and emerging air forces.

"Lori Henning demonstrates that not all who oppose new developments are opposed to the technology that drives them.  Harnessing the Airplane is an intriguing work that will appeal to anyone interested in the history of air power, the cavalry, and science and technology."  Brian D. Laslie, author of Architect of Air Power:  General Laurence S. Kuter and the Birth of the US Air Force.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

American Historical Association Careers for History Majors

The American Historical Association (AHA) has published an updated version of Career for HistorytMajors.  It's worth checking.  While you are at it, look at other recorses by following the careers label.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Some Cool Projects by Students

This fall semester, three seniors did cool projects.  Joe Aldridge wrote a senior thesis on the history or propaganda in which he looked at several case studies in the United States of propaganda and misinformation, older versions of "fake news."  Gina Gerard created a web page on Games in Education with resources and plans for educators using games to teach social studies.  Jeremiah Horrigan's thesis on the Compromise of 1850 provided an interesting look at the political conflict that was a stepping stone to the Civil War.

Over in the archives, students working on history internships with Dennis Frank did good work.  Ashlee Gray's work on the NY 154 resulted in, among other things, the map that visualizes casualties mentioned earlier.  Joseph Giglio worked on the John F. Carr collection.  Adam Wojcik did extensive archival work in the Antonucci Collection of World War II materials.  All gained valuable experience working with original documents and preparing them for use that includes digital access.

The Hardtack Regiment Newsletter mentions the good work of our students.  Mark Dunkelman writes,

"Recently I had reason to visit the website of the Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York at St. Bonaventure University for the first time in quite a while and was greatly pleased to find much progress has been made in digitizing materials and adding links to them. University Archivist Dennis Frank credits intern Ashlee Gray and work/study student Anna Giglio for their work on the site. Anna has been working on the A-F list of soldiers; Ashlee on the P-Z list. There is still plenty to be done, but these two dedicated women are steadily chipping away at it and I’m very grateful to them for their efforts. Take a look:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Data Visualization and History Internship

Ashlee Gray, double-major in History and English, is wrapping up her internship in the University Archives with Dennis Frank.  Ashlee, an alumnus of the digital history class that experimented with app making, worked on collecting, analyzing, and displaying data from the New York 154 regiment papers in the University Archives.  She worked in Microsoft Excel and then moved on to visualizing and mapping the data.  Above is a map she produced.  Next semester she plans on continuing the project to produce a more refined final product.  (Hint:  give it a moment to load and it works best if you expand it to full screen.)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Practical Advice on Getting a Public History Job

The American Historical Association has a nice article, Practical Advice on Getting a Public History Job, that is worth a read.  The short version, in addition to studying history get the media, communications and other skills you need to land a job.