03 / 14 / 11

Notes from the Field: Mapping History with Sanborn Maps

For a historian, a good map can be a gold mine of valuable information. Beyond road names or topographical features, maps can show the historical arrangements of buildings, property owners, and even the location of a specific furnace in an industrial plant. Few maps do this better than Sanborn fire insurance maps, which depict the… Read more »

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02 / 28 / 11

Interpretation, Imagination, and the Art of Historical Writing

We are a society that distrusts historical writing. Preoccupation with the past is a weakness — rugged individualists look to the future. “Revisionism” invites contempt. The past is behind us and should stay put: how can there be a “new” interpretation?  But we delight in a good story nonetheless. Whether in conversation or on the… Read more »

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